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Sony VPL-VW70 - Competitors-3

Posted on May 20, 2009 by Art Feierman

Sony VPL-VW70 vs. BenQ W20000

LCoS vs. DLP

The BEnQ W20000 isn't the best DLP projector we've reviewed in the last year, that honor goes to the Planar PD8150 (comparison below), but the W20000 is a formidable projector considering its much lower selling price.

Both projectors use dynamic irises, the BenQ comes with an extra year of warranty (3 total), and has a replacement program for the first year, compared to Sony's standard 2 years. Both are physically large home theater projectors. The Sony is almost black while theBenQ is primarily silver, for those that care. Both will support an anamorphic lens.

Black levels favor the Sony. The BenQ is very good, a cut above the entry level 1080p's, and all but a couple of less expensive ultra-high contrast 3LCD projectors, and enough to satisfy many. Still, you will see a very evident difference side by side.

Brightness is next. No contest here at all. The BenQ W20000 is relatively dripping in lumens. Even with the W20000's manual iris closed all the way down (default) the BenQ measured 475 lumens, but with it opened, it increased to 537, about 50% brighter.

If you want some lights on for TV and sports, no contest at all, with the BenQ pushing out about double, with 1250 lumens compared to the Sony's 636.

Next is sharpness. While the VW70 is average for the 1080p class, the W20000 is razor sharp. When reviewing the W20000, I was always impressed with the clarity, especially digital HDTV source material.

There is a a slightly different feel to the picture of a DLP projector than an LCoS one. I've never been able to really describe it, although I often describe some DLP projectors as having especially rich dark colors. At any rate there are differences. Some prefer DLP's. I've owned all three technologies (including 2 BenQ's), and find it to be more projector vs. projector, than which technology is better, even if each technology has a slightly different feel.

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The short of it, is that the Sony VW70, should have just slightly better color accuracy, and a bit better black levels, as well as an advantage in placement flexibility. The BenQ W20000, on the other hand has brightness going for it, plus a sharper image. Although placement flexibility on the BenQ isn't as good, it does have lens shift, and its lens throw (placement distance), is fairly long for a home theater projector with a 1.2:1 zoom. That makes it viable in a lot of rooms for rear shelf mounting. In fact the Sony and the BenQ aren't much different in terms of how far back they can be from a given sized screen.

The BenQ W20000 is also going to be significantly less expensive.

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Sony VPL-VW70 vs. Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB and Pro Cinema 7500 UB

Since the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB is one of the best mid-priced projectors (sharing the Best In Class award, with the Panasonic PT-AE3000), it seemed like a good idea to put these two quality, widely different priced projectors up against each other. Those considering a projector in the Sony price range, but wondering if it's worth the money, might well consider either of these Epson's as a lower cost alternative.

The Epson 6500UB sells for around $2500, so well less than half of the Sony. The Pro Cinema 7500UB sells for about $1000 more than the 6500UB, but comes with a spare lamp and ceiling mount. That still works out to about half the price of the VW70.

Warranty - the Home Cinema 6500UB and the Sony have 2 year warranties, but Epson includes an overnight replacement program for both years. The 7500UB goes even further with 3 years, and a 3 year replacement program. With either Epson, you get a better warranty package than the Sony.

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Both the VW70 and the Pro version of the Epson support an anamorphic lens, while the 6500UB does not. The Epson projectors have more zoom range (2.1:1) than the Sony's 1.6:1, and more lens shift range as well. The two Epson's have the best placement flexibility around, while the Sony's not bad at all.

Image quality: In terms of color accuracy, the Sony will deliver a slightly more natural looking image. I've always liked the Epson's but their skin tones are just not quite as natural as a number of other commercials, although it's still very good.

The Sony also delivers a bit better dark shadow detail, not a particular strength of the Epson projectors.

That brings us to black level performance. For the price, the Epson is the best thing around, but the Sony, though far more expensive will best the Epson by a bit in terms of black levels. I'm not sure if the Epson's are compressing dark images as much as the Sony, (I don't think so), which may be what's helping Sony do slightly darker blacks. The Epson are excellent, the Sony a touch better.

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