Projector Reviews

SONY VPL-VW1025ES 4K SXRD LASER PROJECTOR REVIEW – SUMMARY

For the past few months, I have been using a VW915ES as my reference projector. While it is an awesome projector with a good lens, the higher quality ARC-F lens used in the VW1025ES delivered a noticeable increase in clarity and sharpness edge to edge. 

As expected, when it comes to HD and 4K SDR content, the Sony VW1025ES was outstanding. While calibration will improve the picture quality, the VW1025ES delivered an accurate, natural-looking picture right out-of-the-box. 

The VPL-VW1025ES produced close to its rated brightness of 2200 ANSI lumens even in its most accurate picture modes. Many projectors deliver significantly less than their rated brightness when placed in their most accurate picture mode. It is not uncommon to see the brightness cut in half. 

Once the projector is calibrated, the unit’s Auto Calibrate feature combined with its Z-Phosphor light source ensures that the VW1025ES will deliver “calibrated” color accuracy for several years.

Its native 4K resolution SXRD panels delivered a sharp picture. The VW1025ES did an excellent job upscaling HD content. Only a select group of projectors like JVC’s lineup of DILA projectors can match a Sony 4K SXRD laser projector equipped with a dynamic iris. It is doubtful that any single chip DLP home theater projector can even come close.

Like its Sony 4K SXRD brothers, the VW1025ES delivers outstanding HDR performance. While some projectors struggle with a lack of brightness and produce dull HDR video, Sony’s new Dynamic HDR Enhancer works to eliminate this problem. Powered by the X1 Processor, this feature measures the average and peak brightness of HDR10 content frame by frame for precise dynamic tone mapping to maximize the projector’s HDR picture quality.

The new projector’s optimized X1 processor combines signal HDR analysis with a dynamic iris and precise laser light modulation to produce a great-looking HDR picture. 

Lastly, the VW1025ES is packed with “installer-friendly” features, including a motorized lens with tons of zoom and lens shift, including position memories. Picture position memories are great for customers with masking screens or anyone who want to maximize the image size of 16:9 and widescreen on a 2.35:1 screen. In addition, the VW1025ES has a large amount of zoom and horizontal/vertical lens shift capability, which makes installation a breeze, especially when trying to replace an older, previously mounted unit. Also, the VW1025ES is an interchangeable lens projector, so there is even an optional short-throw ARC-F lens available. 

The VW1025ES ($40,000 SRP) costs twice as much as the VW915ES ($20,000 SRP). That is a hefty premium to pay for a better lens. Whether you believe it is worth the additional money depends on how passionate you are about picture quality along with your budget. Most projectors that can surpass the picture quality of VW1025ES cost significantly more.  

While the VW1025ES does command a premium price over most 4K home theater projectors, its outstanding SDR and HDR picture quality and feature set make it an excellent option for any movie enthusiast who can afford it.

With a retail price of $40,000, the VW1025ES is an expensive home theater projector, but it delivered the best projected image I have ever experienced in my room. If you are a video/movie enthusiast who can afford a VW1025ES, it is highly recommended.

SONY VW1025ES – PROS AND CONS

Pros

  • Outstanding ARC-F lens delivers amazing clarity 
  • Native 4K resolution (4096×2160)
  • Laser Light Engine
  • 20,000 Hour Lamp Life ((High Lamp Power)
  • Frame by Frame Tone Mapping to optimize HDR10 viewing
  • Retains most of its rated brightness even after calibration 
  • Superb black levels
  • Great “out of the box” picture 
  • Dual 4K HDCP 2.2 (18Gbps) HDMI inputs
  • Compatible with HDR10 and HLG
  • Excellent 4K upscaling
  • Excellent placement flexibility with motorized lens features, including:
    • 2.10:1 zoom lens (Bundled VPLL-Z7013 Lens)
    • Lots of lens shift (vertical and horizontal) 
    • Optional short-throw ARC-F lens available (VPLL-Z7008)
  • Low input lag – claimed 27ms on 4K (37ms measured @1080p)
  • 3-year parts/labor warranty 

Cons

  • Premium Price maybe out of the reach of many customers
  • Not the best black levels (but close, very close)
  • More lumens would be better, especially for HDR
  • The remote control would benefit from a brighter backlight
  • Larger and heavier than many home theater projectors