Sony VPL-VW715ES 4K SXRD Projector
  • Performance
  • 4.5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
$9,999 MSRP Discontinued
  • Superb performance in SDR
  • Impressive blacks
  • Satisfying 3D
  • HDR tone-mapping too dark
  • Insufficient range for HDR color management system (CMS)
  • Expensive for its product class
Our Take

Sony's replacement for the lamp-based VPL-VW695ES is a superb projector with SDR movies. It falls a bit short of the mark on HDR tone-mapping out of the box, though careful adjustments can minimize that concern and turn it into an overall fine performer.

vplvw715es 3q

In 2017 Sony released the VPL-VW285ES native 4K projector at a barrier-breaking $5,000. That price doesn't exactly scream bargain, but in the context of the overall market, and the few true native 4K projectors then, as now, available to the consumer, it was. The next year the VPL-VW295ES succeeded the VW285ES, offering some minor but important changes, most significantly the ability to accommodate the 18Gbps data stream needed for sources up to 4K/60fps. Last year there were no major new introductions to Sony's home theater projector lineup, which led some wags to speculate that the company was losing interest in the relatively small home projector market.

But not so fast. Sony has just introduced three new native 4K home theater projectors, the lamp-based VPL-VW715ES ($9,999 and the replacement for last year's VPL-VW695ES, available in black or white), the laser-driven VPL-VW915ES ($19,999, available in black only), and the VPL-GTZ380 (available this winter). The latter's price is TBD, but at over 100 lbs. with brand new SXRD panels, a new laser light source, and a rated 10,000 lumens of brightness, it's Sony's premier home theater projector and will likely command enough to equip six to eight rooms in your manse with their own VPL-VW715ES.


As I write this there's as yet no announcement yet of a replacement for the VPL-VW295ES—Sony's entry-level 4K projector— but the VPL-VW715ES, the subject of this review, likely has a few well-healed enthusiasts reaching for their platinum credit cards. Its SXRD panels (SXRD is Sony-speak for LCoS) are the same imagers used in its predecessor VPL-VW695ES. What's new, however, is that the VW715ES incorporates an X1 main microprocessor, a projector-centric cousin to the powerful X1 processor used in Sony's premier flat-screen sets. A Dynamic HDR Enhancer feature is said to make use of this increased processing power to analyze sources "scene-by-scene to deliver the best contrast performance when viewing HDR content." The idea of analyzing HDR content on the fly to optimize the tone-mapping is a good idea in principle given the brightness differences among HDR movies that would otherwise send you back to the menus to make adjustments on every title, and one that's being implemented with varying degree of success by a couple of projector manufacturers to date. Given the penchant of all manufacturers to create unique names to differentiate their features from those of the competition it isn't clear how Sony's approach might be similar or different. What is clear is that the Dynamic HDR Enhancer definitely affects the projector's PQ curve in a positive way (PQ, in general terms, is gamma for HDR). More on this a bit further on.

Another new feature, Digital Focus Optimizer, is said to compensate for any optical degradation by the lens. It's automatic and can't be specifically activated or defeated by the user. Its presence is not meant to suggest that the very good, aspherical lens in the VPL-VW715ES is of insufficient quality without help. But no lens is perfect at anything like a marketable cost, and even very good lenses can give up some sharpness toward the edges and corners of a large image, which this feature is intended to address. Sony's use here of the "X1 for projector" processor is also said to imbue its Reality Creation detail processing and scaling engine with additional sharpness.

vplvw715es 3q

The VW715ES is loaded with additional upscale features. Its motorized 2.06x zoom lens offers five memory positions to store and recall image parameters including focus, picture size, picture position, aspect ratio, and blanking. You can use it, for example, to dial in settings for either 2.35:1 or 16:9 if, like me, your main screen is 2.35:1 and you wish to maintain constant image height (CIH). There are also settings for use with an anamorphic lens, if that's how you roll. (You can check ProjectorCentral's Sony VPL-VW715ES Throw Calculator for distance settings in your theater setup.) There's a dynamic iris setting, though it's limited to three fixed positions: Off, Limited, and Full. The light output is spec'd at 1,800 lumens.

