Sony has revealed two new 4K laser projectors, one of which is as massive and high-end as these things are usually anticipated. The other is far smaller and less expensive than prior laser alternatives, making a 4K laser a viable alternative to a large-screen TV.
The Sony VPL-XW5000ES, which is a little option, piques our curiosity. These two projectors are essentially replacing the Sony VPL-VW790ES model, which is "30 percent smaller in size and 35 percent lighter in weight," making it much simpler to fit into a room, whether you want to ceiling-mount it or locate a handy shelf. The exact dimensions are 18.1 x 7.9 x 18.6 inches / 460 x 200 x 472mm.
Sony also claims that it delivers 2,000 lumens of brightness while using 30% less energy per lumen, making it more efficient (running cooler and quieter) than prior laser choices.
When it launches in summer 2022 – particularly in July or August – The Sony VPL-XW5000ES will retail for $5,999 / £5,999 (AU pricing to be determined). That's still a lot of money compared to what most people pay for a 4K TV, but it's on par with the top 4K projectors, and – more importantly – it puts it on par with the best 85-inch televisions.
The Samsung QN95B, for example, costs more for an 85-inch model... and they're only 85 inches. For the same price, this projector is designed to go bigger — a lot bigger.
The Sony VPL-XW7000ES is the brother of the larger VPL-XW5000ES, but it's not much bigger at 18.1 x 8.3 x 20.4 inches / 460 x 210 x 517mm. It is pricing, though, is significantly higher, at $27,999 / £14,999, which is much closer to what we've seen for high-end laser projectors.
You get a brighter 3,200-lumen output for the extra bucks, a new 70mm lens that promises even finer focus across the entire picture, and a 'Live Colour Enhancer' feature that automatically ensures that features like skin tone don't appear unrealistic.
Both variants use the same "world's tiniest" SXRD 0.61-inch panel with native 4K resolution for projection. They also have Sony's X1 picture processor, found in several highly-rated Sony televisions. Excellent motion processing and HD upscaling are two of this processor's highlights, but its 'HDR Remaster' capabilities are perhaps most fascinating — it's great at taking SDR content and making it look HDR while maintaining realism in the picture. These could be the greatest projectors available today for individuals with a library of HD Blu-rays.
Due to its laser technology, you can expect top-tier HDR performance from these projectors. Like the best OLED TVs, laser projectors can go completely black in places that require it, resulting in incredible contrast and range.
Finally, these devices appear to be excellent for gaming. Sony claims that at 4K 60Hz, lag will be under 20ms, while at 2K 120Hz, lag will be approximately 13ms, which is competitive with the finest gaming TVs. The drawback is that 4K 120Hz isn't possible, but gaming TVs don't come in 120-inch proportions, so we'll call it a tie.