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SONY VPL-PHZ50 WUXGA 3LCD Projector Review - Performance

Posted on February 22, 2022 by Philip Boyle


The VPL-PHZ50 has a rated brightness of 5000 ANSI lumens. Just how close did the projector come to hitting that target?

I set the projector to Brightness Priority mode, the brightest picture mode, and then took three to four readings about 15-20% out from the center of the screen.

The Sony VPL-PHZ50 Brightest mode (Brightness Priority, 5000 lumens maximum rated light level)

The VPL-PHZ50 measured 5,588 lumens which is 588 lumens higher than the brightness claimed by Sony.

The Sony VPL-PHZ50 is one bright projector. 5000 rated lumens allows some pretty large-sized screens to be brilliantly filled even with some ambient light present.

For reference, 10-15 years ago, a mere 2000 lumens was considered the standard for most rental and staging applications, such as for presenting in hotel ballrooms on 15 to 25-foot diagonal screens in front of 400 people.  Today, most $800 plus projectors can produce upwards of 2000 lumens, In the case of DLP white lumens, not color. The Sony VPL-PHZ50 produces an equal number of color and white lumens, and that means it can handle ambient light far better than those with limited color lumens.

The bottom line is that in 2022 a 5000-lumen installation projector can be used in an incredibly wide range of environments including some reasonably large sized ones. To be sure the PHZ50 makes a great conference and classroom projector being able to easily project content on screens as large as three-hundred inches diagonally under heavy lighting conditions.


The VPL-PHZ50 produces good color, although the overall image leans toward a warmer hue regardless of the preset mode. Even its Brightness Priority mode, where the image takes on a slightly more bluish-green hue, is still warm. Three picture modes are pretty usable. They are Dynamic, Standard, and Brightness Priority. Dynamic and Standard are the two best modes and are quite similar in color.

Dynamic is the brighter of the two and produces a more vibrant image that looks excellent when projecting presentation slides and websites. Standard has a slightly warmer tone and is most suitable for video in cases where there is some control over ambient light.

Brightness Priority mode is the projector's brightest mode and actually manages to maintain a somewhat decent color. True, it does favor more of a blue-green tint, as is typical of bright modes, but it is certainly good enough to use in circumstances with high amounts of ambient light. 

The reality is that projectors in this class generally don't typically produce good color, but the VPL-PHZ50 is capable of it anyway. I don't think that your clients will complain that this projector's color is much better than they need, especially at its price.


Specialty venues such as museums, galleries, and theaters, are becoming more photo and video-oriented. This type of use requires good or even excellent color capabilities. Colors a bit off on your PowerPoint pie chart are not a big deal. However, if you have way too much green in a skin tone, everyone will notice immediately.

The Sony VPL-PHZ50 produces excellent skin tones in two of its three out-of-the-box picture modes without adjustment. If you want or need the projector to produce even more accurate color and skin tones, you need to have it calibrated.


Sony rates its projector with a dynamic contrast ratio of infinity to one. About a decade ago, Sony decided they didn’t like how manufacturers defined a display’s contrast rating. In short, Sony felt it is misleading and did not provide customers with an accurate idea of any given projector’s contrast rating. Over a decade later, Sony is the only projector manufacturer not to list an actual contrast rating.

The infinity:1 contrast ratio of the VPL-PHZ50 does little to change the fact that the projector’s black levels, to my eye, are dark gray at best. Sony says they have provided some additional adjustments to improve the projector’s black-level performance, but I don’t see enough of a difference when using them. Black details on the VPL-PHZ50 are more very gray than black.


The photos above show a variety of dark scenes, giving you an idea of the VPL-PHZ50 black-level performance. There is detail in the dark area, and in light areas. The VPL-PHX50 is not a home theater projector and based on its intended use cases I don't think this is going to as important as its ability to produce a really bright image while maintaining a decent amount of color.



The photos of the presentations, websites, and our text test image included in the slider above are pleasantly sharp.

Small text was quite readable from a distance of fifteen feet in my lab. Even 8-point text could be read from the back of the room. I would venture to guess that it could be read from up to 20 feet back. That's not likely to come into play, as most presentations, infographics, and websites favor a 12-point font or above – all of which were highly readable. Everything was crisp and clean, and I couldn't be more pleased with this projector's ability to project text and presentations.


Sony rates the audible noise, or what they call "Acoustic Noise," at 37 dB (Standard light output) and 34 dB (Middle light output), respectively. We don't measure sound output here at Projector Reviews since how it sounds to my ear is as much about the projector's performance as my testing room, which is likely to have different acoustic properties than your space.

My opinion about the sound level of the VPL-PHZ50 is that it is very noticeable, far more than many home theater projectors I've reviewed. Do I think this will matter in a boardroom, classroom, or retail installation? No.


The VPL-PHZ50 has a single built-in mono speaker. Sony has included a 16-watt amplifier in the projector's sound system. The sound of this projector is just okay without any significant or noticeable distortion. My biggest concern is volume. I don't think that the sound the VPL-PHZ50 produces is suitable for use in anything except smaller classrooms or boardrooms.

This speaker, while clear-sounding, is not dynamic. Tones tend toward the mid and high frequencies, so if your installation needs bigger, more dynamic, and audible sound, I recommend an external sound source.


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