The projector can display both HDR10 and HLG HDR sources, but not HDR10+ or Dolby Vision. HDR10+ is still rare, and no consumer projector we know of can do Dolby Vision. But when fed a Dolby Vision source the Sony reverts to HDR10, which is the base layer for Dolby Vision. In other words, the VPL-VW715ES can display all HDR source material, though not always in its native mode.

The Sony's frame interpolation feature, Motionflow, offers limited adjustments. Smooth High and Smooth Low both triggered the soap opera video effect to different degrees. In Smooth Low it was relatively tolerable. But the True Cinema setting, said to retain the original frame rate of 24fps, wasn't soapy at all, and ultimately proved useful for viewing HDR for reasons I'll discuss later.

The projector will accept native 1080i/p and 4K sources, but will not accept 480i/p. To display such material you must first upconvert it externally. If you have a collection of valued 480i DVDs, most Blu-ray players can do this conversion. If you have a collection of old VHS tapes or Laserdiscs, my only suggestion is to find a composite video-to-1080p HDMI converter (cheap ones are available) and pray that what you see will be watchable on a big screen.

There's also an auto-calibration feature that doesn't require an external meter, but this should not be mistaken for the precision calibration that an installer or professional calibrator will do to fully optimize image quality. It uses an internal sensor and is designed primarily to compensate for color shifts as the lamp ages. All of my calibrations for this review were done in the traditional manner to improve grayscale and color accuracy.

Here's the list of key features for the VPL-VW715ES:

  • Full 4096 x 2160-resolution, 0.74-inch native 4K imaging chips
  • 3-Chip SXRD (LCoS) design
  • Rated at 1,800 ANSI lumens (in High Lamp mode)
  • 350,000:1 rated dynamic contrast
  • 280W UHP lamp rated at 4,000 hours (High mode) and 6,000 hours (Low mode)
  • Motorized 2.06x zoom lens with powered zoom, lens shift, focus and lens memory settings
  • Wide-range +85%, -80% vertical and +/-31% horizontal lens shift
  • Two full-bandwidth, 18 Gbps (4K/60fps) HDMI 2.0b, HDCP 2.2 ports
  • Compatible with HDR10 and HLG HDR
  • Nine Calibrated Presets (picture modes)
  • Ten Gamma Correction settings for SDR
  • Nine adjustable Color Temp. settings
  • RGB/CMY color management for primaries and secondaries; RGB gain/offset grayscale trims
  • Sony Reality Creation processing for detail enhancement and Full HD to 4K scaling
  • Motionflow frame interpolation for 4K or 1080p content
  • Selectable low-latency setting for gaming
  • Full HD 3D playback (glasses not included)
  • Certified for IMAX Enhanced content
  • Full size backlit remote with access to key picture adjustments
  • 3-year limited warranty


Color Modes and Calibration. The VPL-VW715ES offers nine picture modes, which Sony calls Calibrated Presets: Cinema Film 1, Cinema Film 2, Reference, TV, Photo, Game, Bright Cinema, Bright TV, and an adjustable User mode that starts out with settings equivalent to Reference. But the descriptions of some of these modes can lead a novice user down the wrong path. BRT CINE, for example, is recommended for "Picture quality suited for watching TV programs, sports, concerts, and other video images in a bright environment, such as a living room." This might suggest to the less experienced buyer that a projector can look just as good in a bright environment as in the dark—or lead a sales associate to convince a customer that this is the case. It most certainly is not, with this projector or any other. Light-rejecting screens can help in modest room lighting, and have their uses (particularly in a business application where pristine black levels are relatively unimportant). But they can never produce results equivalent to image quality on a conventional screen in a fully darkened room. The key to understanding this is to look at your screen in any room lighting you might use, with the projector turned off. What you'll see is the deepest black you can get in that room lighting. Black is the absence of light, and projectors do not project black. They rely on the screen and the room's lighting, or the room's darkness, as the final step in achieving good blacks.

