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Sony VPL-VW665ES 4K Home Theater Projector: Summary 2

Posted on December 18, 2015 by Art Feierman
VPL-VW665ES PROJECTOR - SUMMARY PAGE 2:  Feature Performance, The Bottom Line

Feature Performance

The feature set of this Sony is pretty robust.  There's multiple CFI modes for smooth motion.  And of course there's Sony's sophisticated Reality Creation which can't take 1080 content and make it look like true 4K content, but, really does help produce a much sharper seeming image than "plain old 1080p".

One thing that's particularly impressive about Sony's Reality Creation is that it is apparently very smart.  Sony tells me for example, that it recognizes faces, and the processing it applies to a face, will be different to, say, the processing of an area of the image with a car or a sky.

Reality Creation on 1080p content:  Not only can Reality Creation basically try to re-create what 4K might have looked like if the content was true 4K, but with the VW665ES it can show you the result, while with 1080p projectors, ultimately you still have to dial the resolution back down to 1080 again.

Compared to a good 1080p projector - say Sony's HW55ES (or the HW65ES I'll be reviewing over the next couple of weeks), The VW665ES produces the sharper seeming image.  With the 1080p projectors sporting pixel shifting, they get closer to the 4K Sony, but for the one that produces the sharpest looking image, that image seems hard and a touch unnatural compared to the Sony - due to so much extra processing.

So at this point you are having a good time being impressed with how good 1080p content can look, then you discover that true 4K content, is a magnitude better.  Reality Creation works with 4K content as well. Unlike last year's VW600ES who's default setting was 20, this VW665ES defaults to 50.  But that's probably just calibrating the controls differently, because 50 on the new Sony seems about the same as 20 on the older one.

Lens Memory - Major Feature.  I suspect that a goodly number of potential VW600ES owners are really serious about movies, and therefore are more likely than the average home theater projector buyer, to go with a wide screen - a Cinemascope shaped screen such as my 2.35:1 screen.

With Lens Memory you can set up multiple settings, so that as I mentioned, you could not only have one size for 16:9, one for 2.35:1 but even others such as a smaller one for 3D viewing if you want more brightness.

3D is really good.  This is a three panel (or chip) LCoS projector, and it does have some crosstalk, so 3D isn't as clean as you can find on some good single chip DLP projectors (of lower resolution).  I've always compromised on 3D - there's the brightness, and the color is never up to 2D (we don't calibrate 3D modes, which probably helps, but generally, expect 2D to still have better color.

Ready to start watching 4K content?  By spring of 2016 you should be able to buy a Blu-ray UHD players and movies, but if you can't wait that long to start enjoying "the good stuff", try a 4K download service.

The Very Bottom Line: Sony VPL-VW665ES 4K Projector

If the VW665ES was an expensive car, I'd say it was one sweet ride.  It's certainly not perfect, but pretty awesome.  Hey, Sony has a $28,000 4K projector and a brand new one at $60,000 the VW5000ES (can't wait to get that one in!)

Color is excellent right out of the box.  The picture is always natural looking, detailed, and even right out of the box the color accuracy is almost post calibration quality.

The VW665ES is even more advanced in a number of ways than the step up VW1100ES, being newer.  It can handle some of the more advanced formats (HDR, 4:4:2, etc.) that the older Sony can't.

Every projector has its downsides, it's just that the VW665ES's primary downside is one that can't be helped yet. That would be it's current price, which is just too much for most of us.  Well at least some can afford this one, and you don't have to be a top 1%er, you just have to be doing reasonably well and really want one.  After all, this Sony easily costs less than a well equipped compact car, and will last for many years.  Consider: 10 years ago the typical "lower cost" 720p home theater projector was $5000.  1080p?  good luck in finding them a decade ago.    Then  five years or so ago, we started buying relatively entry level 1080p projectors for $3000+  Today, 1080p projectors start under $1000 for some decent gear, and serious home theater at 1080p resolution is mostly in the $2000 - $5000 range.  No doubt in 3-4 years, we'll have a choice of 4K projectors starting well below $5000.BTW, back in 2000-2001, my old company was selling 42" plasma TVs for "only" $25,000.  Today - 50 inch LCDTVs start around $599 and provide higher resolution.

So, for those of us on limited budgets, the biggest issue with the VW665ES is whether we can't afford it.  Certainly, I'd love to own this projector, but I'll have to settle for waiting a couple more years or so, until Sony, or someone else, has a killer 4K at a fraction of the price.

I wrote this next paragraph for the review of the older VW600ES.  I thought it appropriate to repeat it here:

There's competition out there around the price, I just can't, myself, see any of them being real competition in terms of what I value most.  SIM2's $19,999 Nero 3D2 was nice enough, but no match in resolution, nor brightness.  Runco's LS10 - $27,000+ with outboard processor certainly is a great projector, and I can even think of a couple of things that it probably can outdo the Sony on, but as a 1080p projector, no way I would consider it personally, even if it was the same price.  JVC's new X900R projector for $11,999 with it's tremendous native contrast, and "hand picked" components, is a superb projector (it's announced replacement is only $9999).  It will have better blacks, for example, but the Sony's black level performance is still rather excellent, and I would recommend true 4K as far more valuable than the difference in black level performance.


Time will create better, and more affordable projectors, but if you time is now, and you have the budget for VPL-VW665ES, it should be at the top of your list, unless you are willing to spend a whole lot more.

When it comes to bang for the buck, I want to conclude by saying that the next step up VW1100ES does offer better black levels and has some other advantages, but for not much more than half the price, and performance in some ways better than the VW1100ES, the VPL-VW665ES is the better value proposition.  I said a year ago that those black levels, btw, were certainly good enough on the VW600ES that I could happily live with the that projector.  The VW665ES has noticeably improved on those black levels, so that I'm even more thrilled with this next generation Sony.

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