I’ve reviewed a slew of house theater projectors within the final 18 months, and lots of of them have been excellent. The VPL-VW325ES, fairly merely, blows all of them away. And it’d higher, as a result of it additionally prices 5 occasions as a lot as most of these projectors.
Beautiful imageStunning distinction ratioRelatively quiet
Do not Like
PriceyNot very brightLacks the colour of lasers
Whereas there are numerous causes the VPL-VW325ES performs in addition to it does, the principle one comes down to 2 easy phrases: distinction ratio. Utilizing a trio of 4K SXRD liquid crystal on silicon chips, the VPL-VW325ES places out a distinction ratio that is 60 % higher than the next-best projector I’ve measured lately, and greater than 10x higher than a lot of the different projectors I’ve reviewed. That distinction permits the Sony to create a picture that appears considerably extra life like, with extra obvious depth, than something that prices much less.
And a variety of projectors value much less. You can purchase an excellent used automotive for lower than this projector. I do know, I’ve. And regardless of the excessive worth, this Sony just isn’t significantly brilliant. Just a few years in the past its 1,500 lumens would have been positive, however nowadays 2,500 is widespread and over 3,000 is not exceptional. Due to its glorious distinction ratio, nonetheless, the VPL-VW325ES nonetheless blows away brighter PJs just like the Epson 5050UB, however you want complete mild management in your room. In any other case its exceptional black degree is wasted.
You’ll be able to consider the VPL-VW325ES is the OLED TV of projectors. It appears to be like gorgeous in each method, but it surely’s additionally very costly and completely wants heavy curtains a minimum of, blackout curtains ideally. For the choose few who can afford it, and have a room that fits it, it is improbable.
Sony VPL-VW325ES: That is what a $5,500 projector appears to be like like
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By the numbers
Decision: 4,096×2,160 pixelsHDR-compatible: Yes4K-compatible: yes3D-compatible: NoLumens spec: 1,500Zoom: Motorized (x2.06)Lens shift: MotorizedLamp life (Regular mode): ???
The 325ES is a “true” 4K projector, within the digital cinema sense. It sports activities a decision of 4,096×2,160, an additional 552,960 pixels over these wimpy Extremely HD projectors and their 3,840×2,160 decision. Nevertheless, until you ship the projector 4,096×2,160, it is solely utilizing the three,840×2,160 portion of the chip, with black bars on both aspect. Nevertheless, the black degree is so good you may’t actually discover these bars until you are actually in search of them.
And why is that black degree so good? The 325ES makes use of a distinct expertise than most projectors. Epson, as an example, makes use of LCD chips, much like most TVs. Practically all different projector producers use DLP chips made by Texas Devices to create a picture. Sony makes use of SXRD, their very own model of a tech referred to as liquid crystal on silicon. It is a far costlier expertise and is simply present in high-end projectors like Sony’s personal and JVC with their D-ILA variant. Nevertheless, LCoS is able to considerably larger distinction ratios than the opposite two, which is by far an important facet of total image high quality, as we’ll talk about in a second.
Learn extra: DLP vs LCD vs LCoS: Projector tech execs and cons
The large bucks for the 325ES additionally get you a motorized lens with in depth shift and zoom choices. You’ll be able to transfer the picture vertically +85% and -80%, and horizontally +/-31%. This implies you may match the 325ES in all kinds of setups, together with ceiling mount, shelf behind your couch, and extra. The 2x zoom vary means you may fill a 2.35:1 display screen for film nights, then zoom down and simply fill the middle 16×9 portion for TV watching.
At first look the lumen spec just isn’t spectacular. For $5,500 I might have hoped for extra mild, and you should buy a far brighter projector for much much less cash. As we’ll talk about within the comparability part, this does not matter as a lot as you’d assume, but it surely does restrict how massive a display screen you may have, and it means you completely should have complete mild management in your room.
Sony being Sony, they do not reveal how lengthy the lamp within the 325ES will final. That is… peculiar and relatively baffling. My Sony projector, an older however costlier mannequin, had misplaced vital brightness after 3,000 hours, sufficient that I felt the necessity to change its lamp. So be happy to make use of that as a tough estimate. At 4 hours an evening, that is about 2 years of use.
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HDMI inputs: 2PC enter: NoUSB port: 1 (0.5A energy)Audio enter and output: NoDigital audio output: NoInternet: LAN (for management)12v set off: YesRS-232 distant port: YesRemote: Backlit
Befitting a projector designed for house theaters, the 325ES has a restricted suite of connections however a lot of management choices. No legacy connections both, simply HDMI. Truthfully, that is positive. I am at all times stunned to see analog connections on a projector nowadays.
What you do get is quite a lot of connections to manage the projector with a house automation system, together with RS-232, LAN, and even an IR enter.
There’s a USB connection, but it surely’s solely able to 0.5 amps, which will not energy most streaming sticks. Once more, that is positive as should you’re spending 5 grand on a projector I might hope you might have one thing leftover within the price range for a receiver.
Image high quality comparisons
There is not a variety of competitors on this worth vary, but it surely’s worthwhile to check the 325ES to some current, cheaper, and fairly good projectors just like the Epson Dwelling Cinema 5050UB and the LG HU810P. Even a passing look can see the 325ES blows them away, however is it practically twice pretty much as good as the value implies? We will see. I linked all three by way of a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier, and seen all aspect by aspect by aspect on a 12-foot-wide, 1.0-gain display screen.
