So after wondering what Sony would come up with next in their $4,000 MSRP range it didn't take long to see what they did was special. Never before has this price level yielded such an amazing image. I only regret that I wasn't able to spend more time with it. Sony's RC (Reality Creation) is not super aggressive and does not hinder the image whatsoever. Those not familiar with their RC it is a "Super-resolution" function that adjust details and noise processing with the image. After my 1000ES was upgraded to a 1100ES it reacts the same as the 55ES and newer 600ES (Review on that one due soon). And new to this year's gen is a cool tweak called Contrast Enhancer. This setting automatically adjusts the level of bright and dark scenes to optimize contrast according to each scene. There is a High, Middle and Low setting. Also Off. Right away set on Middle I liked how it seemed to boost contrast levels (maybe a trick to the eye) between morning and night scenes. Still for football the grass has never looked better with it on High. This year's Gamma options are a little tougher to pick. Sure most will say just go 2.2 or 2.4 and be happy. I have always favored 9 in the past but this year's 10 setting has the look of 9 but also increases sharpness. This is a "taste" selection so make sure you test it out for both movie and sports. It is also whisper quiet coming in at 21db. With a movie on there is no chance you will hear it! Below are a few pics of some of the menu settings and info.
As for the remote it has pretty much the same layout as last year's model. You get your picture presets with Aspect, Motion Enhancer (my new fav feature), 3D, Color Space, Color Temp, RCP, Gamma, Advanced Iris, Sharpness, brightness and contrast. Then you get your usual Menu and Pattern button. Controls for adjusting your image are on the outside of the lens. Once you set it though you can forget it. No big deal there. Overall the remote is easy to learn (though it is backlit for dark conditions) and it fits nicely into your hand. Would love to have direct input buttons but again not in this gen...
Checking out some Blu-ray I was really impressed with both the amount of detail and the contrast levels. This allowed deep blacks that will rival all projectors around this price range (if not beat them). Pacific Rim is an excellent movie with terrific demo material. I had the Advanced Iris set to High. The AI automatically adjusts to optimize the iris aperture according to the brightness level. This results in a bright and higher contrast image. Motion Flow was set to Off since I only usually use it for Sports (High) and 3D (Low). I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fluid motion between pans and fast action scenes. This is what separates the big boys from the little ones. As for RC I like it at about 20 but keep in mind I use an Oppo 103D Reviewed here. It has a built in Darblet which I love for both movies and sports. Anyway, as for as Sony's RC goes it makes close ups have stand out detail. How many close ups are there per movie? Nothing better than seeing every pore or hair on an actor. Once you see a Sony projector with RC it is very hard to go back to regular viewing on one without it. So exactly how sharp is the 55ES? I would say it is very close to Sony's 95ES. Of course with the RC engaged I would then say it surpasses it. Not bad for this price range.
Since this was more like a "book report" I regret that I was unable to cover 3D and football like I usually do in my Sony projector Reviews. I will be spending a week at my home with the new VPL-VW600ES. That will get a full Review treatment. As for the 55ES I will just say others I have spoken to agree the 3D is very good with minimal crosstalk. If you are looking and your budget is in this range do not pass it up without serious consideration. I actually would just get it. I was told there are a bunch coming in (they have been so hard to come by) so now is the perfect time to jump on board. With a 120,000:1 Dynamic Contrast and 1700 ANSI lumen brightness not to mention 240Hz panel drives you won't find anything in and somewhat above its price range that matches it. Try one!
Make sure you call the guys at Audio Video Interiors of Chicago. Thank you to them for letting me spend a day in their "Heaven of Man Caves" to check out the 55ES.
Their number is (630) 607-0054. Get your Sony HW55ES reserved today.
Tell them I sent you!!!
Coming this week the new SONY VPL-VW600ES 4K Review...
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