Sony VPL-BW7 home theatre projector

Sony's entry-level home theatre projector produces high brightness levels at a low cost

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Sony VPL-BW7
  • Sony VPL-BW7
  • Sony VPL-BW7
  • Sony VPL-BW7

Pros

  • High lumens output, backlit remote control, good image quality overall

Cons

  • Lacks 1080p capability, no audio output, doesn't perform as claimed in well-lit areas

Bottom Line

This projector's low display resolution means you won't be able to make the most of 1080p high-definition media, but for 720p movies and games, the VPL-BW7 does an admirable job considering its price.

Would you buy this?

For the same price as a mid-range 42in HDTV, Sony's VPL-BW7 projector provides a larger image with decent quality. High brightness and contrast mean the VPL-BW7's image is still somewhat visible in a well-lit area, though don't expect the best quality in less than optimal surroundings.

The Sony VPL-BW7 is surprisingly small and light for a home theatre projector, weighing only 3kg. The black colour scheme will not stand out in a darkened room. A single fan at the front of the enclosure is audible if you sit close to the projector, but it's not loud enough to distract you during a movie. The projector's integrated controls sit on the top rather than the side, making them difficult to reach if the projector is placed upside-down.

Inputs include single HDMI, composite, S-Video and RGB ports, all of which are available on the back panel. Unfortunately, Sony hasn't seen fit to build a speaker or even fit audio outputs to the projector, so you will have to run HDMI sources through a receiver first.

The Sony VPL-BW7 projects a maximum 1200x800 resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio. At this resolution, the projector won't be able to display 1080p high-definition content, but can it still display standard definition as well as 720p and 1080i media. The VPL-BW7 uses Sony's BrightEra technology, which allows it to output 1500 lumens of light in standard mode or 2000 lumens in high brightness mode, while also delivering a 1000:1 contrast ratio. Infocus' IN1503 boasts better specifications for a slightly more expensive price tag, though it is better to suited to the office than a home entertainment setup.

You won't be able to replace the lens in the VPL-BW7 like you can with higher end projectors, but it is capable of producing a 300in image. Throw distance is also quite short; it can project a focussed 100in image from as close as 3.1m.

One of Sony's main selling points for the VPL-BW7 is its ability to perform capably in a well-lit area, unlike most home cinema projectors. This is due to the projector's light output of 2000 lumens in high brightness mode, which is a relatively good figure given the price tag. Though we found the VPL-BW7's image to be visible under direct light, the quality is less than stellar. Blacks and even marginally dark areas become difficult to see, ruining the viewing experience for anything but well-lit and highly saturated scenes or vibrant games.

Thankfully, quality is much improved when the projector is placed in a darkened room. Black levels aren't particularly impressive, but with a contrast ratio of 1000:1, we didn't really expect them to be. It reproduced fast motion without any issues, and images on the whole did not suffer from excessive noise.

The bundled remote control is backlit, and provides easy access to menus even when pointed at the projected image instead of the projector. From the remote, you'll be able to access three preset image quality settings, as well as a further three user preset configurations. We found the "Dynamic" picture setting produced the most visible image in a well-lit area, but also washed out black levels.

Home theatre enthusiasts are likely to find fault with the VPL-BW7's display resolution, as well as its performance under direct light. However, the price tag makes this projector a reasonable option for low-cost home theatre setups.

Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters

Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Read more on these topics: projectors, sony

Be the first to comment.

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the PC World comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?