In my opinion, for most users these nine Calibrated Presets are about five too many. But perhaps the assumption is that the user won't bother to get the projector calibrated and therefore needs all the pre-packaged help he or she can get. For those that do elect to pop for a calibration (which I highly recommend after breaking in the unit for about 100 hours to let the lamp settle in) four or five modes should do just fine—Reference, User, Photo, and Game, for example. Reference and User mode default to the neutral gray D65 white point that most content is mastered with (though require some calibration to get this spot-on). As described later, I also was able to make use of Cinema Film 1 for HDR content.

vplvw715es front

There are 10 available Gamma Correction settings for SDR (standard dynamic range) content. Sony's Panel Alignment feature is also included, offering full convergence of the dedicated red, green, and blue imagers across the entire screen. I didn't feel the need to use it with my sample, but it's there for those who do.

The VW715ES will switch over automatically to the HDR settings when the projector recognizes this format, and back to SDR when required. But I did find one oddity. If you calibrate the white balance (W/B) for SDR, then switch to HDR, the SDR W/B settings automatically appear in the HDR Color Temp. menu. You can't insert different W/B settings for HDR and have them retained separately in the projector's memory. You can do it physically, but then your new HDR settings will automatically change the SDR settings. Sony believes, and makes a point of it in executing their premier flat-screen sets, that once the SDR grayscale is calibrated, the same settings will work for HDR (once modified internally by look-up tables that compensate for the differences between SDR and HDR). But here I didn't find that to be the case.

To get around this issue I initially used the D65 color temperature setting for SDR and the Custom 3 color temperature setting for HDR—which apart from D65 was the closest other setting I found to the D65 white point. I then calibrated Custom 3 as needed for the best HDR result. Ultimately, though, I ended up later calibrating a second projector sample just for HDR (more on that later), and that time used the D65 color temp as the starting point for HDR. Had I gone on to calibrate SDR on the second sample, I'd have started the SDR cal with the Custom 3 color temp as the next best alternate to the D65 setting. The message here is that whichever color temp you start with for SDR or HDR, you'll have to separately tune a different color temp setting if you want to fully optimize the picture for each type of content. Fortunately, for any given Calibrated Preset mode, all the other settings were separately adjustable for HDR and SDR. Extended notes on my calibration efforts for both and my final settings can be found in the Measurements section at the end of the review.

SDR Viewing. I began my image quality evaluation with SDR on my 96-inch wide (88-inch diagonal), 2.35:1 Stewart Studiotek 130 screen (gain 1.3). The sources were exclusively Blu-ray discs, played on an Oppo BDP-203 UHD Blu-ray player.

The VW715ES excelled with SDR even in the factory default settings and the Low lamp mode I used for all of my SDR viewing. The SDR calibration went quickly, and there were no oddities worth noting. Sony has made significant efforts in improving black levels here and the results were striking. With the Advanced Iris off, the full-on/full-off contrast ratio measured 9,428:1 (66 nits in a 10% white window, 0.007 in black). With the Advanced Iris set to Limited, the result was 57,900:1 (more on this in the Measurement section). The dark scenes I watched were consistently impressive. Much of the second act of Jumanji: The Next Level takes place during a dark night in a "frontier" town. The blacks there were convincingly deep on the VW715ES but never at the expense of shadow detail, which was always clearly visible when it needed and never washed out or crushed.

vplvw 715 jumanji
Even with dark sections of movies like Jumanji: The Next Level, the Sony was able to exhibit excellent shadow detail without crushing blacks. (Photo Credit: Sony)

The black level did vary somewhat in the presence of bright objects against an otherwise mostly black scene. It's not possible for this or any other projector, with or without an iris, to control specific areas of the screen. The latter is only possible in a flat-screen display using backlit multi-zone local dimming (or a self-emissive flat-screen set like an OLED, where each pixel is its own zone). Nevertheless, I had only one reservation about the VW715ES's black levels with the Advanced Iris set to Limited: the iris sometimes reveals itself when the image shifts instantaneously from a fully black screen to a fully bright one. In that case the bright image takes a fraction of a second to fade in. But this was noticeable mainly on disc menus and was never a distraction on real program material.

