Sanyo PLV-Z60 720p 3LCD Home Theater Projector Review: Overview
9/30/2008 -Art Feierman
Sanyo has just started shipping the PLV-Z60, with first shipments arriving at dealers in a day or two. Most of the attention, and most of the new home theater projectors launched in the last year, have been 1080p. That said, there is still a strong, but smaller (than 1080p) market for these low cost 720p projectors.
While 1080p projectors start right below $2000, 720p projectors start below $1000 (DLP models) while most 3LCD home theater projectors - like the PLV-Z60, are priced around $1299. Rebates are common and can lower the price significantly on some of the more expensive 720p projectors.
The PLV-Z60 is a classic 3LCD projector, with great placement flexibility. It uses two iris systems, one on the lamp, to help it achieve very good black level performance for a 720p projector.
Let's get started:
Sanyo PLV-Z60 Projector Highlights:
- Good, but not great out of the box color accuracy
- Calibrates very nicely for extremely good color
- Below average brightness limits Z60 to medium to smaller screens
- Good black level performance, improved over the Z5
- Excellent placement flexibility - manual wide range zoom and lots of lens shift
- Only 720 3LCD projector that comes with ability to remove possible dust blobs
- Extensive color management controls
- 2 HDMI inputs are 1.3, with 24fps and Deep Color support
- Excellent 3 year warranty, with fast turn-around
- Very quiet operation (22db in eco-mode)- not the quietest, but quieter than most
- Remote rather small and a bit cramped, but very functional
- Very good value proposition
Sanyo chose not to replace their popular PLV-Z5 last year. It was launched just two years ago. Instead, they announced the PLV-Z60 a few weeks ago, with some notable, although not earthshaking improvements. Things like ultra high contrast ratios, seem to be reserved for 1080p projectors, but, hey, 720p projectors still provide a rather impressive image, whether watching movies or HDTV and sports. The Sanyo PLV-Z60 is no exception. Previously, we considered the Z5 to be an excellent performer, and the new PLV-Z60 is, simply stated, even better.
This review unit arrived about a week before first shipments arrived for dealers, so I'm assuming it's a late pre-production model. This review unit does have a problem with unenveness of illumination and color shift across the background. The image is slightly pinker on the left, and more blue-green toward the right. This is not uncommon with pre-production projectors. I'll discuss further, but do not expect this to prove to be a problem with production models. I've asked for a brand new unit, for comparison. (You can see that color shift in the image above, by the pink tint to the clouds to the left side of the image.)
As you would expect, as a 3LCD projector, the PLV-Z60 offers alot of placement flexibility, good black levels, and a very sharp image. We'll get into all the details relating to performance and image quality in this review. Let me say that, I have watched the PLV-Z60 extensively (upward of 20 hours), and consider it to be a very good value. As with previous Sanyos though, the PLV-Z60 is not particularly bright. That's not really an issue for people using 82" - 100" diagonal screens, but the PLV-Z60 is a little out of its depth, trying to fill my 128" Firehawk screen. I'll discuss screen choices further in the General Performance page.
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Projector: Basic Specifications
Click here for full specs, and access to the Sanyo PLV-Z60 projector brochure.
Native Resolution: 720p (1280x720)
Brightness: 1200 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: 2:1
Lens shift: Vertical and horizontal
Lamp life: Sanyo does not provide lamp life specs. Most projectors offer 2000 hours at full power, and 3000 hours in eco-mode (low lamp)
Weight: 11 lbs. (4.9 Kg)
Warranty: 3 Years Parts and Labor
[PROJECTOR REVIEW CONTINUES BELOW]
Sanyo PLV-Z60 Projector - Physical Tour
We start facing the front of the charcoal gray PLV-Z60 home theater projector. The recessed, manual zoom lens is offset to the right. Focus and zoom rings are located around the lens. When the projector is powered down, a motorized door closes to keep dust off, and to protect the lens. From a placement standpoint, the 2:1 zoom lens (for a 100 inch, 16:9 aspect ratio screen), can be placed as close as 9.8 feet and as far back as 20 feet, as measured from the front of the lens. Note: Lens shift range can be found in our lens section on the General Performance page.
There is an infra-red sensor in the front, to the right of the lens. Below the front are two screw thread adjustable feet.
Moving to the top of the PLV-Z60 (and from now on, we are looking from the back of the projector), you will find the projector's control panel, located toward the right side. A large silver Power button is furthest to the right, and front. (Press once to power up, twice to power down). The rest of the control panel consists of the usual diamond shaped array of four arrow keys for navigating the menu system, with an "OK" (enter) button in the center of them. To the left of the Up arrow, is the Menu button, and to the right, the Input button (source select). And that, folks is it, except for three indicator lights above the up arrow, from left to right: Lamp Replace, Warning, and Power.
On the left side, are the dials for vertical and horizontal lens shift, and a lock to hold those adjustments firmly in place.
The PLV-Z60 is designed to allow shelf mounting, and to accomplish that, the air intake is in the back while the hot air exhaust is located on the right side.
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That takes us, finally, to the input panel on the back. The PLV-Z60 is very nicely endowed for a 720p projector, sporting two HDMI inputs (both 1.3, with Deep Color support), an analog computer input (standard HD15), and the usual S-Video (DIN connector) and composite video (RCA jack). In addition there are two component video inputs (each with the usual color coded R,G,B RCA type connectors). In addition there is the usual RS-232 service port, which can support controlling the Z60 from a computer or room control system. Lastly, you'll find a power cord receptacle (Sanyo uses the "mickey mouse" three round connector), the master power switch, and a Kensington Lock slot. There are two different air filter access doors in the back.
Finally, the lamp door, to change out a lamp, is located on the bottom. This will require a projector that is using a ceiling mount, to be unmounted, to change the lamp. That's a definite nuisance, but is the case on many, but probably less than half of home theater projectors.
That concludes our "physical tour" of the PLV-Z60. Time to get to the heart of things - image quality.