Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-VW885ES 4K Laser Projector Review – Hardware 1

Sony VPL-VW885ES 4K Laser Projector Review – Hardware 1: Overview, Inputs and Connectors, The Control Panel


I always like to start at the front with a quick overview, so here goes: The 2.1:1 motorized zoom lens is center mounted and recessed by several inches. (There is no motorized door to protect the lens and keep dust away when off.)

There are vents for the cooling/exhaust system on both sides of the lens. On the top, there’s nothing but The Sony logo and a 4K emblem. The power cord goes into a recessed socket from the back of the projector. If looking at the back, it’s on the far right, and down low.

The inputs are on the left side, recessed and low, if looking from the front, while the small control panel is on the other side– a series of buttons that start near the front edge of that side.

The Lens – this is the same 2.1:1 motorized zoom lens that is also used on the VW885ES’es little brother (sister?) – the VW675ES – another true 4K projector, but lamp-based and a lower $14,995 list price. Lens shift – both horizontal and vertical, are motorized, as is focus and zoom.

This allows you to save multiple configurations thanks to the Lens Memory function (accessible from the menus, or the Position button on the remote control).

As is typical for these Sony projectors, there’s a lot of lens shift. How much – easy:

Enough so that if ceiling or rear-shelf mounting, the center of the lens can be as much as XXX (for a 100” diagonal 16:9 screen) above the top of the screen surface, or the same amount below the bottom of the screen surface if table top or low shelf. Or, the projector can be placed anywhere in between those points.

There’s plenty of horizontal lens shift as well. Just remember, the more horizontal you use, the less vertical is available, and vice versa.

Inputs and Connectors

Sony VPL-VW885ES Inputs and Connectors
The Sony VPL-VW885ES does not have a lot of inputs and connectors, as is typical on Sony's 4K projectors.

Like Sony’s other 4K projectors, the VPL-VW885ES doesn’t sport a lot of inputs and connectors. There are a pair of HDMI 2.0 inputs with HDCP 2.2 copy protection, as is to be expected.

And, there’s an RJ45 ethernet jack for your Local Area Network (LAN) to hard wire your projector in. There are also a pair of 12-volt screen triggers – for controlling a motorized screen, and perhaps a masking system, or maybe to control properly equipped motorized shades, or an anamorphic lens, but in this day of lens memory, few go that route.

There’s a small jack to hardware the infra-red remote control, in case you have a setup where the remote lacks the range, or lacks the line of site to reach the projectors IR sensor.

Finally, for more command and control, there’s a traditional RS232 serial port, and a USB. Pretty basic, but everything one really needs, assuming you are switching your sources through an AV receiver or other switching system. If not though, certainly at least one more, or even two more HDMIs would be a real plus.

The Control Panel

Sony VPL-VW885ES 4K Projector Control Panel
The Sony VPL-VW885ES has a simple control panel, located on the right side of the projector when facing the lens.

From front to back are a series of buttons of different sizes and shapes. Closest to the front of the projector is the Power On/Off button. Press once for on, twice to power down. Next over is the Input button which you can press more than once to change inputs.

The Menu button is next, followed by the latest iteration of Sony’s small joystick type button, which you operate for up down left right navigation. Pressing it in is the Enter function. Lastly is the lens button, which brings up the menu to control lens focus, zoom, and lens shift.

It’s all very compact, and barely visible unless you are looking for it, as controls on a ceiling mounted projector should be. After all, there’s a reason why we all use remote controls.