Sanyo PLV-Z2 – Overview

Setting Up the Sanyo Z2 projector Tweak away!

The Sanyo is plug and play.  Plug in your component cable, adjust the feet or lens shift, etc. turn it on and you can start watching (as long as you remember to open the projector’s door, if closed).  Select your source and you are in business.
[insert image:  Sanyo Z2 Space Cowboy color menu]
The Sanyo has a very capable selection of controls for color, more than enough to keep most techno freaks happy.  As you can see from this screen shot, you have separate Red Green Blue control, plus color temperature, color saturation, tint, and there are plenty more controls.  As I recommended earlier, get a color calibration disk (I use AVIA), and have a blast.  Take your time, save your settings, and then do it again with different ambient light if you plan to have different lighting levels…

Overall, Sanyo’s menus are well laid out but you will have to get used to how to move back and forth between primary and sub-menus, and then making the actual adjustments.  No big deal, Sanyo just does it somewhat differently than most.

Sanyo PLV-Z2 - Warranty

Sanyo’s warranty is the same as the rest of their portable projector line:  3 Years Parts and Labor, with 3 day factory repair.  If you do have a problem, they’ll have it back to you pretty fast!  Sanyo still adheres to their same old policies relating to servicing projectors with one or two pixels not functioning correctly.  (I won’t go into that here.)  The bottom line though, is that it seems with today’s projectors, the chances of getting a projector with say, a red pixel or two, stuck on, are extremely tiny.  One dealer I work with, when questioned, said they have shipped about 150 Z2’s, and they haven’t had a pixel on complaint from any of their customers.

One unusual aspect of Sanyo’s policies, is that they have no “DOA” program.  They don’t take initially defective units back from the dealers, and as a result dealers normally won’t replace an initially defective projector.  Instead Sanyo will issue a Return Authorization on your new unit, and make it right.  They guaranty a 3 day turn-around.

BTW, Sanyo pays the freight on warranty repairs!

Sanyo PLV-Z2 - Summary, Pros, Cons

This is easy!

Sanyo’s Z2 is an outstanding performer, and a breakthrough in price performance.  The Z2 rivals highly acclaimed older LCD projectors such as Epson’s TW100 (which I used extensively), and sold for over twice as much.
At the $2000 price point, there still isn’t a real competitor in terms of a high res DLP projector.  True, InFocus has announced the WSVGA Screenplay 4805, a completely new DLP projector that barely resembles the 4800 (a minor variation of their X1).  Pricing isn’t set yet so we’ll have to see what that looks like when the time comes, but right now, the best of the competition out there that is less expensive, consists primarily of Epson’s Home-10 (reviewed) for about $1300, Sanyo’s similarly priced Z1, and possibly Hitachi’s new equivalent model, which I haven’t seen yet.  At $2000 the Z2 dominates, with Panasonic’s soon to ship L500 threatening to be a serious competitor (editor’s note:  The L500 is now shipping, review to be posted before 3/26/04), but everything else is left in the dust.

If two grand is your budget, and your room doesn’t have any placement challenges that the Sanyo can’t cope with (and it’s extremely flexible), you might as well stop looking, break out the credit card, and start watching!
[Image:  Sanyo Z2 front]
As home theater projectors go, the Z2 changes the game, sure, you can spend many times more in the search of perfection, but $2000 will buy you one fine home theater projector, and hopefully leave you enough funds for a good screen, proper sound, and quality cables.

Pro’s

Excellent color overall
· Wonderful flesh tones
· Good black levels even with aperture open
· The best black levels (shadow detail) of any LCD projector when itsaperture is closed
· Horizontal and Vertical lens shift simplifies placement and mounting
· Four savable user settings for image quality/color
· Economy mode for reduced cost of operation (longer lamp life)
· Sufficient brightness for screens up to 110”
· Enough brightness to maximize performance (aperture, and lamp) on 92” screens
· 3 year warranty
· Quiet even in full power mode (near silent in low lamp mode).
· Side venting (can use on shelf)
· Price

Con’s

Remote not fully backlit (partial)
· A few hundred more lumens would allow optimum performance on larger screens.
· Menus a little confusing to navigate (you’ll get used to it)
· Sanyo’s no DOA policy.  (If there’s a flaw in a new projector, they repair, not replace it).  As a result, most dealers also will not exchange a defective one for a new one.  Sanyo will pay freight to send it in and make it right!

Typical’s

Sorry, there’s nothing typical about this projector, for now, it’s a class of one, in its price range.

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