An overview of the remarkably well priced Sony VPL-VW300ES 4K Projector

by on November 29, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – November 29, 2014

First, a caveat. When referring to 4K home cinema projectors, the term “low-priced” is being used within the context of this still small and highly rarified market in which Sony almost entirely dominates. The Sony VPL-VW300ES may still seem to have an expensive price tag but only when not examined in comparison to other similar projectors.

That said, the VPL-VW300ES is Sony’s very latest and most compact 4KSRXD projector and what it brings to the table in this still narrow market is a previously unimagined price tag. Currently, the VW300ES can be bought for just $9,200 USD.

And while this may still sound expensive, it really isn’t if you consider that one of Sony’s alternative models, the VPL-VW1000ES retails for well above $20,000 and the next up in the Sony line, the VPL-VW500ES is still selling for just under $14,000. Thus, with its $9000+ asking price, the 300ES is one hell of a deal if a 4K projector is what you’re after.

Naturally, the question then arises, what has Sony sacrificed to make this latest projector so affordable? As it turns out, not much at all when you consider it.  The VW300ES lacks a few features but nothing too serious to affect performance dramatically. For one thing, the dynamic iris of the more expensive models is lacking and this is a debatably important loss. Furthermore, this projector delivers a much lower order of brightness at 1,500 lumens instead of 1,700, but this is easily compensated for by darker viewing conditions, and the 300ES also lacks a lens memory function but this is also not a big issue unless you use the highly specific 2.35:1 screen type.

On the other hand, with the missing features come a small number of new specs that previously weren’t included. These include a low latency feature that gamers who don’t want their playing to lag will find useful and a compatibility with devices from Creston and Control4 which enables some nice custom home automation.

In terms of similarity to its bigger counterparts, the VW300 has the exact same chassis as its more expensive VW500 cousin and this amounts to an attractive design with a matte black finish that fits elegantly in any home theater setting.

Sony vw300ES home theater 4k projector

The VW300ES fits elegantly in pretty much any home theater setting

The VW300ES uses a 2.06x zoom ratio and delivers a 85% vertical and 31% horizontal lens shift with motorized lens controls features (but without the lens memory feature, as mentioned).

In terms of connections, all are neatly hidden away in a recessed area on the left side of the body and include ports for IR in, 12v triggers (two), a USB 3.0 port for software additions and HDMI 2.0 inputs that are able to handle 4K signals at 60p in both a cinema grade resolution of 4096 x 2160 and Ultra HD 4K at 3840 x 2160 pixels. However, these can only be used with 4:2:0 chroma subsampling and 8.bit video. The second HDMI input is also compatible with HDCP 2.2 copy protection, thus expanding your content viewing options in 4K.

On the whole, if you’re going to go for a 4K home cinema projector and are ready to spend the extra cash these machines cost, the VPL-VW300ES is your most cost-effective option bar none.

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