Sharp XV-Z3000U DLP Home Theater Projector Review - Overview
1/07/2006 - Art Feierman
This is the first Sharp home theater projector I have had a chance to review. I know that several Sharp projectors have strong followings, even though "on paper" they seemed very expensive. As a result, I didn't know quite what to expect from the XV-Z3000U, their mid-priced 720p projector. It certainly is one of the more expensive 720p home theater projectors out there, so I set my expectations fairly high.
I just happened to have Phantom of the Opera in my HD-DVD player when I hooked up the XV-Z3000. My first reactions to the XV-Z3000, based on that are, 1) really good color out of the box, 2) excellent shadow detail, 3) very bright, and finally, and somewhat surprising 4) I checked out all the preset modes - normal, movie 1, 2, etc. and they all seemed to have extremely good color balance out of the box, even Dynamic, the brightest, was pretty solid in terms of producing natural colors.
My point here, being, even before I got settled in, and started testing, I was pretty impressed.
The more I watched it, the more I was impressed with the blacks. The XV-Z3000 manages inky blacks that rival more expensive projectors using the Darkchip3 DLP. The XV-Z3000 overall has the best image quality (with the possible exception of the Samsung SP-H710AE, which doesn't come close in terms of black levels) of any of the Darkchip2 DLP projectors I have reviewed.
As a result we are pleased to give the XV-Z3000 our Hot Product Award, for exceptional price performance, tied to overall image quality, and best of class sharpness of image.
Sharp XV-Z3000 home theater projector: Basic Specs
Click here for more specifications.
Technology: Single Chip DLP (Darkchip2)
Native Resolution: 720p (1280x768)
Brightness: 1200 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.15:1
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 2000 hours (est) full power, 3000 lumens eco-mode
Weight: 8.8 lbs.
Warranty: 1 Year Parts and Labor
Sharp XV-Z3000 Physical Tour:
Starting, facing the front of the XV-Z3000, you'll find the zoom lens mounted toward the right side. The zoom, typical of DLP projectors has limited zoom range, a ratio of 1.15:1. This lens will allow you to place the projector as close as 9 feet 8 inches or as far back as 11 feet 3 inches from a 100" diagonal 16:9 aspect ratio screen.
There is a single drop down foot in the front center with a release bar. The XV-Z3000 has two rear feet (looking from the front) the left one is fixed, while the right one is screw thread adjustable, allowing for a stable, level, 3 point stance even on non-level surfaces.
The XV-Z3000 has its air intake on the right side (from the front) and hot air exits from the right side. Since this projector typically sits about the same, or closer to the screen as viewers are likely to sit, you will want to avoid sitting even with the projector with the projector to your left, as the amount of hot air exiting, although not excessive, will be felt a couple of feet away.
Moving to the top of the XV-Z3000, is a pretty standard control panel. Looking at it from behind, you'll find a large power button to the front left (once for ON, twice for OFF). There are the usual four arrow buttons for menu navigation, with the Enter button in the center. The UP arrow button doubles as a Input select, when you are not in the Menu system.
On the bottom left side is a button for changing aspect ratios, labeled Resize, and at the bottom right, the Menu button.
In addition, there are three indicator lamps, a Power/Standby (on/off), a Lamp indicator and a Temperature indicator lamp. And, that covers it for the control panel.
That takes us last, to the inputs located in the rear of the Sharp XV-Z3000 home theater projector. This Sharp projector is fairly typical with its array of inputs. Going from left to right, first is an RS-232 for "command and control" to adjust settings from a computer or room control system.
Next comes the single HDMI input (two would have been better, but most projectors still have only one). Then comes a standard computer HD15 connector, which can handle the usual analog computer signal, or be used for Component video. Further to the right are two rows of three RCA input jacks for two Component video input sources. (If you're not hooking up a computer, you can have 3 Component video sources hooked up.) Next comes the "low resolution" inputs - S-video, and composite video. Finally on the right, is a 12volt trigger for control of a motorized screen, and close by, and below, the rear Infra-red sensor for the remote control. This review will look at the menu systems and the remote control, in the general performance section.
Time to tackle the serious stuff - the Sharp XV-Z3000's image quality starting in the next section.