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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Note: For those of you who might be wondering why I'm comparing the X1 to older pjs. You can often find shootouts with new equipment, but if you're like me, you may already have a pj or an rptv, and wonder if the new stuff is worth upgrading to. No one wants to get a new pj, and then feel like it's not really much better than their old one. I know there are a lot of 400q owners, for example, who wonder if its time to get something new. The X1 to me represents a real breakthrough in terms of price and quality. It allows me to get (IMO) a significantly better picture than my 400q, without having to spend another 3 or 4 grand. So for those of you who are wondering if this new low cost pj might be an answer to upgrading from an older pj, I hope this helps. mike




Yesterday was a dream day. Wife and kids out Christmas shopping, and nobody home but me and my new X1. So I spent the whole day comparing it to my other equipment. I'll try to be as honest as I can, but quite honestly, I am very impressed with this little X1, so I may gush from time to time. Here is the equipment I compared the X1 to:


A Sony W400Q with 300 total hours (lamp and unit)

An Infocus LP425z

A Sony HS10 61" HiScan RPTV


All equipment has been set up using Avia. The DVD player used was a Panny RP62, set to interlaced. All connections were via component, except for the LP425z, which only has s-video. DVDs were LOTR, Matrix, and Monsters, Inc. HD material was from Hdnet.


Room lighting was totally controlled. Screen was a Da-Mat HCMW 92 x 52. I am not a very technical person, so all I can pass along are my impressions. I hope they help.



A little background on the Sony 400Q. It is a 16:9 lcd machine with a resolution of 1068 x 480, 400 lumens and a 400:1 constrast ratio. It was initially built for medical presentations, and has top quality optics and very good video processing. And although it is an older machine, it was far ahead of its time, and is still a very nice pj. In addition, it uses a unique "delta pixel" structure to reduce screendoor. I have spent about 40 hours tweaking my 400q, following many of the recommendations on the 400q forum. Even though it's old, it still puts out a damn nice picture.

Jeff McNeal, the editor and publisher of the 400q forum and bigpicturedvd.com recently had this to say when asked to compare the Sanyo PLV-Z1 and 400Q:


"The PLV-Z1 is really not comparable to the W400Q in my opinion. I'll have a review published on this site shortly.


The Z1 is a very basic, entry level front projector that lacks the sophisticated optics of the W400Q, and the brightness isn't as great over the W400Q than you might think from the specs.


It's a nice projector for someone who has never had a W400Q, but in my opinion, anyone going from a W400Q to a Z1 is apt to be a bit disappointed.


Keep in mind that the price of the Z1 makes it an excellent value for what it offers, but it's not in the same league as the W400Q in my opinion."


No flames please--I am not denigrating the Z1 IN ANY WAY! I simply put Mr. McNeal's quote in here because some people may think the 400q isn't much of a pj to compare against, being 5 years old. Lots of people are raving about the Z1. So, if the Z1 is getting great reviews, and according to Mr. McNeal, “anyone going from a W400Q to a Z1 is apt to be a bit disappointed†that should tell you the 400q is still one hell of a projector.


My conclusions for those who don’t want to read this whole thing:


Is the X1 a good upgrade to the 400q? Yes. If you like your 400q, you’ll really like the X1, unless you’re sensitive to rainbows.



Is the X1 a good choice vs an RPTV? I think so. When zoomed down to 61†diagonal, the X1 performed almost in a dead heat with my RPTV. If I had to decide between one or the other, I’d keep the X1, zoom it down for regular TV viewing, and be happy knowing I can still watch movies and HD big if I want.


Is the X1 a good upgrade for the 425Z? Yes. There is no comparison. If you’re using a 425z, sell it on ebay for $800 and get an X1 as fast as you can.


Is the X1 a good choice for HD material? Yes. I thought the X1 did a beautiful job with HD material. It has that “wow†factor everyone expects from HD. I literally couldn’t stop watching it.


Here are more details for anyone interested:


Overall ratings (10 being the best.) Note, the RPTV is a 61†diagonal model, and in most cases I was comparing it vs the X1 and other projectors shooting a 92 x 52 picture. When zoomed down to 61â€, the X1 and the RPTV performed equally well—with maybe just the slightest edge going to the RPTV)



Overall viewing experience:

X1=9.0

Sony RPTV=8.0

400Q=7.5

425z=6.0


Price/Performance

X1=10.0

Sony RPTV=8.0

400q=7.5

425z=5.0


Viewability in moderate (two lamps) ambient light

Sony RPTV=9.5

X1= 6.5 (unless zoomed down to same size as RPTV, then about equal)

