Sanyo PLC-XK2600 XGA 3LCD Projector
Projector Central Highly Recommended Award

Highly Recommended Award

Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.

  • Performance
  • 5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$895 MSRP Discontinued

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.

Advantages

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.

 

Lamp Life: The PLC-XK2600's 215-watt lamp is dealer priced at about $135, one of the lowest prices we have seen. Interestingly, there is no specification for lamp life in High lamp mode, but lamp life is specified at a hefty 6,000 hours if the projector is run in Eco Low mode. To intrigue us further, Sanyo has built in a second Eco mode (Eco Mid), but that setting has no lamp life specification either. Regardless of the actual High mode lamp life, the low lamp cost helps reduce the cost of operation.

Brightness and Uniformity: The PLC-XK2600 did not quite meet its maximum brightness specification with its High lamp setting in Dynamic mode putting out 2,200 ANSI lumens. The other three presets delivered as follows: Standard - 1,880 lumens, Real and Cinema - 1,710 lumens. However, its uniformity performance was excellent at 88% with no hot spots and the center of the image slightly brighter than the perimeter.

Menus & Remote: Modern projectors are offering so many control functions that on-screen menus often challenge you to remember where to find a favorite selection. To its credit, the PLC-XK2600 has on-screen menus that are easy to navigate and clearly show their contents without the multi-level complexity of competitive projector menus. For example, there are eight menus and seven of them display their contents without scrolling. When making image adjustments such as brightness and contrast, the menu collapses to a single narrow bar at the bottom of the screen so you can see almost the entire image while making changes.

The remote control is simplicity itself with each button function clearly identified by name. A backlight would be a nice improvement, but it doesn't take long to get to know where functions are just by feel. Many set-up functions are available at the touch of a button including screen aspect ratio, keystone compensation, lamp intensity, and image presets. Presenters will appreciate the available on-screen timer and the screen blanking functions.

Audio Quality: The PLC-XK2600 has a robust 10-watt mono speaker that puts out enough volume to be effective in small to medium-size rooms. The volume control is smooth with no discernible rumble or hiss at high settings. If this is not loud enough for your audience, the PLC-XK2600 has an audio output that can be connected to an external amplifier.

Image Size and Position: For a 100" image, the center of the lens is 8.5" above the bottom of the image. This is a good offset for cart mounting, but for tabletop placement you may need to make further adjustments by raising the front of the projector. The projector can be elevated by up to 10° by extending and locking its front elevator foot, and its right rear foot can be adjusted to solve any horizontal leveling issues. If the image keystones, there is ±30° of automatic or manual electronic keystone correction available.

Maintenance: Sanyo has increased the capacity of the PLC-XK2600's air filter by about 20 times over its previous models. If the projector is run in Eco Low mode, the filter is expected to last about 5,000 hours, nearly the life of the lamp. Occasional vacuuming of the filter intake is recommended, but its useful life is extraordinary. It is worth noting that an advantage claimed by LCD projector manufacturers is that the presence of an air filter actually extends lamp life by keeping dust and grime from accumulating on the surface of the lamp.

Network Connections and Management: The PLC-XK2600 has a D-sub 9 connector for remote sensing and control, and it also provides an RJ-45 network connection. Sanyo supports a remote monitoring application called PJ Network Manager which uses a Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to communicate with up to 200 devices including computers and projectors. It can remotely monitor projector status such as lamp condition and internal temperature and alert maintenance personnel to possible problems.

Warranty Provisions: Sanyo offers a 3-year warranty on the PLC-XK2600 which is longer than about half of its competitors, and the lamp is warranted for 90 days.

 

Limitations

Fan noise: At its High lamp setting, the PLC-XK2600 is a bit noisy. A 100" image locates the projector about eleven feet from the screen, and if that puts it closer than five feet from viewers, you may want to reduce room lighting and run in Eco Mid or Eco Low mode.

No Digital Input: Unlike about half of the competitors it its class, the PLC-XK2600 lacks a digital input so you won't be able to connect HDMI signals you may have on your computers or DVD players.

Placement Flexibility: The PLC-XK2600's 1.2:1 zoom capability gives you limited projection distance variation for a particular image size. For example, to project a 100" diagonal image, the projector is about eleven feet from the screen and can only shift about ±12 inches and maintain that image diagonal.

Other Considerations

Connections: The PLC-XK2600 has dual VGA connectors . . . Computer 1 handles computers or component video and Computer 2 handles computers or acts as a monitor pass-through. There is a composite video input, and there are three audio inputs: dual RCA jacks for computer audio and a mini jack for computers or a microphone. A mini jack audio output is also available.

Preset modes: Four preset modes (Dynamic, Standard, Real, and Cinema) are available on the PLC-XK2600, each with its own variant of contrast, brightness, and color settings for its specific application. There are also two modes (Blackboard and Colorboard) designed to adjust color balance for background wall colors including red, blue, yellow and green.

Security: A Kensington security locking mechanism is provided at the rear of the projector.

Conclusion

When you use projectors in classrooms, you want ruggedness and reliability with minimum maintenance. You also want to set up and go with no delays for image adjustment. That is exactly what you get with the PLC-XK2600, and the added bonus is excellent data and video performance. You can find XGA projectors for less money, but you will have a hard time matching the PLC-XK2600's knockout images and low cost of ownership.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Sanyo PLC-XK2600 projector page.

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