The best contrast results are attained using the projector's dynamic iris system. But it tends to work overly hard at times, causing obvious and distracting leaps in overall image brightness -- so much so that we generally preferred to leave the dynamic iris switched off, even though this slightly reduced the picture's overall punch.
But, even without the dynamic iris in play, the VPL-HW15's images look dynamic and bold, especially as they benefit from the most authentic colour palette yet seen on an affordable SXRD projector. The VPL-HW15's high-definition pictures also look terrifically crisp, and are packed with fine detail. Provided you're careful with the projector's sharpness setting, this crispness never tips over into gritty noise.
There are, however, a few limitations to the VPL-HW15's pictures that might tempt our well-heeled readers to step up to something more expensive, like Sony's own £4,500 Bravia VPL-VW85 or Epson's £4,000 EH-TW5500. These issues include marginally flat colours, a slight lack of post-calibration brightness, and an occasional faint green tinge to skin tones. With this in mind, Sony would have done well to include more colour-management features.
Having previously struggled to make its SXRD technology work successfully at the cheaper end of the market, Sony has finally found the magic formula with the Bravia VPL-HW15. In fact, thanks to the technology's fast response time and ability to deliver excellent fine detail, it's the finest projector we've seen under £3,000 so far.
Edited by Charles Kloet