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Sony VPL-VW90ES Projector - Image Quality - 4

Posted on October 21, 2013 by Art Feierman

Sony VPL-VW90ES - Overall Color & Picture Quality

The Sony VPL-VW90ES projector, or, if you prefer - the 90ES, or the HW20a, is a complete, high performance projector when it comes to image quality. Post calibration color is downright excellent and natural. Shadow detail is equally impressive. Note that on a typical daytime type image with a normal exposure, the Sony (right) and the Epson (left) seem very similar in color handling.

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Black level performance is very good. Not the best in its price range -around $3000, but definitely one of the better ones. It would still seem to come up a bit short of the Epson 8700UB, and almost certainly compared to the HD250 from JVC (even though I've only seen it at shows, so far, but based on the older RS15).

On top of all that, since this Sony got a significant boost in brightness to complement, the color, etc. Over all, that makes the Sony VW-90ES a truly better projector than last years effort, especially since the price is essentially unchanged.

Bottom Line for Overall Picture Quality and Color Handling: Excellent, especially for the money!

Don't forget, below these remaining images is our section on HDTV and Sports viewing with the Sony VPL-VW90ES - HW20a projector.

A mix of additional images to show off the VPL-90ES:

From the DVE Blu-ray test disk, consider these:

Sony VPL-VW90ES Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports

My only complaint really about sports viewing, and HDTV in general, is that the Sony VPL-VW90ES could use more lumens. I don't like my sports in the dark, nor, for that matter, my Discovery HD type content. With a maximum of about 750 lumens there are plenty of less expensive projectors that are a lot brighter, in fact we consider 1000 lumens to be about average for a brightest mode.

My theater is nicely light controlled. I can have 6 lights on in the back of the room yet only a small amount makes it to the screen thanks to super dark walls and ceiling.

While more lumens are nice, the picture quality on sports was either good, or great. If you opt for maximum brightness, the color temp gets rather high, close to 9000K, but the picture still looks pretty good, but thin on red. If you can live without the exra 20% in brightness, though, the picture is gorgeous using the "best" mode (with color temp on Custom 4).

I watched a good bit of other HD content, even in the cooler mode, not bad.

Also of note, Sony offers CFI under the name of Motion Enhancer, to smooth out fast moving objects. I used it on the lowest setting for sports and found it fine. For movies, BTW, as expected, CFI turned film movies into a live digital video look, and though not as soap opera looking as some, it still is dramatically altering the original 24fps look and feel.

Bottom line for HDTV on the Sony VPL-VW90ES Home Cinema Projector

This new Sony Projector has muscle, and also offers better than average color accuracy for a "brightest mode". I'm extremely impressed! A few hundred more lumens would be better still, but, what a difference a roughly 40% increase brings to your viewing pleasure, when you don't want to be in a cave mode.

This is how the back of my primary Theater room looks when shooting HDTV images. The light of the projector you see in this small image, I will note, is from the Runco LS-10d projector, not the Sony. (This is now a standard image, you will see repeatedly). All six lights are LED lights, each the equivalent brightness of a 65 watt incandescent bulb. Note, they use only 8 watts each, half the draw of even a CFL (compact fluorescents). Better still, they can be properly dimmed, something CFL's can barely do, and they don't poison the planet with mercury, like CFLs.

Here's how good the Sony VPL-VW90 looks with that exact lighting:

I'm impressed, but please understand, in terms of room lighting, my room is set up so that the back of the room can be pretty bright (you can easily sit back there and read a book), while the front and screen remain pretty dark. This is a lesson in how much benefit having dark walls, ceiling and floor can improve the picture, with or without ambient light present. The Sony puts up a great picture using the "best mode" settings which were used for all these HDTV images, but you've got an exta 20% more brightness if you go to "brightest mode" (color temp 5), although that mode is definitely thinner on reds (almost 9000K color temp) Nonetheless, "brightest" will cut through even more ambient light (see the comparison images on the projector Performance page). Thanks to room lighting and paint in my theater, though, we have a great sports environment, (despite the Sony's below average "brightest mode"), allowing the VPL-VW90ES projector to look great, even on an average sized screen like this 106" Carada.

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