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Sony VPL-HW45ES Projector Review - Summary 2 - The Bottom Line, Pros and Cons

Posted on July 10, 2014 by Phil Jones
SONY VPL-HW45ES PROJECTOR - SUMMARY PAGE 2, PROS AND CONS A great value for just under $2000!

It matters not, which color you pick: Black or white, but the color that really counts, the excellent picture the HW45ES puts on the screen.


The Bottom Line: Sony VPL-HW45ES

Sony’s HW45ES is the first high quality LCoS based projector to break under the $2000 price point, unless, of course, you buy a used projector.  It is an "elegant" projector, when it comes to picture, and has only a reasonable set of limitations compared to its big brother, the HW65ES.

So, please give it a good home.  Not too much ambient light to deal with (and of course watch movies in the dark whenever possible).

If the HW45ES fits your budget perfectly, it's going to be most difficult to beat - really only if you need a bright room projector instead.  In that case, you get a far, far, less "elegant" projector, but for the same or slightly less, one that's over twice as bright (I'm thinking the Epson HC1440.  But the Epson is not a match, at all, for the HW45ES, if you have a proper room for this Sony.

If, on the other hand, your budget has an extra $1000 - $2000 I do favor the HW65ES along with the Epson UB, and the "entry level" JVC, but two out of those three cost double, and while the 5040UB merely costs 50% more.  There are always new competitors coming out, for example the BenQ HT6050, in the near future when available for review.  BTW the lower cost BenQ HT4050 is a pretty good choice to consider if this Sony is a budget buster.

This Sony VPL-HW45ES projector definitely belongs very high on most people’s short list at this price point.

Some new projectors (not often) are "revolutionary."  In this case, we're talking "evolutionary."   So, Raise your glasses in toast, because, with the HW45ES, "the Evolution is upon us!"

Sony VPL-HW45ES Pros

  • Very bright projector suitable for theater, or family room with good lighting control
  • Excellent color accuracy, right out of the box, without adjustment
  • Full CMS allows for full calibration
  • Good black level performance for the price
  • Reality Creation, plus good optics provide a very sharp seeming image
  • Creative frame interpolation (MotionFlow) for smooth motion
  • 3D built in, uses RF 3D glasses (not included)
  • Bright enough for reasonably bright 3D, thanks in part to dynamic lamp feature
  • Very good remote control, with good range, and good layout
  • Good menu system design (although missing a number of features found on the HW65ES
  • Physically very good looking in the dark finish (although larger than most competitors)
  • Lots of lens shift and a manual 1.6:1 zoom lens provide a lot of placement flexibility
  • Definitely quieter in operation than most competitors, very nice!
  • Three year parts and labor warranty
  • Overall an excellent value proposition

Sony VPL-HW45ES Cons

  • Lack of a dynamic iris leaves black levels short of several (mostly a good bit more expensive) projectors, that's perhaps the biggest difference between this HW45ES and the $2000 more HW65ES
  • No 3D glasses provided in price
  • Could be brighter for 3D (true for all)
  • A bit too much image noise adds hardness to skin tones on face close-ups when Reality Creation is engaged, especially if pushed above default setting
  • No rapid replacement program under warranty
  • Lamp life is, I believe, a bit shorter at full power than most, (but at least average in low power mode - 6000 hours)

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