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Sony VPL-VW350ES Projector Sony VPL-VW350ES
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Street Price: n/a
MSRP:$9,999
3D: Full HD 3D
Lumens:1500
Weight: 31.0 lbs
Resolution:4096x2160
Aspect Ratio:1.85:1
Technology:SXRD
Lens:2.06x powered
Lens Shift:H + V
Lamp Life:n/a
Lamp Cost:$699.00
Warranty:3 year
Connectors:  VGA In, HDMI (x2), RS232, 12-Volt Trigger (x2),
Video Formats:  480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 1080p/24, 1080p/50, 575i, 575p, 3840p/24, 4096p/24

Sony VPL-VW350ES Review
4K SXRD Home Theater Projector

Bill Livolsi, January 9, 2015

Performance

Light output. Rated at 1500 lumens, the VW350ES should be dimmer than the VW600ES. But despite the lower-wattage lamp, the VW350ES is brighter than its predecessor in every comparable image mode. Cinema Film 1 mode measured 1354 lumens with the lamp at full power and the lens at its widest angle setting, 20 lumens brighter than Sony's previous 4K projector. Reference mode shows an even larger difference, clocking in at 1370 lumens. Reference mode is our preferred mode for film, as it has the best grayscale and gamut of all the projector's image modes. Videophiles will still want to make a few tweaks, but folks who want a fantastic image out of the box will be more than satisfied with Reference.

The projector's other image modes are: TV (1413 lumens), Photo (1205 lumens), Game (1384 lumens), Bright Cinema (1428 lumens), and Bright TV (1413 lumens). Game mode, despite its name, does not reduce input lag by itself. To do that, you need to toggle Input Lag Reduction, available from any image mode. So if you'd rather play games in Reference, go ahead.

Contrast. Because it lacks an iris, the VW350's on/off contrast suffers in comparison to the VW600. Unfortunately, the lack of an iris makes the projector's high light output more difficult to control, and that makes it harder to use the VW350 on smaller screens. One may question the use of a 4K projector on a small screen, and it's a valid point, but it's a limitation nonetheless.

On the other hand, the VW350ES does just fine with contrast in any given scene, creating a realness and sense of depth that's hard to argue with. This is aided by a near-perfect 2.2 gamma in Reference mode which ensures shadow detail is never lost and highlights are distinct, not blown out. The only time the projector's contrast comes up short in any way is in very dark scenes, because black level, while respectable, isn't as deep as some of its competitors.

The "easy" solution to both of these problems is to use a neutral density filter, which will both cut light output and deepen black levels. The hard part is that unlike camera lenses, projector lenses aren't built to take filters. You'll need to rig up some kind of mounting system on your own.

Color. Most projectors these days can manage an accurate grayscale. Many can also manage a decent approximation of the Rec.709 color gamut. Very few can do both straight out of the box. The VW350ES can.

Our test sample's Reference mode was a touch too warm, measuring about 5900K across the grayscale, but it was a remarkably flat and even 5900K. By pushing the projector's color temperature control from D65 to D75, we ended up with this perfect 6500K grayscale:

Sony VW350ES grayscale in Reference mode after calibration

As for gamut, our test unit measured quite close to the Rec. 709 standard, and every color had a delta-E value less than 3 except green, which was over 3 but less than 4. That's a very technical way of saying that there's room for improvement, especially if you're the kind of person who enjoys display calibration, but you can also use the projector without changing a thing and get accurate, true-to-life color out of it.

Sony VW350 color gamut in Reference mode, factory settings

The good news for the fine-tuning folks is that the VW350 has all of the controls necessary to perfect grayscale and gamut, and those controls are both responsive and easy to use.

Detail and clarity. Not to belabor the point, but the VW350ES is a 4K projector. Sharpness, resolution, and clarity of detail are its defining characteristics. The VW350 is supremely detailed and a real joy to watch, especially when you feed it reference-quality source material.