425Z =6.0

400q=4.0


Black level

Sony RPTV=9.5

X1=8.5

425z=7.0

400q=5.0


Shadow detail

Sony RPTV=9.0

X1=8.9

425z=7.5

400q=5.0


Color accuracy

Sony RPTV=9.5

X1=9.0

400q=8.5

425z=6.0


Color saturation

Sony RPTV=10.0

X1=9.5

400q=8.5

425z=7.0


Screen door

Sony RPTV=10.0

400q=9.0

X1=8.0

425z=8.0


Rainbows

Sony RPTV=10.0

400q=10.0

425z=8.5

X1=8.0


Refined, film-like feel of picture

Sony RPTV=9.0

400q=8.5

X1=8.0

425z=5.0


HDTV “3d Window effectâ€

Sony RPTV=9.5

X1=9.0

400q=8.5

425z=5.0


Overall HDTV “wow†effect

X1=9.0

400q=8.5

Sony RPTV=8.0

425z=6.0


Stabililty during high speed pans

Sony RPTV=8.0

X1=8.0

400q=7.5

425z=5.0


Noise levels

RPTV=10.0

X1=9.0

400q=5.0

425z=5.0






I know a lot of 400q owners are wondering if this is the upgrade they’ve been waiting for, so I’ve gone into more detail. Here are my opinions:




X1 vs 400q:

Brightness: No surprise here, the X1 wins. The X1 consistently had more pop to the picture, the whites were much brighter, and the picture just seemed to have more "oomph". This was particularly true of DVDs. HD was a bit closer, but again, the X1 came out ahead. That said, the X1 is not a particularly bright pj. If you want to run a big picture, and you have ambient light to deal with, the X1 is not going to make you happy.


Color: This one surprised me. I thought the 400q would beat the X1 on color saturation and color accuracy. It didn't . The X1's colors were more vibrant and lush. There was no washed out feeling. The X1 had better skin tones and rendered "hard" colors like dark brown much better. The only area I felt the 400q won was on reds--the X1 still seems to lean towards orange. In addition, the 400q would occassionaly posterize faces, the X1 never did.


Black levels. Another no brainer. The X1 buried the 400q when it came to blacks. Even highly tweaked, the 400q just can’t come close to the blacks on the X1. The picture on the X1 had very good contrast, and seemed deeper. The 400q looked good, but compared to the X1 was just flat in dark scenes. The 400q had the “gray fog†look in really dark scenes. The X1 had much greater clarity to my eyes.


Shadow detail: Here again, the X1 was a major improvement over the 400q. The 400q crushed details into a grey fog. The X1 displayed very fine details—I could finally watch the Matrix without cringing. If I had to pick one area where the X1 really represents a big jump over the 400q, it would be shadow detail.


HDTV performance: The 400q has always had that jaw-dropping “wow†factor with HD, and the two projectors were very close. But again, the X1 outdoes the 400q. As long as you sit 1.5x screen width back so you don’t see pixels, the X1 does a beautiful job with HD material (Hdnet—I wasn’t able to view any film-based HD material, which tends IMO to be not as sharp and “wowish†as the stuff on Hdnet). The X1 seemed to have more “popâ€, more vibrancy, and felt a big more 3d. On very bright material, I would call it a dead heat. But if the material was even slightly dark, the added lumens and contrast of the X1 made the 400q look flat and lifeless. The only caveat with the X1 is that if you get closer than 1.5X screen width viewing distance, you begin to see the pixels, and, at least for me, made the HD stuff look more digital and blocky.


DVD performance: The X1 again beat the 400q. More contrast, better blacks, a more 3d picture. I know it crops the material, but quite honestly, if I hadn’t read about it on this forum, I would never have known it. And I really didn’t notice it.


DirecTV performance: I was surprised, because I hated watching DirecTV stuff on the 400q. But the X1 actually did a nice job, and I didn’t mind watching it. It actually looked pretty good. This was through the S-video connection. I felt like I could actually use the X1 for regular TV—something I never even considered with the 400q.



X1 Negatives


Rainbows—if you are sensitive, you will see them. I am not particularly sensitive, but I did see them on almost all material.


Screen door—again, it’s there. But at 1.5X sitting distance, they go away. Up closer, though, and you will see pixels and get a general “blocky†impression.


Slight “liquid†pixelization during certain scenes—don’t really know what to call this, but on solid white or solid blue sky scenes, I would see a shimmering of individual pixels, almost like they were liquid, or as if you could see the mirrors turning on and off. Not really a big deal, but it is something I noticed occassionally. Is this what they call “dithering�



As you can imagine, I will be keeping the X1. This projector lives up to its hype. And for $1500 or less, I just don't see how you can beat it. I believe this pj will force a lot of other manufacturers to drop prices. Get one--you won't be disappointed. Hope the helps. If anyone has more questions, let me know.


mike
 

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Mike,

If only all reviews were as well done as yours, great job!!
 