Both color and detail excelled across the full area of the screen on a wide selection of exceptional Blu-rays. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel flashed a wide range of brilliant colors with its good but not exceptionally crisp cinematography. But My Fair Lady put to rest any concerns I might have had (none, actually) about the projector's sharpness. The restoration of this '60s film on Blu-ray is often spectacular. The scenes in Professor Higgins' study are a wonder of intricate details, and the Ascot race scene was crisp and clear throughout (despite the filmmakers having the horses running in the wrong direction; in England they run clockwise!).

Animation is nearly always impressive if well done, but Kung Fu Panda 2 exceeded all my expectations. Even in 1080p's Rec.709 color gamut this transfer was eye-popping on the Sony. It may not be my favorite animated film overall, but it's certainly one of the best looking from the opening sequence, to the villain's weapons factory, to the finale. If you watch this on the VW715ES and aren't floored by it, let us know, because you have something set up wrong.

Animated fare such as Kung Fu Panda 2 popped and showed off the brilliant colors of the VPL-VW715ES. (Photo Credit: Dreamworks)

HDR Viewing. Moving on to HDR, I used Ultra HD Blu-ray discs exclusively, also played back on the Oppo BDP-203 except as noted below. The initial results weren't as encouraging as in SDR. Near-black details were sometimes crushed by varying degrees, depending on the film. The culprit appeared to be a PQ that fell short of the standard PQ HDR curve (gamma for HDR), resulting in the darker images. The best I could achieve after attempting to calibrate the Reference mode was better than the out-of-the box result, but still lacked sufficient brightness. Jumanji: The Next Level was one of the HDR discs that was reasonably free of this. But the bright desert scenes in the first act looked just a little darker than you would expect from such an environment, particularly in HDR. The night scenes in the outlaw-infested town looked a little crushed, but never to an excessive degree, and the shadow details were generally realistic.

To be fair, however, this limitation—a too-dark PQ curve—isn't unusual in a projector, though some designs manage to avoid it. The home video PQ curve was designed for flat-screen sets, and a home projector must cope with source material that might be mastered at peak white levels as high as 10,000 nits—though often closer to 2,000. Tone-mapping is used to make these high levels visibly acceptable on flat-screen sets that typically achieve peak brightness levels of 600-1,200 nits (some do go higher, though few achieve over 2,000). But even a remotely affordable home projector will struggle to reach 150 nits, and will be used on screen sizes and gains that are unpredictable to the projector's design team. These are real issues when designing a projector for home use that will have to cope with source material never mastered with projection in mind.

In response to my criticisms of the VPL-VW715ES's HDR performance, Sony checked out my sample, confirmed that it was working as expected, and explained that the projector's HDR tuning—given the abovementioned limitations of projected HDR—was the result of subjective assessments of what the optimal image should look like, based on their long understanding of producers' creative intent. Nonetheless, they offered to send me a second sample for another look. I ran the new projector (with its fresh lamp) in for approximately 40-50 hours before proceeding.

In my first go-around, I had used the Reference preset for all of the above observations. But this time I took a closer look at Cinema Film 1. This mode has Motionflow set to True Cinema by default. I tend to avoid motion compensation in general as I'm extremely sensitive to the soap-opera effect that almost inevitably accompanies it. But as mentioned earlier, True Cinema did not trigger any obvious SOE, so I left it turned on.

I still had to push the projector to the same near-max settings as before to achieve a visually satisfying result in my room with my screen. That meant the Advanced Iris Dynamic Control was on Limited, the Brightness control within the Advanced Iris menu on its default of Maximum, the Dynamic HDR Enhancer on High, the Lamp setting on High (default for HDR), and the main menu Contrast control between 70 and 80 (I mostly used 75: the default is 50). This occasionally resulted in white clipping, but it was usually infrequent, brief, and (for me) not distracting even though I knew when and where to look for it.

vplvw715es rear

The result was a modest but noticeable improvement over and above using the Reference mode, with a picture that was a tad brighter without noticeable side effects. This helped address my main earlier criticism: HDR images that often obscured shadow detail, at least as judged by a video purist. It wasn't a dramatic change, but then it's often a small step from disappointing to "OK, I can live with that."

