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Posted on July 2, 2021 by Phil Jones


The ARC-F Lens extracts the maximum amount of detail for the projector native 4K SXRD panels

The VW1025ES, like the VW995ES it replaces, comes bundled with an ARC-F lens, an ultra-high-quality multi-element all-glass lenses assembly. This type of lens is also utilized on the VW5000ES and the flagship GTZ380 home theater projectors. This ARC-F lens is a significant upgrade in optical quality compared to the very good lenses used on Sony’s other, less expensive native 4K SXRD projectors.

The lens assembly commands a high premium because it literally doubles the price of the VW1025ES projector compared to the VW915ES. However, the difference in sharpness Is dramatic. When viewed through the unit’s ARC-F lens, things just seem clearer – richer, more real. It is like looking through an open window. 

If you plan on sitting close to a very large screen, you would definitely appreciate the additional sharpness. Currently, I am using a VW915ES as my reference projector and the benefit was even noticeable on my 120” screen sitting 14 feet away.

The ARC-F also lets more of the laser light source’s brightness reach the screen increasing the VW1025ES rated brightness by 300 lumens compared to the VW915ES.

For maximum flexibility, Sony offers an optional short throw version of the ARC-F lens which can also be utilized with the VW1025ES.

So while upgrading to the VW1025ES is an expensive proposition, due to the unit's premium lens, it may be worth it to those who want to extract every bit of detail from Sony’s native 4K SXRD panels. 


The VW1025ES utilizes many of Sony’s popular features and proprietary technologies discussed in great detail in our reviews of the VW915ES and VW715ES. 

Since many of the common features found in our older special feature section were repetitive, that information can now all be found on the new Sony Feature Explanation page. You also click any of the bolded/highlighted terms in the article to access a more detailed definition.

However, let’s quickly summarize some of the most notable Sony features found on the VW1025ES. 

First, all Sony 4K Home Theater projectors (including the VW1025ES) use Sony’s 4K SXRD (4096 x 2160) panels which is Sony’s version of LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon). This three chip 4K SXRD imaging system is very similar to what is utilized in Sony 4K cinema projectors that are found in the best movie theaters in the world.

All Sony 4K home theater projectors including the VW1025ES utilizes three native 4K SXRD panels

It delivers more native contrast than the standard LCD panels or DLP chips used in most consumer projectors. These three SXRD panels eliminate the possibility of the Rainbow Effect (Color Breakup) seen on many single-chip DLP projectors and it also minimizes the “screen door effect” (blocky image distortions) compared to most 3LCD projectors.

While most 4K UHD flat panels have a resolution of 3840x2160, the VPL-VW1025ES is a native 4K projector so it delivers the same 4096x2160 resolution as your favorite 4K movie theater projector. Unlike some competitor 2K pixel shifting projectors, it can faithfully reproduce all 8.8 million pixels. 

Suppose you do a side-by-side comparison of a true 4K projector versus a 1080P pixel-shifting projector, using highly detailed content. In this example, the difference in resolution is noticeable from a normal viewing distance. 

The VW1025ES is one of five laser-based 4K SXRD home theater models in Sony’s review. The Z-Phosphor light engine has a rated life of 20,000-hours which ensures several years of nearly maintenance-free operation.

The VW1025ES has a Z-Phosphor Laser Light source which ensures years of maintenance-free operation

If you watched the VW915ES for 8 hours a day, five days a week, the laser light engine would last about a decade. By the time you would need to replace light source in this unit there will probably be new 8K projectors available.

VPL-VW915ES is only one of the four Sony laser projectors that have both dynamic laser functionality and a mechanical dynamic iris

Superior processing separates Sony’s video displays from the competition. While the processing in Sony flat-panel TVs evolves every year, it has been a while since they updated the brains of their home theater projectors. Way back in the fall of 2016, Sony’s highly rated flagship Z9D flat-panel TV featured the brand new X1 Processor, and last year Sony began equipping their new 4K home theater projectors (like the VW1025ES) with a version of the same X1 Processor that has been optimized for projectors. 

Sony 4K home theater projectors have always done a great job upscaling HD content to near 4K quality. The VW1025ES still includes Sony’s Reality Creation engine and it’s now powered by the X1 Processor. This robust Processor is able to analyze HD, 4K, and HDR content frame-by-frame to further enhance detail, colors, and black level. 

The VPL-VW1025ES is compatible with both HDR10 and HLG content. Since most HDR10+ and Dolby Vision content is either backward compatible with or available in HDR10, you will be able to watch most of the HDR content available on 4K Blu-ray Disc and streaming services. HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) was developed for live broadcast, so you are all set to enjoy sports and award shows when the networks start broadcasting.

Of all the benefits of the X1 Processor, the most notable is the Dynamic HDR Enhancer feature which dramatically improves the look of HDR content. Thanks to the Dynamic HDR Enhancer, the VW1025ES can analyze HDR content scene by scene for precise dynamic tone mapping of HDR10 content. 

Dynamic HDR Enhancer improves scene brightness while maintaining hightail detail

HDR analysis and tone mapping might be a new concept for a lot of projector manufacturers, but Sony began blazing the trail back in 2017 when their 4K TV lineup began including the X1 Processor. HDR scenes are brighter, with richer colors, and a better black level.

The VW1025ES utilizes a motorized lens assembly with Picture Positioning (lens memories). These Lens Memories offer the ability to save different motorized lens settings, like one for HDTV and one for widescreen movies. This is a useful feature for someone who opts for a 2.35:1 screen because they want to take advantage of the entire screen area when watching widescreen movies.

When used with a stationary anamorphic lens, the VW102ES has several Aspect modes, including V Stretch and Squeeze, which can properly display both widescreen and 16x9 content on a 2.35:1 screen.

The ARC-F lens bundled with the VW1025ES has a 2x zoom range and also has a large amount of horizontal and vertical lens shift which really simplifies installation.

Combining the X1 processor with native 4K SXRD panels, a premium ARC-F lens, and the Z-Phosphor light source results in outstanding picture quality

To maximize the gaming experience, the VW32ES includes a Low Latency Game Mode. When this mode is engaged, the projector switches off most of its video processing to dramatically reduce game lag. 

Sony quotes 27ms input lag with 4K content (up to 60fps). According to Sony, with 1080p games input lag will be a bit longer due to the need to upscale HD to the projector’s native resolution, but it is still in the 33-40ms range. We measured 4K/60p at 28ms and 1080/60p at 36ms, which is a good performance for most gamers. 

Unlike most flat panel TVs,  Sony home theater projectors like the VW1025ES still support 3D. The projector’s built-in RF transmitter is compatible with third-party Active RF 3D glasses for wider coverage and greater stability. 

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