Sony VPL-EX4

  • Editors' rating
    7.0 Very good
  • $1,230.00

Pros

  • Competitively priced
  • Attractive design
  • Quiet
  • Secure
  • Solid image quality

Cons

  • No built-in networking
  • No DVI port
  • No noise reduction

Business projectors generally fall into two groups: larger, office-bound devices and those that can easily be carried to business meetings. Sony’s VPL-EX4 fits firmly into the second category, being small and light enough to lug around with your notebook on a daily basis. It also looks trendy, its silver-and-white design and rounded edges making it stand out from run-of-the-mill business projectors.

The VPL-EX4, which measures 30.8cm wide by 26.7cm deep by 9.8cm high and weighs about 3kg, is designed for use by mobile professionals, in classrooms and meeting rooms. Not only is the projector blessed in the looks department, but its short focal-length lens allows large-screen projection from a short distance. For example, an 80in. image (viewable area, measured diagonally) can be projected from a distance of approximately 2.3m (7.5 feet). The actual image size range supported is 101.6cm to 762cm. Your audience will also appreciate the relatively low fan noise, as well as the fact that hot air is blown out of the front of the unit and not its sides.

The VPL-EX4 uses a 3LCD projection engine, the panels having a native resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels (XGA). This is adequate for typical business presentations, but those working with intricate graphics might need a higher native resolution. The brightness rating is 2100 ANSI Lumens (1500 ANSI Lumens in Eco Mode) while the contrast ratio is 400:1. Again, these specs are acceptable for general use, but not really up to scratch for video and other fast-paced multimedia applications.

The projector accepts a decent range of video input signals, including composite, S-Video (Y/C), and analogue RGB/component via the HD D-Sub 15-pin interfaces. In addition, the unit can accept computer signals from VGA up to SXGA+ (1,400 by 1,050 pixels).

Video standards compatibility includes 1080i, 720p, 575p, 575i, 480p and 480i, so you can display the occasional High-Definition (HD) movie after work. It’s worth remembering that the VPL-EX4 isn’t a home theatre projector, and there are much more capable models on the market from Sony and its competitors. If you do need to project HD video on a regular basis, make sure you go for a model with much higher brightness, a bigger contrast ratio, plus HDMI and 1080p support.

The model incorporates a digital zoom (up to 4x), seven picture modes, dynamic detail enhancement for video signals, vertical keystone adjustment, multi-language OSD, RS-232C control, and ceiling-mount options. Unfortunately it lacks digital lens shift and networking support — there’s neither wired or wireless options, which is poor for a business projector. We were also surprised that there's no DVI port, especially as the latest multimedia notebooks include this as standard.

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3LCD technology helps to make projected images brighter and more natural, with excellent colour reproduction and smooth gradients in dark areas. The only image quality issue is the lack of noise reduction, which can result in speckling, but you can’t be too hard on a projector from a brand giant that's so reasonably priced. The fact that the projector displays an image in about five seconds after being turned on is also a real boon for anxious presenters. Also important is the unit’s control panel key lock, as well as a password-authentication system and built-in security bar or Kensington lock to help prevent unauthorised use or theft.

Furthermore, the supplied credit card-type remote control unit can be used to adjust such settings as digital zoom and audio volume or to activate Auto Pixel Alignment, picture muting and picture freeze functions. The remote is also effective from several points in a room, since there are IR receivers located on both the front and rear of each projector. In case you’re wondering (and you should be), replacement lamps cost around £235 and should be good for around 2,000 hours, or around 12p per hour.

Sony is clear where it is pitching the VPL-EX4: businesses and educational institutions. In this regard, it’s a very well priced projector that's more than up to the task at hand. It’s nowhere near the most complete business projector on the market, nor is its image quality anything above average, but for under £500 you definitely get a lot for your money.

 

Specifications

Power Device
Type power supply
Nominal Voltage AC 120/230 V
Frequency Required 50/60 Hz
Power Consumption Operational 220 Watt
Interface Provided
Qty 1
Connector Type 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15), 4 pin mini-DIN, 9 pin D-Sub (DB-9), RCA, mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
Miscellaneous
Color charcoal black
Display
Image Brightness 2100
Image Contrast Ratio 300:1
Image Size 40.2 in - 300 in
Projection Distance 4 ft - 35 ft
Max Sync Rate (V x H) 92 Hz x 92 kHz
Chassis
Built-in Devices speaker
Video Output
Analog Video Signal RGB, component video
Video Input
Video Modes 1080i, 480i, 480p, 576i, 576p, 720p
Analog Video Format NTSC, NTSC 3.58, NTSC 4.43, PAL, PAL 60, PAL-M, PAL-N, SECAM
Analog Video Signal RGB, S-Video, component video, composite video
Video Interfaces S-Video, VGA, composite video
TV System NTSC, SECAM, PAL, PAL-N, PAL-M, NTSC 4.43, PAL 60, NTSC 3.58
Environmental Parameters
Sound Emission 36 dB
Min Operating Temperature 32 °F
Max Operating Temperature 95 °F
Operation
Lamp Type UHP 165 Watt
Lamp Life Cycle Up to 2000 hour(s) / up to 3000 hour(s) (economic mode)
Header
Brand Sony
Product Line Sony VPL
Model EX4
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Projector
Class digital projector
Recommended Use presentation and multimedia
Type LCD projector
Portability portable
Min Image Size 40.2 in
Max Image Size 300 in
Native Resolution 1024 x 768
Display Resolution Abbreviation XGA
Max V-Sync Rate 92 Hz
Max H-Sync Rate 92 Hz
Native Aspect Ratio 4:3
Brightness 2100
Brightness (Reduced) 1500
Contrast Ratio 300:1
Min Screen Distance 4 ft
Max Screen Distance 35 ft
Digital Zoom Factor 4x
Display Format 786,432 pixels (1,024 x 768) x 3
Projector Features freeze frame
Audio Output
Type speaker(s)
Sound Output Mode mono
Form Factor integrated
Output Power / Channel 1 Watt
Projector Lens System
Lens Aperture f/1.6-1.9
Zoom Type manual
Zoom Factor 1.2x
Keystone Correction Direction vertical
Vertical Keystone Correction -30 / +30
Dimensions & Weight
Width 12.1 in
Depth 10.5 in
Height 3.9 in
Weight 6.61 lbs
Expansion Slots
Type none
Audio Output Details
Speaker Type mixed channel
Speakers Qty 1
Cable Details
Type VGA cable
Included Qty 1
Length 6.6 ft

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