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Sony VPL-HW50ES review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £2798
inc VAT

Sony’s best home cinema projector yet massively improves 3D playback


1,920×1,080 resolution, 1,700 ANSI lumens, 179x407x464mm, 9.6kg

We’re big fans of Sony’s Silicon X-tal Reflective Display (SXRD) Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) technology, so couldn’t wait to get our hands on its high-end 3D projector, the VPL-HW50ES.

Rather than having to shine light through LCD panels inside the projector, SXRD projectors use reflective LCD panels. These are more akin with DLP technology, helping to increase contrast and colour vibrancy. With three SXRD panels (one each for red, green and blue) inside the HW50ES, we were keen to find out what this projector was capable of.

Retaining the same large case of Sony’s previous high-end projectors, including a centre-mounted lens and side-facing inputs, the HW50ES is a fantastic looking piece of kit. It’s available in black, but we think the glossy white model Sony sent us for this review looks superb – even if it won’t necessarily fit with a blacked-out cinema room. It’s certainly large and may struggle to fit on the average coffee table, but at the same time isn’t excessively bulky and can still be ceiling mounted with the appropriate bracket.

The HW50ES uses the same case as previous models, with a central lens

All the ports are hidden underneath the outer lip of the projector, it’s fairly easy to keep cables under control; you get two HDMI inputs as well as VGA and component video, plus ports for the optional 3D sync (for the glasses) and Infrared remote control receiver. These are useful additions for serious home cinema setups, where the projector is boxed in blocking the onboard ports, but aren’t needed for most setups.

Ports are all located under the projector’s lip

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Price £2,798
Rating *****


Projector technology SXRD
Lamp brightness 1,700 ANSI lumens
Lamp life 2,000
Lamp life in economy mode 3,000
Contrast ratio 100,000:1 (dynamic)


Native resolution 1,920×1,080
Max compressed resolution 1,680×1,050
Aspect ratio 16:9
Other aspect ratios 4:3, letterbox
Max diagonal at 7ft 70in
Throw ratio 1.47:1 to 1.77:1
Optical zoom 1.6x
Projection distance 1.9m to 5.2m
Mirror image yes
Invert image yes
Lens shift horizontal 25%
Lens shift vertical 71%
HD Ready yes
Special view modes Standard, Dynamic, Game, Photo, Cinema, Bright Cinema, Bright TV


VGA input yes
DVI input No
Sound inputs none
Composite input no
S-video input no
HDMI input yes
PAL support yes
SECAM support yes
NTSC support yes
Audio output none
Video output none
Others inputs/outputs second HDMI input, 3D transmitter input


Noise (in normal use) 21dB(A)
Size 179x407x464mm
Weight 9.6kg
Internal speakers none
Extras cables (power) remote control
Remote special features aspect ratio, backlight, colour mode, 3D mode, input select
Power consumption standby 1W
Power consumption on 259W


Lamp cost (inc VAT) £180
Lamp supplier
Lamp cost per hour of use £0.09
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy) £0.06

Buying Information

Price £2,798

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