Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-VW995ES Projector Review – Hardware 2

Sony VPL-VW995ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review – Hardware 2: Control Panel, Audible Noise, Remote Control, Menus

VW995ES Control Panel

Sony Home Theater projectors: Control Panel
The micro-sized control panel is located on the side. The Enter button is a miniature joystick. Works very well.

As always Sony’s 4K projectors control panel is mini sized, and hard to even spot on the projector if you don’t know where to look.   It consists of five buttons.  From the left (closest to the projector’s front):

Power, press once for on, twice to power down (standby).  Then comes the Input button which lets you toggle between sources (by pressing it again).

Menu button:  Is in the middle of the five.  Press it to open the main menu.

Enter:  The Enter button is multi-function.  It really is a mini-joy stick. You can push it up, down, left and right for the normal 4 navigation arrows.  Pressing it straight in, is the enter function.  It works great for such a small control.

Finally, that leaves the Lens button.  Press that and you can enter menus to focus, zoom, and lens shift.  The default settings bring up Sony’s basic focus and placement test screen, which marks off 2.35:1 and 1.85: aspect ratios.  (Personally, I prefer to adjust things like lens shift while viewing actual content, but this is fine.)

Remote Control

This Sony remote is pretty much the same as many other Sony remotes that come with the many Sony home theater projectors we’ve reviewed.  They all tend to look alike.  This Sony shares the RM-PJ24 remote with the higher end models like that $40K VW995ES…

Our tour of the remote will start at the top.

On the first row, we find three buttons:  Light (backlight) Input – pressing this button displays a small menu showing all the source inputs.  Press this button again and it toggles through the choices, in this case, there are only two – HDMI 1 and HDMI 2.

The top row has a green Power button, with the common practice of “Press once to power up, twice to power down.”

Sony remote control

Next, there are three rows of three buttons each – these are for eight preset picture modes (such as Bright Cinema, Reference, Cinema Film 2, etc.)

There are buttons for each of the eight provided modes plus one labeled User, where the user can create a ninth, custom mode based on one of the provided modes.

Below that, we find the directional keypad – four arrow keys in a circular formation, with Enter in the center.  Clockwise around the directional keypad, there are three curved buttons at the 10, 2, and 6 o’clock positions.  The bottom button is Menu, the one at 2 o’clock is Reset, and at the 10 o’clock position is the Position button.

The Position button lets you toggle through three sub-menus:  Focus, Zoom, and Lens shift.

As noted previously, the VW995ES has Lens Memory (the only 4K Sony without, is the VW295ES (the entry level $5K.)  If you choose to go with a widescreen such as a 2.35:1 or 2:40:1 “Cinemascope” type screen, you’ll set the zoom and lens shift for each aspect ratio and size you will be using.  Once saved:

You can then press the Position button on the menu, if you want to change aspect ratios – like when you go from most movies (widescreen such as 2.35:1 Cinemascope) to standard TV’s 16:9.  Lens Memory essentially makes it a one button operation to go back and forth.  By comparison, with power lens shift and zoom like the smaller VW295ES you can still accomplish the same, but you spend a minute or so each time you want to change, instead of just selecting the size/aspect ratio you want next.

The next set of buttons – nine more to be precise, are shortcuts directly to the appropriate sub-menus.  These convenient buttons are: Aspect, MotionFlow (CFI), 3D, Color Space, Color Temp, Reality Creation (detail enhancement), Gamma Correction, Contrast Enhancer, and Advanced Iris.

There are three rocker switches toward the bottom, and those let you toggle Volume, Brightness, and Contrast.

Audible Noise

The Sony VW995ES is pretty quiet.  Sony claims a very quiet 24 db.   The fan is variable. Reduce the overall brightness of the projector (Cinema Black Pro menu) and the fan noise further decreases.   We do not measure audible noise, but even at full power, it is significantly quieter than my Epson UB, or just about any other projector that has come through here in the past year.  Oh, some other Sonys are similarly quiet, and I think the last JVC I reviewed was close in terms of quiet.

Bottom line, whether in a dedicated home theater, or a media room, when the lights are down, and the picture on, with sound, you are very unlikely to notice the nicely low pitched background fan noise!

The Menus

The images found below are of menus specific to the Sony VPL-VW995ES and/or Sony’s other 4K Laser projectors.  In addition I’ve posted Panel Alignment, and Contrast Enhancement menus (found on most Sonys).  Most menus here, though, relate to the auto-calibrate feature, and panel alignment.  Plus there are menus shown for adjusting the dynamic iris and laser engine for black levels, brightness, etc.

Sony tends to use a common menu system across their full lineup of Home Theater Projectors.  Of course advanced projectors like the laser based VW995ES have more menus because of more features.  For a more complete look at the menu set for Sony projectors, please see our Sony 4K Home Theater Menus Page (a recent addition).

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