Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-VW715ES 4K SXRD Home Theater Projector Review-Performance

Sony VPL-VW715ES 4K SXRD Home Theater Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Black Level and Shadow Detail

BRIGHTNESS

The Sony VPL-VW715ES has a rated brightness of 1800 ANSI lumens. Just how close did the VW715ES come to hitting this target? I set the projector to BRIGHT TV Mode, which is its brightest mode, and I took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the center of the lens.

Sony VW715ES Brightness (BRIGHT TV mode, High Lamp Control ): 1797 Lumens

At wide zoom, BRIGHT TV Mode.

The VW715 measured 1797 lumens, which is extremely close to Sony’s rated brightness of 1800 lumens. The VW715ES is more than bright enough for viewing SDR content on a 150” or HDR content on a 120″ screen in a dark room.

All the Sony VW715ES picture modes measured within a couple of hundred lumens of each other. The REFERENCE and USER modes both measured a little less than 1700 lumens while still delivering very accurate out-the-box picture quality.

Picture Presets Lumens
Cinema Film 1 1514
Cinema Film 2 1549
Reference 1668
TV 1675
Photo 1615
Game 1712
Bright Cinema 1716
Bright TV (mid-zoom) 1709
User 1668
User (calibrated) 1465

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.

BLACK LEVEL AND SHADOW DETAIL

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.

AUDIBLE NOISE

The fan is variable, so reducing the projector’s overall brightness from HIGH to LOW (via the Lamp Control menu) further decreases the fan noise. Sony claims a very quiet 26 dB, which is indeed very quiet. We do not measure audible noise, but even at full power, it is significantly quieter than just about any other projector that I have reviewed in the past few years except for the Sony VW915ES and JVC NX7.

Whether in a dedicated home theater, or a media room, it is doubtful you will notice the nicely low-pitched background fan noise.