Oct 30, 2023
Sanyo Z4 Projector Review: High contrast ratio and versatile image quality

The Sanyo Z4 Projector Review

The Z4’s high contrast ratio is achieved through an adaptive iris shutter. This technique is well established by Panasonic and Sony and Sanyo is using it now too.

The white field looks very bright and authentic. The pixel grid is clearly discernible and the secondary colours lie close to the desired values.

Image quality

With a maximum light output of 1,000 ANSI lumens the Sanyo Z4 easily rivals the best in this class. Its D5 LCD generation also enables the projector to produce a very versatile image contrast. Besides the standard “Pure Cinema” mode with closed iris and a low lumen output this projector has several other operating modes. This flexibility allows for the optimal model depending on screen size, viewing environment and personal taste.

The sanyo z4’s image quality is excellent – it produces fine details very well without any irritating edge halos. Flesh tones are very natural with a slightly tendency for a shift to reddish purple. This can be corrected by calibrating.

In a dark room this projector has to struggle to produce a satisfying black level. To improve this a dimmer iris setting is available but it significantly reduces the luminosity. This will not work on large screens and it is therefore recommended to use the “Living” mode.

Image processing

The Z4 offers impressive colour reproduction which is able to compete with that of DLP projectors. Primary colours come across remarkably well and animations will truly pop on the screen. The contrast is also remarkable, the D5 panels having enabled a substantial improvement here compared to previous models. The image can be modelled to suit individual tastes using the remote control, allowing black levels and maximum brightness to be altered.

The detail reproduction is outstanding, even in the Cinema mode, with no annoying haloing visible at all. The fine scaling which imperceptibly converts PAL inputs to the native resolution of the projector completes the outstanding impression left by this device.

Another great feature is the frontal slide shutter which opens and closes at the touch of a button to protect the lens from dust. This feature is a welcome addition and is certainly one which will be appreciated by many users. The projector comes with a three year warranty, covering everything except the lamp.

Power consumption

Sanyo’s PLV-Z4 is a major step forward compared to last year’s Z3. Not only does it raise the bar for 720p projectors in this price range, but also marks the first time that LCD technology has seriously challenged DLP as the leading choice for home theater.

The XGA resolution and 12 bit color technology enable image quality that really makes your home cinema come to life. The pixel structure is smaller and the contrast is much higher than with previous generation projectors, which allows the user to focus entirely on their movie experience.

This model comes well equipped with a single HDMI input, two component (YPbPr) inputs, s-video and composite video as well as a computer input, plus an RS-232 port for control. All in all, it’s as well-equipped as any projector around this price point.


Having a wide variety of image settings, the projector can be adjusted to suit virtually any user’s needs. There are many options to choose from ranging from RGB, gain and bias adjustments to gamma and more. This makes it easier to obtain optimal contrast and color reproduction.

The Z4 incorporates a cleaning system that eliminates the annoying dust particles that appear on LCD panels as smudges or colored blotches on the picture. There are three small holes on the bottom of the case that remain closed during normal usage, but can be opened by inserting the nozzle of a manual squeeze-blower included with the projector.

The Z4 also has a manual lens shift function (also known as optical keystone correction) that allows the projector to be installed close to the wall or floor without any distortion of the image. This is a great feature that is normally only available on much more expensive home theater projectors.

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