Sanyo PLV-Z4000 review

Kat Orphanides
20 Feb 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

This ugly projector doesn’t quite make it to the top of the class, but it has plenty of features and good image quality.



1,920x1,080 resolution, 1,200 ANSI lumens, 146x346x400mm, 7.5kg

Sanyo's PLV-Z4000 looks exactly its predecessor, the Z3000, and it's just as ugly. Like its predecessor, it has plenty of features, including motion-smoothing frame interpolation, lens shift and even a sliding door to protect the lens, rather than an easily-lost lens cap. The projector runs remarkably quietly, but its large side vent gets remarkably warm.

The menu system is compact, clear and attractive. The Image tab just lets you choose picture mode, while options in Image Adjustment control brightness, contrast, lamp settings and colour; an advanced menu in the same tab includes motion smoothing, gamma and contrast adjustment. Other tabs let you control overscan settings, select your display mode, and choose your input source: the projector has two HDMI and two composite inputs, as well as component, S-video and VGA.

Sanyo PLV-Z4000 rear

Many of these options are also available as shortcut buttons on the remote control. The remote itself can be lit up, although the light goes out rather quickly. It’s smaller than most, rather ugly and feels a bit cluttered, without much logical order to the function buttons.

We had to do a bit of tweaking to create a viewing mode we were entirely happy with. In our colour reproduction test, we found several of the default modes to be rather useless. For instance, x.v.color lacks contrast and saturation, while Living is oversaturated and Brilliant Cinema mode is simultaneously cold and oversaturated. Natural mode is warm, if a little dim and slightly ruddy. It’s not well suited for viewing with the lights on, but quite pleasing in the dark, with natural looking skin tones. Pure Cinema has deeper black tones, but looks muted compared to Natural. We recommend using the image adjustment menu to create a user-defined setting that you’re really happy with.

Natural mode also proved its worth in our contrast test, with fairly deep black tones and rich, but not greatly oversaturated colours. Shadows were smoothly gradated in our low-contrast scene test. Despite although the projector’s relatively low brightness (1,200 ANSI lumens), it performed well in in side-by-side tests with other projectors, including Epson’s brighter TW3600, but couldn’t compare to the intensity of Panasonic’s PT-AE4000E.

Sanyo PLV-Z4000

Our sports coverage test, where we watch football to check for motion blurring, proved to be one of the really good uses for the projector’s smooth motion feature. While the ball and footballers are rather blurry without motion smoothing, even setting enabling the feature’s lowest settings is a big improvement. The mid-level setting is idea for sport, but the high setting produces a very unnatural gliding effect. Unfortunately, even low-level motion smoothing makes films look odd, with moving figures that appear to be unnaturally separated from background.

Although the Z4000 is a good LCD projector and has loads of features, it can be a bit fiddly to configure the colour modes to your satisfaction. It’s nothing like as cheap as the bargain Epson EH-TW3200, our Best Buy winner, and its image quality isn’t up to that of the Panasonic PT-AE4000.




Projector technologyLCD
Lamp brightness1,200 ANSI lumens
Lamp life2,000
Lamp life in economy mode3,000
Contrast ratio65,000:1


Native resolution1,920x1,080
Max compressed resolution1,920x1,080
Aspect ratio16:9
Other aspect ratios4:3
Max diagonal at 7ft53in
Throw ratio1.36:1 to 2.76:1
Optical zoom2.0x
Projection distance1.2m to 18.4m
Mirror imageyes
Invert imageyes
Lens shift horizontal100%
Lens shift vertical50%
HD Readyyes
Special view modesbrilliant cinema, creative cinema, pure cinema, natural, living, dynamic, x.v.color


VGA inputyes
DVI inputNo
Sound inputsnone
Composite inputno
S-video inputyes
HDMI inputyes
PAL supportyes
SECAM supportyes
NTSC supportyes
Audio outputnone
Video outputnone
Others inputs/outputsRS232


Noise (in normal use)19
Internal speakersnone
Extrasremote control, cables (power), air blower
Remote special featuresnone
Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on168W


Lamp cost (inc VAT)£183
Lamp supplier
Lamp cost per hour of use£0.09
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy)£0.06

Buying Information


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