And I could now easily live with that. Still, I was ultimately able to apply another fix—involving an outboard source—that further improved the image and fully addressed the issues I observed. The Panasonic DP-UB9000 UHD Blu-ray player is one of a few similarly featured Panasonic players with a range of HDR tone-mapping adjustments. At $1,000, the DP-UB9000 isn't a trivial acquisition, though other models with less vault-like construction range as low as $250. This isn't the place for a full discussion of that product, but its settings do allow it to tone-map a source down to a brightness range suitable for a projector (thus minimizing clipping), plus it offers an HDR Optimizer control along with a range of level sliders for the dark and light portions of the image. With this player as the source, a subtle increase in the dark adjustment in particular (its max capability is +12, but +3 was plenty in my situation) completely eliminated my black crush concerns while maintaining the shadings and shadows needed to retain what appeared to be the basic intent of the photography.

I originally used the Oppo Ultra HD Blu-ray player because I was reviewing the Sony projector, and resorting to outboard HDR processing would have obscured the projector's HDR performance. It also could be argued that the adjustments possible with the Panasonic player deviate from the fixed standards set for HDR (vs. the looser luminance standards in SDR). But as noted earlier, HDR was never designed with projectors in mind, but rather for flat-screen TVs that offer ample peak brightness. Given the relatively low cost of one of these players, and in the absence of additional HDR fine-tuning that Sony might make to the VW715ES in future firmware, it's not an unreasonable approach for those seeking the last bit of HDR performance today from the projector. I can report that it moved my opinion of the Sony VPL-VW715ES's HDR from "I can comfortably live with that" to "this is exceptional."

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in HDR demonstrated challenging dark moments and impressive bright highlights on the Sony. (Photo Credit: Universal Studios)

Still, even without the Panasonic tweak, the new sample in Cinema Film 1 mode with the changes noted performed well. The opening scenes of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom are extremely dark, and while there were a few spots where the shadow detail was harder to spot there was never any confusion as to what was happening. Those scenes also feature some extremely bright highlights that popped impressively against the surrounding gloom. In a later scene, as Claire is shown around the museum area of the Lockwood estate, those shadings still hinted at a little black crush, but not enough to put off most viewers. And while the movie Pitch Black employs a lot of dicey photography to show us a truly alien world, the more realistic interior dark scenes in that title were skillfully handled.

3D Viewing. While flat screen sets have long abandoned 3D, many projectors still offer it, including the Sony VPL-VW715. And while 3D's brightness, in these days of hyper-punchy HDR, isn't particularly gripping, I still found it acceptable here, with impressive depth, crisp images, and enough brightness for enjoyable viewing. Given a screen the size of mine or smaller it should definitely satisfy your 3D itch. I didn't calibrate the set for 3D, having less than fond memories of trying to do so seven or eight years ago when 3D was being touted as the Next Big Thing. But I did watch parts of Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3D on the VW715ES, and found the experience far more compelling than I anticipated. The Sony has a built-in 3D sensor to link to appropriate 3D glasses; I used an older pair of Sony 3D spectacles.


The Sony VPL-VW715ES is a superb projector, and while there are less pricey designs that can come close to it (the laws of diminishing returns are particularly vicious on projectors), I can't imagine anyone being less than thrilled by it. My initial reservations about its HDR performance remain to a degree, but, as discussed here, there are ways to limit or even eliminate any such concerns. And even as it stands today, without any potential firmware improvements, Sony's updates to the VPL-VW695ES place the new VPL-VW715ES among today's top-tier projectors.


SDR Calibration. I performed all of my calibrations using Calman software from Portrait Displays together with a Murideo Six-G generator and a Klein K10-A colorimeter, the latter profiled against a Photo Research PR-650 spectroradiometer. I used the Reference preset mode for all of my viewing and testing in SDR, and the Cinema Film 1 preset for HDR.

