Sony VPL-VW570ES UHD 4k projector review

Inside CI 5 Rating

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posted on Saturday, 23rd February 2019 by Steve May

projectors  AWE Europe  Marata Vision  Sony 

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The VPL-VW570ES occupies the specification sweet spot in Sony’s current 4k UHD projection offerings. Comfortably priced positioned above the VPL-VW270ES, and a good deal shy of the high performance £25,000 laser-light VPL-VW870ES, it appears to strike the right balance between performance and price.

Sure, the VPL-VW270ES remains a temptation, particularly if you want native 4k projection on a budget, but the VPL-VW570ES boasts advantages that warrant its price premium, not least a dynamic iris and additional brightness.

Sony VPL-VW570ES 4k UHD projector: Installation and setup
This Sony is an installer’s dream. Getting from box to box-office takes no time at all. Focus and zoom are all motorised, easily adjusted via the supplied remote control. There’s accommodating lens shift if you’re wrestling with less than perfect placement. Adjustments are delivered in precise increments, making fine tuning a doddle.

The model also features a Picture Position Memory which can be used in conjunction with advanced screen masking, to cover a host of film formats, from ‘Scope style 21:9 to TV-centric 16:9. The lens, zoom and shift settings for up to five different screen ratios can be stored in memory.

It takes no time at all to get the image perfectly aligned and pin sharp.

The VLP-VW570ES is suitable for medium and large size theatres. The throw ratio is 1.38 - 2.83. A 100-inch image requires a throw distance of between 3.05m - 6.28m. Opt for a 120-inch screen, and your minimum distance would be around 3.67m.

However, it’s not a light cannon. Output is rated at 1,800 lumens, with a quoted dynamic contrast of 350,000:1. While installers could get away with using the projector in an environment with some ambient light, it’s at its best in a fully dark theatre room, where that dynamic iris can be seen enhancing contrast.

Side View (1)

Sony VPL-VW570ES 4k UHD projector: Build quality and features
As we’ve come to expect from Sony Professional, build quality and finish is first class. The projector cabinet has a luscious (and practical) matte finish, and is available in either black or white. Vents cool then expel warm air either side of the centred lens. A copper-coloured collar lends the glass optics a premium finish, but there's no integrated lens cover. Just a pop-on cover.

Tipping the scales at 14kg, this is a large model, at least compared to the sort of beamers that might typically service a media room. However it’s not onerously bulky.

Connections, as expected, can be found to the side. There are two full spec (18Gbps 4K HDR up to 60Hz) HDMI inputs, plus RS-232C, IR minijack, twin 12v triggers and Ethernet LAN. Integrators can access projector settings using a web-based interface, and employ control and monitoring through AMX, Crestron, RoomView and Control4 protocols. There’s also a USB service port.

The projector employs 10-bit processing and is compatible with source components capable of 4K 60Hz.

Beneath the lid there’s a high pressure 280w mercury lamp, with a lifespan rated at 6,000 hours when the lamp is set Low mode. This diminishes faster when running 4k HDR.

As standard, there’s a large, backlit remote control. Principal controls are also duplicated on the projector itself, offering another way to navigate settings.

The VPL-VW570ES is 3D capable, however no Active Shutter glasses are included in the box.

Lens (3)

HDMI Inputs And Remote

Sony VPL-VW570ES 4k UHD projector: Performance
This Sony scores highly straight from the box. Picture quality is impressive, both in terms of UHD clarity and colour vibrancy. Images don’t just pop, they explode.

UHD TV shows and movies look superb, and it’s something of a revelation with sports too (you’ll need either a Sky Q or Virgin V6 box as a source).

Sony remains one of the few companies to offer genuine native 4k projection, without recourse to pixel shifting or mirror flipping technologies. Its 4K SXRD (Silicon X-tal Reflective Display) chipset, here in its latest guide, supports up to 4096 x 2160p cinema resolution, but you’ll almost certainly only require 3840x2160p.

A familiar array of standard image adjustments, include Sharpness, Colour Temperature, Colour, Brightness and Contrast, can be saved into the User memory.

There’s a variety of motion smoothing models: TrueCinema, Smooth Low, Smooth High, Combination and Impulse, with Black Frame Insertion. The latter is not pleasing to watch; the most effective is the TrueCinema mode, which leaves 24p content untouched.

The projector is HDR compatible with HDR10 and broadcast HLG, although this warrants a little qualification. The fact is that home projectors can’t actually deliver a genuine HDR viewing experience. Unlike a flatscreen, there no local light or pixel control available. When a projector receives HDR metadata it merely attempts to tone map, and on lesser models this can make images uncomfortably dark. A 4k SDR source more often than not delivers a better result.

That said, this Sony doesn’t suffer from HDR light constriction or wash-out highlights. For the more part, there’s plenty of sparkle.

HDR

Image Presets (1)

Interestingly, there’s a specific HDR reference mode available for content mastered with a peak of 1000 cd/m² (aka nits). This should be used for all TV content, and the majority of movie material.

Running Pacific Rim: Uprising (UHD Blu-ray) allows the model to strut its stuff. An early pursuit sequence, featuring the single-pilot Jaeger Scrapper, looks mesmerising; even the way the Sony handles bright blue sky and cloud detail is impressive. The sheer level of granular detail and colour depth is immersive. Its pictures are genuinely cinematic.

Unlike cheaper DLP competitors, this Triluminos model offers wide colour gamut coverage up to DCI-P3. The colour fidelity of UHD Blu-rays is positively lush, and even rec. 709 content looks gloriously vibrant, with no overt colour banding.

Even without a laser light engine, black level performance is high. Check out Bagheera the Black Panther, in Mowgli Legend of the Jungle (4K HDR, Netflix). His glossy coat and fur detail will prove a challenge for any display, but this Sony exhibits nuance and believable heft. Contrast is pronounced, aided by that dynamic iris. The mechanism is quite refined, and doesn’t give the impression that it’s hunting.

Sony’s Reality Creation image enhancement technology contributes extra definition to fine detail, enhancing on-screen textures. Using pattern-matching algorithms, with data accumulated by Sony’s Hollywood studios, it miraculously avoids unwanted artefacts or misinterpreting noise.

The projector also takes a measured approach to upscaling regular HD sources. It’s images never look overly ripe or artificially enhanced.

Operational noise is quoted at 26dB, but seems higher. It’s at its calmest projecting SDR content. Worth noting when it comes to seating distances.

Sony VPL-VW570ES 4k UHD projector: Verdict
The VPL-VW570ES is a massively impressive native 4k projector. If you’re specifying a home theatre, it ticks most every box. Images are detailed and colour rich, contrast is exceptional. This model casts gloriously filmic images.It's difficult to fault the quality of Sony’s picture processing.

Every premium theatre deserves one.

The Sony VPL-VW570ES is available now
Price: £8,000

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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