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Sony VPL-VW500ES review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £8798
inc VAT

A competitvely-priced Ultra HD projector with HDMI 2.0 inputs that should extend its usefulness


4,096×2,160 resolution, 1,700 ANSI lumens, 496x195x464mm, 14.0kg

Unsurprisingly, Reality Creation sits right at the top of the picture settings menu. This feature is used to make Full HD content look great when projected at Ultra HD resolutions. Reality Creation does a great job of sharpening native Ultra HD footage too. The feature is better implemented on the VW500ES than the VW1000ES because you can choose between edge enhancement only or edge enhancement with additional texture and detail enhancements. Some may find the latter option excessive as it can soften film grain in order to bring detail out in other areas, but for the most part we loved its ability to make even the highest quality Blu-ray disc look that little bit more detailed and precise. The overall picture is a tiny bit softer than the pin-sharp VW1000ES, but you’d only notice when the two projectors were set up side-by-side.

The 4,096×2,160 SXRD panel produces incredible images when fed a native 4K signal. The texture detail in the opening scene of our 4K test film Tears of Steel is far sharper here than on any 4K set we’ve tested so far. Colours are vibrant out of the box, with a slight tendency to favour reds, but this can be adjusted using the colour correction setting.

At 1,700 lumens the VW500ES is just about bright enough to use in daylight if you’re watching bright content like a football match. For darker content such as films, you’ll still want to draw the curtains in order to make out the details. Contrast is excellent, with no real need to tweak the picture further in order to see everything as the director intended.

Sony VPL-VW500ES

The VW500ES also impressed us with its motion handling. The Smooth High and Smooth Low settings made made films recorded at 24fps look more like broadcast television and smoothed images too aggressively. However, the Impulse mode reduces motion blur without adding the same effects. It does dim the picture, though, so you should watch footage in a dark room with the feature enabled.

The VW500ES also excelled in our everyday use tests, and remained quiet throughout our testing. Indeed, we could barely hear it when watching films.

With the VW500ES, Sony has managed to create a projector that has plenty of features and very impressive image quality. It’s still incredibly expensive, but the VW500ES’s HDMI 2.0 inputs will extend the life of the projector, and it’s cheaper than an 84in Ultra HD TV. If you want an Ultra HD home cinema projector, the Sony VW500ES should be at the top of your shopping list.

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Price £8,798
Rating *****
Award Ultimate


Projector technology SXRD
Lamp brightness 1,700 ANSI lumens
Lamp life 4,000
Lamp life in economy mode 5,000
Contrast ratio 200,000:1


Native resolution 4,096×2,160
Max compressed resolution 3,840×2,160
Aspect ratio 1.85:1
Other aspect ratios full, zoom, native
Max diagonal at 7ft 80in
Throw ratio 1.38:1 to 2.83:1
Optical zoom 2.1x
Projection distance 2.3m to 11.6m
Mirror image yes
Invert image yes
Lens shift horizontal 31%
Lens shift vertical 85%
HD Ready yes
Special view modes Cinema film 1, Cinema film 2, Reference, TV, Photo, Game, Bright Cinema, Bright TV, User


VGA input no
DVI input No
Composite input no
S-video input no
HDMI input yes
Component input no
PAL support yes
SECAM support yes
NTSC support yes
Audio output none
Video output none
Others inputs/outputs USB, RS-232, RJ45


Noise (in normal use) 26dB(A)
Size 496x195x464mm
Weight 14.0kg
Internal speakers none
Extras remote, cables (power)
Remote special features picture mode, colour temp, aspect ratio, lens shift, zoom, keystone, overscan, black level, freeze
Power consumption standby 0W
Power consumption on 375W


Lamp cost (inc VAT) £341
Lamp supplier
Lamp cost per hour of use £0.08
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy) £0.07

Buying Information

Price £8,798

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