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Usually the products we review on TrustedReviews are brand, spanking new. But just occasionally we stumble across something that's actually been around a while but has managed to catch our eye on account of it having undergone some serious price reductions.
Today is one of these ‘bargain bucket' days, as our endless Internet trawling recently uncovered the remarkable sight of Sanyo's PLV-Z5 LCD projector being sold online for barely £700. This same projector would have set you back a cool £1,600 when it launched back in March 2007.
And yes, I really did say March 2007. For as a clear sign of the hard times Sanyo has been struggling through recently (it's apparently about to become a subsidiary of Panasonic), the usual annual upgrade of Sanyo's home cinema projection range doesn't appear to have happened this year. Hence there's no Z6, and the Z5 has been left flying the entry-level Sanyo projector flag, while the previously reviewed PLV-Z2000 continues at the higher end of the market.
The Z5 actually feels slightly dated right from the off, clad in a style-free, slightly flimsy looking silvery body that would frankly look more at home sat on an office desk than a domestic coffee table. At least its connections look pretty up to date, including a duo of HDMI inputs, and a duo of component video inputs. Such HD friendliness must really have been state-of-the-art at the time of the Z5's first release.
However, while having two HDMIs still counts as healthy on a £700 projector, I do have to report that the HDMIs are not built to the v1.3 specification required by the Deep Colour format. Still, it's not as if Deep Colour and its variants are exactly ubiquitous yet?!
Although it's unlikely that anyone putting together a serious home cinema system will be interested in a £700 projector, I guess it's still worth adding before leaving connectivity behind that Sanyo has provided the Z5 with an RS-232 control port.
As I'd expect for its money, the Z5 is ‘only' HD Ready rather than Full HD. In other words, it's got 1,280 x 720 pixels rather than 1,920 x 1,080, and so will have to rescale both standard and (most) high definition sources to fit its own middle-of-the-road resolution. So here's hoping the projector's video processing proves up to the job.
Other specs are very promising, as a high brightness rating of 1,100 ANSI Lumens rubs shoulders with a surprisingly hefty 10,000:1 contrast ratio. This latter figure in particular would again have looked like state-of-the-art stuff at the time of the projector's original launch, and still holds up pretty well today.