Sony was kind enough to let me spend a few weeks with the XW7000ES before the unit was officially announced. Prior to receiving the XW7000ES, I had been using a VW915ES as my reference projector for several months, so I am very familiar with their 2021 models.
While the VW915ES is an awesome projector with a good lens, the ACF lens equipped XW7000ES was physically smaller, but it delivered a noticeable increase in clarity and sharpness edge to edge. While I didn’t have the opportunity to compare the XW7000ES with an ARC-F lens-equipped model like the VW1025ES, I suspect the optical quality is similar. The XW7000ES not only offers a higher quality ACF lens but better video processing, and 1200 lumens more brightness than the VW915ES.
The XW7000ES new 0.61-inch native 4K UHD (3840x2160) SXRD panels delivered a sharp picture. Due to its X1 Ultimate video processor, the XW7000ES did an excellent job upscaling HD content. In addition, the projector-optimized X1 Ultimate processor combines signal HDR analysis and precise modulation of its 3200-lumen laser source to produce a stunning HDR picture.
While some projectors struggle with a lack of brightness and produce dull HDR video, Sony’s new Dynamic HDR Enhancer works to eliminate this problem. Powered by the X1 Processor, this feature measures the average and peak brightness of HDR10 content frame by frame for precise dynamic tone mapping to maximize the projector’s HDR picture quality.
So, whether viewing HD, 4K or HDR content, the picture quality delivered by the Sony XW7000ES was outstanding right out of the box.
The XW7000ES produced close to its rated brightness of 3200 ANSI lumens even in its most accurate picture modes. Many projectors deliver significantly less than their rated brightness when placed in their most accurate picture mode and it is not uncommon to see the brightness cut in half.
When it comes to native contrast and black levels, very few home theater projectors except for JVC DILA projectors can match/beat the XW7000ES. I have not come across a single-chip DLP home theater projector that can even come close.
Lastly, the XW7000ES, like most Sony SXRD projectors, includes several “installer-friendly” features including a motorized lens with tons of zoom and lens shift, including position memories. Picture position memories are great for customers with masking screens or anyone who want to maximize the image size of 16:9 and widescreen on a 2.35:1 screen.
In addition, the XW7000ES has a large amount of zoom and horizontal/vertical lens shift capability, which makes installation a breeze, especially when trying to replace an older, previously mounted unit.
When compared to the award-winning VW1025ES ($40,000 SRP), the new XW7000ES ($27,999 SRP) costs about $12,000 less but offers 1000 lumens more brightness, a better video processor, and similar optical quality.
The only projector in its price range that rivals the XW7000ES is the JVC NZ9 /RS4100 which also retails for $26,000. I would consider both models the best in their class. The JVC offers more features including 8K e-shiftX, HDR10+ compatibility, and 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 inputs for 8K@60fps and 4K@120fps playback.
While features like 8K@60fps and 4K@120fps look good on paper, if you are a movie enthusiast, it offers very little benefit. Movie buffs still love the cinematic look of 24 frames per second content so 120fps is basically utilized in test footage and gaming.
While the JVC NZ9 supports gaming at 4K@120fps, it has higher input lag than the XW7000ES at 4K/@60fps and 1080P@120fps, so I would argue that the gaming experience would be better on the XW7000ES.
The NZ9 supports 8K@60fps but there is very little content available. Until 8K projectors are adopted in professional cinemas, there is little motivation for the big studios to produce content in 8K. Moving to 8K production would dramatically increase production costs while providing studios with very little return. In the future, we might see live broadcast events shot in high frame 4K or 8K, but it will a long, long time before they become the industry standard.
When compared to the JVC NZ9, the XW7000ES is slightly brighter but much lighter, and far more compact. When viewing SDR and HDR content, both projectors delivered an outstanding image. Which unit looks best really comes down to personal preference.
The JVC NZ9 did a better job preserving highlight detail but the image looks slightly flat compared to the XW7000ES. Basically, the XW7000ES looked more like the Sony BVM-X300 mastering display that I used to have on my desk. Regardless, any projector enthusiasts would be happy with either XW7000ES or the JVC NZ9 since we consider both of them the best in their class.
With a retail price of $27,999, the XW7000ES does command a premium price over most 4K home theater projectors, its outstanding SDR and HDR picture quality and feature set make it worth every penny. The XW7000ES would be a great addition to any premium home cinema and it is highly recommended.
SONY XW7000ES - PROS AND CONS
An outstanding ACF lens delivers excellent edge to edge clarity
Superb black levels
Great “out of the box” picture
Native 4K UHD resolution (3840x2160)
3200 ANSI Lumen Z-Phosphor Laser Light Source
20,000 Hour Light Source Life
Excellent video processing (X1 Ultimate)
Frame by Frame Tone Mapping to optimize HDR10 viewing
Dual 4K HDCP 2.2 (18Gbps) HDMI inputs
Excellent 4K upscaling
Excellent placement flexibility with motorized lens features, including:
2.14:1 zoom lens
Lots of vertical/horizontal lens shift
Ultra-Low input lag
21ms on 4K@60fps
13ms on 1080p@120fps
Lighter and more compact than competitive 3 chip native 4K models
3-year parts/labor warranty
Premium Price puts it out of the reach of many customers
Lacks 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 inputs for 4K@120fps playback