Article written by Steve May
We’d hesitate to call Sony’s new VPL-HW20 an entry-level projector, but it’s fair to say that at £2,400 it’s at the more affordable end of the prestige market. Certainly in terms of build, it looks impressive. The model is big-ish, and sports a high-grade gloss black finish. Build quality is generally excellent and operating noise is pleasingly low, provided you run the lamp on the economical Low setting.
The HW20 replaces Sony’s VPL-HW15 model, but ostensibly looks rather similar. Beneath the hood, however, it employs an upgraded optical engine which delivers a serious boost in brightness. This gives the HW20’s images much more sparkle and throws a lifeline to shadow detail. Black levels are very good, while colour fidelity is as rich as coffee cake. Sony rates contrast at 80,000:1, via an Advanced (dynamic) Iris.
Picture clarity on the Sony VPL-HW20 is good. Full HD tills are blisteringly sharp. The projector isn’t so good when it comes to motion resolution. Sony hasn’t employed its MotionFlow technology to claw back detail, and using our moving resolution test charts we measured a serious fall in perceived clarity, enough to take some of the crispness out of any moving HD image. The subjective viewing experience, though, remains very good. Taking a 1080/24p feed over HDMI the projector is largely free from frame judder.
What to consider before you buy the Sony VPL-HW20 Projector
An expensive projector for many enthusiasts – there are other options available for less money that may suit better.
Why you should buy the Sony VPL-HW20 Projector
Overall, we would rate this as a fine projector although one we fear may fall between stools. It’s a little too expensive for mainstream buyers, and perhaps not quite advanced enough for demanding cinephiles. Rating: /5
Buy the Sony VPL-HW20 Projector