I just dropped by my friend's shop and spent over 5 hours watching / auditioning the Sony 500ES 4K projector.
At first, we weren't very impressed. Then we realized that we were playing 1080p content upscaled thru the Onkyo receiver to the projector. Then we directly hooked up the HDMI to the Projector itself and suddenly it's a whole world of difference.
Ok, here's what we managed to do:
1. All materials are 1080p and below (like 720p).
2. We downloaded some 4K demo materials on YouTube, but the media player playing it (it was a china made media player with a software installed in it that supposedly can play 4K), was choking, was moving frame by frame.. and we have no idea if the output is even 4K or not (considering the HDMI out is not 2.0)... but it did look quite incredible, better than any of the 2K materials we played.. i guess without a proper 4K player, we will never know if what we saw was actually 4K or not... So, let's chalk this up to 'maybe 4k maybe not, but still looks incredible'...
Here's my review of the Sony 500ES:
1. It's a light engine. When playback on an 8 feet wide screen, it looks like literally a TV... colors popping like crazy. Avatar never looked better (not even in the cinemas).. Even after we zoomed it out to 10 feet wide, it was still extremely bright at cinema 1 and cinema 2 modes...
2. Contrast was pretty good. Not sure what to compare to... but not bad... black is almost black..
3. After spending about 4 hours on the projector, we decided to turn on the Sony 55ES instead. And suddenly everything looked like we were watching DVD quality.. it was that much difference. (note: we were playing blu-ray discs).
4. Avatar in 3D was incredible.. the best 3D i have ever seen.. and ultra smooth without any ghosting or any artifacts... it's just how 3D is supposed to be seen.. i guess until the laser projectors come out, this is as good as it'll get)
Here are some photos taken with my samsung phone.. so, don't pay them much attention except in comparison to the 55es... all you can do is relative comparison.. the actual projected image were FAR FAR better than tense photos... let's just say if you rate 1 to 10, these photos are 3, and the projected images were 10...
These are all from the 500ES
Ok, now compare the difference between the 500ES and the 55ES (Top photo is 500ES and bottom is 55ES). Note: these are all 1080p content (blu ray).
a) Gandalf (notice how much smoother his face is in the 500?)
b) Notice the colors and smoothness of the 500es compared to the 55es? Zoom into these photos and see for yourself.
After comparing both these projectors, i don't know if i could go back to 2K projectors or not.. Its like after watching BluRays and going back to DVDs. And I am talking about upscaled 2K, not even true 4K.. i can imagine how native 4K movies would look like..