Sony’s VW260ES is about as close to an objectively premium native 4K projector as you’re likely to find anywhere at this price point. Unlike most projectors on the market, it features genuine native 4K resolution, that’s 8 million pixels on both the panel and the screen, which we can assure you is a whole lot rarer than you’d think.
What’s the Sony VW260ES all about?
Of course, the native 4K resolution is the headline-grabbing feature of this model, but there’s plenty more to it than that. It features premium SXRD projection technology, horizontal and vertical lens shifting, as well as a 3-year warranty on the model itself, and a 1-year warranty on the lamp.
The question is – is it worth the price? And are home cinema projector enthusiasts going to be able to justify buying it even with this stunning tech potential?
Let’s look at some reviews
To get a good idea of whether it’s worth stretching to Sony’s price tag, it’s worth having a look at what some of the tech experts across the industry thought.
Trusted Reviews takes an optimistic view of the price tag, even going so far as to call it ‘comfortably the cheapest ever native 4K projector’. It does still however concede that the price tag remains a significant jump up from the pseudo-4K alternatives.
A look through their review will leave you in no doubt that the technology is worth the price. Citing such benefits as the quality of the native 4K resolution, well-handled HDR and motorised high-zoom lenses, the verdict certainly makes a strong case for the VW260ES.
Perhaps the only significant drawback that Trusted Reviews highlights is the quality of the black colours, which could be deeper.
What Hi Fi?
Regarding the depths of the blacks, at least, What Hi-Fi? couldn’t disagree with Trusted Reviews more, referring to ‘a competitive black depth that’s broadly on a par with the Optoma UHZ65’. Luckily, much of the rest of what follows is a similarly ringing endorsement of the model’s capabilities.
With no significant drawbacks to highlight, the review praised the projector for its easy set-up, sharp and concise images and realistic colour palette. At this price, you’re unlikely to get better technology but again, there’s no getting away from the fact that it remains a significant step up from pseudo-4K alternatives.
So what did we think?
There’s been a lot spoken about the price of the VW260ES. But as far as 4K technology goes, at £5,198.40 (Incl. VAT), it’s one of the more cost-effective native 4K models on the market. It just so happens that the genuine 4K market is a significant step up from any other variation whichever way you look at it.
Whereas ‘upscaled’ or ‘pixel-shifted’ projectors can start from as little as £1,000, native 4K models aren’t likely to get any cheaper than what Sony is asking here for a good while as the technology catches up.
In fact, the VW260ES could actually be the most cost-effective option in Sony’s current range. Compare it to the £14,998.80 price tag for the top-of-the-range VW760ES, for example, and you start to notice how transformative the 260ES really is in this market.
The quality of the tech here is without question.
Excluding some reviewers’ reservations about the HDR and the depths of the blacks (which we don’t agree with!), you’re certainly getting the premium, top-of-the-market technology you’d expect for this price.
In short, if you’ve got the budget for it, we say this model is definitely worth it.
If you haven’t, there are some pretty good alternatives out there.
4K vs. price – What else is there?
Perhaps the best thing about the pseudo-4K alternatives is the wider range of cost and technology they offer. These devices vary from super-cheap options starting from around £1,000, to more impressive versions with other add-ons that will come in at around the same price as the Sony.
Let’s get one thing off our chests: pseudo-4K is a very good alternative (could we say compromise?). By no means is it on the level of the native 4K counterparts, but there are some great models out there, especially when you consider the cost savings.
Here are some of our favourites.
Starting from just, £1,198.00 including VAT, the BenQ W1700 could well be the cheapest 4K home cinema projector on the market. And with 4,000 hours lamp life, a 10,000:1 contrast ratio and 2,200 lumens brightness, the rest of the specs aren’t half bad either.
Is it shy a few bells and whistles? Sure. But if you want decent, robust tech without a multi-thousand pound price tag – you’re in the right place.
If you’re looking for something that’s a good middle ground between the premium Sony model and the more pared back BenQ offering – then this is certainly what you’re looking for. At £2,899.20 inc. VAT it remains a happy bargain compared with the Sony.
At £4,998.00, you could be forgiven for taking one look at the pseudo-4K Optoma UHZ65 and deciding you might as well just stretch the extra £200 for Sony’s genuine 4K offering. And perhaps that’d be a fair conclusion to make – but maybe not quite that quickly.
The good thing about spending virtually the same money on a pseudo rather than native 4K offering, is that the rest of the technology can be significantly upgraded, far past that which the Sony can justifiably manage. In this case, the Optoma comes with a premium laser light source, complete with 200,000:1 contrast ratio and 20,000 hours of lamp life.
In many ways – other than native resolution – the Optoma could be seen to out-shine the Sony. And in resolution, it remains a fairly good imitation. Worth the trade-off? Well that’s down to your personal preferences – but it’s certainly worth considering.
The great thing about projectors is that you get such a diverse offering of technology at various different prices. So if you’re not excited about the price of the Sony, then the BenQ or the Epson are here to offer comparatively good quality at much lower prices.
If you’ve got the budget to spend on the Sony but think a laser light source justifies the money more than native 4K resolution then the Optoma has you covered.