February 23, 2011
Sanyo's new PLC-WK2500 brings together 2,500 rated lumens, a 6,000 hour lamp life (in eco-mode), and a 1,280x800 native resolution for under $800. This projector is somewhat portable thanks to a less than 7 pound weight, and it's quick to set up with Sanyo's one button Auto Setup Function. The PLC-WK2500 lacks a digital video input, but this is not a problem for the average conference or classroom where analog connections are most common. If you want a high quality image at a low price, you should take a close look at the PLC-WK2500.
The Sanyo PLC-WK2500 is a workhorse for the conference room or classroom. In addition to a 6,000 hour eco-mode lamp life, the projector only requires filter maintenance every 5,500 hours thanks to an oversized, three layer filter. 5,500 hours is over 2.5 years of using the projector 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
The projector is also light and small enough to be easily shared between conference rooms or moved between classrooms, but is a bit large to be considered truly portable. While it would not be my first choice as a dedicated traveling projector, the projector can easily fit in a laptop sized carrying case for the occasional business trip.
The WXGA resolution provides 30% additional pixels as compared to a standard XGA projector. The extra pixels are appreciated when viewing HD video content, high resolution photos or detailed drawings.
Image Quality: Image quality both for static and video material is impressive. In Cinema or Normal image presets the projector displays an image that is true to the source with a pleasing color accuracy.
The quality of video performance was better than expected, particularly with the auto iris engaged. The auto iris allows the projector to adapt to the average picture level which increases contrast and adds a sense of depth to the displayed image. The PLC-WK2500 has a 1.2x zoom lens with a throw ratio of 1.4 to 1.7. This allows for the projector to produce a 100" diagonal image from 10.1 to 12.1 feet.
Overall lens quality was satisfactory with good edge to edge brightness uniformity. I was able to dial in razor sharp pixels over the vast majority of the zoom range. When the zoom lens was set to the very maximum, I noticed a slight defocus at pixel edges due to reaching the physical limit on the focus dial. The minor amount of image softness was only noticeable when viewing close to the screen and could be completely eliminated by backing off on the zoom setting and refocusing.
Brightness: Peak brightness of our review sample measured 2329 lumens, or 93% of the 2500 lumen specification. This was obtained using normal lamp mode and the dynamic image preset. Switching to ECO mode drops light output to 1444 lumens or a 38% reduction from the peak level.
Sanyo alters color balance in the Dynamic mode to increase the peak light output, causing the picture to have a bluish tint. This was not distracting when viewing static presentation material, but I preferred to view photos in either Cinema or the Normal presets.
The Cinema preset was the best compromise between light output and image performance. In Cinema mode, the PLC-WK2500 produced a very respectable 1,985 lumens or over 85% of the peak level with a more balanced color palette.
Cooling Fan Noise: PLC-WK2500 produces a low level of cooling fan noise in both normal and ECO lamp modes. ECO mode reduces the already quiet normal mode output to a very low level. I would use ECO mode in situations where background noise is a negative, but would prefer the extra light in normal mode for most situations.
Quick setup: The PLC-W2500 includes a 'One-touch' setup feature that makes setup a breeze for even a novice projector user. Once activated, the projector searches for the correct video input, sets keystone if the projector is placed on an incline and fine tunes the analog video settings.
Value: The projector has a street price under $800 and replacement lamps can be found for less than $200. The maintenance requirement for the PLC-WK2500 is minimal, considering the long anticipated bulb life of 6,000 hours in ECO mode and filter maintenance required only every 5,500 hours. Sanyo does not specify the lamp hours in Normal lamp mode.