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Sony VPL-VW70 - Review Summary

Posted on December 1, 2008 by Art Feierman
A summary of the Sony VPL-VW70 home theater projector's pros and cons and capabilities.

Sony VPL-VW70 Projector: Bottom Line

The Sony VPL-VW70 is an excellent projector, if not a particularly bright one. It offers high end performance, and an extremely pleasurable picture to watch. The VW70 easily earns one of our Hot Product Awards!

Click to enlarge. SO close

Other than having enough brightness to handle larger screen sizes, there is little to complain about with the VW70. Skin tones appear very natural, (one of the best we've seen), black level performance is one of the best we've ever tested, although a couple of projectors can best it. I should note, that I'm not aware of any projector that sells for the same price or less, other than JVC's DLA-RS10 and DLA-RS20, that can rival or beat its impressive black level performance. And, since I've just mentioned the JVC's, I should note that the Sony has a slight advantage in terms of skin tones and overall color accuracy over the JVC RS10 (although not the RS20). Dark shadow detail is also very good, competitive with any of the immediate competition.

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Unless you choose to go with a particularly high gain screen, the VW70 works best with screen sizes of 100 inch diagonal or less, due to its noticeably lower than average brightness, measured 366 lumens in "best" mode (Cinema, with the Advanced Iris engaged). The situation is the same for brightest mode (Dynamic) which measured 636 lumens, again, well below average, in this case, for a bright mode. We find that in the $3500 - $10,000 price range, where the VW70 competes, average "best" mode brightness is something over 500 lumens, and about 1000 lumens in "brightest" mode.

In addition to a great picture, the VPL-VW70 projector offers good placement flexibility. It can be ceiling or shelf mounted. If your room is deep, however, and your screen size average for the size of the room, you may not be able to place the projector far enough back to sit on a rear shelf. In addition, if it just makes it far enough back, that means that you have the zoom lens pretty much in full telephoto mode, where the projector is another almost 19% dimmer (at full telephoto), further limiting your options in terms of screen size, or requiring a high gain screen.

The Sony VPL-VW70 now fully supports HDMI 1.3, with Deep Color (missing from the older VW60), CEC, x.v.color, and more.

Sony's RCP (their color management system), should allow additional, further fine tuning when calibrating, and therefore produce even better results than we achieved, with just a grayscale balance.

None of the Gamma settings we measured were dead on the target of 2.2, but the Sony sure looked great with Gamma 3, which averaged just over 2.1. I like the wide selection of gammas. It's not unusual for many folks to change gamma settings between one movie and the next, if one, overall has a darker, or brighter look than the other. (I spend my time watching movies on my JVC, splitting most of the viewing hours between two different gammas.)

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