Sony has announced the release of two native 4K SXRD home theater projectrors, resulting in a near-complete refresh of its line since September 2020 that includes a new flagship and updates to four out of five pre-existing long-throw 4K models.

Sony VPL VW1025ES 800
Sony VPL-VW1025ES 4K SXRD Laser Projector

With the introduction of the VPL-VW325ES ($5,499) and VPL-VW1025ES ($39,999), Sony has replaced its previous entry-level 4K SXRD projector (the VPL-VW295ES) and its prior premium model with a non-detachable lens (VPL-VW995ES). Each carries a $500 price hike over its predecessor, and in the case of the VPL-VW325ES, marks the end of Sony's long-running "4K under $5K" marketing claim that began with the introduction of the VPL-VW285ES in 2017.

Like the three models introduced in September, the VPL-VW715ES ($9,999; replaces VPL-VW695ES), VPL-VW915ES ($19,999; replaces VPL-VW885ES), and new 10,000-lumen VPL-GTZ380 ($80,000 excluding lens), the two new models feature Sony's X1 for projector processor, a spin-off of the powerful X1 processor used in its premium Bravia televisions.

Sony VPL VW325ES 800
Sony VPL-VW325ES 4K SXRD Projector

Critically, both projectors use the additional processing power to monitor the signal and execute versions of the Dynamic HDR Enhancer feature introduced in the fall. The VPL-VW1025ES is a 2,200-lumen laser projector that uses a combination of laser modulation, a dynamic iris, and signal processing to effect both a deepening of blacks and a boosting of highlights for a better HDR experience. Like its predecessor model, it also uses a version of Sony's high-end ARC-F lens. Image clarity is further enhanced by Sony's Digital Focus Optimizer technology, which monitors the zoom lens position and uses the information to inform signal processing that corrects inherent optical errors at the outer edges of the image.

The VPL-VW325ES is lamp-driven and rated for 1,500 lumens. It is available in either a black or white chassis. Like the VPL-VW295ES that came before it, it features no mechanical iris and its HDR Enhancer implementation benefits only from signal processing. It uses the same high quality aspherical lens found in the VPL-VW715ES and VPL-VW915ES. This projector lacks the Digital Focus Optimizer feature found in the higher end models, though it does share with them an enhanced Reality Creation scaling engine that makes use of the more powerful processor to further improve clarity on images of native 1080p or lesser resolution and better perform digital noise reduction.

Sony VPL VW325ES white 800
The VPL-VW325ES comes with either a black or white chassis.

Like their predecessors, both models offer powered zoom, focus, and lens shift and also like their predecessors, the entry-level VPL-VW325 lacks lens memory settings that might be used for a constant-image-height (CIH) setup on a 2.35:1 'Scope-style screen.

Sony's input lag reduction mode found in earlier models is available on both new projectors for a respectable claimed 27 milliseconds of lag when gaming with 4K/60 Hz signals. HDMI ports are version 2.0 with 18 Gbps bandwidth and HDCP 2.2 copyright management.

Of course, both new projectors feature Sony's LCoS-based SXRD imaging technology. They use the same 0.74-inch, 4096x2160-resolution chips found in the earlier models, which were updated in 2017 to provide a deeper native black. The three-chip design (one each for the red, green, and blue primaries) eliminates any chance of rainbow artifacts found on single-chip DLP projectors and guarantees equal white and color brightness.

With these introductions, all of Sony's long-throw 4K home theater projectors now feature the new X1 for projector processor except for the 5,000-lumen VPL-VW5000ES ($60,000). The VPL-VZ1000ES UST 4K laser projector ($14,999) and VPL-HW65ES 1080p SXRD projector ($2,999) have also been carried over from the previous line-up.

Both the VPL-VW1025ES and VPL-VW325ES can be pre-ordered as of today with expected availability in May. ProjectorCentral's review of the VPL-VW325ES will publish later this month.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Sony VPL-VW325ES-B projector page.

Comments (7) Post a Comment
Tony Posted Apr 15, 2021 5:39 PM PST
"Marks the end of Sony's long-running "4K under $5K" marketing claim" and therefore ends Sony's contention for my money. This isn't hugely new tech. We're coming out of COVID. Prices need to go down, not up. It's 2021. Make a 4K projector with dynamic IRIS for $3k already guys. Come on.

Also, I think this needs a correct: "Each carries a $5,000 price hike over its predecessor"? So the the VPL-VW295ES was $499?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 15, 2021 5:50 PM PST
Tony, thanks for the comment and the flag on the typo; we fixed it. Re: pricing, I agree that Sony’s holding back on a basic performance enhancer like a dynamic iris in a formerly $5000 and now $5,500 4K projector is an offense. Might feel differently if the step up to get it was $1k or $2k. But you have to go from $5500 to $10k, and that’s just wrong. Therefore, the step up is to the JVC DLA-NX5 at $7k.
Cory Posted Apr 16, 2021 4:25 AM PST
This will not be well received, still no iris in the least expensive model, which has INCREASED in price but not added any options (except processing that’s been in their TVs for years)...JVCs least expensive model (now at price parity) is still brighter and has much better contrast...but who’s keeping track?
Owen Posted Apr 16, 2021 10:58 AM PST
Ok , looks like Sony is not looking to sell to the average Joe working stiff as they keep their price ranges above what is feasible for the middle class to spend ... all I can say is good riddance... if they figure they can survive with catering to the rich , have at it...
Wic Posted Apr 29, 2021 11:34 AM PST
I was waiting for a refresh of these, but it kind of feels like it didn't happen? 27ms and no HDMI 2.1, no 120Hz..? Did they just stop trying with these projectors?
Bryan Posted May 6, 2021 11:39 AM PST
"....But you have to go from $5500 to $10k, and that’s just wrong. Therefore, the step up is to the JVC DLA-NX5 at $7k."

But the NX5 doesn't have a dynamic iris or lens memories either, does it?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted May 7, 2021 10:21 AM PST
Bryan, we reported in our review of the DLA-NX5 that it indeed has a dynamic iris with settings choices of fixed, Auto 1, or Auto 2. But I inquired with our JVC contact about this to be sure and he clarified that there is a difference between the NX5 and step up models in that the higher models have a dual iris. I also asked about lens memories.

Directly from JVC:

"The NX5/RS1000 absolutely has a dynamic iris. This can easily be confirmed by looking in the menu where you will find Auto1/Auto2/Off in the Aperture setting.

The only difference on the step models regarding the aperture is The NX5/RS1000 has a single aperture at the lens. The NX7/RS2000 and NX9/RS3000 have a dual aperture with one aperture at the lens and a second near the lamp. These apertures work in tandem to reduce light scatter which is a big part of the reason behind the higher contrast specs on those models.

And, yes, all current D-ILA models have 10 motorized installation modes/lens memories. They can memorize not only lens settings but also pixel alignment and other relevant projector settings."

Post a comment

Enter the numbers as they appear to the left