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Sanyo PLV-Z700 Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities - 2

Posted on October 8, 2008 by Art Feierman

Sanyo PLV-Z700: Competitive Aspects

In this section I'm going to briefly discuss the PLV-Z700 compared to several other projectors, some of which are being phased out over the next couple of months. I'll also make some quick conjectures about some new ones that haven't yet shipped, but are coming in that same timeframe.

PLV-Z700 vs. Mitsubishi HC5500

First, the Z700 has all that great placement flexibility, while Mitsubishi decided to limit the zoom lens and lens shift range to keep costs down. Assuming both will work in your environment, I'll give the PLV-Z700 the advantage in image control flexibiility (except that weakness for gray scale calibration).

The Sanyo is definitely the less expensive of the two, starting at $1995 MSRP, vs. $2499 currently, less $200 rebate, and that's a real strength for many on a budget, especially those with tighter budgets deciding between a good 720p and 1080p projector.

The HC5500 however, is brighter in best mode. As noted in the Brightness section of the Z700, the Z700 can get up there to match the numbers of the HC5500, but, it requires some compromising of "best mode", to do so. Overall, the Mitsubishi has a slight advantage in black level performance. On the other hand, the PLV-Z700 is slightly brighter in "brightest mode". Also of note, the HC5500 can get up to 5000 hours on it's lamp, in low power mode, compared to probably about 3000 hours for low power on the Sanyo. That's a money saver, which should negate the higher up front cost over time.

Both produce a very sharp image, with the Mitsubishi having a very slight advantage. Sanyo has the longer warranty.

These are worthy competitors. I expect the Sanyo to appeal to more folks though because of the price, and that the HC5500 is priced closer to the next level up 1080p projectors.

Sanyo PLV-Z700 vs. Epson Home Cinema 1080

Click to enlarge. So close. This will be brief. The Epson is in close out mode, and nets out to about $1650 or less after figuring the value of a free spare lamp and mail-in rebate. This is the older of the two Epson's and its black levels, like the PLV-Z700, are nothing to write home about, these days. Epson also has a great warranty (shorter by a year, but with overnight replacement). The Sanyo is quieter, slightly sharper, and can muster up a few more lumens (with some compromise) in best mode, but is no match in brightest mode, with about 1200 lumens vs. about 1700 for the Epson, giving the Epson the advantage for HDTV/sports viewing. For those really squeezed by budget, the Epson is the least expensive entry to the 1080p market, right now.

Click Image to Enlarge

Sanyo PLV-Z700 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z2000

I slightly favor the PLV-Z2000, as it does do slightly better on black levels, and is easier to calibrate. They are very similar otherwise. The PLV-Z2000 is about to be replaced by the Z3000, which should be a real step up. Between the PLV-Z700 and the Z2000, I favor the Z2000 if both can be found for the same price.

Sanyo PLV-Z700 vs. Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB

This Epson is our Best in Class winner this past year, with spectacular black level performance for an under $3000 projector. While cash out of pocket is much higher than the PLV-Z700 (free lamp, mail-in rebate), the "net" on the Epson is $2149 or less.

That makes the PLV-Z700 less expensive, but I find the Epson to be the better value. It won't be around much longer, however. Even when the PLV-Z700 is in its truly best mode (no compromise) the Epson is a bit brighter, and still does better black levels, while the Sanyo has a very slight advantage in shadow detail. The Epson, doesn't support those expensive anamorphic lens setups, while the Sanyo does.

The Epson does have some downsides - not as sharp an image, more audible noise, one year less warranty, and perhaps a touch less film-like, but its black level abilities make it a cut above product when viewing darker scenes.

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