Sony VPL-VW95ES Projector - The Bottom Line
When one considers projectors in the $5,000 - $10,000, the number of choices starts thinning out, compared to the number of projectors, say, in the $2000 - $3500 range. ThisSony VPL-VW95ES LCoS projector - SXRD - competes against projectors such as the Mitsubishi HC9000D, a couple of JVCs, an assortment of "high end brands", including Runco, SIM2, Digital Projection, and of course, the best of the much lower priced projectors.
This is Sony's 2nd generation 3D capable projector, and as such, it has made some really big strides in just the year since the VW90ES came out. 3D is smoother, 3D is a lot brighter (huge!), 2D is brighter too, that can mean bigger screens folks! And of course the usual minor improvements as well.
The Sony VW projectors have always produced excellent color. Post calibration, the VW95ES has what I can best describe as, natural skin tones. The Sony projects an image that looks much better than these images on a computer display. The image immediately below, in particular, is absolutely breathtaking filling a 100" diagonal screen!
HDTV image from the 2011 Victoria Secret special: Considering all the special lighting, those skin tones sure look great!
And the Sony VPL-VW95ES looks (almost) equally as good (as the model, above) on the dark scene below, from Narnia: Dawn Treader. (I like dragons, but the image above, is still better subject matter).
The Sony comes right out of the box with some pretty good color performance, that only gets better with calibration. The important "stuff" regarding that, per Mike our calibrator, is that grayscale and gamma are excellent right out of the box. No real need for a CMS calibration. In other words, easy to calibrate, too.
While most of this Sony projector's improvement is in 3D and brightness, those improvements are major. Unless you are completely 3D phobic, the Sony VPL-VW95ES projector is a much better value proposition than the 90ES was last year at the same price. That's real progress!
The Sony offers very good placement flexibility. The VW95ES is designed to be rear shelf mounted, if desired. However, the 1.6:1 zoom probably won't allow most folks to rear shelf mount unless they have a particularly large screen for their room size.
Brightness: I won't go on about 3D again, but just as a reminder - in 2D, the VW95ES measured (lens - at mid-point), a very healthy 725 lumens. Easily enough for say a 130 inch screen, or even a bit larger. Brightest mode just gets up to about 1000 lumens - rather average for a projector,
The Very Bottom Line on the VPL-VW95ES projector
It's true, that the Sony VPL-VW95ES is loaded with all kinds of controls and settings. The menus are just about dripping in them. 10 different gammas - and you can edit them, a full color management system, lots of 3D options, and so on.
Essentially, his Sony projector can really appeal to enthusiasts - performance, and the abiility to play with - to tweak the projector when desired.
Perhaps the most typical owner of the VPL-WV95ES, though, is likely to be the kind of person, who if you asked him a year or two after it's up and running, "What projector do you own?" would respond with. "A Sony, I think?"
That is to say, this Sony, like a couple other projectors (including the Runco), is one of those projectors that you aren't supposed to notice. There should be nothing about the projector or its idiosyncrocies that gets between you and the content you are watching. (That is key reason I really don't like CFI on, when watching most movies.)
In fact the reason I think many owners won't remember the model, but that it's a Sony, will be because of the remote and startup screens.
Seriously, though. This is a first class projector. It seems to suffer not a single, really noticeable flaw. 3D's pretty good as far as I can tell, definitely improved dramatically over last year, between the 3D itself and brightness.
You'll be doing most of your watching in 2D, at least for quite some time to come, and the Sony is silky smooth for 2D with those rich blacks, and some great skin tones.
I'll be looking forward to reviewing other new projectors in the $5K - $20K price range over the upcoming months, but so far, thanks to big improvements over last year's, the Sony looks like a Hot Product for those that want a really fine viewing experience in their home theaters and for folks looking for a projector and likely, a quality local installing organization to get them up and running. Can you say, "American Express?"