Sanyo PLC-XW300 XGA 3LCD Projector
  • Performance
  • 4
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$1,195 MSRP Discontinued

Sanyo's new PLC-XW300 combines high brightness, portability, and networking capability for a low street price of just $845. At 5.5 pounds, the PLC-XW300 is truly portable, and its low profile helps keep it from interfering with the audience's view of the projected image. This XGA resolution projector is rated at 3000 ANSI lumens. The PLC-XW300 is one of a unique class of projectors that gives you brightness and portability at a low price.

Overview

Brightness and Uniformity: An unusual feature of the PLC-XW300 is your choice of three lamp intensities: Bright, Normal, and Eco. For our high brightness measurement, we chose Dynamic mode with the Bright lamp setting. The PLC-XW300 put out 2,420 ANSI lumens in this configuration, and the Standard and Real modes checked in at 2,155 and 1,830 lumens, respectively. With a video image, brightness registered 1,915 lumens in Dynamic mode, 1,705 lumens in Standard mode, and 1,450 lumens in Cinema mode. Normal and Eco lamp modes dropped brightness by 10% and 36 % from the Bright setting, respectively. Uniformity was at 90% . . . one of the best we've seen. Note that the Bright lamp setting may not be your first choice for smaller rooms where its higher fan noise may be distracting.

Image Size and Position: The PLC-XW300 can focus as close as 3.6' and as far as 34.4' from the screen. Image diagonals from those distances are 40" and 300", respectively. The projected image can be raised +10° by locking the extendable front foot, but no horizontal leveling is provided as neither rear foot can be adjusted.

Lens and Throw Angle: Concentric manual focus and zoom rings make it easy to set up the image size you need, and the 1.2:1 zoom ratio gives you some flexibility in projector placement. Image offset is -18% of image height, so a 72" diagonal image has its lower edge about 8" below the centerline of the lens. This suggests that the projector be placed above tabletop level in order to get the image sufficiently high without excessive projector tilting and keystone correction.

Preset modes: Sanyo uses different names for its preset modes depending on whether it's referring to data or video images. In data mode, you can choose from Dynamic, Standard, and Real, and in video mode from Dynamic, Standard, and Cinema. Dynamic has a slight greenish hue while Cinema tends toward red and Standard toward blue. For both data and video, reducing saturation and increasing contrast and brightness makes for a more pleasing image. On the Image Adjust menu, you can choose from three color temperature settings (Low, Mid, and High).

Lamp Life: The projector's 220-watt lamp is dealer priced at about $180. Access is through the top cover, so even ceiling mounts present no significant problem when it's time for lamp replacement. With lamp brightness set at Normal, lamp life is rated at 3,000 hours, and Eco mode lengthens that to 4,000 hours with a 29% brightness reduction from Normal.

Maintenance: Like many LCD projectors, the PLC-XW300 has an air filter that needs vacuuming or rinsing occasionally. It pulls out from the front of the projector, so it's not difficult to remove even if the projector is ceiling-mounted.

Warranty: Sanyo offers a 3-year parts and labor warranty for the projector and warrants the lamp for 90 days.

Advantages

Data Image Quality: As noted, 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 90% brightness uniformity means no hot spots, and graphics and text have excellent detail. A spreadsheet with 8 pt. type is very legible even with keystone correction maxed out at ±30°, and edge-to-edge sharpness is excellent. As an added benefit, the PLC-XW300 allows individual adjustment of red, green, and blue levels for PC images.

Network Connections & Management: The PLC-XW300 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.

Stored Settings: Unlike many projectors in its class, the PLC-XW300 lets you store up to four custom settings for each input mode. So, if in data mode you use a Mac and a Dell and your colleague uses an Acer and an HP, you won't have to fiddle with the projector settings each time the projector changes hands. Simply store each computer's unique settings in the Image 1 through Image 4 section of the Image Select menu, and select your computer's unique stored values when you hook it up. The same capability is also available for video mode.

Auto Source Selection: The PLC-XW300 has an auto sense capability that makes life easy for infrequent users. With the touch of a button, the projector looks for the next source that's connected, automatically sets any clock and/or phase adjustments for computers, and makes any keystone corrections needed.

Menus and 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-XW300 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 nine menus and eight of them display their contents without scrolling. The on-screen menu covers about 40% of the screen image, but it can be positioned in any of the four corners or the center of the image. Also, 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.

Limitations

Connectivity: There are only two D-sub 15 pin VGA connectors on the back panel, and one of them (Computer 2) is dedicated to either functioning as an RGB input or a monitor loop through output. That leaves just one connector (Computer 1) to handle a second RGB input or to connect to adapters for s-video or component video inputs. There is a separate composite video RCA input, but the net is that you're limited to two inputs (composite video and one other) if you need a monitor loop through. Also, there's no HDMI or DVI connector, so you cannot connect any digital signals.

Video Image Quality: In high ambient light conditions, the PLC-XW300's brightness may make up for its relatively low 500:1 contrast ratio, but if you want to watch movies in darkened rooms, you may be disappointed with the lack of dynamic range. Trying to get blacks to look black crushes any shadows, and highlights are quickly swallowed up as the brightness control is raised.

Fan Noise: With the lamp at its Bright setting in a small case, the PLC-XW300 must run its fan at a healthy clip, and the resulting noise is noticeable up close. Lowering the lamp setting to Normal or Eco will reduce the noise to a tolerable level although it still competes with the relatively low audio output of the projector.

Speaker: The single one-watt speaker may be enough for a small audience, but the projector's brightness is well suited to moderate size rooms where external audio amplification will almost certainly be needed.

Light Leakage:For those sitting behind the projector, there's a bit of light leakage through the grill at the left rear that may be distracting during low ambient light conditions.

Conclusion

Sanyo's PLC-XW300 is small, light, and bright enough for many classrooms and conference rooms. It has a limited number of input connections, but it compensates with a unique four-level image setup storage system. User operation is easy with an excellent on-screen menu system and auto sensing for PC and video sources. While its video performance may leave a little to be desired, it's a consummate data projector at a very reasonable price. Very few models currently on the market offer a bright XGA picture in a portable package, with networking capability and a three-year warranty, for $845.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Sanyo PLC-XW300 projector page.

Comments (1) Post a Comment
ravi Posted Oct 30, 2011 9:08 PM PST
PLC-XW300 projectors not showing usage details. any possibility to show the usage details

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