Input lag. In its regular image modes, the VW350ES measured 120 milliseconds of input lag - just over 7 frames at 60 fps. New to this projector is a feature called Input Lag Reduction which turns off all of the image processing features and brings input lag down to 32 milliseconds (2 frames).

Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Setup and Configuration Key Features Performance
  Limitations Conclusion

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Reader Comments(12 comments)

Posted Dec 31, 2016 5:53 PM

By James

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I have the same problem going through an Anthem AVM60 receiver. No video, only sound. Anyone able to get 4K content to play without going direct from the device to the projector?

Posted Dec 26, 2016 8:12 PM

By Raun Ch1

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Only HDMI2 is HDCP2.2 compliant so it will only play amazon through that. I have the same and I use Onkyo TX-NR3030 receiver but am unable to get 4k from projector. I just get a blank screen. I even tried 4k upscaling using receiver even that displays nothing. Still like the picture but it sucks that even after getting every thing 4k , still cant play 4k. Tried as many setting as i knew. Hopefully someone can offer a suggestion

Posted May 15, 2016 6:45 AM

By B Strong

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My 350es is combined with a samsung k8500 4k bluray. The sony would not display 4k UHD Netflix content from HDMI1 but it would for HDMI2. Guessing it is a bad connector but it looks great for sure!

Posted Jan 31, 2015 8:58 AM

By davidm

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4:2:0 chroma subsampling means it would be very bad for text. Granted most people simply want to watch video, and the limitation is apparently only at 60hz, but this means the projector would not be a good choice for hybrid applications.

Posted Jan 27, 2015 10:40 PM

By Robert Smith

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Will the VPL-VW350ES connect up to the new Ultra HD Blu-ray format and other known sources of 4K content? What happens with the difference between the 2 "4K" variations? For example, does this projector rescale to fit the panels, use only a portion of the panels, or give the user a choice?

Posted Jan 26, 2015 5:48 PM

By ar-ei

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is this projector can be used in a planetarium dome?

Posted Jan 16, 2015 1:54 PM

By David Boulet

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"Correct me if I'm wrong, but true 4k resolution at 4096 x 2160 rather than UHD 3840x2160 seems like a disappointing feature for those planning to upscale native 720p and 1080p content. Both of those resolutions are evenly divisible by 3840x2160, meaning upscaling will look amazing with no subpixel resampling. What advantage, if any, is there to releasing projectors in true 4k resolution when they vast majority of content displayed on them will still be 720/1080p for many years to come?"

The "blanking" feature (which windowboxes by blacking out the additional horizontal pixels to utilize only the inner 3840 area) should enable you to only use the even-multiple 3840 horizontal resolution when upscaling 1080p sources... basically making this a standard UHD projector merely with additional unused horizontal pixels on the machine's panels.

Posted Jan 14, 2015 9:32 PM

By chris Hougen

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I thought the MSRP in Europe was 8,000 US $. So Any Idea of future street price drops? Can you give a number for the contrast? Thanks, very exciting.

Posted Jan 13, 2015 12:50 PM

By John

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but true 4k resolution at 4096 x 2160 rather than UHD 3840x2160 seems like a disappointing feature for those planning to upscale native 720p and 1080p content. Both of those resolutions are evenly divisible by 3840x2160, meaning upscaling will look amazing with no subpixel resampling. What advantage, if any, is there to releasing projectors in true 4k resolution when they vast majority of content displayed on them will still be 720/1080p for many years to come?

Posted Jan 12, 2015 1:30 PM

By Bill Livolsi

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Andy - We will be publishing that comparison later this week. Stay tuned.

tom - Yes, though I believe only on HDMI port 2. I'm not 100% sure about that last part, though.

Posted Jan 10, 2015 5:17 AM

By Andy

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A side by side comparison with Epson's LS10000 would be interesting.

What are the general thoughts regarding the pros/cons after reviewing both?

Posted Jan 9, 2015 5:59 PM

By tom

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does this projector support hdcp 2.2

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