Sony VPL-VW70 Review Wheeling WV
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Sony VPL-VW70 Review
March 9, 2009 By Geoffrey Morrison
The Sony VPL-VW70 does black, it does bright, it does color and above all, it does it quietly.
I’m not sure how Sony does it, but it seems like with each new generation of projector, they somehow make them quieter.
This is kind of like saying, walking barefoot on moss was quiet, but not walking barefoot on moss is even quieter.
Sound output should not be taken lightly when looking at a potential projector for your abode. I’ve reviewed a lot of projectors over the years, and I can count on one hand those that didn’t make their presence known. It’s as if some projector manufacturers aren’t content creating a massive image on screen, they also want you to hear it. And by "it" I mean fan noise. What, the projector isn't want you want to hear? What’s dialogue?
So Sony joins an elite few that not only create a stunning image (don’t worry, we’ll get to that), but does so by being nearly inconspicuous as well.
It's the VPL-VW70's stylish black case that muffles the noise so exceedingly well, but this isn’t to say that it's silent. If you are seated next to it (or below it), you’ll hear it. But not only is its overall volume level much lower compared to most projectors, but the sound is mere white noise. In some ways this is more important. No frequencies stand out over others, which makes the sound disappear when there is any other noise in the room.
This lack of extraneous noise makes it easier to hear quiet passages in movies. It makes dialogue easier to understand. It makes puppies and kittens; well, you get the idea. Quiet is good.
On to the eyes
From a picture quality standpoint, the VW70 is an evolution from the VW60 (which is still being offered). What you get, from a features checklist point of view, is xvYCC color capability (not that there’s any source material that can take advantage of it), a more advanced iris and perhaps most important, an anamorphic mode.
This latter feature, when coupled with an anamorphic lens, allows for 2.35:1 movies to be displayed at their full width on 2.35:1 screens.
While a greater contrast ratio is claimed in the spec sheets, I didn’t find there to be too much of a difference between the VW60 and VW70. There was definitely an improvement, just not the 40 percent or so they claim. Then again, all manufacturers’ numbers are, shall we say, optimistic.
What matters, of course, it how the projector looks on screen, and that’s easy. It looks excellent. The image is punchy, with generally deep black levels. I say “generally” as the VW70 uses an auto iris. This technology uses an iris to make dark images darker and bright images brighter. So dark scenes get darker, and that means deep blacks. Bright scenes are brighter, which means an image that pops. This technology has evolved enough that it’s doubtful you’ll ever see it “pulsing” the light output as some used to do.
Conversely, an auto iris can’t make the contrast per scene any different (it...