Sony VPL-VW70 SXRD front projector Page 2

PERFORMANCE

Watching the VPL-VW70 deliver its first image after it warms up is like tapping the gas pedal of a Ferrari for the first time: You're just blown away by the raw power.

A few chapters from such old favorites as The Fifth Element and Ratatouille revealed lush (but never cartoonish) color, intense (but never overblown) contrast, and deep (but never overly opaque) blacks. The contrast lent the image incredible depth; in certain scenes, the image took on an almost 3-D quality.

I got the biggest thrill from the VPL-VW70 when I put on Coma, a Blu-ray Disc that was glued into the pages of a tech magazine I bought. This isn't the 1978 medical thriller; it's a gangster pic starring Michael Madsen and George Hamilton. It won't win any awards for script or acting, but its unique visuals grabbed me. The blacks are super-deep, the whites are blown out, and there's not much in between. What little color there is looks as saturated as Colgate toothpaste. Playing this fast-moving, dense visual content through the VPL-VW70 was like putting a Ferrari on a twisty mountain pass -- it let the projector show off everything it can do. I wasn't able to follow the plot, but the image was so dazzling that I couldn't stop watching.

More mundane material from test DVDs revealed that the projector's internal video processing is fully up to date. Whether I was playing standard-def material, high-def TV programs, or 1080p images from Blu-ray Discs, everything looked great.

Much as I enjoyed the VPL-VW70's picture, I enjoyed its sound even more. Or perhaps I should say its lack of sound -- it's the quietest projector I've encountered. In low-lamp mode, it sounds like a soft breath coming from a wide-open mouth.

BOTTOM LINE

Many of today's projectors are like Hondas: You just power them up and they give you performance that's hard to complain about. The VPL-VW70, though, has more in common with a Ferrari. With a little patience and (preferably) professional tuning, it'll deliver a picture that might redefine your expectations of what a video projector can do.

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