Sanyo PLV-Z4 Projector Review: Overview

Projector Performance - Other

Sanyo provides a small remote. Power as at the top left and the Light button at the top right. Generally the buttons are very tightly packed, the backlight not particularly bright, and most annoying, the remote doesn’t seem to have much range. With the projector set up in my theater about 17 feet from the screen, and sitting 12 feet back, I find it almost impossible to bounce the IR signal off the front wall or screen, and get the projector to react. Instead, I have to essentially point the remote over my shoulder pointing it toward the projector. Of course there’s a solution for this: Invest in a good learning remote and program all your equipment into it.

What I do like about the remote is that it has a freeze frame, and that you can directly control most functions from buttons on the remote, bypassing the menus.

Lens Shift

As mentioned in the Overview section, lens shift allows you to maintain a rectangular image, avoiding the keystone effect. The Sanyo Z4 has more adjustment range than any other projector in its class, and that will allow you to mount the projector slightly above the screen if ceiling mounted, or below the screen on a table. The projector can be placed right side up (ceiling mounting is upside down), anywhere between the top and bottom of the screen.

Sanyo PLV-Z4 Lens shift:

The Sanyo has a great deal of range in terms of lens shift. You can basically place the projector anywhere from about half a screen height below the bottom of the screen, all the way to about a half screen height above the top. This wide range is a benefit for those who want the projector on a low table, or wish to keep it as close to flush to a tall ceiling. Unlike the older Z3, which some units have a problem holding the vertical lens shift you dial in, the new Sanyo Z4 projector adds a Lens Shift lock control next to the vertical and horizontal lens shift dials. It seems to do the job as intended. If you do use a lot of vertical lens shift (near the maximum), you will note a bowing of the image (it curves down very slightly from the upper left and right corners to the top center (if the projector is below the screen, and the reverse if it is above). This is the normal result of using a lot of lens shift, and should be similar to other projectors, however, the combination of a very wide range zoom and large lens shift, may make it a bit worse, than a projector, that has merely a longer throw and similar lens shift. The bowing will be more noticeable if the zoom is in wide angle mode (projector closest to the screen). Please note, virtually all projectors (even those without variable – that is – adjustable – projector lens shift), do have a fixed amount of lens shift. Otherwise the lens would need to be even with the center of the screen height to get a rectangular image. (Yes, you could use keystone correction, but it is far more detrimental to the image quality than the slight bowing caused by lens shift.)

Lens Cover

When you power up the Sanyo PLV-Z4 home theater projector, a motorized door slides out of the way in the front to reveal the lens. This is a nice touch, and keeps dust from accumulating on the lens when the projector isn’t in use.

Cleaning the projector

Sanyo PLV-Z2 users often complained that dust would get on the LCD panels and leave small soft smudges on the projected image (the opposite color of the LCD panel filter, so if dust got on the blue filter you would see a yellow blob…

With the Z3 projector Sanyo added three holes on the bottom to blow air across the three LCD panels. The new Z4 continues with this feature. To clean the panels, you can further improve the ability to clean the panels by first going to the settings menu, and follow the manual’s instructions to run the fan, with the image muted, and then user the bulb blower to do the individual panels. Having the fan running, Sanyo says, makes the cleaning more effective.

Note: One of the advantages of DLP projectors over LCD projectors is that DLP projectors typically have a “sealed light path” which prevents any dust or dirt from getting in between the lamp source and the front of the lens.

Noise levels

The Sanyo is extremely quiet comparable to the Panasonic. That puts the noise levels down in the 22 db range in low lamp mode, and 26 db in full power. Noise is a non issue unless the projector is about 24 inches from your head, and even there it likely wouldn’t be noticeable with any sound coming from your video source.

In low power mode, standing 5 feet in front of the projector, it is virtually silent.

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