Sony VPL-HW45ES Projector Review

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Sony VPL-HW45ES Projector Review

From Wirecutter to Amazon and Best Buy reviewers, people love the image quality on this projector. We're recommending the Sony VPL-HW45ES projector for home theater installations because the picture it provides is unlike anything else at this price point.

What Kind of Bulb Does It Use?

The Sony VPL-HW45ES uses an ultra high performance (UHP) lamp that contains mercury. This projector will need to cool down after being shut off before it can be turned again. Replacement lamps cost $300, but last for up to 6,000 hours in Eco mode.

What Works

  • Unless you're ready to pay about $1,000 more, the picture quality on this projector is unparalleled. The combination of reference mode's color calibration, the contrast ratio, and 1800 lumens displays superior images to most of our other projector picks.

  • "With input lag reduction, you get lightning fast gaming and reliable audio syncing at 22 ms."

    This projector displays in full HD (1080p) and is 3D ready.

  • This projector doesn't display rainbow artifacts. This is one of the most affordable projectors with an LCoS chip (branded as SXRD) which is a more advanced alternative to LCD projectors.

  • Depending on your installation placement, you can get a 40–300 inch screen.

  • When Sony's input lag reduction is activated, this spec drops to 22 ms. This makes for lightning-fast gaming and reliable audio syncing to videos.

  • This projector offers vertical and horizontal lens shift option, giving users more flexibility in where they can install it.

  • The front facing vents and size of this projector contribute to keeping the machine and room cool.

What Could Be Better

  • Some users report that the fan was a bit noisy, but professional reviewers across the board applaud the quietness of the internal fan. At 22 db, the fan is well under decent ambient noise of 30 db.

  • Replacement lamp costs $300, adding to projector's cost over time.
  • Where our main pick overwhelms users with connectivity options, this Sony projector is decidedly minimalistic. With a handful of digital ports, the VPL-HW45ES has no analog ports for devices like a set top box or retro video games.

  • You only get the most out of this projector if you're creating a full home theater setup. From the screen to the color of the walls, the darker the environment, the better this projector will perform.

Warranty and Customer Service

Sony's customer service team is reasonably fast and thorough. Projector repairs and parts are under a three-year warranty while the projector lamp is under a 90-day warranty. You can return this projector under Best Buy's 15-day return policy and Amazon's return policy. 

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The Gizmos Team