Sharp XV-Z3000U DLP Home Theater Projector Review

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I just don’t get it. It seems that almost every time I find a projector that really stands out in most areas, it seems to also come equipped with one serious issue. For example the Panasonic PT-AX100U – very bright, good colors, but a little softer image than the competition. Or, in this case, the Sharp XV-Z3000′s great overall performance, but significant fan noise.

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If you can resolve the fan noise, the XV-Z3000 is truly an excellent projector, quite possibly the best selling in the $2500 or less range, thanks to it’s combination of great out of the box color balance, excellent black levels and very good shadow detail, combined with plenty of lumens!

How Does the Sharp XV-Z3000 Stack Up to The Competition

XV-Z3000 vs. Optoma HD7100

Of the projectors out there selling for under $3000 this Sharp is definitely one of my favorites. It’s ability to produce black levels rivalling other DLP projectors that use the Darkchip3 processor instead of its Darkchip2, plus excellent color out of the box, and lots and lots of usable lumens, make it one of my two favorite projectors in the price range. The other, would be Optoma’s HD7100, which uses the Darkchip3. I should note that I believe the Sharp outperforms the Optoma at both black levels and shadow detail. The Optoma, has, going for it, lens shift, so it is a far, far more flexible projector in terms of placement, but if that wasn’t an issue, I would favor the Sharp.

XV-Z3000 vs. Panasonic PT-AX100U

Comparing the XV-Z3000 to the top selling PT-AX100U is interesting. The Panasonic can muster up more lumens, but only if the lens is in, or near full wide angle – closer to the screen If the Panasonic has the zoom set near maximum zoom, as it would if mounted on a rear shelf of a long room, then the Sharp probably outpowers it. Although the Panasonic, with it’s dynamic iris can also produce excellent black levels, there are scenes where their dynamic iris can’t help much, and on those scenes, the Sharp XV-Z3000 will outperform the Panasonic. I should point out, though, that the Panasonic is significantly less expensive. And, further, that the Panasonic has effectively invisible pixels, but along with that, an image visibly softer than the XV-Z3000!

XV-Z3000 vs. Optoma HD72, HD70, Mitsubishi HC3000 and Mitsubishi HD1000U

These four projectors are similar, with only the Mitsubishi HC3000 using an iris, and not having a clear filter on its color wheel. All four have virtually identical lens offset, that require them to be positioned high above the top of the screen (ceiling mounted) or well below the bottom. The XV-Z3000 by comparsion, has less than half the offset, which is a plus for all but those ceiling mounting with high ceilings. Of the four, only the Mitsubishi HC3000 comes anywhere close to the XV-Z3000 in black levels. the Mitsubishi is very good, but the Sharp is just plain better! The other three are all bright, close or as bright as the Sharp, so they rival it when you need lumens, but can’t match the Sharp in the lower brightness modes, when looking for the richest saturated colors, shadow detail and black levels.

XV-Z3000 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z5 and Sony HS-51A

These two LCD projectors are both especially sharp, but no sharper than the Sharp Z3000. On the other hand, they defintely can’t match the Sharp for brightness, although the Sanyo can come close (but when it does, it’s color balance isn’t anywhere near as good as the Z3000′s). It’s a good thing for Sanyo, that the Z3000 sells for well more than $500 above the Z5′s price. The Sony, on the other hand, is still less than the Sharp, but the pricing is much closer, and the Sony is much dimmer. Either of these might be a good alternative, if you are really into sharp, and good black levels, but are bothered by the Rainbow effect, and therefore aren’t shopping for a DLP projector.

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