Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Sanyo PLV-Z3 Review Roundup

This site has moved to AVReport.com

Sanyo PLV-Z3 is probably the most popular LCD projector to date. Its price to quality ratio is definitely a winner. Sanyo has done a good job to capture the market for low-priced projectors with this model. The started it with PLV-Z2 which again was a hit at its time. Now, when Z3 is about to be replaced with PLV-Z4, following the trend of prices being dropped on older models, I thought to put up a collection of reviews from different sources in one place. This list by no means is complete but I will make sure to update with anything new that I find. So, here is the list headed by ProjectorCentral:
Sanyo has incorporated a lot of improvements into the Z3. Scaling and onboard deinterlacing have been improved such that overall image stability and sharpness are better on the Z3 than they were on the Z2. Owners of the Z3 will never want to bother with an external video processor like the DVDO iScan HD since the onboard electronics are already fully adequate to the task. DVDs are scaled as cleanly as we've ever seen on any product in this class, and those with particularly good transfers look almost high def.

The Panasonic AE700 and the Sanyo PLV-Z3 are both excellent products that push the envelope on LCD technology. They are both capable of delivering beautiful HDTV and DVD images in high resolution with their 1280x720 LCD panel format. The AE700 sells for a few hundred dollars more than the Z3. Based upon our comparative review, this price differential is justified. The AE700 can deliver a brighter image while retaining excellent contrast and color saturation, and it offers some unique flexibility for shelf mounting with its longer zoom lens.
Ignacio rates 5 out of 5 and writes: "I reserached different PJ units within the $2-$3K range for well over 2 months before deciding on the Sanyo Z3. I have to say not only does it perform like a dream but how can you possibly go wrong with the price ($1500) and warranty (3years). This is my first PJ and it's more than perfect for my needs and budget. I have my Sanyo ceiling mounted 12' from a 106" diagonal "Goo" Digital Gray Lite painted wall in my newly finished basement, seating area is 13' so right below the PJ ( by the way this unit is absolutely silent) The area is not a dedicated theater room so there is controlable ambient lighting." Read more ...
Sanyo’s PLV-Z3 front LCD projector is the third evolution of a series of widescreen, value-priced designs that are successfully holding market share against more costly single-chip DLP designs. It offers native HD (1280x720) resolution and such useful features as horizontal and mechanical lens shift, an HDMI connector, and (in a new twist) a small compressed-air bulb for cleaning dust out of the optical assembly.
The good: Displays high-definition images in native widescreen resolution; HDMI digital connection; high contrast ratio for deep blacks; lens shift allows flexible positioning of the projector.
The bad: Side air ventilation grille heats up quickly.
The bottom line: Sanyo's Z3 is an excellent LCD projector for watching widescreen DVDs and High Definition television (HDTV), provided you have a digital set-top box.

The Z3 is a very easy projector to set up and use. The HDMI input worked flawlessly, but most of the time, I used component video. The image is bright and contrasty, but not as contrasty as DLP. On the other hand, there is no rainbow effect with LCD,and I am very sensitive to that. So, if I had to choose between more contrast but having the rainbows, and less contrast but no rainbows, I would choose the latter.
With its fold-down front panel and uninspiring plastic case, the Sanyo PLV-Z3 suggests nothing so much as a large (okay, very large) clock radio. In a world where, not so very long ago, video projectors were expected to require three or four strong longshoremen to deliver and set up, the newest digital designs still generate a sense of wonder. Even now, audiophiles continue to equate size and mass with quality, and "longer, lower, wider" are still the watchwords with car enthusiasts (though it's no longer politically correct to actually say so in polite company).
Besides reading what other people think it is wise to look at the specs as well. Here is the link to the PDF on the Sanyo website.

Posted by Mike at 11:53 AM

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