Sanyo PLV-Z4 Projector Review: Overview

Great projector for the bucks! Sanyo has done a great job with the Z4, starting with a zoom lens with more placement range, and lots of lens shift. But what earns the Sanyo Z4 home theater projector its hot product award, is image quality. A very sharp image, excellent contrast for a projector in its class, and a projector with plenty of setup flexibility to deal with various ambient light conditions (within reason).

Sanyo Z4 Projector Summary, Pros and Cons

Click to enlarge. So close

Great projector for the bucks! Sanyo has done a great job with the Z4, starting with a zoom lens with more placement range, and lots of lens shift. But what earns the Sanyo Z4 home theater projector its hot product award, is image quality. A very sharp image, excellent contrast for a projector in its class, and a projector with plenty of setup flexibility to deal with various ambient light conditions (within reason).

Click Image to Enlarge

On the downside, color could be more accurate In addition shadow detail could be a bit better, and “blacker” black levels, are not quite as good as the best in the price range. Perhaps more serious, it’s handling of low resolution sources is sub-par, but for overall viewing of DVD’s and Hi-Def (HDTV), the Z4 is certainly one of the best projectors in its price range.

Sanyo PLV-Z4 Pros

  • Sharp image
  • Good color accuracy, that can be improved with calibration
  • 2:1 zoom lens for placement flexibility
  • More range in the vertical lens shift, than in competing models
  • Very quiet
  • Extensive control of colors, image handling, and other settings
  • Wide choice of preset modes work well from fully darkened rooms to those with significant ambient light
  • Long warranty
  • Two component video inputs in addition to 1 HDMI
  • User saveable settings

Sanyo PLV-Z4 Cons

  • Poorer than average performance on low resolution signals (regular TV, VCR…)
  • Remote control – cramped buttons, limited range
  • Ability to resolve dark scenes, not quite as good as some competing projectors and more expensive DLP models
  • Lamp life, at least Sanyo does not publish typical lamp life. Historically, older models seemed to have shorter lamp life than their competing products

Typical Performance and Capabilities

  • Manual – good, actually better than average, but does not fully explain many of the adjustments and capabilities.
  • Menus – easy to navigate, although engaging some features is slightly awkward (no big deal)
  • Price Performance

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The Sanyo PLV-Z4 projector is an excellent choice, and should be one to consider if your budget is $2000+. Since its overall performance is extremely close to one or two other projectors, you may find that certain features, rather than image quality itself might be the reason to select the Z4 or another model. In fairness, if you budget allows, there are projectors a cut above, starting at under $4000, but in its price range, the Z4 truly impresses.

 

Click Image to Enlarge

Since very, very few people will ever get a chance to view the Sanyo side by side with the competition, there’s one thing almost certain. If you purchase the Z4, and bring it home, it will exceed your expectations. That a relatively low cost projector can produce an image in your home that is this close to what you see in a theater, will truly surprise all but the most optimistic buyers.

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