Sony’s VPL-VW285ES Is Its Most Affordable Ever True Native 4K HDR Projector
Stephan Jukic – September 17, 2017
Among fans of home theater projectors and especially of the 4K variety, Sony is famous not only for the quality and genuine 4K ultra HD resolution of its consumer models, but also for their rather steep prices. Up to now, no Sony home theater model in the company’s renowned VPL-VW native 4K series of projectors has emerged with a price below $7000. That has finally changed.
Perhaps in an effort to cope with a market increasingly filled with very appealing upscaled pseudo-4K HDR projectors from brands like Epson, Optoma, JVC and others, Sony has started getting a bit aggressive on its pricing with their new VPL-VW285ES projector model, which not only delivers real 4K resolution that these other models don’t quite manage but also does so at a relatively “affordable” price of $5000.
Now, $5000 is still seriously expensive by the standards of most consumer home entertainment budgets and the vast majority of upscaled 4K projectors with HDR from Sony’s above-mentioned rivals sell for well below $3000 and in some cases even for less than $2000. However, none of them quite manage that extra bit of sharpness that native 4K can produce, and they also arguably lack Sony’s particular talent for color reproduction. Those two extras that Sony can indeed offer go a long way to making a still pricey model like the VW285ES attractive at its unprecedented price. This is particularly the case with projectors because vibrancy and sharpness become crucial for an image spread across up to a couple hundred inches of projection surface.
The VPL-VW285E is particularly affordable if you consider the prices of almost all of its cousins. Its most affordable predecessor, the impressive but still pricey VPL-VW350ES that we reviewed here, still retails for above $8000 and most other native 4K HDR home theater models from Sony sell for more than $10,000.
The VPL-VW285E is even more attractive when you take a peek at its powerhouse specs. This model delivers native 4096 x 2160 DCI 4K resolution, which exceeds conventional 4K ultra HD of the type found in most modern 4K TVs by 500,000 pixels. Additionally, it offers full support for display of HDR10 and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) 4K UHD content from streaming, Blu-ray disc and broadcast 4K HDR content sources. Other impressive specifications in the VW285ES include wide color gamut support (over 92% of the DCI-P3 color space and a full connectivity package with USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0a and other key connectivity ports.
On the other hand, and this is a downer of the VW285ES, it offers only about 1500 lumens of brightness. This is a crucial spec for any projector and especially for HDR models. The Sony’s 1500 lumens are definitely enough for some very good HDR video playback in a reasonably darkened room but even more ideal would be 2,000 lumens for some seriously great serious appreciation of wide color gamut vibrancy. Even some rival pseudo-4K projector models with prices of well below $3000 offer superior luminance to the VW285ES.
If the low luminance does put you off but you’d still love native true 4K resolution, Sony has also recently unveiled a VPL-VW285ES model for $8000 and if you want to go up to crazy price levels, there’s Sony’s VW885ES, which delivers 2,500 lumens but sells for a whopping $25,000. Speaking frankly though, the brightness levels of these other models aren’t as impressive as we’d like considering their price points.
If you’d love to get your hands on Sony’s unbeatable color reproduction and true native cinematic 4K resolution at a price that’s never been the case before in at least 3 years of Sony 4K projector releases, the VPL-VW285ES is now selling for pre-order on Amazon.com for the exact price of $4,998.00. We don’t think it likely that this prices decreases further upon release. That may be common for all of today’s 4K TVs but it’s not quite so likely for 4K home projectors.
Story by 4k.com