Projector Reviews

Compare Projectors – HC5500 vs. PLV-Z700

Mitsubishi HC5500 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z700

Here we take a look at the two least expensive current model 1080p projectors – the Mitsubishi HC5500, and how it compares to the Sanyo PLV-Z700, our Best In Class, Runner-Up award winner. Please note, the HC5500 review is an older one, and the images found here, tend to look way too contrasty (as noted in the original review). They were done before I finally settled on consistent techniques for doing images with my dSLR.

HC5500 vs. PLV-Z700 - An Overview

Here we have two 3LCD projectors, going head to head. The two are as different from each other as they are similar. Mitsubishi compromised placement flexibility to keep the price low, and that difference is one of the major differences. Brightness is another area where they significantly differ.

The Mitsubishi HC5500 comes with a two year warranty, while the Sanyo PLV-Z700 comes with three years.

When it comes to brightness the two projectors are very different. The Sanyo PLV-Z700 is a lot less bright in its “best” mode, than the HC5500 is, in its “best” mode. Please note that the PLV-Z700 has a bright “best” mode – not as good as their Pure Cinema, that is called Brilliant Cinema. Brilliant Cinema may not be as good as Pure, but it does do a very good job, and does increase brightness to slightly more than that of the HC5500’s “best” mode.

When comparing the brightest modes, the Sanyo is the brighter of the two, with about 25% more lumens than the Mitsubishi. Consider all of that, and the Mitsubishi will generally have the advantage for those primarily, or solely interested in movie viewing, while those equally interested in movies, but also general HDTV and sports, will appreciate the additional “brightest” mode lumen count of the Sanyo PLV-Z700.

Physical Attributes

From a styling standpoint, the HC5500 is the more interesting design, although the PLV-Z700, while in a basic box shape, has a clean look, thanks to recessed lens, nice curved corners, and two tone front.

Placement flexibility differs greatly. The Sanyo PLV-Z700 has a 2:1 zoom lens while the HC5500 offers only a 1.2:1 zoom (an amount more typical of DLP projectors than 3LCD projectors).


Assuming a 100 inch diagonal 16:9 screen, the Sanyo can be placed a little closer – 9.8 feet, compared to the Mitsubishi projector’s 10.5 feet. The real difference, though is how far back you can place them with the zoom lens in full telephoto. The Sanyo can be placed an even 20 feet back. By comparison, the HC5500 a mere 12.8 feet.

This means that while the HC5500 does have vertical lens shift, it really isn’t practical to shelf mount it in most rooms, as your rear wall will be too far back. If you do choose an especially large screen relative the depth of the room, it might reach, but don’t count on it, without checking measurements. Speaking of lens shift, the HC5500 has a lot less lens shift range. Basically the highest the HC5500 can be placed is even with the top of your screen surface, while the Sanyo PLV-Z700 can be as much as 24.5 inches above the top (for that 100 inch diagonal screen).

Bottom line, no contest in placement flexibility, the Sanyo is the clear winner. Of course, if the HC5500 will work in your room, (ceiling mounted most likely), the way you want it to, then it doesn’t matter, does it?

The PLV-Z700 and HC5500 have their control panels on the top, and their inputs (and outputs) located in the back. Both projectors have two HDMI 1.3 inputs, the industry standard. The PLV-Z700 sports two component video inputs, compared to one for the Mitsubishi, but few people are using those anymore. Mitsubishi does offer a 12volt screen trigger, for controlling a motorized screen. The Sanyo lacks that, but most motorized screens today, offer remote controls, either standard or optionally, so it’s a minor point, and only that if your screen is motorized.

The Mitsubishi HC5500 input panel, and below, the Sanyo PLV-Z700’s input panel.