Delta E is a measure of how close a measured result comes to the target. A Delta E of under 3.0 is generally considered visibly undetectable. Before calibration the SDR grayscale (white balance) Delta Es were under 3.97 at all levels (using the DE2000 standard both here and below). The color Delta Es were all under 2.51. After calibration, no grayscale Delta Es were higher than 2.58, and most were under 1.8 from 20% to 100%, with the calibrated color Delta Es all under 0.83 at a peak white level of 20.6 foot-Lamberts (70.6 nits), again in a 10% window. Both before and after, the measured gamma tightly matched the 2.4 setting used for the calibration.

A Color Checker test revealed a post-calibration Delta E maximum of 4.4 and an average of 1.7. A 5-step Rec.709 saturation sweep from 20% to 100% produced a superb result, marred only by slightly undersaturated red from 20% to 80%—likely small enough to be visibly insignificant.

With the Sony's lamp set to Low and the Advanced Iris on Limited, the full-on, full-of contrast ratio measured 33,200:1 (66.4 nits peak white in a 10% window, 0.002 nits full black).

HDR Calibration. As described in the review, when my initial take on the Sony's HDR performance proved slightly less than fully satisfying, I redid my work on a second sample. The results for the latter are those presented here (the SDR results above were for the first sample; there were no issues there and thus no need to re-do them).

The pre-calibration results weren't encouraging. The Cinema Film 1 preset was selected, the Lamp Control was High, the Advanced Iris was set to Limited/Max Brightness, the Dynamic HDR Enhancer was left in the Off position, and the Contrast was set to 50. I found these settings too dim to enjoy, and the measured results bore that out. The EOTF curve produced results that were far darker than the standard, resulting in a peak grayscale Delta E of 36. Most of this error was due to the reduced luminance from the displaced EOTF curve.

As noted in the review, I started with the D65 color temperature setting for my HDR calibration on the second sample, which would have necessitated working with the Custom 3 (or another) setting for SDR had I talken the time to fully recalibrate the projector. (It wasn't needed here as I was only reassessing HDR after getting stellar results with SDR on the earlier sample.) After an HDR grayscale (white balance) calibration, still in Cinema Film 1, the other control settings were changed as follows: the Advanced Iris was still set to Limited/Max Brightness with the Lamp Control on High, but the Dynamic HDR Enhancer was set to Maximum and the Contrast was increased to 75. Now the maximum grayscale Delta E was 4.8—not enlightened by flat screen TV standards but good considering that the measured EOTF curve still edged a bit darker than the ideal, though far closer to correct than before (there was no additional control range available to improve it further).

The peak HDR output was now 140 nits with a black level of 0.0024 nits, for a full-on/full-off contrast ratio of 58,558:1. But in HDR the basic picture information falls below 50%, with the 50%-100% range reserved for the HDR highlights. The peak calibrated output was 76 nits at 50% for a full-on/full-off contrast ratio (for the non-highlight contents of the picture) of 31,825:1. (For comparison, in the pre-calibration settings the white level was 176 nits at 100% but just 18 nits (5.3 ftL) at 50%.

A DCI-P3-within-Rec.2020 color saturation sweep, with the luminance from 20% to 100% at 20% intervals, was good. I'd give it a gentleman's B. The main offender was green, which curved a bit toward yellow at the top end. I didn't use the Sony's CMS for my HDR color calibration as it lacked sufficient control range to make a significant difference. A color checker test, which evaluates the accuracy of a wide range of real-world colors, produced color Delta Es of 4.8/8.24 (average/maximum) with luminance errors included, and 2.56/6.24 (average/maximum) without luminance errors included. While again not as ideal as I often see in flat-screen sets, I had no issues with the Sony's perceived color. Flesh tones sometimes edged toward being too warm, but that's often inherent in films and other sources as well.

The post-calibration peak white levels at varying peak white window pattern sizes were 110 nits at 2%, 121 nits at 5%, 160 nits at 25%, and 145 nits at 100% (the other measurements here were taken with a 10% window). The Sony VPL-VW715ES reached 59.2% coverage of Rec.2020 and 81.2% of P3 (using the 1976 standard). That might seem low, but in 2018 I reviewed Sony's VPL-VW295ES and obtained almost identical results (60.5% and 82.9% respectively).

