Sanyo PLV-Z700 1080p 3LCD Home Theater Projector Review: Overview
10/8/2008 -Art Feierman
The Sanyo PLV-Z700 surprised me. I'm used to Sanyo projectors being some of the least bright out there, but ones, nonetheless, with very good overall performance.
In the case of the PLV-Z700, our initial measurements were not surprising, based on previous Sanyo projector reviews. It turns out, however, that upon playing with the many settings options, that the PLV-Z700 can manage very impressive brightness in its "best" mode, without much compromise. The "Best mode" is called Creative Cinema. Although the brightness measured at the default settings for that mode, was, as expected, below average, we discovered that by opening up the fixed iris all the way, (but still using the dynamic iris), brightness definitely achieved what I would say is average for 1080p projectors, or, actually a little more.
I'll go into that further, but, after watching the projector extensively, I am most happy with "best mode" performance (for an entry level priced 1080p projector), with the fixed iris opened further than the default. I believe most owners (except those with small screens - less than 100" diagonal), will like the Sanyo PLV-Z700 better, by opening the iris up from the default.
Above, Daniel Craig, as Bond, in Casino Royale, from Blu-ray disc.
Let's get started:
Sanyo PLV-Z700 Projector Highlights
- Solid overall performance for an entry level 1080p projector
- Decent black level performance, but not a match for most "non-entry level" 1080p projectors
- Very good shadow detail
- Dual iris, lots of special modes to enhance black levels, gamma, etc.
- Average brightness in "best" mode - Creative Cinema
- Excellent placement flexibility
- A very quiet projector in terms of fan noise
- Perhaps the most affordable 1080p projector
- Warranty longer than most - 3 years
- First official under $2000 MSRP 1080p projector to ship
HD image above, from Blu-ray DVE-HD calibration disc demo materials
The PLV-700 is now Sanyo's entry level 1080p home theater projector. Last year Sanyo had but one 1080p model for the home, and that's the PLV-Z2000. This year, Sanyo goes with the low cost PLV-Z700, and a higher end PLV-Z3000 which will, technically, replace the PLV-Z2000.
On paper, the PLV-Z700 sports a lower contrast ratio, than the older Z2000, at a lower price, and black level performance seems to reflect that, but, as indicated above, there were some surprises. Expect the PLV-Z700 to sell for less than the older PLV-Z2000, as rumor of rebates are floating around already.
Above, also from the DVE-HD demo disc.
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Sanyo PLV-Z700 Projector: Basic Specifications
Click here for full specs, and access to the Sanyo PLV-Z700 projector brochure.
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
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
Above, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black - Blu-ray disc
Sanyo PLV-Z700 Projector: Physical Tour
We start looking at the front of Sanyo's white cased PLV-Z700 home theater projector. A recessed, manual zoom lens is positioned off center, to the right. Focus and zoom rings are located on the lens.A motorized door closes to keep dust off, and to protect the lens, when the projector is powered down. 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: For information on lens shift range, we cover that on the General Performance page of this review, or you can go directly there by clicking here.
There is an infra-red sensor in the front, to the right of the lens. Below the front are two screw thread adjustable feet.
On the top of the Sanyo PLV-Z700 (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 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.
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On the left side (looking from the back), are the dials for vertical and horizontal lens shift, and a lock to hold those adjustments firmly in place. (sorry about the blue tape in the image)
The PLV-Z700 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.
That takes us, finally, to the input panel on the back. The PLV-Z700 is has a very typical combination of inputs and connections, 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). There is also the usual RS-232 service port, which can support controlling the Z60 from a computer or room control system. Finally, you'll find the power cord receptacle and a Kensington Lock slot. There are two different air filter access doors in the back.
The last thing to note, is that 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 today's home theater projectors.
Our "physical tour" of the PLV-Z700 ends here. The remote control is covered in the General Performance page. Now it's time to get to what really matters the most - to most folks - image quality.