Since 2017 and the release of the VW260ES that helped democratize Sony’s SXRD technology, Japanese entry-level projectors have never really improved. The Sony VPL-VW270ES in 2018 and VW290ES in 2020 still use a high-pressure lamp as the light source and an imposing chassis. It will have to wait until 2022 for Sony to actually change its range of video projectors with significant key changes, as the new models have inherited a new, more compact chassis and abandoned lamps for the laser, brighter, more economical and more durable .. In addition to the fast burning allowed by the laser, the latter also ensures a longer life of the han- is 20,000 hours, that is more than 3000 and 6000 hours in a UHP lamp.
The 0.73-inch SRXD chip in previous models, which featured 4K cinema definition at 4096 x 2160 pixels, was replaced by a new, tiny 0.61-inch SXRD chip that was satisfied with a native definition. Ultra HD at 3840 x 2160 pixels to match the current Ultra HD content. This new chip is covered with a layer of reflective silicone that allows better light management and offers it more resistance, especially when absorbing strong laser light. Sony made sure the difference was further enhanced, which had to be confirmed during the tests. Keep in mind, however, that the native difference measured by the SXRD projector is three to four times higher than the Ultra HD projector using the DLP chip. The Sony VW290ES, for example, shows a difference of 2820: 1 versus just 700 to 800: 1 for the Optoma UHD35 and BenQ W2700 with a 0.47 ”DLP chip.
Sony’s new projectors use the Sony X1 Ultimate video processor from Bravia televisions in a version optimized for video projectors. This processor is 2.8 times more powerful than the X1 used in previous models and is capable of high-performance image processing at multiple levels: noise reduction and scaling from an object database, but also sharpness compensation in the corners of the image (Digital Focus Optimizer). The light emitted by the laser -cured, HDR rendering also benefits from the processor’s power to express itself correctly: the brighter areas of the image reflect an enhanced brightness and conversely, the dark areas see their light reduced by software method. The goal is to get as close as possible to the HDR reference luminance curve for rendering as close to the director’s vision, which is quite complicated with a video projector.
Sony VPL-XW5000ES: the new entry-level SXRD Ultra HD benchmark
While the Sony VPL -XW5000ES – sold for almost € 6,000 – could be considered a replacement for the VW290ES in this price range, it is closer to the Sony VPL -VW790ES – sold for almost € 9,000 – in terms of parts. In fact, the Sony VPL-XW5000ES uses a laser light source that delivers 2000 lumens as well as a 54 mm diameter aspherical lens with 10 elements (one in resin and nine in glass) for a throw ratio of 1: 1.38 to 1: 2.21. This model loses the VW290ES lens shift and motorized zoom. Moving the lens remains possible vertically at ± 71% and horizontally at ± 25%, as with 1.6x zoom, but you will need to use wheels mounted on the chassis.
The new Sony XW5000ES chassis is 30% smaller than the VW790ES while 35% lighter. The XW5000ES thus measures 47.2 cm in depth, 46 cm in width and 20 cm in length for a mass of 13 kg and a volume of 36 liters, compared to the 51 liters and 20 kilograms of the VW760ES .
In terms of connections, there is a 12 V switch to control motorized screens for example, a connector for an external infrared receiver, a USB port, an RS-232 port and a Ethernet ports for integrating home automation systems, as well as two. HDMI 2.0b ports. Sony does not include HDMI 2.1 devices such as ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) or eARC, although interest in the latter is very limited to a video projector because the audio system is directly connected to the source. Losing ALLM is more of a problem, as it allows automatic switching of game mode. Sony also announced a display delay of only 13 ms at 1080p 120 Hz and 21 ms at 4K 60 Hz, the values being reduced resulting in almost no lag between the controller’s action and its effect on the screen. The lack of VRR is more of a problem, but there is no projector that supports variable refresh rate. This technology available on the latest generation consoles and PCs makes it possible to adjust the refresh rate of the number of images sent to the console to avoid image cracking and jerks.
The Sony VPL-XW5000ES sells for almost € 6,000 with a standard warranty of three years or 7,000 hours of operation (6.5 hours/day for three years).
Sony VPL-XW7000ES: Improved optics and additional brightness at 3200 lumens
The Sony VPL-XW7000ES uses the same chip as the 5000ES model, but has better optics and a brighter laser that can reach 3200 lumens. The XW7000ES uses 70mm ACF (Advanced Crisp Focus) aspherical optics consisting of 13 elements (one resin and twelve glasses) including four extra-low dispersion glasses. This larger optic with an increased number of elements creates a wider sublime zone, allowing for increased coverage using the lens shift and zoom. Moving the lens is thus possible at ± 85% vertical and at ± 36% horizontal as the zoom increases by 2.1x. Another big difference compared to the XW5000ES, the lens shift and the zoom are motorized and can be controlled directly from the remote control.
The new Sony XW7000ES chassis is 20% smaller than the VW790ES while 30% lighter. The XW7000ES thus measures 51.7 cm in depth, 46 cm in width and 21 cm in length, for a mass of 14 kg and a volume of 42 l compared to the 51 l and 20 kg of the VW760ES.
The Sony XW7000ES has removed the XW5000ES connectors and added a connector for the 3D RF glass synchronization system, which means this model is also compatible with the 3D interior. It also bypasses HDMI 2.1.
Also backed by a three-year or 7,000-hour warranty, the Sony VPL-XW7000ES sells for almost € 15,000.