Sony VPL-HW55ES Projector review

A robust and quiet projector ideal for businesses, classrooms and homes.

Pretty build, prettier images
Pretty build, prettier images

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Two minor flaws

The VPL-HW55ES's biggest flaw is that it only supports manual focus. As someone who has astigmatism, manual focus can be quite challenging. For something this expensive, I'd expect a stellar autofocus.

Another minor nuisance is the weight of the 3D Glasses (0.8 ounces). I wear normal glasses and I found that the combined weight of the 3D Glasses over my glasses was too much to handle throughout the course of a movie.


There is so much to like about this projector. It's powerful, beautiful and quiet. But you've got to consider price when making any purchases. Is $4000 too much for a projector. Not if you're constantly working on large-format presentations or if you're a wealthy movie junkie.

We liked

Color and image quality was amazingly crisp and clean. I felt like I was watching a high definition BluRay on a high-end TV. Additionally, the device's incredibly quiet performance means you'll be able to watch movies and presentations without becoming distracted by the annoying hum that accompanies most projectors.

Most people find little-to-no use for 3D displays. Those people haven't watched 3D on the VPL-HW55ES. This is easily one of the best outputs of 3D imagery that I've ever laid my eyes on.

We disliked

Manual focus should not be the default on high-end projectors. It's one thing to expect business users to reset and adjust the output every time the device needs to be transported for a presentation, but you can't expect the typical consumer to have to adjust their settings every single time the device is unplugged and shifted to another room.

The price is probably going to be prohibitive for most small business users and consumers. However, large enterprises and projection enthusiasts will gladly fork over four grand for this device.

Final verdict

Until I reviewed the Sony VPL-HW55ES I never considered a projector to replace my HDTV. This has changed. When you combine the device's gorgeous build, it's stunning 3D output and its nearly inaudible performance, you really can't go wrong with the VPL-HW55ES. Sure, some might find $4000 to be extravagant for a projector, but if you spend the majority of your day in front of movies and presentations, you'll appreciate the VPL-HW55ES's image quality so much that you'll forget how much you spent.