Sanyo PLC-XW20

  • Editors' rating
    7.0 Very good


  • Magnesium alloy chassis
  • stylish design
  • high brightness rating
  • good feature set.


  • No digital input
  • focus and zoom adjustment can be a little fiddly.

Sanyo's latest portable data/video projector, the 2.8kg PLC-XW20, is a compact and stylish-looking LCD unit with a native resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels (XGA) and a brightness rating of 1,100 ANSI lumens. Supplied in a neat carry case with all the requisite cables plus a slimline remote control, the XW20 is primarily designed for the mobile professional, but will double up quite happily as part of a home cinema setup.

Built around a magnesium alloy chassis, the XW20 combines both robustness and no little style. It's also reasonably compact, measuring 25.7cm wide by 22.9cm deep by 7.6cm high. The lens is a 28.7 - 34.5mm manual zoom unit that sits flush with the case rather than protruding, as in some competing products. The lens can be focused from 1.6m up to 8.1m, with diagonal screen sizes ranging from 34in. to 200in. A 16X digital zoom complements the optical zoom function.

Controls and status lights are situated on top of the device, with I/O ports on one side and the power socket on the other. There's an infrared receiver and an air exhaust vent on the front panel, access to the lamp compartment on the underside, with air intake vents on the sides, back and bottom of the unit. Fan noise is noticeable - as in all projectors - but not excessively intrusive, and the unit doesn't get too hot during use.

The XW20 is well supplied with I/O connectors -- VGA, composite/component video, S-Video, USB, computer and AV audio in, and audio out. There's also a mini-DIN control port and a reset button.

Setting up and adjusting the image is straightforward, although the lens's zoom lever and focus ring can be a little fiddly. Dual adjustable feet at the front can be positioned roughly using a latch mechanism, and then fine-tuned via a screw thread, ensuring a perfectly level image. Digital keystone correction is available via the menu system (accessible either via the control panel or the infrared remote), as well as settings for ceiling mounted and rear projection.

The XW20 will automatically detect an incoming video or S-Video signal, or you can select manually from PAL, SECAM, NTSC, NTSC 4.43, PAL-M and PAL-N. The same goes for component video, where the manual options are 1080i (HDTV), 1035i (HDTV), 720p, 575p 480p 575i and 480i. There's a picture resize function that allows you to specify whether the image is scaled to fit the screen size (the maximum displayable PC resolution is 1,280 by 1,024 pixels), displayed at its original size or adjusted for wide-screen (16:9) aspect ratio.

Top ZDNET Reviews

The XW20 displays a bright image, with good contrast (300:1 is claimed) and acceptable uniformity. If need be, you can manually adjust brightness, contrast, colour, tint, white balance, sharpness and gamma. There's a preset Cinema image setting, and you can store up to four sets of picture adjustments of your own.

Sanyo's PLC- XW20 looks good, performs well and sells for the reasonable (for a projector) price of £2,795 (ex. VAT). It's well worth a place on any mobile professional's shortlist.