Sanyo PLV-XW15 Review Now that I have about seven hours on the lamp of my newly arrived Sanyo XW15, I thought I’d share my experiences so far with the diminutive PJ. After 2 weeks of credit card authorization screw-ups and then just prior to shipping credit limit problems due to my wife’s unknown miscellaneous purchases which left me $150.00 short on the one card, I anxiously awaited my package which finally arrived this morning at my work. Of course I was left with no other option but to halt any further work and open the package immediately since we are a computer consultation firm, have a small retail store, and just happened to have a display system with a DVD player, and…. So armed with a box-cutter, I headed for the cockpit—uh, I mean sliced open the small box which happened to be just about large enough for a basketball to fit in it and still touch all the inner sides of the carton. “There’s a projector in here?” was my first thought. So I actually found two boxes inside the main one and removed first the one containing the handy soft carrying case, then the one with manual, remote, and cables, and finally I peered a teeny little piece of Styrofoam with contained an even tinier silver plastic thing that looked like something made by Mattel. I ‘m not kidding. I’ve seen compact projectors before, but this was ridiculous. Could this thing really work? I was about to find out. I set the little cigar box looking thing on a display counter, connected it to the only DVD equipped unit we had at the moment, a used 500MhZ generic trade-in with a PCI video card manufactured in the 80’s. A fellow employee happened to have a DVD copy of “Training Day”, so we popped it in; plugged in the RGB cable, switched to computer mode and for the next 2 minutes I stared at the light brown wall of our shop literally stunned. Amazed. Shocked. Horrified…at quite possibly the worst performance of a projector in my entire life. The credit’s letters were zigzags, the slightest movements of anything were presented as one huge jaggy after another. It was like watching someone pan a camcorder around a candlelit room. I was aghast. “Jim must die”. Where’s my high-power deer rifle? Where’s the nearest clock tower? Did I mention the 80’s vintage video card? Oh, yeah. After my blood pressure was back under control, I managed to coax my shaking hands to replace the old card with a 64MB high end job we had on the shelf. Whhheeeeewwwwww…..*sigh* Let’s try this again. Oh my, the Playschool PJ is positively lovely! So bright! So colorful! So…damn small! On a brown wall with a nice plaster crack, Densel raced around in his Monte Carlo, and I was just about to put the cheap generic “Bob’s” AA batteries in the remote when reality came rushing back and I realized I was at work and on the clock. That’s why the review really starts here: Now I’m home. The wife’s been instructed “no interruptions”. I immediately attached the projector (did I mention it was small?) to my homemade ceiling mount that used to support my old Mitsubishi X250 with three 4mm screws. Flame on. Here’s the scoop: Light Output: This PJ is listed at 800 lumens, but they ain’t your ordinary, everyday lumens. No, these are the newly developed, top secret, “superlumens” The ones that make an 800 lumen projector look more like a 1000 lumen projector. I have a totally light controlled theater that I can make pitch dark at high noon. Well I don’t have to do that anymore. Ok, you won’t want to have two or three halogen torche’s burning during Aliens, but a fair amount of light is not going to kill this picture. Happy so far. Contrast: CRT this, true black that. Blah, blah, blah. This baby’s blacks are all the black I’ll ever need. Remember Densel’s black Monte Carlo? Well, it looked like a lump of coal driving down the freeway. Don’t let anyone tell you the XW15’s contrast ratio at 300:1 sucks. It’s just not true. Can it be beat? Of course it can. A jet can fly around the world in about 30 hours. The space shuttle can do it in like…20 minutes. I can’t afford a Space Shuttle. Blacks are more than fine. “Fagetaboudit”. Color: Spectacular. Fully adjustable. So adjustable I haven’t learned how to do it yet. No, really. Settings for Sharpness, Saturation, Tint, Red-Green-Blue, Contrast, Gamma. My Mits had the multi color matrix thingy which was nice, but I don’t see it being necessary. There are plenty of options for mixing up the color. An auto set feature is included which does pretty well on the colors, but cranks the contrast way to high for some reason. Frankly, other than being a tad bluish out of the box, the colors looked great. Not cartoonish like some others have mentioned, but then that could be a matter of preference. The one thing I looked for was that damned “African-American Green Glow” That’s my test for the dreaded green casts. Black people’s faces gave it away for me every time on the old PJ. Green shadow under the eyes. Green tint under the chin. Not this puppy. Densel’s browns were true. Oh, and save the racist accusations, please. My Drill Instructor in the Marine Corps told us we were all green. Thank God he was wrong about the Sanyo though. Remote: I like the menu layout, but the remote feels sort of “creaky” for lack of a better word. You know, when you go to Best Buy and crank knobs and push buttons? Some just feel tighter than other. Well, the center big button that controls up, down, left, and right (which is handy instead of 4 separate buttons) feels like something’s scraping as you push it, and it’s so sensitive, you can over-shoot the menu item you’re after. Speaking of sensitive, the remote itself is not. You either have to point right at the PJ, or right at a point on the screen to reflect back. After a little practice, you find the spot quickly. The remote looks like, and is shaped very much like the Sony TiVo remote, but not nearly as smooth and tight feeling. Audio: 1 Watt Mono Speaker. Useless. If they could have eliminated the audio circuitry altogether and saved me another hundred bucks or so, I’d be fine with that. Not needed for HT anyway. Or put the savings into the remote. Size/Weight: Tiny/Light. Looks fake. Lens about the size of a golf ball. Really cheesy lens cap that will be lost in two weeks. (no string ) Noise Level / Fan: This really sucks. Well, Ok, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s such a shame Sanyo batted a thousand on everything else and neglected this area. Sound is different depending on where you’re sitting. From the right side of the unit, facing the screen, non-offensive whooshing. From the left side, whooshing and hard to describe…buzzing transformer like noise? I can live with it because my Surround system is kick ass and I don’t plan on watching chess matches on it. I haven’t had a chance to test all the various inputs/formats yet. HDTV 1035i looks incredible as it should. No 720p yet, sorry. (Tuesday-NYPD Blue), Regular satellite signal is fair, but then you are blowing a super compressed signal up to 7 feet so what did I expect? Also depends on the channel. VHS sucks, but then it sucks on a 12” TV too. Although, my old, old Sharp XV-100 did VHS really well. Weird. Must have been because it’s resolution was closer to VHS than anything today. The Sanyo did do better than my Mits, but then it never claimed to do anything but DVD video and 1080i. One note, I’m not sure if the 480 stuff would look better being fed directly rather than through my RCA DTC-100. I know it up converts signals to their dip-shit 540p format so that might be freaking out the PJ. I don’t know. If anyone has any thoughts on that I’d like to hear them. If anyone has any questions about stuff I left out, the cool guy that sold it to me, what planet I’m from, etc. email me at [email protected] End of rant.