Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-VW70 – Competitors-2

Sony VPL-VW70 vs. Mitsubishi HC7000

The Mitsubishi HC7000 is significantly less expensive, and is worthy of consideration if the price of the VW70 is about to break the bank. In this comparison, we have a 3LCD projector doing battle with an LCoS one.

Both use dynamic irises, both offer frame interpolation (but not creative). Neither is particularly bright, so both are best suited for smaller screens 100 inch diagonal or less, unless you go high gain screen.

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Both support an anamorphic lens, both have two year warranties, both are good looking projectors (although the Mitsubishi HC7000 is definitely, significantly smaller).

And, both are definitely below average in brightness! If the Sony VW70’s brightness was already a matter of concern for you, you can probably forget the HC7000 altogether. The HC7000 is about 20% less bright than the Sony, in both “best” and “brightest” modes.

Both projectors are what I call “ultra-high contrast” projectors, with impressive black levels. That said, the Sony definitely has the advantage over the Mitsubishi. When you get into this level of black level performance, were not talking huge differences, and even the Mitsubishi does well enough that black level differences may only be one factor.

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In terms of image quality, both do a great job on skin tones. It’s been a few months since I’ve worked with the Mitsubishi, but was extremely impressed with the HC7000’s overall image quality and color accuracy. Between the two, it should be very close.

If the even lower brightness of the Mitsubishi isn’t an issue for you, then the HC7000 might well be an excellent lower cost alternative to the VW70. Let’s say, however, that most will find the extra cost for the Sony to be a reasonable value.

Sony VPL-VW70 vs. JVC DLA-RS20 and HD750

OK, how do I think the Sony stacks up against our Best In Class winner, the JVC DLA-RS20 (and it’s almost identical twin – but for cosmetics – the HD750)?

I’ve been going back and forth between this Sony, and my own JVC RS20 for 3 weeks now. Many evenings I’ve watched part of a movie (or HDTV) on one, then switch to the other, and sometimes back and forth a couple of times. In other words, I have a very good feel for the differences. Whether your priorities are the same as mine will factor into your decision.

First, price. Officially, the Sony is $500 more than the JVC, but the Sony seems to be available for less than the JVC, possibly as much as $1000, based on what I hear from feet on the street.

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Black level performance: As I reported elsewhere in this review, the Sony, in Cinema mode with its dynamic iris engaged, can, on some scenes just barely match (or be so close as to not matter), the black levels of the JVC RS20. Sounds great, but there is some compression of the Sony image. While the blacks get nice and black on dark scenes, the bright areas on those scenes – say street lights, or lit windows of buildings in city scenes, are also darkened. With the JVC, there is no such compression due to no dynamic iris. From a practical standpoint, that makes the JVC superior. There is one consolation though, for the Sony. One aspect of having blacker blacks is so that letterboxing, and large black areas of an image appear close to black. In that, the Sony is, overall, close to the JVC. The thing is, the bright areas aren’t as bright, and therefore, it just makes the Sony seem dimmer on dark scenes. The fact that the Sony measures just over 500 lumens with its iris off, and only 366 with it on, gives you a good idea at the amount of compression of bright areas on dark scenes – almost 1/3 of the brightness of whites is lost.

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Skin tones are excellent on both. Both offer a good CMS system. When I view them side by side, it’s a tie. They aren’t identical, but close, and I can’t pick a winner. On some scenes on some movies, the Sony might look a touch more right, on others, the JVC.

Sharpness – both are what I call average sharpness for 1080p projectors. If I had to pick a winner, it might be the Sony by a hair, but it’s not enough to quibble over.

When it comes to brightness, no contest. While the RS20 is hardly the brightest projector around, it is about 1/3 brighter in “brightest” mode, and more than twice as bright when comparing cinema modes (we assume iris on for the Sony, otherwise, the two aren’t close in black level performance).

Both offer power lens features, support for an anamorphic lens, and two year warranties. The Sony remote is much better than the JVC’s by virtue of the JVC’s limited range, although they both have good layouts. Both have their input panels on the side (though different sides). The Sony as a 1.6:1 zoom, while the RS20 can be placed further back, with its 2:1 zoom. The JVC also has noticeably more vertical lens shift range.

My two cents – the RS20 is the champ. There really isn’t any aspect (other than the remote) about the Sony that I think is noticeably better than the JVC doing the same thing. On the other hand, the JVC wins in black level performance, and fairly dramatically in brightness.