Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sony BRAVIA VPL-VW70 Projector Review

Sony BRAVIA VPL-VW70 Full HD 1080p 3 SXRD VW Series Home Theater Projector

The Good:
Quiet, so quiet for a projector. Very few like this. The optional anaphormic lens lets you take full advantage of Scope formated films

The Bad:
Lots of price but not lots of screen. Still most people aren't trying to run an actual movie theater out of their house. Could use more than 2 HDMI inputs.

The Ugly:
The price, Ouch! Also, missing some features in comparison to the Aussie VPL-VW80

Go Go Verdict:
The Sony VPL-VW70 has great picture quality, nice blacks and good overall dynamic contrast thanks to its Auto Iris but it's price can send people into immediate sticker shock. However, its as advertised whisper quiet operation sets it apart from most projectors. The latter feature makes it well worth the price in our opinion.

Go Go Review
We're big fans of high-end HD projectors here at Go Go so when the chance came up to review the Sony VPL-VW70 we jumped at it pretty quickly.

Sony is a company full of genius but who so often rarely achieves its full potential. However, in the world of HD projectors, Sony is King. So does the VPL-VW70 carry the torch?

Let's look at what you get:

Full HD 1080p with 3 SXRD 1920 x 1080 Panels
200W Ultra-High-Pressure Lamp
BRAVIA Engine 2
Advanced Iris 2
24p True Cinema
Deep Color
ARC-F (All Range Crisp Focus) Lens
Noise reduction functions
Panel Alignment function
Anamorphic Zoom Mode
1.6x Zoom Lens
Motorized Lens Shift
Ultra Low Fan Noise 20dB
HDMI™ Inputs x 2
RS-232C connectivity
RCP (Real Color Processing) function

Out of the box the aesthetics of the VPL-VW70 are quite elegant and certainly something that can blend well in a custom home theater setup.

Once on, the first thing we noticed is that the noise levels were extremely low.

Even after being on for an hour it was still incredibly quiet. We've seen quite a bit of quiet projectors but never in combination with a stunning picture.

With the price at hand, the picture quality should be incredible and it did not disappoint in our opinion.

Contrast levels were higher than previous incarnations of Sony projectors with black levels being very nice. This was helped with the Auto Iris function which can reduce or increase the light output depending on sequence to make whites whiter and blacks blacker.

For bright sequences the light output is high and for black sequences the light output is low. However, because the light output can only be increased or decreased as a whole and not in localized areas, mix sequences do not benefit as much.

This is similar to LCD Flat Panels using dynamic contrast in which the backlight can only be brighten or darken in whole.

The one thing that could be disappointing in terms of picture features is the exclusion of Motionflow 120Hz and black frame insertion which is found in the non-U.S. version VPL-VW80. However, importing a VW80 is not easy and warranty coverage is suspect.

For the VW70 we were happily surprised with the inclusion of an optional anamorphic lens that can take advantage of scope formatted movies. In this manner, the entire resolution can be put to use. In our tests this made a quite a difference.

Our wall is quite high and so we took the projector back as far as we could but we noticed that its light output is limited. A 150 inch screen seemed to be the sweet spot and this is typically big enough for most setups.

We connected our Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 via HDMI. However, just with that all the HDMI ports were filled.

The VPL-VW70 needs more HDMI ports.

Those who have invested in HDMI switchers should not have a problem.

At the end of the day, sticker shock will be the limiting factor for the Sony VPL-VW70 Projector but prices have been coming down as pending product cycles near.

Go Go

The Sony VPL-VW70 projector is available at retailers such as and speciality electronic stores.

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