A reasonably priced projector with typically good LCD image quality, but its colours aren't quite as good as the very best LCD or DLP models.
1,920×1,080 resolution, 1,200 ANSI lumens, 146x500x346mm, 7.5kg
The heavy-duty grey chassis of Sanyo’s PLV-Z3000 LCD projector is ugly but clearly built to last. Instead of an easily-lost detachable lens cap, the PLV-Z3000’s lens is hidden behind a sliding shutter, which opens automatically when the projector is switched on.
The projector has all the features you’d expect, and several we’re more used to seeing from much more expensive projectors, such as frame interpolation, which adds extra frames to make video look smoother. Vertical and horizontal lens shift controls allow you to adjust the position of the lens by up to 50 per cent on the vertical axis and 100 per cent on the horizontal, which means that you don’t necessarily have to position this particularly bulky projector directly in line with your screen.
There’s even a lock switch to prevent your lens from being accidentally shifted after you’re satisfied with its position. Although it only has the usual two HDMI ports, the PLV-Z2300 has two component inputs, in addition to the usual composite, VGA and S-Video ports.
The remote control is ugly, but it’s clearly labelled and has a backlight. As well as the usual input selection, colour and contrast adjustment buttons, the remote allows you to switch the lamp’s brightness to one of four settings. These range from a relatively dim Eco mode that allows the projector to run almost completely silently, to Normal mode, with full brightness with its accompanying increase in fan noise. Two intermediate Auto settings vary in brightness depending on the input source, although we noticed little difference between these and Normal mode.
For a projector with such a low brightness rating (1,200 ANSI lumens), the lamp doesn’t last for very long and is quite expensive to run, costing 12p per hour at full brightness and 8p per hour in economy mode.
The menu system is gratifyingly easy to use. An image menu allows you to switch between seven pre-set image modes and up to seven more user defined modes. The pre-sets are all distinct and well configured, from the beautifully balanced colours of Creative Cinema mode to an intense Dynamic mode that makes any content easy to view in a fully lit room.
If none of the pre-sets is quite what you’re looking for, it’s easy to alter the colour, contrast, brightness and noise reduction settings of any mode and then save it as a new pre-set. If you want to make the most of this projector, you’ll have to enable the advanced image adjustment menu. This provides access to three effective frame-interpolating Smooth Motion modes, a 24p 5:5 pulldown mode that is automatically enabled to reduce juddering on 24fps content and iris controls that allow you to set the maximum lamp aperture, which determines brightness.
Image quality is good, with dark blacks and smoothly gradated shadows. Colour reproduction looks natural and well balanced, but can lack intensity at default settings, particularly in scenes without dark areas to provide contrast. We liked the subtle effect this produced in comparison to the more saturated defaults of some other projectors, although some green shades looked grey-tinted and skin tones were a little flat. The lack of green saturation was easily corrected by raising its levels in the colour settings, though.
The Z3000 has more options than many more expensive projectors. Its colours aren’t the most vivid we’ve seen, but were generally pleased by its intense blacks and balanced colour. It’s relatively expensive, though, and we recommend Epson’s EH-TW2900 for most people.
|Lamp brightness||1,200 ANSI lumens|
|Lamp life in economy mode||3,000|
|Max compressed resolution||1,920×1,080|
|Other aspect ratios||4:3, 2.35:1 (with optional anamorphic lens)|
|Max diagonal at 7ft||71in|
|Throw ratio||1.34:1 to 2.7:1|
|Projection distance||1.2m to 18.4m|
|Lens shift horizontal||50%|
|Lens shift vertical||100%|
|Special view modes||Brilliant cinema, creative cinema, pure cinema, natural, living, dynamic, x.v.Color|
|Others inputs/outputs||second HDMI input, second component input, 9-pin DIN service port|
|Noise (in normal use)||19dB(A)|
|Extras||remote, cables (power), vacuum pump|
|Remote special features||none|
|Power consumption standby||1W|
|Power consumption on||166W|
|Lamp cost (inc VAT)||£230|
|Lamp cost per hour of use||£0.12|
|Lamp cost per hour of use (economy)||£0.08|