Posted on November 21, 2018 By Art Feierman
Sony VPL-VW295ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review – Hardware 2: Control Panel, Remote Control, Menus
Designed to be almost invisible, the control panel is a series of buttons in a horizontal row starting near the front of the projector’s side. Of course few will use the control panel. Certainly having a very capable remote control is far easier than a simple control panel.
The first small button is power (once for on, twice to power down). Next comes the Input button. Pressing it repeatedly steps it through each active source it sees, which is basically HDMI.
Next is the Menu button, followed by Sony’s micro joy stick, which works extremely well for navigating. Pressing it straight in, acts as Enter.
Last is the Lens button which then allows you to adjust the lens focus, zoom, and shift using the micro-joy stick. It works surprisingly well, if limited to the basic controls needed, no extras for convenience.
There are just two indicator lamps. They will flash in different combinations when indicating any issues. No warnings to date, but then I have barely 100 hours on this Sony VW295ES.
This Sony remote is pretty much the same as many other Sony remotes that come with the many Sony home theater projectors we’ve reviewed, and this is just like the previous VW285ES model.
We’ll start at the top.
In the first row, we find three buttons: Light (backlight) Input – pressing this button displays a small menu showing all the source inputs. Press this button again and it toggles through the choices, in this case, there are only two – HDMI 1 and HDMI 2.
The top row has a green Power button, with the common practice of “Press once to power up, twice to power down.”
Next, there are three rows of three buttons each – these are for eight preset picture modes (such as Bright Cinema, Reference, Cinema Film 2, etc.)
There are buttons for each of the eight provided modes plus one labeled User, where the user can create a ninth, custom mode based on one of the provided modes.
Below that, we find the directional keypad – four arrow keys in a circular formation, with Enter in the center. Clockwise around the directional keypad, there are three curved buttons at the 10, 2, and 6 o’clock positions. The bottom button is Menu, the one at 2 o’clock is Reset, and at the 10 o’clock position is the Position button.
The Position button lets you toggle through three sub-menus: Focus, Zoom, and Lens shift.
As noted previously, there is no lens memory. If you choose to go with a widescreen such as a 2.35:1 or 2:40:1 “Cinemascope” type screen, you’ll be changing the zoom and lens shift using the position button and its sub-menus, petty much anytime you want to change aspect ratios – like when you go from most movies (widescreen) to standard TV’s 16:9. Rather than a one button operation to go back and forth, this will require your attention for 30 seconds or so to readjust zoom etc. I’ve been going back and forth with the aspect ratio several times each day I’ve been working with the VW295ES, and find having to do “lens memory” manually is just not that big of a deal.
The next set of buttons – nine more to be precise, are shortcuts directly to the appropriate sub-menus. These convenient buttons are: Aspect, MotionFlow (CFI), 3D, Color Space, Color Temp, Color Correction, Gamma Correction, Contrast Enhancer, and Reality Creation (detail enhancement).
There are three rocker switches toward the bottom, and those let you toggle Volume, Brightness, and Contrast.
This player contains most of the primary and secondary menus. Most are straight forward. The overall organization hasn’t changed in many years.
This is not what you would call a smart menu system, as found on today’s smart TVs. Everything is about the projectors own settings – there’s no web browser, Netflix and other streaming, etc.
But there are extensive calibration controls. The only thing is, these Sony’s typically come out very close to being right on, but there is always room for a little improvement – minor enough that most folks wouldn’t notice.
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