After SDR calibration, the VW715ES still produces nearly 1500 lumens. When viewing HDR content, the Dynamic HDR Contrast feature did an excellent job maximizing the brightness on the screen. The VW715ES produced a brighter more vibrant HDR image than many competitor’s projectors with higher rated/measured brightness.
While brightness is important, deep, accurate black levels separate a good home theater from a great one. If you compare two projectors with identical brightness, the one that can produce deeper blacks will deliver the higher perceived contrast.
The VW715ES delivered good blacks. The VW715ES rated brightness of 1800 lumens, combined with great black level, made images pop in a darkened room. The only projectors I have reviewed with better quality were the Sony VW915ES and the JVC NX7.
I did most of my viewing with the DYNAMIC CONTROL set to Limited, which engages the dynamic iris. Not only were the blacks nice and deep, but subtle details in the shadows were also clearly visible.
When I compared the VW715ES side by side with VW695ES, the improvement in on-screen black level was obvious. With the exception of the new X1 processor, many to the components inside the two projectors are identical. The improvement really reinforced the impact that superior video processing plays in picture quality.
While I have reviewed several good DLP projectors, none could ever match the black levels and native contrast of a 3 chip SXRD projector like the Sony VW715ES. Even with the DYNAMIC LASER DIMMING engaged, most DLP projectors produce blacks that are closer to dark gray.
In most cases, this is acceptable because many projectors are used in family rooms or other spaces that have higher ambient light, which would prevent you from fully appreciating ultra-deep black levels anyway.
However, poor black levels are painfully obvious when watching darker scenes at night in a dark room. Better black levels resulting in higher contrast are the main reasons to buy a higher-end home theater projector like the VW715ES. You will greatly appreciate the VW715ES when watching movies in a darkened home theater or a room with adequate light control.