Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-VW295ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review – Hardware 1

Sony VPL-VW295ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review – Hardware: Overview, Inputs and Connectors, Lens

Overview

The Sony VW295ES, like its family of projectors, offers clean lines, tasteful sculpting and a minimalistic approach, with connectors recessed, and a tiny control panel that is pretty much invisible from 5 feet away!  The 2.06:1 zoom is centered and recessed, and fully motorized. In the front there’s an infra-red sensor and down below, two screw thread adjustable front feet.

This Sony’s body is finished in a coarse to the touch, dark gray finish, the front is shiny black and smooth.  In this regard it is virtually indistinguishable from the old 285ES

You won’t be hauling this guy from room to room, or out back for a movie night – it weighs in at 31 lbs. (14kg approximately).  If you really want some portability once in a while, pick up a low cost projector, one with built in speakers, for those occasions.  By the time you can read this, you will be able to buy a 4K capable projector, for under $1000, and a respectable 1080p projector from $500+ to $900.

Moving to the top of the projector, the only thing you can find here are the indicator lights, the seam of the lamp door, and the Sony logo.

If you are facing the front of the projector, on the right is a well-hidden control panel.  On the left, running from back to front is a recessed input panel.

Let’s explore the details:

Inputs and Connectors

VPL-VW295ES-inputs

As is the case with the more expensive Sony projectors, the VW295ES is fairly sparse when it comes to the number of connectors and inputs available, being that that it relies almost exclusively on the two HDMI inputs.  That means, for most at least, using an AV receiver, or a 4K switching system.  That’s fine, of course, and I personally rely on an Anthem receiver to switch my content sources for whatever projector I happen to be reviewing.

We’ll start at the rear and work our way forward. The RJ-45 LAN connector for networking is found at the back, followed by one USB, and the pair of HDMI inputs.  These HDMI ports support HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 copy protection.  According to Sony, they’re capable of handling up to 18 Gbps.  That means, of course, that it is possible to play 4K content at 60fps with HDR!  This was lacking on the previous, VPL-VW285ES model, which the VW295ES replaces.

Bottom line on the VPL-VW295ES’s HDMI:  It can handle anything available today, and I’d expect it to be able to handle anything in the foreseeable future.

Let’s move along, shall we?  As we move toward the front we find an RS-232 serial port for legacy command and control of the projector over a serial connection.  Following that, we have a jack allowing you to hard wire the remote control, but this only comes into play if you have a setup where the remote is too far away, like a rear screen setup. It takes an optional cable, but if you desire, you can mount that remote in another room entirely.  The last of our inputs and connectors are two 12 volt triggers, which could be used with compatible devices, such as properly equipped motorized screens, and even some motorized shades, among others.

There’s the usual power receptacle, which is found on the back of the projector, down low, near the other side.  That’s it for inputs and connectors!

The Lens

VW295ES
Down the barrel look at the Sony VPL-VW295ES. This is Sony's $4999, "entry level" native 4K projector!

The Sony’s motorized 2.06:1 zoom provides owners with just about the maximum amount of zoom range (short of drastically more expensive HT projectors that offer interchangeable lenses).  Add to that far more vertical and horizontal lens shift than most, all lens functions are motorized so no controls are visible.

The 285ES received an upgraded lens and light path last year, in that it’s essentially the same lens as the old VW285ES and other siblings, but with some optical improvements.  How much?  Probably not huge, but every optical improvement is a plus.

For a 100 inch, 16:9 screen, the Sony can be placed (measured from the front of the lens) anywhere from 115 inches to 235 inches from the screen.

With that same sized screen the lens shift will allow the projector to be placed anywhere from the lens being      above the top of the screen surface, to being     below the bottom!

That’s a truly impressive amount of lens shift.  And therefore a truly impressive amount of placement flexibility.