Sanyo PLV-Z3000 1080p 120Hz LCD Projector Reviewed

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Low Points
The PLV-Z3000 is a well-rounded full-featured projector, but it isn't perfect. For starters, there is no digital keystoning of any sort, which isn't necessarily a deal breaker, but for those with some placement limitations, it does make integrating and/or installing the PLV-Z3000 more of a challenge. I know digital keystoning degrades an image somewhat, though a minor decrease in quality may be less noticeable than a non-square-edged image at the top or bottom, depending on how you install your PLV-Z3000.

While the PLV-Z3000 is bright (a lot brighter than my Sony VW50), it is not as bright as Sanyo would like you to think. The idea that this projector can make a beamingly bright image (think LCD flat screen HDTV) that can be watched in a light-filled room is a bit of a stretch. Is the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 better in terms of light output than my Sanyo? Absolutely. Does it shoot a laser beam of light that can cut through any ambient light in a room? I am sorry, but this projector can't pull of that feat. For the record, neither can, say, a $250,000 2k Runco SC-1 projector. We just haven't progressed that far with light output from front projectors.

The PLV-Z3000 black levels are good, a touch better than those of other projectors in its class, but they are not reference-grade. While plenty deep, the blacks on the Sanyo lack a bit of inner detail and degrees of separation that might frustrate some viewers who are looking for the type of performance that comes in the $10,000 price class of projectors. Color saturation and fidelity are also very good, though on some material, they can feel overtly punchy and overpower some subtler details if not properly calibrated. Out of the box performance is good, better than most, though I encountered a slight greenish shift to the overall color balance, but proper calibration can rein in a lot of the PLV-Z3000's black level and color shortcomings.

Lastly, the PLV-Z3000's menus are in-depth and provide an astonishing level of control, but some of the features you'll want to get at seem buried in sub-menus, making calibration and adjustments a bit more time-consuming.

Conclusion
For under $3,000 retail, the PLV-Z3000 from Sanyo is nothing short of a tremendous value in today's front-projector market. While I question the value of the 120Hz technology, overall, the PLV-Z3000 is a remarkably capable budget projector that provides levels of performance that are anything but budget quality. While its black level performance can be beaten on many levels, it's not a deal breaker with this projector. The Sanyo PLV-Z3000 more than makes up for it with its punchy, vibrant and involving colors and smooth, artifact-free motion, especially when viewing true 24p material. The PLV-Z3000 does well with SD material, which is more than I can say for most of the other LCD-based projectors, and it simply sings with HD. Feed it the best you can and invest a bit of time, and perhaps money, in some proper calibration, and you may find the PLV-Z3000 to be all the projector you'll ever need. The Sanyo PLV-Z3000 is worth checking out and among my favorite budget projectors available today.

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HTR Product Rating for Sanyo PLV-Z3000 1080p 120Hz LCD Projector

Criteria Rating

Performance

4

Value

4

Overall

4

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