Sony VPL-FH35 Conference Room
April 18, 2012
No speakers. Despite the audio inputs, the VPL-FH35 has no on-board speakers. This makes sense, however, given that you'll want an external audio system for the size room the projector is meant for. Because the audio inputs are paired with specific image inputs, you can run the sound through the projector to automatically switch the audio source when you change image sources. You can also use the remote to control volume or mute the sound.
No mouse control or direct reading of files. The VPL-FH35 doesn't have a USB B port, which means there's no way to connect to a computer to control the mouse from the projector's remote. It also lacks a USB A port, which means there's nowhere to plug in a USB memory key to read files directly.
Can't shift image down with projector right side up. The 0% down, 60% up lens shift means that if you want to place the projector on a shelf above and behind the audience, you'll have to mount the projector upside down, or you won't be able to shift the image down to where the screen will probably be. Note too that if you place the projector in back of the audience, you'll defeat the design purpose of putting the connectors in front, since all the connectors and cables will be where the audience can see them.
The combination of high resolution, excellent data image quality, better than par video quality, and a suitable level of brightness makes the Sony VPL-FH35 an attractive choice. The DICOM GSDF simulation makes it of particular interest for medical-related use. Also very much on the plus side are the 1.6x zoom and lens shift, which give significant flexibility in where you can place the projector.
The lamp life counts as another small plus. Although the 2,500 hour lifetime, or even the boost to 3,500 hours in Eco mode, isn't impressively long, it's enough longer than the more typical 2,000 hours to make a difference. At $499 list per lamp, even one fewer lamp used over the life of the projector contributes to a lower total cost of ownership and one less climb up the ladder to replace a lamp.
All told, the Sony VPL-FH35 is an impressive choice, with lots of good points, no serious shortcomings, and not even many minor issues to detract from its strengths. Quite simply, it's a bright projector with a high resolution, a high quality image, and a more than reasonable price. If you need a projector for a large conference room or small auditorium, count it as a strong contender.