Sanyo PLV-Z60 720p 3LCD Home Theater Projector Review: Overview

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 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.

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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