Sanyo PLV-Z3 – Overview

Of the projectors I have tested, the Sanyo PLV-Z3 is the best of the LCD projectors in the $2000-$2500 selling price range, when it comes to reproducing colors faithfully. Overall performance is excellent, and the Sanyo appears to be free of any major artifact issues. Banding is sometimes detectable but barely so, and overall, not a problem.

The Z3 offers excellent placement flexibility thanks to lens shift that has plenty of lattitude. Lots of inputs mean the Z3 is not dependent on an AV receiver or external switchbox if you have several hi-res devices. While the projector isn’t the brightest around, it manages to produce very good contrast, and maintain shadow detail, without losing enough brightness to be a problem with 100″ screens, and you might well find it very satisfying with a 110″ with the right screen.

Pro's

  • Overall picture quality
  • Multiple image modes, with some excellent results
  • 4 User definable settings, ideal for calibrating, or just “what you like”
  • More inputs, including separate HDMI, Component, and computer inputs
  • 3 year warranty is longer than most
  • User easily can remove dust from light path, saving cleaning expense
  • Wide range lens shift simplifies and improves installation
  • Tons of menu control of image attributes for those that calibrate or just like to tweak
  • Excellent value for the money

Con's

  • Zoom lens has 20% range (1.2:1) less than most of the competition.
  • Rear venting design (and zoom ratio) make the Z3 less suitable for shelf mounting in rear of room
  • Cannot match the higher contrast, “blacker blacks” and shadow detail found in more expensive DLP projectors

Typical

  • Brightness
  • Overall ergonmomics (menus, etc.)

The Sanyo PLV-Z3 home theater projector earns a Hot Product Award, for home theater projectors in the $2000 – $3000 range (as of this writing 11/26). The other current Hot Product Winner in this class is Panasonic’s AE700u.

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