Sony VPL-DX140 review - Has a BrightEra mode that produces great visual clarity and ensures the lamp lasts longer than normal

This Sony VPL-DX140 is another entry-level projector principally designed for the classroom, but also excellent value for office environments.

The Sony CPL-DX140 has good brightness at 3,200 lumens and a more-than-effective 2,500:1 contrast level. It’s the second brightest model on test here, and as such it’s reasonably effective in bright, well-lit environments. The image is sharp and clear and although it has a slightly lower resolution (1,024 x 768) than projectors such as the Epson EB-1945W it is capable of playing 720p high-definition video natively.

Sony also uses its proprietary BrightEra 3LCD panels which enables it to project an image that is 20 per cent brighter, according to Sony. According to Sony an “inorganic alignment film enhances light resistance”. We noticed a vibrant image, although it still didn’t match the more expensive Epson. The BrightEra does increase the lamp time, and the projector has a projected lamp life of 7,000 hours in economy mode (which drops the brightness down to 2,300 lumens).

Weighing in at 2.5kg it’s a touch heavier than a 15-inch MacBook Pro, so it could be considered portable if you’ve got a good backpack and sturdy shoulders. The size is slightly sleeker than the Epson VPL-DX140 and flatter than the Mitsubishi EX321U-ST on test here. On the whole though we think the Sony is visually the most stylish model on display, with it’s flat-white no-nonsense casing.

The Direct Power mode enables you to switch on the projector as soon as power is supplied to it, instead of having to wait for the usual warm-up period. This is actually handy as it prevents the usual thumb-twiddling, or time-filling chat that often acts as a prelude to a good presentation. The other is called “Off and go” which does the opposite, you can switch off the projector without going through the usual power down cycle.

There are a solid range of inputs, including VGA, HDMI and Component Video. Although the 1W mono speaker isn’t going to win any sound awards we we found the fan reasonably quiet so it balanced well. Some of the on-screen controls are a bit fiddly, and it lacks the Return button it so clearly advertises on the Menu interface (it is actually the Menu button) which we think will confuse any newcomers to the projector.

OUR VERDICT

On the whole though we like the Sony VPL-DX140: it has great picture quality that’s almost as good as the Epson for under half the price.

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