The XV-Z15000 is finished in a shiny black, with a silver lens barrel. Basically its a medium sized boxy projector. Fortunately black is the "color" you want for a plain looking projector. I don't think there's any chance that this Sharp projector will win any design awards. But it looks nice, and clean.
Click to enlarge. So close
Ah, give me a break. I can't even remember the last time I encountered a home theater projector without a backlit remote control. Most disappointing!
On the positive side, the range is very good, no problem getting a good bounce off of my screen, with a total distance of 25 feet (remote - screen - projector).
As to the controls, the Sharp remote control has lots of buttons, is pretty well laid out, but buttons are a bit close together and in rows, without using a lot of different shape/sized buttons to make finding the one you like easy, in the dark.
The XV-Z15000 has separate controls for power on, and off, discreet controls for the different inputs, and a lot of buttons that let you bypass the main menus and take you right to the individual controls.
Among those, you can select the Picture mode button, there are separate buttons for controlling both irises, there's even a digital zoom feature (a business projector hold-over, no doubt).
The menu navigation consists of the four arrow keys in a round configuration, with the Enter button in the center, and the Return (some would call that an Escape button) below to the left.
The small Menu button is on the right below the arrow keys. Nearby, the lamp brightness control (Eco-Quiet), and aspect ratio, as well as an Input button.
The manual lens is very limited. It is only a 1.15:1 zoom ratio, less than even the most common 1.2:1 found on most DLP projectors, and a tiny amount of adjustment compared to any 3LCD projector competitor (all but one have at least 1.6:1 and most have 2:1).
This doesn't give you much placement flexibility. For a 100 inch, 16:9 aspect ratio screen, you can place the projector (measured from front of lens) as close as 10 feet, 4 inches but only as far back as 11 feet, 11 inches - that's just 21 inches of flexibility. At the other extreme, the Epson's offer about 11 feet of placement flexibility, from closest to furthest.