Test Report: Sony VPL-HW30ES 3D HD Projector

There are two ways to look at the rapidly decreasing price point of 3D HD projectors. The first way: Manufacturers are racing one another to the bottom by finding ways to make 3D cheaper and cheaper. The second, more accurate way: 3D is just a new feature (though one marketed to within an inch of its life) found on cheaper and cheaper products, just as 1080p resolution was a few years ago.

Looked at through those eyes, the Sony VPLHW30ES is less a “new 3D projector” and more a continuation of a long line of excellent SXRD models from Sony that now just happen to also do 3D. Plus, it’s a fantastic value.

 It wasn’t more than a few months ago that 3D projection couldn’t be had for less than $5,000. Sorry, I mean you couldn’t get a projector with the 3D feature for less than $5,000. With the HW30ES, you get not only the ability to do 3D but also a budget version of Sony’s high-end SXRD projectors. After spending some time with the HW30ES, I had a difficult time figuring out what makes it the low end of anything.


Like its identical-looking predecessor, the VPL-VWPRO1, the HW30ES has manual zoom, focus, and lens shift. This makes setup rather speedy, with the exception of focus, which requires running back and forth from the projector to the screen to check. I suppose you could employ an assistant. Review your local union/child-labor laws.