Sanyo PLV Z5

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Sanyo PLV Z5

The PLV-Z5 has its benefits, but can’t quite match the all-round ability of the best in its class

Sanyo’s LCD projector range just keeps on improving. The PLV-Z5 takes much from older models in the range, such as 12-bit digital image processing, Sanyo’s proprietary twin-iris lens system and 3D colour management – the ‘TopazReal’ image solution, as the company calls it.

But there are some tweaks, too: brightness has increased to 1100 lumens, while the claimed contrast ratio has jumped to a potentially jaw-dropping 10,000:1.

Another welcome addition is the provision of a second HDMI input: along with twin component inputs and 1280 x 720 screen resolution, this makes it not just HD-Ready, accepting signals up to 720p/1080i, but also flexible enough to be used with several sources without the need to resort to the switching in an AV receiver.

Horizontal and vertical lens shifts allow plenty of adjustment, and the lens is protected by a motorised cover, which can be operated from the backlit handset. It’s a smart touch, ideal if you intend to mount the unit out of reach.

The Sanyo’s colour balance and definition do a fine job with Kingdom of Heaven on Blu-ray, and there’s plenty of detail even in tricky blocks of dark hues. There’s not quite the resolution of the very best in this price class, but the Sanyo is still enjoyable.

Could be more stable
However, our main concern is the handling of fast motion. Motor racing comedy Talladega Nights provides plenty of surprisingly good test scenes – as well as the expected laughs – and highlights the Z5’s key strengths and weaknesses neatly.

This Sanyo doesn’t have the steadiness of the best, suffering from distracting smearing as Ricky Bobby tears his way round the dirt track. If motion instability is a major bugbear for you, we’d suggest this isn’t your perfect bedfellow.

Despite that, this remains a largely capable projector. Factor in its versatility, and the PLV-Z5 looks likely to attract plenty of willing buyers.

Sanyo PLV Z5
4 6
Verdict
For Versatile positioning; simple set-up; strong colours; decent detail

Against Struggles to stay on top of fast movement; depth of field could be better
Overall
Specs
$3199
Copyright © 2010 What HiFi?
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