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Sony 4K projector VPL-VW300ES review - hands on

Katharine Byrne
30 Sep 2014
Sony VPL-VW300ES projector
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We go hands on with Sony's "most affordable" 4K projector yet

4K home cinema projectors are still a luxury for the vast majority of consumers, but Sony's latest 4K projector hopes to bring true 4K cinema ever closer to the masses, with Sony saying it's the company's "most affordable" model yet. First shown off at this year's IFA, the VPL-VW300ES still costs a wallet-breaking EUR 7000 (around £5,400), but it's a lot better than Sony's next model up, the £8,799 VW-500ES.

The main difference between them is that the VW300ES doesn't have a dynamic contrast or cinema scope option. Sony weren't able to give us an exact figure for the projector's contrast ratio, but said it should be similar to the VW500ES's contrast with the full Iris3 on. It also has a slightly dimmer 1,500 lumen lamp and doesn't have an auto-calibration setting, but otherwise the two projectors are more or less identical. The VW300ES uses the same chassis and design as the VW500ES, so it has a centrally-mounted lens and front fan exhausts, and it uses Sony's high-frame rate SXRD panel display technology. It can project 60in to 300in images and has a very flexible amount of lens shift to help you adjust the size and position of the picture, with +85%/-80% vertical and +/- 31% horizontal.

It comes with Sony's Reality Creation technology as well, which upscales Full HD content to 4K. When we saw this for ourselves in a hands on demo with the projector, we were surprised how much of a difference it made to the overall crispness and clarity of the picture. Clothing textures, hair and eye lashes were visibly sharper than when Reality Creation was turned off, but the effect was far less pronounced during motion, so it's unlikely to make much difference in high octane action films, for example. 

Sony VPL-VW300ES top down

The VW300ES also has 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. Unfortunately, we weren't able to try this out during our demo, so we'll have to reserve judgment until we get our hands on a review sample.

As for ports, the VW300ES comes with two HDMI inputs which conform to the 2.0 standard and the HDCP 2.2 codec, which should mean it's relatively future proof for 4K streaming services. 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, but we'll be able to bring you our final verdict as soon as we get our hands on a review sample.

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