Review: SharpVision XV-Z15000
1080p Home Theater Projector
Contrast. The Z15000 is rated at 30,000:1 full on/off contrast, with the assistance of its dynamic iris. This is the highest contrast rating of any DLP projector currently on the market under $10,000. We measured its ANSI contrast performance at 552:1, which is typical for home theater class DLP projectors. As a group, DLP projectors routinely outperform their LCD competition in ANSI contrast.
Ultimately the specs don't tell you much about what the viewer is likely to see on screen. The viewer's perception of contrast is influenced by a variety of factors. Some of these factors have nothing to do with the projector, such as the screen, the viewing environment, and average dynamic range in the material being displayed. But in the projector itself, the interaction of ANSI contrast, native on/off contrast potential (unassisted by an auto iris), the depth of blacks, and the unique effects of an auto iris all combine to produce an impression of contrast that is not specifically related to any one contrast spec.
Nevertheless, in our experience with the 1080p class of home theater projectors in particular, the full on/off rating tends to be reasonably indicative of the relative contrast the viewer might perceive under ideal viewing conditions. For example, the Z15000's rating of 30,000:1 suggests that it will be lower in contrast than competing projectors rated at 50,000:1 and up, and it will be higher in contrast than models rated 20,000:1 and less. When they are set up and viewed side by side, this is usually the case.
Conversely, the ANSI contrast number when taken in isolation, tends to be a relatively weak indicator of the actual contrast that the user perceives on screen. For example, the JVC RS20, which is a much more expensive model than the Z15000, has a much lower ANSI contrast number, but much higher native contrast. When these two are viewed side by side, the JVC produces a more dynamic picture.
Overall, the contrast performance of the Z15000 can be best described as competitive for the money, but not exceptional. It produces a very pleasing, easy to watch, high contrast image. But it does not lead the pack as far as contrast and black levels among 1080p projectors in its price range are concerned.
Connectivity. Connectivity is typical by competitive norms. From left to right, there is one RS-232c, one 3-RCA component, one RGB/Component VGA port, two HDMI 1.3a, one S-video and one composite input. There is no 12-volt trigger for a motorized screen, but this is not unusual. Several of the competing 1080p models in this price range also lack this feature.
Fan noise. Fan noise is very low on the Z15000. Even in high altitude mode it is remarkably quiet. Not only is sound pressure low, but the frequency is very low in pitch. In general, this is among the best of the 1080p models we've heard.
Sharpness. In a word, excellent. The sharpness control defaults to zero, but it has a range of -30 to +30. At the zero default there is some artificial edge enhancement which makes the picture look very sharp out of the box. For a more natural look, you might want to move the sharpness control to about -20. But this is personal preference. There is no right or wrong ... set it where you like it best.
Portability. The Z15000 has been designed with some thought to portability. It is relatively small, weighs only 12.8 lbs., and is the only 1080p projector we've yet seen to feature a built-in handle to make it easy to carry. It also has a sliding lens cover that you can manually close to cover the lens. This provides excellent protection for the lens while you are transporting it. Note that the projector will not power up with the lens cover in place. If you are ceiling mounting the projector, the lens cover must remain open.
Another feature that helps with portable use is auto-vertical keystone adjustment. If you carry it into a friend's house and set it up on a coffee table with the front elevated to hit a screen, the unit will automatically adjust keystone based on the tilt angle of the projector. This is a fine feature for a temporary deployment. We would not recommend using this feature in a permanent installation unless there was no way to install the projector at a zero tilt angle.
|Review Contents:||Features Overview||Features Continued||Limitations||Conclusion|