Sharp XV-Z15000 Projector Review

Then there’s the lens. I’m not sure what the story is, but, this is the first projector in quite a long time, that I noticed a decrease in sharpness from one point on the screen to another, in casual viewing. Don’t get me wrong, no lens will give you a razor sharp image across the screen, but, this one is definitely weak in this regard. You can easily see a difference in sharpness from, say the top of an open menu to the bottom, and we’re not exactly talking overly large menus here. I would venture to say, that if you stand 5 feet from a 100 inch screen, put up a menu, and you can see the sharpness difference between two menu items only a foot apart (that screen would be 4 feet 1 inch tall). I guess I could take a knife and try to scratch the lens to find out if it’s plastic, but Sharp wouldn’t be too happy with me.

Mind you, that’s not a fatal flaw, but a weakness in an otherwise strong projector. Be sure, if you buy one of these Sharps, to set your focus about 1/3 out from the center. That will give you the best overall sharpness. (Even 1/3 out, you can see a little softness in the center, so some might like 1/4 of the way out from center.)

The fan of this unit rattles a little for the first couple of minutes. While I expect that is just this unit (it’s been around the block, I’m not the first reviewer to beat it up). Not a big point, as even if other exhibit this to some degree, it definitely calms down after a couple of minutes. (Overall, the fan noise levels are on the high side of average. I did notice, when doing the Epson 6500UB vs. XV-Z15000 side by side images that the Sharp was a little bit noiser than the Epson – a db, or perhaps two).

And finally, there’s the warranty. I’m just not a fan of 1 year warranties. Buy an extended is my best advice, even if 3rd party (they are cheap). Projectors cost too much to repair, and if out of warranty, and a lot of hours on the lamp, it may not make sense to repair it at all. That would be a terrible thing if you’ve only had it for 13 months! I figure everyone should have two years warranty. With some competition offering three years, and several companies providing replacement programs, the Sharp warranty is as minimal as it gets.

OK, I’ve raved positively, and I’ve bitched about some flaws.

I should also note, that the Sharp lacks CFI (creative frame interpolation), but only a few LCD projectors have that so far. Sports fans would like that feature, and it is a feature that I think most projectors will have in the next two years. Creative Frame interpolation has been a hot feature in the LCDTV market.

Overall, this is an excellent projector. If you can get over any placement issues, it seems to me that the Sharp XV-Z15000 is the strongest performing new DLP projector to hit the market recently in it’s price range. This Sharp definitely is up to challenging the 3LCD projectors, and the Sony VPL-HW10. It may not have some fancy features like creative frame interpolation, or support for an anamorphic lens, but it really looks great. I’d say it’s one fine deal for around $2000, and one of the best choices around.

The Bottom Line: If the Sharp XV-Z15000 will work in your room, if the budget is tight, and especially if you like the DLP look and feel, this one is about as good (a value) as it gets. I see myself recommending the XV-Z15000 to a lot of folks!

Sharp XV-Z15000 Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities

Click to enlarge. So close

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Sharp XV-Z15000 Projector: Pros

Click to enlarge. So close

  • Good “out of the box” picture quality (Natural mode, Dynamic)
  • Very good color accuracy post calibration in best mode (Movie 2)
  • Excellent black level performance for the price, one of the best lower cost projectors in this regard
  • Great picture quality for the price
  • A little brighter than average in “Brightest” mode (Dynamic)
  • Two HDMI 1.3 inputs, full support for 24 fps, Deep Color, CEC etc.
  • Lens offset is less than with most other DLP projectors, making it more viable in rooms with low ceilings or with larger screens
  • Very good menus
  • Lamp door in front, no need to unmount a ceiling mounted projector to change
  • No filters to change, minimizing maintenance
  • Rainbow effect minimized, and not an issue for most who are moderately sensitive
  • A handle that pulls out for use (not that most folks will be moving a projector like this around)
  • Overall, an excellent projector, and especially appealing to those favoring the DLP look and feel
  • An excellent value proposition (worth the bucks!)
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