What’s New? My Z4000 Sanyo LCD Projector Review!
When the PLV-Z4000 Sanyo LCD projector was introduced, it was clear that there were no major changes from the previous Z3000 model. The modifications that have been implemented are largely related to improved firmware, some optical engine tuning, and better quality control. Despite what has changed and what has not, the Z4000 projects a noticeably superior image on the screen than its predecessor. Surprisingly, this was achieved at a price point that averages below $2000, unheard of for most “ultra high contrast” projectors! The Z4000 includes a host of features, excellent black level performance, 3LCD technology, and a comfortingly long warranty.
You can surely think of the PLV-Z4000 projector as an evolution of the PLV-Z3000, so don’t let the similar appearance fool you. It’s what’s under the hood that matters. Each individual upgrade may seem only marginal but you’ll immediately notice the increased color accuracy. Regardless of how minor a few features change may sound, any appreciable modification in color tone is worth mentioning. Don’t worry; none of the Z3000’s good qualities were dropped!
Consider the PLV-Z4000 as one of the first of the “new breed” of Sanyo LCD projectors. The recent CEDIA show announced several competitors, and some make-overs, in the home theater projectors market but the Z400 stands out.
The Z4000 includes a dark grey case, essentially a box with rounded corners, with a clean and simply look. The connectors and inputs are basically standard while the projector has great flexibility of placement due to its lens shift and a 2:1 zoom lens. By the way, there has been a slight alteration to the color schematics. The front of the older model had a lighter gray than the rest of the projector. The new front, including the motorized lens door, is darker and nicely matches the rest of the box.
The fact that the PLV-Z4000 Sanyo LCD projector is a solid offer is without doubt. The real question mark in your mind should be “Is this the right projector for me and my needs?” Although the Z4000 may at first glance appear to be just a minor upgrade to the Z3000, don’t forget that the Z3000 originally sold for a tad over $3000. I have already watched more than 30 hours on the Z4000 in my personal home theater without ever projecting greater than a 110″ diagonal image. The Creative Cinema mode is putting more lumens on my screen than the previous model I owned, which was due for a new bulb after 2000 hours of use.
One of the best attributes of the Z4000 became apparent to me while I was checking out some pre-season football. This model of Sanyo LCD projectors may not be intended for bigger screens, but when displayed on an average size or smaller one, the colors achieve superior balance and are more soothing to the eye than the vast majority competing projectors out there on their brightest days. Especially when you take into account Sanyo’s “ultra high contrast” caliber black level performance, this model performs phenomenally on movies. Compared to the previous Z3000, I simply couldn’t calibrate it to have comparable color quality to the PLV-Z4000.
The Dynamic mode of the PLV-Z4000 measures 873 lumens at its brightest with the zoom lens at its mid-point and just over 1000 lumens at wide angle. This may not be optimal for some 128″ screens, but if you dial the zoom down to around 100″ diagonal (which is probably the most common screen size in the home theater projector marketplace), the Z400 will perform with “flying colors”. I like to think of it like this… To fill the entire 128″ screen, you would need almost 70% more lumens to perform comparably. Therefore, even the brightest projectors in brightest modes typically can’t display any more vibrantly on a 128″ than the Z4000 can on a 100″. So consider this Sanyo LCD projector to be perfect for smaller and medium sized screens.
When it comes to watching your favorite flick, most folks will favor Creative Cinema mode, for the superior looking dark scenes. Some users will probably want to set the lamp to full and maintain brightness, possibly adjusting the iris upward from -20, to somewhere around -10 to even 0 for a greater number of lumens. If you’re not some sort of projector “purist”, test-drive some of the many dynamic controls. Each one has its pluses and minuses but you will get to learn what most enjoy while loving your Z4000 Sanyo LCD projector.