Sony VPL-VW60 SXRD Video Projector Comparisons & Conclusion
Much as I was impressed by the Black Pearl's resolution and detail, it did suffer a bit in that respect compared to Sony's own VPL-VW200, a more upscale SXRD design. I didn't feel I was missing anything from the Black Pearl until I switched to the more expensive projector. It soon became obvious that the VW200 handily wins that particular round.
Surprisingly, however, the VW200 is no brighter, and the Black Pearl's Advanced Iris actually worked better—that is, its operation was harder to spot. But even with its manual iris, the VW200 came very close to the BP's Advanced Iris mode in subjective black level and shadow detail.
Would I choose the VW200 instead of the Black Pearl if money were no object? Definitely, though only if its dynamic iris worked as well as the BP's. And the VW200's enhanced sharpness is likely to hold its own better on bigger screens.
But let's get back to earth. The VW200 is three times the cost of the Black Pearl, and its Xenon lamp costs $1000 to replace. It's more appropriate to compare the BP to the JVC DLA-RS1 (or its identical twin, the DLA-HD1), which, at $6300, is far more competitive in price.
In many respects, the JVC can't compete with the Sony. It has less sophisticated and precise convergence adjustments, fewer color controls for a precise calibration, manual lens controls, and no iris of any kind. And its fan noise, while hardly excessive, is much louder.
With 330 hours on its lamp, however, my RS1 still pumps about 20fL onto my screen in its Normal lamp setting—roughly the same as the Sony (with 190 hours) in its High lamp mode. But the JVC needs no iris to produce great black levels—levels only a gnat's hair higher than the Black Pearl's with Advanced Iris on. And with no dynamic iris, there's no brightness compression.
This combination of bright whites and deep blacks gives the JVC more pop and depth than the Sony. Its images also look a bit more detailed, but this may be due to higher brightness rather than optical superiority, since the eye is more sensitive to detail at higher peak light levels—up to a point, anyway. But the JVC still can't match the natural crispness of the VPL-VW200, which is the overall detail champ in this three-way match up. You still (sigh) get what you pay for.
The RS1 and Black Pearl are roughly competitive in color quality, though the Black Pearl can be more accurately calibrated thanks to its more flexible controls.
With its current lineup of projectors, Sony is clearly in this game to win. And while the competition has become tighter since Sony introduced the original Pearl, the introduction of the Black Pearl keeps them squarely in the running. There are lots of options out there, but if you choose this one, you won't be disappointed. The VPL-VW60 is a superb projector.
Excellent image with good color, detail, and superb black levels
First-rate video processing
Fan noise is nearly inaudible
Color space could be more accurate
Some rare artifacts in the auto-iris modes