Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-VW350ES 4K Home Theater Projector – Performance 2

VPL-VW350ES 4K PROJECTOR – PERFORMANCE – PAGE 2:  Sharpness, Audible Noise and Image Noise

The gallery above has a variety of images from three resolutions – true 4K, 1080p, and 1080i.  Note that the 1080i images (football and model) were from content off of DirecTV.  When I pause those images to shoot, only one of the two interlaced frames (the i in 1080i), is shown. Thus, half of the vertical resolution is lost. That gives it a slightly jaggy look upon close inspection.

The first images in the above player are from 4K content. The last of those is the cropped image with white text on a red background.  Then come a few 1080p images, starting with the PS3 logo.  Finally, the 1080i images start with the football Game Mix, and the second. a closer look at it.

Sharpness and detail are excellent.  Based on previously comparing the more expensive but similarly sharp VW600ES against a JVC with pixel shifting, the Sony should visibly surpass the JVC overall.  When it comes to very fine lines, the Sony would be very visibly superior, since its pixels are 1/4 the size.

Compared to the LS10000 you get a closer contest. Following the beach pictures – 1080i, come a couple of comparisons to the Epson LS10000.  Again, if you want to reproduce the finest possible line, the Sony wins.  On typical content though, these two are very close.  I’ll give the Sony the edge in actual resolving of detail, but the Epson seems every bit as crisp looking even if it picks up a slightly harder look, which can translate to a grainier look on movies with very visible (intentionally) grain.  The close up of Katnis while on the chariot is a great example of exaggerated grain.  Compare the two (both 1080p).

Audible Noise and Image Noise

The Sony VPL-VW350ES is a reasonably quiet projector, even with the lamp and fan on full power mode.  Sony does not publish a decibel rating for the projector in their manual or their brochure, so it’s guess time, since we don’t measure fan noise.

My best guess is that this projector at full power is at 30-31 db.  In eco mode, it should be below 25 db, which means very quiet.  No one should have an issue with low (eco) mode, and very, very, few will notice fan noise even at full power, during normal viewing.  It is at least slightly quieter at full power than any projector to come though here recently.

The Sony is basically clean when it comes to image noise. With one or two exceptions (companies that is), today’s projectors are all doing a great job.  In the early years – almost a decade ago, there were huge differences in processing from one projector to the next.  Today, most differences that are significant relate to handling 3D.

4K looks very clean, at least as far as what I have been able to view.  I no longer have here a Sony server loaded with 4K content, nor the Red Ray player, similarly equipped that Epson had provided me.  Thus, for viewing 4K on this Sony VW350ES, I have been limited to content from the 4K Download service.  That content has some real compression.  As a result, the source material isn’t really clean enough to go hunting for subtle image noise issues.

Sony’s one chronic issue is that it has more trouble with one speed of panning that other projectors.  I’ve seen this on all the other Sonys.   My test for this is the opening scene in RED where Bruce Willis is standing outside and the camera pans his suburban neighborhood.  The trees literally vibrate.  Oh, 3/2 pull-down and other MotionFlow options can tame it (including CFI), but for watching at pure 24fps, it is an issue.  Fortunately, panning a little faster or slower gets rid of the problem. The RED sequence is the only significant one I’ve found, at least one that lasts more than a second or two.

Bottom Line on noises – both audible and image.  As quiet or quieter than most other projectors around its price, and a good deal quieter than some.  In low power mode, quiet enough that no one should complain at all.  Image noise, only the panning, and that 3D performance could be better, but some of that is the inherent LCoS technology, so far only DLP seems to have the ability to be really free of crosstalk, whereas the Sony definitely exhibits some.  Not bad though, unless you are really crosstalk adverse, in which case, sorry, there are no 4K DLP projectors yet.

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