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>X1 Negatives

>Rainbows—if you are sensitive, you will see them. I am not particularly >sensitive, but I did see them on almost all material.


Hmm. I did not see rainbows on most materials except MIB II. I see them if I move my eyes around looking at objects in the picture. I'd say you're sensitive to rainbows.


Your Panny can play CD-R/RW's. Are you looking at original DVD material? My wife notices more rainbow on CD-R/RW videos.


>Screen door—again, it’s there. But at 1.5X sitting distance, they go away. >Up closer, though, and you will see pixels and get a general “blocky†>impression.


I see them all the time. The graininess and the blockiness. I agree this is the low point of this projector.


>Slight “liquid†pixelization during certain scenes—don’t really know what >to call this, but on solid white or solid blue sky scenes, I would see a >shimmering of individual pixels, almost like they were liquid, or as if you >could see the mirrors turning on and off. Not really a big deal, but it is >something I noticed occassionally. Is this what they call “dithering�


Not sure what you mean here. But I see shimmering on text. This is quite annoying.


>As you can imagine, I will be keeping the X1. This projector lives up to its >hype. And for $1500 or less, I just don't see how you can beat it. I >believe this pj will force a lot of other manufacturers to drop prices. Get >one--you won't be disappointed. Hope the helps. If anyone has more >questions, let me know.


I'd keep mine too. I am sensitive to the 6% cropping and the above mentioned screendoor/blockiness. Those are the tradeoffs for this $1500 project I was willing to make.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by SpeedyHTPC
>X1 Negatives

>Rainbows—if you are sensitive, you will see them. I am not particularly >sensitive, but I did see them on almost all material.


Hmm. I did not see rainbows on most materials except MIB II. I see them if I move my eyes around looking at objects in the picture. I'd say you're sensitive to rainbows.


Your Panny can play CD-R/RW's. Are you looking at original DVD material? My wife notices more rainbow on CD-R/RW videos.

Speedy,

I'm probably slightly sensitive to rainbows. I see maybe 10 to 15 all total in a full length DVD. Much, much less in HD material. They are ony detectable to me for a milisecond, so they don't really bother me. It could also be because my screen is fairly big, and I have to sometimes sweep my eyes from side to side to follow the action, which is when I see the rainbows. I only put it in there as a negative because for someone who is VERY sensitive, the X1 could cause problems. Also, I was watching original DVD material.


mike
 

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Great review Mike. I am very happy you are satisfied with your X1. Especially since you were the first person to pm me about where I got mine.


Enjoy it! I certainly am!


patrick
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Flooper
Slight “liquid†pixelization during certain scenes—don’t really know what to call this, but on solid white or solid blue sky scenes, I would see a shimmering of individual pixels, almost like they were liquid, or as if you could see the mirrors turning on and off. Not really a big deal, but it is something I noticed occassionally. Is this what they call “dithering�
If you see it in motion scene, you're starting to see the Matrix! Otherwise, keep looking! Now you throught it up, I can't resist! :)


regards,


Li On
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Flooper
[...] And for $1500 or less, I just don't see how you can beat it. [...]
I've seen several people now calling the X1 an $1500 projector. I paid $1599 + $33 to get it shipped overnight. Did I get a bad deal ? or can we call it a $1600 projector instead ? (or $1700 (1699) list price even)


ps: I see shimmering pixels in dark areas only, only when looking closely. I do see screendoor all the time though (even at 2x+; must be my 20/20 vision :) )
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Li On
If you see it in motion scene, you're starting to see the Matrix! Otherwise, keep looking! Now you throught it up, I can't resist! :)


regards,


Li On
LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by patrick21
Great review Mike. I am very happy you are satisfied with your X1. Especially since you were the first person to pm me about where I got mine.


Enjoy it! I certainly am!


patrick
Patrick,

You will not be disappointed when you get your HD hookup! And again, thanks for the referral to where to get one!!


mike
 

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"Slight “liquid†pixelization during certain scenes—don’t really know what to call this, but on solid white or solid blue sky scenes, I would see a shimmering of individual pixels, almost like they were liquid, or as if you could see the mirrors turning on and off. Not really a big deal, but it is something I noticed occassionally. Is this what they call “dithering�"


This is the much discussed "crawlies" that is common with DLP projectors. Do a search and you will find quite a few threads about it...
 
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