The Sony is, as you’d hope, on a whole different degree. Even at roughly half the brightness of the opposite two my eye saved coming again to it. The distinction ratio is simply that intoxicating. In comparison with the Epson, in that projector’s highest distinction mode, the Sony’s black ranges are only a bit deeper, and its highlights only a bit brighter, so there’s noticeably extra depth and realism to the picture. The highlights simply pop, but the blacks are so deep as to look to lack mild. Within the Epson’s larger brightness mode, it is in fact far brighter than the Sony may ever hope to be, however in that mode the black degree is far larger, so black letterbox bars, for instance, are much more noticeable. The Epson’s picture is nice, however the Sony’s is bigger.
Distinction ratio is to projectors and TVs what pace is to a race automotive. Positive, it might need pretty curves and brighter lights, however when it comes right down to it, the quickest automotive wins. That is why OLED TVs practically at all times win multi-TV shootouts and infinite editors’ selection awards. LCOS is the OLED of the projector world.
What stunned me is the element. That is partly as a result of Sony’s elaborate picture processing, which you’ll be able to disable, and likewise the distinctive distinction and having 3,840×2,160 discrete pixels. The Sony appears to be like extra detailed than the Epson and much more than the extra-sharp LG. There may be some movement blur, which the LG lacks, besides it nonetheless appears to be like very, very detailed. The place you discover it essentially the most, like hairs and wrinkles on a face, the Sony does 4K element extra justice than the opposite two.
That highly effective processing, much like what’s present in its high-end TVs, additionally permits for much, much better HDR processing than most different projectors. All projectors that may assist HDR have to switch that sign to work, since no projector has the brightness or dynamic vary to completely deal with HDR. There’s sufficient processing energy within the 325ES to remap the HDR sign and create a picture largely freed from artifacts or extreme clipping, each of which I’ve seen on lesser projectors.
There may be one facet the place the Sony is merely “actually, actually good” and LG comes out on high and that is with colour. The Sony is able to exceptionally correct and lifelike colours… with HD. It would not have practically the depth of colour of the LG and its laser-powered rainbow of HDR flavors. Deeper crimsons, violets and greens are on faucet with the LG. The Sony appears to be like good, however much less spectacular for positive. Even the Epson, in its wider-gamut mode, can produce deeper colours than the Sony. Nevertheless, I must be clear that is simply with the broader colours obtainable with HDR. The Sony is extra correct than both the LG or the Epson on the subject of non-HDR/WCG colours. Which is to say, with all content material the Sony will look nice, however with HDR/WCG content material the colours will likely be higher on Epson and LG. Not an enormous deal, however a 325ES-like projector with a laser mild engine could be unimaginable. Sony does make these, however they value $20,000.
So is it potential to get a better-looking projector? Positive, however you’d must spend much more cash.
Theater in your house
Superlatives fail. The 325ES is much extra cinema-like than any projector I’ve reviewed lately. Would I purchase it? That is the true query, proper? $5,500 is some huge cash. That is an honest used automotive, a piece of a down cost on a home, or roughly three months of touring anyplace on the earth. The picture high quality you will get from the Epson 5050 is superb, and that projector just isn’t solely $2,500 cheaper but in addition considerably brighter.
In order a lot as I really like how unimaginable the 325ES appears to be like, I do not assume I might spend my very own cash on it. However then, I am only a lowly (Amazon bestselling) author who spends his cash on journey and vehicles he by no means drives. I am positive there are many you studying this who would not blink at spending $5,500 for the picture high quality potential with the 325ES. Should you can afford it, that is the Porsche of the projector world — and man, is it candy.
Black luminance (0%)
Peak white luminance (100%)
Avg. grayscale error (10-100%)
Darkish grey error (20%)
Vivid grey error (70%)
Avg. colour error
Avg. saturations error
Avg. colour checker error
Enter lag (Sport mode)
There’s not a lot to say concerning the VPL-VW325ES, it is simply good in no matter mode you wish to use. I discovered the Reference image mode to be essentially the most reference-like, and on this mode each the first and secondary colours have been spot on their Rec 709 targets. Simply essentially the most correct projector we have measured lately.
There wasn’t a lot variation in complete mild output throughout the totally different modes, so I caught with Reference and measured 126.2 nits, or roughly 1,136 lumens. For comparability, within the Epson 5050UB’s most correct mode, it was able to 192.3 nits, or roughly 1,732 lumens. The Low lamp mode dropped the sunshine output by roughly 30%. The Vivid TV mode was about 10 nits brighter with barely worse colour accuracy.
Distinction ratio, in fact, is that this projector’s power. In the identical mode that places out 126.2 nits, the black degree is 0.014 for a distinction ratio of 9,014:1. Throughout its numerous modes, it averages 8,327:1. For comparability, the following closest projector by way of distinction ratio is the Epson, which averaged 5,203:1. The common for all of the projectors we have reviewed within the final yr, not together with the Sony and Epson, is 660:1. Although, admittedly, they’re all considerably cheaper than the 325ES.