Picture quality

With VPL-HW40ES, Sony has hit the right mark as far as price is concerned in their front projectors line up to stay well ahead of the competition. The rough price anywhere less than $3,000 is a pretty good deal for projectors in the industry.

This time at just $2,500 VPL-HW40ES is just the right kind of projector that one’s looking for when it comes to performance and affordability.

Hardware and Design

Sony has stick to the same general design used for its projectors line for several years now. The case of the projector is designed in such a way that it keeps the noise minimum. In fact, when compared with the “big three” projectors in the same price range (Epson and JVC being the other 2), Sony VPL-HW40ES turned out to be the quietest of all. The design of the case even looks more impressive as there is a pack of small fans fit inside to cool the big hot lamp in the projector.


There are two HDMI inputs, RGB-PC, and component on the sides along with Ethernet RS-232, and IR inputs for control. The device can be easily controlled including inputs and other picture settings with the help of the backlit remote that has dedicated buttons for all the major settings.

The horizontal and vertical lens can be controlled using manual dials on the device. While the same dials can be used to adjust focus and zoom of the picture output.

Unfortunately, the 40ES is not equipped with an adjustable iris like its upper version, the VPL-HW55ES. It also has two individual lamp settings to the control the light output.


The overall performance of the VPL-HW40ES depends on the three “SXRD” chips, Sony’s in-house version of LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon). This advance technology from Sony actually offers exceptional contrast ratios that further helps delivering great picture quality. Hence, LCOS-base projects always triumph when it comes to good picture quality.

Light output which is another major aspect to review a projector’s performance is quite decent with an excellent 39.79 fL in 40ES. Such an output is two times more than what you get in most movie theaters, or roughly similar to what you get on plasma screens and about half what you’d get from an LED LCD at full brightness.


Sony has been always praised for its promise of the best color accuracy rates and with HW40ES it sincerely keeps up with its promise. The color output is quite accurate with PR-650 as measured by PhotoResearch, roughly matching the HDTV spec, although the built-in color management system comes out as a bit wonky.

Color accuracy actually makes the skin tone of the picture more livelier while the skies and the grass look very real adding more genuineness to the picture quality.


Our verdict is very positive about the VPL-HW40ES as it turns out to be the best project at that price range and with the brand of Sony attached with it, the consumer would never feel any regrets opting for the device. In spite of few flaws here and there, the device is very quiet and delivers accurate color, along with great contrast and light output while watching a movie.



Display system High Frame Rate SXRD panel
Light Output 1700 lm
Display elements Effective display size 0.61″ x 3
Display elements Effective pixels Full HD (1920×1080) x 3 6,220,800 pixels
Projection lens Zoom / Focus Manual (Approx. 1.6 x) / Manual
Projection lens Lens shift Manual, V:+/-71% / H:+/-25%
Light source Ultra High-pressure lamp 200W type
Screen size 40” to 300’‘
Reality Creation YES ( FullHD Reality Creation )
3D capability YES
3D emitter Built-in IR emitter
3D glasses TDG-PJ1 ( IR type : Optional ) / TDG-BT500A (RF type : Optional)
Manual Caliblation RCP
Picture Position Memory No
Picture modes 9 modes
Gamma modes 7 modes
Panel Alignment Yes (Shift / Zone)