Hands on with the Sony VPL-VW300ES 4K projector

sony vpl-vw300esEarlier this week I was invited to try out Sony’s latest 4K projector, the VPL-VW300ES, which they are pitching as their most affordable option.

For those film lovers out there that have room for a viewing area of between 100-300-inches, as well as the budget to fill it, 4K home cinema projectors will undoubtedly be on your shopping list.

Sony’s latest 4K projector hopes to bring true 4K cinema to within the reach, or at least the realistic end of aspirational, of the masses. Sony says that it’s the company’s “most affordable” model yet.

The VPL-VW300ES made its debut at IFA this year and, although more affordable than its stablemate, the 500ES (£8,799), it still costs an eye-watering EUR 7000 (around £5,500).

The main difference between the 300 and 500 is that the VW300ES doesn’t have the dynamic contrast or cinema scope options. Sony wasn’t able to state an exact figure for the projector’s contrast ratio but did say that it would be comparable to the VW500ES’s contrast with the full Iris3 on.

The 300ES is also equipped with a slightly dimmer 1,500 lumen lamp and doesn’t have an auto-calibration setting. Apart from those bits, the two projectors are more or less identical.

In fact the VPL-VW300ES (sorry – can’t help but snigger when I type VPL *immature*) uses the same chassis and design as the VW500ES so no one needs to know 😉

As well as being able to perhaps pass the 300 off for a 500 to those who wouldn’t notice the differences, this also means that you get the same centrally-mounted lens and front fan exhausts, and it uses Sony’s high-frame rate SXRD panel display technology.

It can project 60-inch to 300-inch images and has a decent amount of lens shift to help you adjust the size and position of the picture, with +85%/-80% vertical and +/- 31% horizontal just in case your room won’t allow for the projector to sit front and centre. It can also squirt out 3D for when you fancy it or want to let the kids watch something on a huge screen.

sony 4k projectorI was particularly impressed by Sony’s Reality Creation (SRC) technology on this projector which upscales Full HD content to 4K.

The amount of difference that this upscaling tech makes to the overall crispness and clarity of the picture is amazing. Thankfully there’s a mode which flicks SRC on and off so that you can compare and contrast between ‘normal’ and the Reality Creation cleverness. Textures on clothing, hair and eye lashes were visibly sharper when Reality Creation is dialed in. Needless to say that this is most noticeable in slow or static shots and becomes a little redundant during motion, so it’s unlikely to make much difference in sports programmes and action films, for example.

The VW300ES gets a new pre-set low latency mode for gaming, which Sony says has a response time of just 0.5ms. This is the company’s fastest ever response time, according to Sony, and works by essentially removing the Motion Flow frame interpolation processing.

sony vw-300esI didn’t get a chance to see this function in action so can’t really say how impressive or otherwise it is.

Connectivity to the VPL-VW300ES comes in the form of two HDMI inputs which will play nice with the 2.0 standard and the HDCP 2.2 codec. It also has a USB service port for future firmware updates, an Ethernet port, two trigger inputs, an IR input and an RS232 remote input for home automation.

The VW300ES is due to be released worldwide at the end of October.