Sony VPL-XW5000ES 4K laser projector evaluate

hcchighreccomendSony’s PJ line kicks off with this native 4K laser mannequin. Steve Withers stacks it up in opposition to the competitors

Sony has dumped inefficient lamps and gone all-in on lasers for its projector lineup, with no fewer than 5 native 4K fashions utilizing amplified mild photons to generate their photographs. The high mannequin – the VPL-GTZ380 – is a beast of a beamer that may generate a blinding 10,000 Lumens, however comes with an equally painful price ticket of eighty grand. Naturally, the vast majority of house cinema house owners will take a look at the opposite 4.

The VPL-VW5000ES nonetheless claims a powerful 5,000 Lumens and sells for £49,999, whereas the VPL-VW890ES manages 2,200 Lumens, and is ‘solely’ £24,999. Both these fashions are from earlier generations, although – new this 12 months are the VPL-XW7000ES, with a rated 3,200 Lumens brightness and £14,999 price ticket, and the entry-level VPL-XW5000ES, which is usually recommended can ship 2,000 Lumens, and prices a extra cheap £5,999. It’s this mannequin that’s on take a look at, and one which replaces the outgoing lamp-based VPL-VW290ES as its ‘entry-level’ beamer.

High-end house cinema
No one, other than possibly Elon Musk, is saying six grand is spare change. But when you think about the XW5000ES is a local 4K laser PJ, and its nearest competitor – JVC’s DLA-NZ7 – is sort of twice the worth, it begins to look ‘reasonably priced’. At the identical time, Sony projectors, and people of JVC, are the area of the well-heeled house cinema fanatic lately – each manufacturers have lengthy ceded the lower-end of the market to the likes of BenQ and Optoma.

To attain this new worth level for considered one of its laser fashions Sony has sacrificed just a few options. Zoom, shift and focus lens controls are all guide, so in the event you’ve obtained your coronary heart set on a 2.35:1 display this isn’t the beamer for you. The XW5000ES additionally drops 3D assist, and as this stays widespread with projector house owners, the omission might be a deal-breaker. More stunning, although, is the absence of HDMI 2.1 inputs, and thus no assist for HDR10+ or 4K/120p playback for high-frame-rate gaming. This limitation not solely places the XW5000ES at an obstacle to the pricier JVC projector, but additionally the cheaper Epson EH-LS12000B), which incorporates motorised lens controls and recollections for ‘Scope screens as properly.


Sony’s XW5000ES
is round 30 per cent smaller and 35 per cent lighter than the sooner VW790ES

Native attraction
Of course, Epson’s mannequin does not ship a local 4K picture, whereas Sony right here makes use of a brand new 0.61in SXRD panel which might obtain a local decision of three.840 x 2,160 pixels with out resorting to flashing or pixel-shifting trickery. Previous Sony projectors used the bigger 4,096 x 2,160 panel discovered within the model’s skilled items – the decreased measurement leads to a extra compact chassis.

The design is much like earlier generations, with an angular form, central lens, air consumption grilles on the entrance, and exhaust vents on the rear harking back to the discontinued VPL-VW790ES. Thankfully, Sony has crammed within the hole across the lens that made the VW790ES appear to be it was lacking a bit of the entrance panel. There’s additionally a alternative of finishes between matte black and a extra residing room-friendly matte white.

Connections are positioned alongside the left-hand-side as you face the lens, and right here you’ll discover two HDMI 2.0 inputs, a USB port for energy, a 12V set off, an IR enter, and an RS-232 connector for serial management. The XW5000ES additionally helps management programs from Control4, Crestron, Savant, and AMX, which explains the recognition of Sony projectors with customized installers.

The distant – Sony’s normal PJ zapper – is pretty giant, features a backlight, and has all of the buttons you’ll must function the XW5000ES. Yet the guide lens controls are quite clumsy, making setup trickier than it must be.
The XW5000ES’ s 1.38:1 to 2.21:1 throw ratio with 1.6x zoom is much less beneficiant than some comparable projectors.

In phrases of specs, the unit helps resolutions as much as 4K/60p, and excessive dynamic vary in HDR10 and HLG guise. Sony additionally claims the mix of latest Wide Dynamic Range optics and its Triluminos Pro color algorithm can ship 95 per cent of DCI-P3, however in my testing it solely achieved a most protection of 83 per cent. The claimed 2,000 Lumens output is on the cash, though to maximise mild output you’ll want to maneuver the laser management to its highest setting. Thankfully, doing so doesn’t considerably improve fan noise, which stays at round 30dB.

A rated distinction ratio of ‘infinity to at least one’ is considerably deceptive given this will solely be achieved on a black display with the laser turned off, however Sony is not the one model to drag this advertising and marketing sleight of hand. Native distinction is nearer to twenty,000:1 based mostly on my measurements, which is best than Epson’s EH-LS12000B
however half that of JVC’s DLA-NZ7. In different phrases, what I’d count on given
the worth level.


The PJ has twin HDMI inputs, however neither deal with HDR10+ or 4K/120

Also as anticipated, Sony lays on a bunch of cutting-edge imaging applied sciences based mostly across the X1 Ultimate for Projector processor first launched on the GTZ380. There’s Motionflow for ironing out any judder and Reality Creation to sharpen upscaled HD and native 4K content material. There’s additionally Sony’s Dynamic HDR Enhancer, however extra on that later.

