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Sanyo PLV-Z4000 review

Sanyo's breadbin-style projector update squeezes more quality from its 3LCD chipset for less cash

Our Verdict

The price feels right for this high-spec full HD unit and it has a good selection of key features, so I have no reservations in recommending it.

For

  • Useful optical lens shift
  • appealing film-like image resolution
  • very quiet fan

Against

  • Unrealistic colours
  • yellow tint
  • hardly improves on PLV-Z3000

California dreaming

Using Kick-Ass on Blu-ray as a test disc shows off the projector's vivid detail and snappy colours perfectly. This excellent disc from Universal Pictures has production values that really kick ass, too, and the polished sheen of the film is reproduced faithfully here with pooling light and reflections that look almost as glossy as they did in the cinema.

Most of the film is shot in cheery Californian sunshine and the colours look suitably vibrant on screen. When the film cuts to darker scenes, such as the night time capture of Big Daddy, the projector struggles a little to resolve detail in the black areas. Buttons on black suits that are plainly visible on an LCD TV are invisible here, for instance.

Sanyo plv-z4000 - motorised lens cover

To pick out more detail you need to completely black out the room and tweak the PJ's brightness. And while the bold colour palette is appealing, I found I couldn't achieve a perfectly natural colour balance.

You can manually shift the red, green and blue levels independently within the menu, but the skin tones always look a slightly sickly yellow whatever the setting. We're not talking The Simpsons hues, but white skin always has a golden glow. It's difficult to achieve pure whites and realistic reds and blues at the same time.

Instead, you'll find yourself opting for warm, pumped up colours and getting used to the whole, slightly yellowy, proceedings.

Fan-tastic

Something that this Sanyo deserves credit for is its fan noise, which is almost inaudible with the lamp in cinema mode, and it's only when you turn it up or switch to dynamic in a lit room that you can hear the fan change up a gear.

It's also easy to achieve a very large image thanks to the short throw ratio and wide zoom range of the lens assembly. That means you can either plonk the Z4000 on a coffee table in front of you, or wallmount it behind your head to beam an image up to a maximum of 300ins.

The only limiting factor here is the brightness of the lamp, which demands complete darkness if you plan to throw an Odeon-size image.

Verdict

A whole new model from Sanyo that really pushed the technology to a higher level would have been very welcome, but what we have here is simply another incarnation of a good projector. The price feels right for this high-spec full HD unit and it has a good selection of key features, so I have no reservations in recommending it.

The optical lens shift, 100Hz processing and incredibly quiet fan are all big plus points, while the automatic sliding lens cover is a nice touch. What it can't do is compete with the similarly priced DLP projectors in terms of natural colour response, and until Sanyo can fix that, it remains a reliable rather than remarkable projector

Tech Specs

Product TypeLCD Projector
Native Resolution1920 x 1080
Maximum Lens ApertureF/3
Standard Mode Brightness1200 lm
Native Aspect Ratio16:9
HDMIYes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
Output Scan Format1080p
VGA InYes
Maximum Diagonal Image Size7.62 m
Brand NameSanyo
Contrast Ratio65,000:1
Lamp TypeUHP
Projection MethodFront, Rear, Ceiling
Minimum Lens ApertureF/2
Normal Mode Lamp Life2000 Hour
Economy Mode Lamp Life3000 Hour
Maximum Projection Distance18.40 m
Number of HDMI Ports4
Height146 mm
Width400 mm
Depth346 mm
Optical Zoom2x
Lamp Power165 W
ManufacturerSANYO Electric Co.,Ltd
Product ModelPLV-Z4000
Product NamePLV-Z4000 LCD Projector
Manufacturer Part NumberPLV-Z4000
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.sanyo.com
Marketing Information

The PLV-Z4000 offers a combination of 1080p LCD panels running at up to 120Hz with frame interpolation technology that enables the PLV-Z4000 to refresh video twice as often as a standard Home Cinema projector ensuring even the fastest moving scenes are ultra smooth. The PLV-Z4000 also benefits from dynamic iris and lamp control technologies allowing the projector to achieve a stunning contrast level of 65,000:1. Dual HDMI and component inputs enable projection from a variety of HD sources. The PLV-Z4000 has horizontal and vertical lens shift as well as a wide ranging zoom lens to simplify set up and positioning of the projector while maintaining optimal image quality.

Package Contents
  • PLV-Z4000 LCD Projector
  • Quick Reference Guide
  • Owner Manual (CD ROM)
  • Power Cable
  • Remote Control
  • Air Blower
Limited Warranty3 Year
Uniformity85%
Weight (Approximate)7.50 kg