Sony VPL-HW40ES Projector Video Review: Blacks are the New White

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Updated November 29, 2022
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A hands-on review of Sony’s VPL-HW40ES projector. It produces an astonishingly bright and clear picture with dark blacks despite not boasting an iris. I’m smitten.

Listed as an entry-level home theater projector, the Sony VPL-HW40ES is anything but entry-level. With a 1.6X zoom lens, horizontal and vertical shifts, 3D capabilities, and gaming mode, this highly-rated projector is hot to trot with plenty of features for everyone to enjoy.

Although it’ll work with most projectors, using a top-of-the-line projector screen like the Screen Innovations 5 Series motorized 115” projector screen, you’ll definitely find much more enjoyment in movies and games. Sure, you could compare other projectors like the GooDee Video Projector vs Vankyo, but why go after other projectors that may not deliver on the quality? You’ll find that Sony puts quality at the forefront, as you can see in our Sony HW45ES review and Sony VW285ES review.

The Sony VPL-HW40ES delivers on 3D perfectly, so long as you have the respective Sony 3D glasses. Images are bright and look well-balanced. Blacks are crisp and saturated, looking great and not washed out—even if this device is only using 1700 lumens. Using it in a very darkened room is ideal, as even a bit of light can wash out the overall projection. But, you won’t need to worry about adjusting settings in the dark, as the large, but cumbersome, remote has backlit buttons.

As far as lamp life goes, it’ll last for 5000 hours in Eco-mode and only 2000 at the highest setting. Lamp replacements are a bit on the expensive side, so you might want to stick with Eco-mode mostly.

What we most liked about it was the gaming mode, which was touted to effectively reduce lag time to 24ms. The Sony VPL-HW40ES did not disappoint and is a solid projector for gaming.

The cost is steep at $2,500. You can find this projector for cheaper through other online vendors, but make sure you’re getting the real thing and not a cheap knock-off.

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