Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-HW65ES Projector – Hardware Features and Tour

Sony VPL-HW65ES PROJECTOR:  HARDWARE FEATURES AND TOUR:  Overview and Front, Lens Controls, Control Panel, Inputs and Connectors

VPL-HW65ES Projector: Overview - From the Front

Shiny (almost) black projectors are tough to photograph, so to make things easier, I’m mostly using Sony’s professional images.  They just look better.

Let’s get started: Sony’s 1.6:1 manual zoom lens is center mounted and recessed.  Part of the intake and exhaust vents are on partially on the front and on the side at the front.  Down below  are two very small screw thread adjustable feet, for those placing the projector on a table.  The only other feature on the front of the VPL-HW65ES is the infra-red sensor for the remote control. That (if you are facing the projector), is on the right, near the bottom, recessed as well, so not easy to spot. Other than the sensor, and the glass of the lens, the front of the projector is flat black (really dark gray), so as not to reflect light from the screen, back to the screen.  The top of the projector is curved, and a nice shiny black, although when sunlight enters my room, it seems to have a slight bluish tint (very dark)!

Overall, the Sony is a moderately large projector in size, very nicely sculpted, weighing in at 20 lb (19.8 lb, 9kg, on some data sheets).  That’s just a slight bit less than the older HW55ES which was about 21 pounds (9.4kg.) Let’s take a closer look.

All the lens controls are located on the top, more on that shortly.   Again, if you are facing the front of the Sony projector, you would find that the control panel and the inputs are all located on the left side.

Lens Controls - Sony VPL-HW65ES

This is a closeup photo of the lens and lens shift controls shooting down from the top (ok, it’s the older HW55ES – but then nothing has changed in this regard).

You can see the case flaring out, to create the recess for the lens.  Rotating the outer (front) ring of the lens handles the manual focus.

There’s a notch on the inner ring for adjusting the 1.6:1 zoom lens.  Both controls are very smooth, and solid feeling, better than most projectors.

Right behind the lens, you can see the two lens shift rings.  The one on the left, in the photo, is the vertical, while the other handles horizontal lens shift.   As I’ve written too many times, vertical and horizontal lens shift controls work in tandem.  If you use maximum vertical shift, there’s no horizontal available, and vice versa.  The less vertical shift you use, the more horizontal is available, etc.

Click Image to Enlarge

Control Panel: VPL-HW65ES

This Sony projector has the same layout as previous generations of Sony HW series projectors.   It sports a tiny control panel, and the inputs and other connectors are also there, below the panel.

Let’s start with the “mini” control panel.  If you start closest to the front the first button is the power (press once for on twice to power down).

The next button (small) is the input selector.

The third button is Menu, and brings up the main menu.

To navigate the menus, the fourth “button” is really a tiny joystick/diskpad.  Moving the center part up, down, left, right, allows you to navigate the menu system.

Clicking on this side image of the Sony HW65ES projector, will allow you to see all the buttons and connectors more easily.

Side view, showing control panel and inputs: VPL-HW55ES Projector
Side view, showing control panel and inputs

Inputs and Connectors: Sony HW65ES Projector

We start closest to the rear of the Sony.  First is the power cord receptacle.  Sony has less connectors on it than older HW series projectors as there’s less need today for “old school” connectors such as composite video or S-video.

Next comes an RJ45 jack for LAN, and also a USB for firmware updates.  A pair of HDMI inputs (1.4) are the next two connectors.   That’s pretty standard stuff.

Then comes an RS-232 serial port for old school “command and control.”

That’s followed by a small connector for the remote control, in case your setup needs the remote hard wired, instead of using the infra-red.  Lastly there’s a 12 volt trigger.

The VPL-HW65 lacks any analog computer input, component video or composite video inputs.  If you have a specific need for any of those you’ll need an external switch box to ultimately output those signals over HDMI, or of course, that is, if you aren’t doing your switching from an AV receiver equipped with all of those, and sending it to the HW65ES over HDMI.  Also, as a pure “home theater” projector – not home entertainment, there’s no speaker built in, and therefore no audio inputs or outputs.