Classroom Projector Review
October 26, 2011
Sanyo's new PLC-XK2600 is a 2,600-lumen XGA projector especially well suited for the classroom. Its LCD light engine puts out plenty of light for most situations, and it handles all inputs with the exception of digital signals. Street priced at $675, it is not the least expensive in its class, but its uncommon auto iris feature makes the PLC-XK2600's data and video quality superior to many of its competitors. A 10-watt speaker adds to the impression that this is a quality product at a reasonable price, and its 3-year warranty backs that up.
This is a general-purpose workhorse projector. There are no frills but plenty of solid performance. Its multiple user memories make it perfect as a shared resource which is typical of classroom applications. At 6.4 pounds, it is no lightweight, but it is ruggedly constructed and that counts for a lot in the hands-on world of modern classrooms.
Image Quality: The preset settings for data images aren't quite on the mark, but a little tweaking produces a well-saturated and balanced PC image. The PLC-XK2600's brightness uniformity provided even illumination, and graphics and text have excellent detail. A spreadsheet with 8 pt. type is very legible even with keystone correction maxed out, and edge-to-edge sharpness is excellent. As an added benefit, the PLC-XK2600 allows individual adjustment of red, green, and blue levels for PC images.
Video images are on the money right out of the box. It is uncommon for a low cost projector to include an auto iris, but the PLC-XK2600 has one and it gets full on/off contrast up into the 2000:1 range. Shadow details are not crushed, and highlights contain good detail. Color balance is excellent, and flesh tones are realistic with no tweaking required. There was no breakup while panning or any other bothersome motion artifacts, and the overall impression from watching video on the PLC-XK2600 is top notch.
User Memory: Many projectors are shared among several users, and it is inconvenient to have to redo all your favorite settings when it is your turn to use the projector. Most projectors have a User Memory location that stores one array of settings, but the PLC-XK2600 really shines with its four memory locations. Labeled Image 1-4, these memory locations make it easy for up to four users to have there favorite settings at their fingertips.
Lamp Eco Modes: Sanyo offers a rare option with its lamp brightness settings--there are three choices rather than the usual two. In bright rooms, the High setting is the likely choice, but when light control permits, you can switch to the Eco Mid setting which drops output by about 8% or go to the Eco Low setting which drops the light level by almost 40% from the High setting. With reduced light output comes reduced fan noise which drops from 34dB at the High setting to 29dB at Eco Low.