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SONY VPL-PHZ50 WUXGA 3LCD Projector Review - Hardware

Posted on February 22, 2022 by Philip Boyle


The VPL-PHZ50 features a slim, stylish body with a flat-top surface. This minimalist design looks good, from lecture theaters and large auditoriums to office boardrooms, reception lobbies, and meeting spaces. When the projector is ceiling-mounted, it offers the practical value of fitting unobtrusively into almost any installation space without distracting from the content.


Equal color and white lumens

The VPL-PHZ50 uses the Sony Z-Phosphor system that utilizes three LCD panels, one each for the red, green, and blue portions of the image. The light source is a blue-laser diode that is initially split using a dichroic mirror. One half continues to the LCD assigned blue and the other half to a yellow  phosphor whose light is then filtered into its red and green components.  Each is  directed to pass through the corresponding LCD panel, after which the three colors are combined and directed through the main lens.

The LCD panels use an optical compensator, reducing light leakage and improving the black level. Each panel has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 (WUXGA). Ideally, the pixels from each panel overlap on the screen perfectly, resulting in a full-color 1920 x 1200 image.

One of the biggest advantages of a light system like Z-Phosphor is that it produces the same amount of color lumens and white lumens, unlike competitive DLP systems, for example, which produce fewer color lumens than white lumens.


The VPL-PHZ50 has a wide range of useful inputs for business and education applications and good connectivity. The inputs and connectors panel is on the projector's rear when looking at the lens. Sony clearly feels the VPL-PHZ50 to be ceiling-mounted in a majority of installations, since all input labels only appear right side up when mounted this way. I have inverted it in the image so that it is easy to read, and I will be describing the inputs as if the projector were ceiling-mounted.

The inputs and connectors panel is a single row and features the following: 

INPUT:A RGB / Y PB PR input connector: Mini D-sub 15-pin (female) Audio input connector: Stereo mini-jack
INPUT:B HDMI input connector: HDMI 19-pin, Digital RGB/Y PB PR, HDCP support Audio input connector: HDMI audio support
INPUT:C HDMI input connector: HDMI 19-pin, Digital RGB/Y PB PR, HDCP support Audio input connector: HDMI audio support
INPUT:D HDBaseT interface connector: RJ45, 4 play (Video, Audio, LAN (100BASE-TX), RS-232C)
VIDEO:IN Video input connector: Phono jack (Composite)
OUTPUT Audio output connector: Stereo mini-jack
REMOTE D-sub 9-pin (male) / RS232C
USB TYPE-A x 1 (for F/W update), TYPE-A for Power supply


The VPL-PHZ50 includes a 1.6x zoom lens with a throw ratio of 1:23:1 to 1.97:1. The chart below shows the throw distances for several 16:10 aspect screen sizes.

Screen Ratio 16:10 Distance
94" From 8.2' - 12.7'
110" From 9.8 - 15'
120" From 10.4 - 16.4'
130" From 11.4 - 19'
140" From 12.4 - 19.3'
150" From 13.1' - 20.6'


A wide range of lens shift

The VPL-PHZ50 optics deliver a sharp image and feature a manual focus and zoom with plenty of horizontal and vertical lens shift. This level of flexibility means the VPL-PHZ50 extracts as many details as possible and reduces the need for digital image distortion correction. Remember that digital keystone correction or keystone settings can negatively impact the display's picture quality.

The VPL-PHZ50 has a 1.6X zoom ratio to facilitate a high-quality picture without the need for digital image correction. The VPL-PHZ50 allows the lens to be manually shifted within the following range: Vertical: -35% to +55% and Horizontal: +/-15%.


Controls every setting

From a design perspective, the tiny remote that comes with the VPL-PHZ50 is basic, but it offers a full range of projector controls. The remote has no backlight, which could come in handy, allowing the projector to be used in pretty dark venues (usually with some very large screens). 



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