Sanyo PLC-XL50 Projector Review: Image Quality
Sanyo PLC-XL50: Image Quality Sections
PLC-XL50 Projector: Color
Despite its strange design and unique attributes, the Sanyo PLC-XL50 is still, at heart, a 3LCD projector. It's no surpise therefore, that it offers rich, dynamic and, overall, good color. Bright reds are vibrant and - well - bright red. Yellows look great, not the mustardy, yellow green found on many DLP projectors, and the rest of the color spectrum looks equally good.
We did not attempt to analyze the color accuracy, as we would for home theater use, as this projector is not suitable for home theater. While it is strong on many aspects, its low contrast ratio (600:1) translates to black level performance that just wouldn't be considered acceptable compared to even the least of today's home theater projectors.
That's not to say that the projector isn't suitable for video. Quite the contrary, the XL50 should do just great running videos for presentation and commercial applications.
The image above (you may click for a larger image) was taken with a moderate amount of ambient light in the room, coming in from a window with the blinds mostly open. The 2000 lumens are bright enough that in the image the room appears very dark. Even to show a little of the room's ambient light, the image itself is blown out - overexposed, more than a bit.
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PLC-XL50 Projector: Resolution and Compression Technology
The XL50 is an XGA resolution (1024x768) projector. When hooked up to an XGA source, the image is as clean as you would expect from just about any projector.
Sanyo has always offered pretty good compression technology. In that, I mean that it does a very good job on small type when fed resolutions other than its native XGA.
One note. My first attempt to look at different resolutions was hooking the Sanyo projector up to my MacBook Pro. Now the MacBook Pro prefers to use digital output, but also supports the usual analog video. What was strange, was that the Mac, when looking at the Sanyo, insisted that the highest resolution of the Sanyo was SVGA (800x600) and pretty much insisted on sending it an 800x600 resolution data stream. This was disconcerting. I'm attempting to determine if there is a way around this, to feed the Sanyo native XGA or other, higher resolutions.
To solve my problem I hooked up a PC laptop (widescreen), instead. Running the Sanyo through its paces, I fed the XL50 XGA, WXGA (1280x800), and SXGA+ (1400x1050).
The projector had no problem locking on to, and properly displaying the higher than native resolution signals. Compression technology was very good, but that, of course, isn't enough to get you really good looking small type. After all, SXGA+ has almost twice as many pixels, and therefore a lot of data has to be tossed out, with the compression technology creating the best possible compromise Sanyo's algorthms can generate.
The review unit came without a manual. At first I couldn't figure out how to focus it. Thankfully, it was pointed out to me that the focus adjustment was recessed into the side of the projector.
The bottom line on sharpness, is that the XL50 is sharp. When in native XGA, everything is razor sharp, with just a little softness at the outer extremes of the image. That softness isn't significant enough to be considered an issue, unless, perhaps, you are trying to do something special, like edge blending, and it probably isn't a problem then, either.
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PLC-XL50 Projector: Overall Picture Quality, Bottom Line
If you didn't know you were watching the world's most ultra-short throw projector, you almost certainly wouldn't expect it to be an unusual design based on the picture quality.
All considered, it pretty much looks like any other really good XGA projector. Normally, the shorter the throw of the lens, the more issue with bowing (a curving of the top and bottom and also the sides (usually to a lesser degree). The Sanyo does exhibit some bowing, but it doesn't really seem to be any worse than the average business projector.
In other words, the Sanyo, when it comes to image quality, it could be said, looks like just about any other good 3LCD projector!