Brightness. The brightest measurement was measured in the Cinema Film 1 preset, which came in at 1,608 ANSI lumens and 1,657 max lumens at the brightest point measured. Changing the lamp mode from High to Low in any preset reduced the brightness by 41%. The ANSI lumens for all the SDR picture modes was as follows.


Mode High Low
Cinema Film 1 1,608 948
Cinema Film 2 1,590 939
TV 1,523 898
Photo 1,473 869
Game 1,527 901
Bright Cinema 1,529 903
Bright TV 1,500 885
Reference 1,557 919
User 1,559 920

Zoom Lens Light Loss. Moving the zoom lens from its widest position to the full telephoto position reduced brightness by a measured 24.3%.

Brightness Uniformity. At the widest zoom setting, brightness uniformity measured 93%. At the longest zoom setting, it measured slightly higher at 96%, though on a slightly smaller measurement image that may have modestly increased the margin of error.

Image Lag. I checked for image lag using the Leo Bodnar tester (in 1080p). This measured 126 ms for the Reference preset without Input Lag Reduction and a much more acceptable (for gamers) 39 ms in the Game preset with lag reduction engaged. I did not have a UHD lag meter on hand to check image lag at 3840x2160 resolution.

Fan Noise. Fan noise was nearly silent in Low lamp mode, and almost as quiet in High. Only the High Altitude option caused the fan to become obviously loud, to the point that those who require it might consider isolating the projector if it's in close proximity to viewers.


vplvw715es connections
  • HDMI 2.0b (x2) with HDCP 2.2
  • 12V Trigger (x2)
  • IR In
  • RS-232
  • USB Type A (firmware and service)
  • Ethernet (RJ-45)

Calibrated Settings

Calibrated image settings from any third-party do not account for the significant potential for sample-to-sample variation, nor the different screen sizes and materials, lighting, lamp usage, or other environmental factors that can affect image quality. Projectors should always be calibrated in the user's own space and tuned for the expected viewing conditions. However, the settings provided here may be a helpful starting point for some. Always record your current settings before making adjustments so you can return to them as desired. Refer to the Performance section of the review and the calibration notes in the Measurements section for some context for each calibration.

Sony VPL-VW715ES Picture Settings

Calibration Preset Reference Cinema Film 1 (HDR)
Reality Creation Off or On (SDR and HDR) If On: Resolution 20
Noise Filtering 10
Defocus Optimizer On
Cinema Black Pro
Advanced Iris Limited Limited
Brightness Max Max
Contrast Enhancer Low N/A
Dynamic HDR Enhancer N/A High
Lamp Control Low High
Motionflow Off True Cinema
Contrast 88 75
Brightness 53 53
Color 50 50
Hue 50 50
Color Temp.* D65 D65
Sharpness 50 50
NR Off Off
Smooth Gradation Off Off
Gamma Correction 2.4 N/A
Color Correction On Off
Clear White Off Off
x.v.Color Off N/A
HDR Auto Auto
Color Space BT.709 BT.2020
Input Lag Reduction Off Off

*Note that you cannot enter different Gain and Bias values for the same basic Color Temp selection such as D65. For logistical reasons involving a second sample used to re-evaluate the HDR results, we entered the Gain and Bias values below manually with each change from HDR to SDR. If you want this to be done automatically you must choose a different Color Temp. selection in the main menu for SDR, such as Custom 3. In that case, the SDR values shown here will not be correct as the background values of Custom 3 will be different from those for D65.

Color Temp. SDR D65

Gain -5 0 1
Bias 7 0 3

Color Temp. HDR D65

Gain -14 -8 -1
Bias 3 0 -2

Color Correction SDR

Hue 2 13 0 2 9 0
Saturation -2 7 -5 8 -5 -7
Brightness 8 -4 8 -3 -2 0

Color Correction HDR


For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Sony VPL-VW715ES projector page.

