Why you can trust ZDNet
Our recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We may earn a commission when you purchase a product through our links. This helps support our work but does not influence what we write about or the price you pay. Our editors thoroughly review and fact check every article. Our process

‘ZDNet Recommends’ What exactly does that mean?

ZDNet’s recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of YOU, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form


Sony VPL-FE40

  • Editors' rating
    8.1 Excellent
  • $6,440.00


  • Produces extremely bright and crisp images
  • Broad array of input signals (including HDMI)
  • Flexible installation
  • Fully networkable


  • Pricey for small businesses
  • Lamp is expensive to replace
  • Lacks native 16:9 support
  • No auto keystone
  • Cables exit at side

Sony's VPL-FE40 is a large projector measuring 53.2cm wide by 14.5cm high by 35.2cm deep and weighing 9.8kg. It's an installation-type unit that's designed to sit confidently in a modern boardroom, projecting a typical range of business applications. That's not to say the VPL-FE40 isn't up to the job of running video, for example; however, its design, features and price are aimed squarely at large organisations.

Featuring a new design and improved LCD panel reliability, the VPL-FE40 can project images of up to 4,000 ANSI lumens, making it usable in a wide range of lighting conditions. It also delivers exceptionally clear images thanks to its native SXGA+ (1,400x1,050) resolution, while its built-in network capability enables images from a PC on the same network to be projected. An HDMI interface provides support for uncompressed high-definition video and 8-channel audio.

The VPL-FE40 uses three 0.79in. inorganic high-temperature polysilicon (HTPS) LCD panels. The LCDs also incorporate Sony's BrightEra technology, which uses an inorganic alignment layer to produce a stronger bonding of molecules. This makes the panels more resistant to damage from ultraviolet rays, increasing their reliability.

A 1F inversion panel drive doubles the panel's drive speed to produce images without line flicker. The projector also uses 12-bit gamma correction circuitry to deliver uniform image colour and brightness across the entire screen-viewing surface. For applications where more than a standard lens is needed, the VPL-FE40L (£3,100) and VPL-FX40L (£2,100) are available. These models are not equipped with a lens, but three optional lenses are available that allow them to meet a range of needs — from long-throw projection in large auditoriums to short-throw rear projection in museums or training facilities.

As businesses become more dispersed, the VPL-FE40 helps to extend the horizons of presentations by enabling broadcasts to be conducted over IP networks. Up to five projectors can be networked, with the image from a single PC projected on each. This is a useful feature in large venues or when images need to be projected to various locations. Also, thanks to a built-in ID function, multiple projectors can be set up and operated independently from a single Remote Commander unit.

Installation is easy due to a centred lens and power zoom, focus, and shift functions. The projector can be ceiling-, floor- or rear-screen-mounted, and two units of the same model can be stacked for applications requiring twice the light output.

Top ZDNET Reviews

Maintenance is straightforward, as various functions can be performed over the LAN via a web browser. For example, the system can be set up to send automatic email reports to designated recipients for scheduled maintenance, including projected lamp life and error reports. The lamp is accessible from the side of the unit and the filter from the front, so replacement and cleaning does not require the projector to be disconnected.

A single cable to the HDMI interface allows you to enjoy high-quality video and audio. HDMI also provides automatic format adjustment, enabling devices to display content in the most effective format. An impressive range of other inputs are also supported, including component and composite video, S-Video (Y/C), and two analogue D-Sub signals. There are even five BNC connectors, along with 10/100Base-TX Ethernet, stereo and mono audio inputs, and an RS-232C port for remote control. Strangely there's no DVI input. A regular monitor output (15-pin D-Sub) port lets you simultaneously view the same image on a monitor that's being projected. There's a built-in 1.8W speaker (stereo) too, but you'll want to connect an external sound system for the best results.

Supported video signals include RGB/component (50/60Hz), progressive component (50/60Hz) and DTV (480/60i, 575/50i, 480/60p, 575/50p, 720/60p, 720/50p, 1080/60i, 1080/50i, 1080/60p, 1080/50p). Colour systems supported are also comprehensive: NTSC, PAL, SECAM, NTSC4.43, PAL-M, PAL-N, PAL60. The 4:3 native aspect ratio is a little disappointing — we'd have preferred a 16.9 ratio given the large array of video inputs signals. In terms of screen coverage the VPL-FE40 is capable of producing images of between 40in. and 600in. (measured across the diagonal).

Built for a variety of applications, including education and business, the VPL-FE40 is an ideal projector for showcasing presentations, video and images in medium- to large-sized meeting rooms and auditoriums. The 3-LCD engine delivers excellent colour fidelity, while video is accurate and smooth. The versatility of this projector also makes it ideal for a number of digital signage installations, while the excellent networking functionality makes the VPL-FE40 extremely versatile and customisable to virtually any application environment. The variety of mounting options and image sizes are further testament to the VPL-FE40's capabilities.

The only downside is the cost, both to purchase (£3,785) and run (a replacement lamp costs just over £600), which will limit the VPL-FE40 to large organisations with big budgets. Also, the generally sleek design is marred somewhat by having all of the cables exit from one side.



Packaged Quantity 1
Built-in Devices stereo speakers
Power Device
Type power supply
Nominal Voltage AC 120/230 V
Frequency Required 50/60 Hz
Power Consumption Operational 400 Watt
Interface Provided
Qty 1, 2, 3
Connector Type 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15), 19 pin HDMI Type A, 4 pin mini-DIN, 9 pin D-Sub (DB-9), BNC, RCA, RJ-45, mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
Image Brightness 4000 ANSI lumens
Image Size 40.2 in - 598 in
Max Sync Rate (V x H) 92 Hz x 92 kHz
Nominal Voltage AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Built-in Devices stereo speakers
Environmental Parameters
Humidity Range Operating 35 - 85%
Min Operating Temperature 32 °F
Max Operating Temperature 95 °F
Video Output
Analog Video Signal RGB
Video Input
Analog Video Format 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 HDMI, S-Video, VGA, composite video
TV System SECAM, PAL, PAL-N, PAL-M, NTSC 4.43, PAL 60, NTSC 3.58
Lamp Type UHP 275 Watt
Brand Sony
Product Line Sony VPL
Model FE40
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Image Brightness 4000 ANSI lumens
Dimensions & Weight
Width 20.9 in
Depth 13.9 in
Height 5.7 in
Weight 21.61 lbs
Class digital projector
Recommended Use presentation and multimedia
Type LCD projector
Portability non-portable
Min Image Size 40.2 in
Max Image Size 598 in
Native Resolution 1400 x 1050
Max Resolution (Resized) 1600 x 1200
Display Resolution Abbreviation SXGA+
High Definition High Definition
Max V-Sync Rate 92 Hz
Max H-Sync Rate 92 KHz
Native Aspect Ratio 4:3
Brightness 4000 ANSI lumens
Brightness (Reduced) 3200 ANSI lumens
Display Format 1,470,000 pixels (1400 x 1050) x 3
Projector Features BrightEra, High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection System (HDCP), integrated de-interlacer (progressive scan)
Audio Output
Form Factor integrated
Sound Output Mode stereo
Type speaker(s)
Output Power / Channel 1.8 Watt
Projector Lens System
Lens standard lens
Lens Aperture f/1.66-2.18
Zoom Type powered
Zoom Factor 1.3x
Physical Characteristics
Weight 21.61 lbs
Audio Output Details
Speaker Type right / left channel
Speakers Qty 2
Operating System / Software
Type Drivers & Utilities