The PLC-XW250, is a full featured, 2,600 lumen, 5.5 portable projector that is ideally suited to a classroom or business setting with a focus on data presentation. The PLC-XW250 includes a 'One-touch' setup feature and IP based network control and monitoring capability which combine to make this projector easy to use by the non-technical end user and easy to monitor and troubleshoot by technical support.
The PLC-XW250 also includes multiple features that presenters or meeting organizers will appreciate, including dedicated function keys on the remote control. While the PLC-XW250 is limited by the available inputs and has a below average contrast ratio, it offers a low cost of ownership and will excel in environments that benefit from an easy to use projector that is quick to setup - such as a mobile cart in a classroom.
Easy Setup Feature: Activated by a single button press, the Sanyo PLC-XW250 'One-touch' setup feature automatically searches for and activates the active signal input, adjusts the auto-keystone and sets the pixel clock and phase adjustments (used to eliminate noise from an analog input signal). This function works quickly and is a nice option for a classroom or similar setting where the projector may be operated by inexperienced users.
The PLC-XW250 includes multiple color pre-sets for use when a dedicated projector screen is not available and the image is displayed on a blackboard or colored wall - using the pre-sets will automatically adjust image color to emulate projecting on a white screen. Additionally, the projector also features a quick-release front adjustment foot, which allows for easy adjustment to the projected image height without having to resort to time-consuming rotation of common screw style adjustment feet.
Lens and Image Offset: The PLC-XW250 has a 1.2:1 zoom range with manual lens zoom and focus, in standard XGA, 4x3 native aspect ratio. It displays a 100" diagonal image from a throw distance of 10.8 to 12.8 feet. The PLC-XW250 displays an image with consistent focus across the entire width of the screen, with no noticeable chromatic aberration even at maximum zoom levels. The lens on the PLC-XW250 is capable of generating an extremely sharp focus - pixel edges are clearly discernable under close inspection. When viewing video material from a close distance, users may desire to implement a slight de-focus to the PLC-XW250 to minimize the visibility of the screen-door effect. The image is thrown at a mild upward angle, for convenient use on a conference table or mobile cart. Image offset is 16.7% of image height - a 100-inch diagonal image will start 10 inches above the centerline of the projector's lens.
Brightness: The brightest pre-calibrated operating mode of the PLC-XW250, with lamp on high, was measured at 1,761 ANSI lumens. Boosting its contrast and brightness controls pushes lumen output closer to the spec, but at the expense of picture quality. With pre-calibrated settings, the PLC-XW250 has enough brightness to overcome normal ambient light for size screens up to 100" diameter. Brightness uniformity was 66%, or about average for this type of projector. This level of brightness uniformity allows for an image that is visually consistent - no variation of brightness is detectable by eye. For small format screens such as those typical in a small classroom or in situation with low levels of ambient light, the brightness of the PLC-XW250 can be reduced by 38% by switching to low lamp mode.
Presentation Features: The PLC-XW250 includes several advanced features aimed at the presentation market, most of which are executable from direct remote control buttons or from a top-level menu option. The experienced meeting leader is sure to be familiar with the challenge of keeping presenters on schedule - the remote control includes a dedicated button for a presentation timer: once activated a timer will pop-up on the screen and count up. A second press will freeze the timer and a third press will remove the timer from the screen. If the count up timer is not sufficient to keep presentations on time, the remote also features a dedicated key to black out the projected image.
Additional presentation options not common to projectors in this class include the PLC-XW250's raw resolution mode - it can display any image up to 1600x1200 without scaling by allowing the user to pan around the image using the remote control. This feature makes the XW250 very convenient for display of large format drawings or any high resolution material where seeing all detail available is critical. By avoiding any scaling to the native resolution of the projector, images are displayed with all fine detail intact.
Low Cost of Ownership: The PLC-XW250 is available at a street price of less than $700 and replacement lamps can be obtained for less than $150. The low initial purchase price for the projector and an extremely low replacement lamp cost place the PLC-XW250 high on the value scale of performance vs. price.
Network Capability: The Sanyo PJ Network Manager software allows for monitoring and control of the projector using the PJ Network Manager application or directly from a web browser. The manager software is used for initial network setup and configuration of event and alert monitoring. A standard web browser allows for full control of all menu functions and displays current settings - extremely useful for remote monitoring or troubleshooting.
The PJ Network Manager application allows for automatic monitoring and alerting of key projector attributes such as temperature, lamp and filter hours. For example, the XW250 can automatically issue an alert email once the lamp reaches a specific number of run hours, altering support personnel that maintenance is required - a great feature for an environment with limited technical support resources or an environment that manages a large number of projectors.
Extremely low power consumption in stand-by mode: Sanyo touts the PLC-XW250 as an environment friendly projector with power consumption in standby mode as only 0.4w - an 84% reduction over the previous model. The measured value in stand-by mode using a 'Kill-A-Watt' measurement device was 0.6w, relatively close to the specified value. The measured value was approximately 50% of the value of a similar projector that also claims environmentally friendly attributes. While a difference of 0.5w will not result in a significant dollar savings on and individual projector basis, it will be of benefit to school districts that deploy hundreds of units at a time. It great to see Sanyo addressing the issue of the large-scale impact of stand-by power draw.
Warranty: Sanyo provides a three-year warranty, which is about the longest warranty in the business for this class of product. The lamp has a typical 90-day warranty.
Limited Inputs: The PLC-XW250 lacks a digital input and is limited by a single, dedicated VGA input plus a secondary dual use input that functions as second computer input or monitor pass through. While the PLC-XW250 will accept an S-video signal, it requires a special cable or adapter to connect it to the main D-Sub monitor connection. Without the cable or adapter, one is limited to only a composite video input. Furthermore, the second input source is limited to RGB/computer signal only - it will not accept any video signals. While the input panel does present some limitations, this may not be an issue if you've only got one or two sources in use anyway.
Contrast Ratio: The specified 500:1 on/off contrast ratio is typical for LCD presentation products, and lower than average when compared to DLP products. Though the spec sounds modest, contrast potential is not a significant factor when using the projector in ambient light conditions, since room light itself will be a limiting factor to contrast on screen. In this situation, high lumen output produces a perception of high contrast. The XW250's lower contrast potential is most noticeable when displaying video or photographic images in a dark room. Under these conditions, the WX250 will show relatively less dynamic image than will a DLP projector displayed side by side.
Projector Noise: In high lamp mode, the PLC-XW250 produces a noticeable amount of fan noise - somewhat higher than projectors with similar lumen output. Activating the projector's low lamp setting causes a significant decrease in fan noise output. Unless the use scenario requires people to sit close to the projector while it is in high lamp mode, it is unlikely that fan noise will be a bothersome issue in normal operation.
The Sanyo PLC-XW250 is a XGA 3-chip LCD projector with features that target classroom or business presentation environments. It differentiates itself from projectors of similar specifications with its ease of use, a suite of quick setup features, network monitoring and control, and several unique presentation tools. With brightness of over 1,700 ANSI lumens and color pre-sets for use in non-dedicated environments, the PLC-XW250 delivers a lot of flexibility to display a bright, clear, sharp image in low to moderate ambient light. If you don't need to connect a lot of sources at once, and your display environment is not pitch dark, the ease of use and low cost of ownership make the Sanyo PLC-XW250 a strong and practical option for classrooms and moderate sized corporate conference rooms.
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