Comments (16) Post a Comment
Jonathan Posted Oct 22, 2020 6:05 AM PST
No HDMI 2.1? No Buy
Khanzada Mianwal Posted Oct 22, 2020 9:28 AM PST
Agreed we Say very loud & clear "No" without HDMI 2.1
Fozia Posted Oct 23, 2020 5:17 AM PST
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 23, 2020 6:26 AM PST
It's in the review and also at the top in the info box.
Shawn D Posted Oct 26, 2020 11:24 AM PST
Not sure why the cancellation of consideration regarding this device and the lack of HDMI 2.1, considering it is a native 4K piece that will see zero benefit to having a 48Gbps pipeline, doesn't need eARC, and the GAME Mode offers more than acceptable latency. 4K @ 120? Okay, find me the source that provides it. Dynamic HDR...could benefit, I'll agree. Variable refresh...again, find me the source providing it. But to each their own I guess. Splitting hairs mostly IMO.
Akash Posted Dec 28, 2020 5:51 AM PST
Thanks for the detailed review. So as a bottom-line then, is the JVC N7/RS2000 a better buy for 4k-HDR?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Dec 28, 2020 1:48 PM PST
We preferred the dynamic HDR function on the JVC NX7 and on the NX5 to what we found on this Sony. Both JVC's are less expensive. Beyond this, without doing a side-by-side or having the same reviewer commenting on both projectors we can't pass full judgement.
Simon Smith Posted Dec 31, 2020 6:59 AM PST
I have a completely dark HT room. I currently own a Sony VW95ES projector from 2011. I am wondering if anyone can comment on the black level of the VW715ES versus an older 1080P projector such as the VW95ES. I have read multiple comments that the black level of newer 4K projectors is not as good as the older 1080P projectors.
David Posted Feb 20, 2021 10:23 PM PST
Does VW715ES have any problems with projecting 150"-166" diagonal (16:9) image? Is the VW915ES (laser version) twice as good at $20K?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 1, 2021 3:21 PM PST
David, you can check our projection calculator to see if the projector will handle that size at whatever throw distance you intend to use it at.
DMizser Posted Jan 27, 2022 7:45 AM PST
Is this projector suitable to use in a semi-dark art studio (where there's always more or less ambient lighting) or really expects a fully darkened home theater?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jan 31, 2022 2:36 PM PST
The VW715 isn't a terribly bright projector and is really intended for dark room viewing. Although you can get a decent image in moderate ambient light, it's great strength -- the excellent black levels and contrast delivered by its LCoS-based SXRD imagers -- is largely lost once you have ambient light washing on the screen. It doesn't make sense to pay this much for a projector and not get the key benefit you're paying for (along with superb color accuracy and detail...which you CAN find in other projectors.
Jackson w Posted Apr 13, 2022 10:04 AM PST
Hi ,I currently own Sony vpl vw1100es ,rated dynamic contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 and 2,000 lumens brightness. Which is currently discontinued (manufactured 2014) compare to new Sony vpl vw715es (2020) rated at 1,800 ANSI lumens (in High Lamp mode) and 350,000:1 rated dynamic contrast .my question is , would the vpl vw715es be an upgrade due to the new x1 processor with an improve algorithm for better details and dynamic hdr enhancement. And also would it be a night and day difference compare to my old vpl vw1100es .thanks
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 13, 2022 10:23 AM PST
Jackson, at this point either the 715 or one of the new JVC's (laser or the new lamp-driven NP5) or the new laser-driven Epsons would be a significant upgrade. At this point, the VW715 is at a notable price disadvantage to more current laser models from JVC in particular and also Epson with its LS12000. Laser is on the rise; I would consider waiting a bit and see what might come out over the next few months in the mid-to-premium category then make a decision on the total offerings within your budget.
John Posted Apr 27, 2022 12:08 PM PST
Since I have a small room I woud have to run full wide angle which would cost me brightness and as this projector is not the brightest I am scared about poor SDR/HDR performance. What do you think?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 27, 2022 12:12 PM PST
This model has just been replaced with an updated model with a laser engine of much higher brightness.

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