Projector Reviews

SONY VPL-VW325ES 4K SXRD PROJECTOR REVIEW-NOTABLE FEATURES

The VW325ES utilizes many of Sony’s popular features and proprietary technologies discussed in great detail in our reviews of the VW915ES and VW715ES. 

Since a lot of the common Sony features found in our older special features section was repetitive, it can now all be found on the new Sony Feature Explanation page or you can click any of the bolded/highlighted term to access a more detailed definition.

However, lets quickly summarize some of the most notable Sony features found on the VW325ES. 

First, all Sony 4K Home Theater projectors (including the VW325ES) 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 VW325ES utilize SXRD panels

It delivers more native contrast than the standard LCD panels or DLP chips used in most consumer projectors. These three SXRD panels eliminates 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 3840×2160, the VPL-VW325ES is a native 4K projector so it delivers the same 4096 x 2160 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 or pixel-shifting projector, using highly detailed content. In this example, the difference in resolution is noticeable from a normal viewing distance. 

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 VW325ES) with a version of the same X1 processor that has been optimized for projectors. 

The newest Sony 4K home theater projector utilize an X1 processor that has been optimized for projector applications

Sony 4K home theater projectors have always done a great job upscaling HD content to near 4K quality. The VW325ES 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-VW325ES 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 VW325ES can analyze HDR content scene by scene for precise dynamic tone mapping of HDR10 content. 

Dynamic HDR Enhancer improves scene brightness while maintaining highlight 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. We will discuss Dynamic HDR Enhancer in greater detail later in this review. 

The VW325ES utilizes the same motorized lens assembly found in the higher-end VW715ES and VW915ES. Not only does it include a 2x zoom range, but the VW325ES also has a large amount of horizontal and vertical lens shift which really simplifies installation.

A 2.06:1 zoom range combined with horizontal/vertical lens shifts simplifies installation

When used with a stationary 3rd party anamorphic lens, the VW315ES has several Aspect modes, including V Stretch and Squeeze, which can properly display both widescreen and 16×9 content on a 2.35:1 screen. 

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 VW325ES 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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