Vision of the long run
The XW5000ES wows instantly with its vibrant and detailed efficiency, though it isn’t fairly as sharp
as earlier Sony 4K projectors. Since the lens seems to be the identical, that is possible because of the smaller SXRD panels used. However, upscaling is high notch, whereas Reality Creation brings out improved textures and better ranges of element, no matter supply.

Watching David Cronenberg’s new Crimes of the Future on Blu-ray (US import) reveals a properly rendered upscaled picture that shows all of the finery of the movie’s dilapidated imaginative and prescient of a crumbling society. Sony’s processing is so efficient that it nearly appears to be like like native 4K, however sadly additionally reveals the constraints of the movie’s meagre funds CGI!

If there’s one space the place Sony projectors are notably sturdy, it’s movement. True Cinema doubles the body charge to clean out annoying judder with out introducing critical artefacts. The scene in Lucy (4K BD) the place the title character lastly begins to entry the total potential of her unlocked mind includes the digicam whirling round
her, and all this movement is dealt with by the XW5000ES with outstanding talent.

The projector proves a succesful performer with HDR content material however, as is commonly the case, a level of optimisation
is important. Whether it’s SDR or HDR, the Reference image setting will get you closest to business requirements, and the fundamental tone mapping tracks the PQ goal carefully. However, it does lack a level of ‘pop’, which brings us neatly to Sony’s Dynamic HDR Enhancer.

The inherent brightness limitations of any projector make delivering HDR difficult, and a level of picture manipulation essential. Sony’s HDR processing modifications the distinction and laser brightness relying on the general content material, however will not be dynamically adjusting tone mapping on a frame-by-frame foundation. As a consequence, Sony’s strategy
to tone mapping is blunter and fewer refined than that of JVC’s latest DLA units.

Having stated that, it will get outcomes. Viewing The Revenant (4K BD) with the Dynamic HDR Enhancer engaged reveals a strikingly detailed and impactful picture, with a lovely depth to the white, snow-covered landscapes. You can nearly really feel your self squinting as daylight displays off icy lakes. The greater setting you select for Dynamic HDR Enhancer, the better the impact – however watch out of clipping the brightest whites.

Despite not reaching the total DCI-P3 gamut, the XW5000ES manages to ship photos with loads of color saturation and nuanced shades. The Greatest Showman (4K Blu-ray) sports activities an opulent palette that the projector dives proper into. Once once more, the HDR processing additionally offers the picture a dynamic push.

Where this Sony projector does barely falter is with darker scenes, revealing blacks that lack actual depth. More considerably, the Dynamic HDR Enhancer usually sacrifices shadow particulars in pursuit of brighter specular highlights
– in an try to spice up the brighter components of a picture,
the darker components seem compressed compared.

This is especially apparent in the course of the nighttime sequence in 1917 (4K BD) the place the display begins utterly black earlier than steadily revealing extra particulars within the picture. The XW5000ES struggles to accurately reproduce this scene, burying vital particulars in murky shadows. Turning off the HDR Enhancer helps to a level, however I’ve seen this troublesome sequence dealt with higher.

It’s an actual disgrace that Sony has determined to not embody 4K/120p assist, as a result of in all different respects this new laser-based mannequin is a superb alternative for players. Bright photographs, saturated colors, and superior movement create a wonderful gaming expertise. It’s responsive too, with an enter lag that’s extremely low for a projector, hitting 20ms with 4K/60p and 12ms with 2K/120p.

Motion slickness
Overall, the XW5000ES is a powerful addition to Sony’s lineup, providing vibrant and dynamic native 4K photos that profit from some succesful (however not best-in-breed) HDR tone mapping. The model’s state-of-the-art picture processing upscales decrease resolutions with panache, and Reality Creation sharpens objects with out introducing apparent artefacts. The movement dealing with can also be class-leading, and whereas black degree efficiency is outgunned
by rival JVC fashions specifically, it is nonetheless good.

The lack of 3D playback and HDMI 2.1 connectivity will disappoint some, however Sony’s considerably stripped-back characteristic set has enabled it to hit a worth level that will have as soon as solely obtained you considered one of its lamp-based beamers.
If you wish to benefit from the full advantages of native 4K and a laser mild supply, the XW5000ES is the primary place to look.

HCC Verdict: 4.5/5

Sony VPL-XW5000ES

Price: £5,999


We say: This native 4K projector cuts just a few corners to hit its price-point, however spectacular HDR supply and Sony’s all-round imaging wizardry pay dividends.


3D: No 4K: No. 3,840 x 2,160 HDR: Yes. HDR10; HLG CONNECTIONS: 2 x HDMI inputs; Ethernet port; USB port; 12V set off; IR enter; RS-232C BRIGHTNESS (CLAIMED): 2,000 Lumens CONTRAST (claimed): ‘Infinity to 1’ (dynamic distinction) ZOOM: 1.6x DIMENSIONS: 460(w) x 200(h) x 472(d)mm WEIGHT: 13kg

FEATURES: SXRD projector expertise; laser phosphor mild supply; claimed common lifetime of 20,000 hours; 24dB claimed fan noise; Wide Dynamic Range Optics; X1 Ultimate for Projector processor; Motionflow; Reality Creation; Object-based HDR Remaster; Dynamic HDR Enhancer; Input Lag Reduction; 1.38-2.21:1 throw ratio; guide lens controls for zoom, shift and focus; IMAX Enhanced; Control4, Crestron, Savant and AMX assist

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