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HS20 VS Z2 Side by Side Shootout!!!

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Operandi, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. Operandi

    Operandi
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    Hi

    I thought you might be interested in my findings in the side by side shootout that I've just conducted in my HC between the Z2 and the Sony HS20.

    I'm choosing one of these two PJ's and have organised this side by side shootout to help me choose. My money is on the line with this choice so the winner has to be good!

    The room and equipment

    The room is a dedicated HC 14ft long and 11ft wide with total light control. It is painted dark blue on the walls and a sort of sky blue on the ceiling.

    I have an Ellie 16:9 (200x112cm dimensions) electric screen with 1.2 gain

    I use a Pioneer 737 DVD outputting component. I used UK Region 2 DVD's for the comparitive test.


    PJ setups

    I decided to use out of the box configs, or the minimum tweaking required to get an acceptable PQ. I'm not interested in endless tweaking but want a picture that is as enjoyable and cinematic as possible.


    Build quality

    The HS20 feels like a quality piece of kit. The remote is good quality and the PJ is generally very easy and intuitive to use. I particularly like the picture alignment guides which are displayed when you press the zoom, focus or side slot keys. This makes PJ alignment and focussing a doddle.

    The Z2 generally felt cheaper - manual zoom, focus and iris controls and pretty poor quality remote.

    The HS20 wins the build quality stakes


    Installation

    Although the HS20 has the side slot feature which allows horizontal displacement of the PJ from the centre of the screen, there is little or no vertical adjustment without resorting to keystone correction. This makes it harder to position the HS20 and it has a longer throw distance which is either good or bad depending on your room.

    The Z2 is brilliant in its optical vertical and horizontal adjustments and can be placed almost anywhere in the room.

    No doubt about it - the Z2 wins here


    Noise

    Both PJ's are remarkably quiet and are virtually inaudible in all but the quietest parts of the film. I think the HS20 has a slightly lower frequency fan noise than the Z2, but both are very quiet.

    A draw

    Screen door

    I couldn't see any screen door at the 10 ft screen to seating distance for either PJ

    Another draw


    Quality of blacks

    I tried the HS20 first and couldn't believe my eyes. In my completely dark room the quality of the blacks and the overall contrast was exceptional. Blacks looked black and there was real detail in there too. I've just sold my Barco 708 CRT and was expecting the worst here. No way - I was VERY happy with what I was seeing.

    Turning up the lights did wash the blacks out and turned them grey but with light control, the quality of the blacks were awesome, particulary for an LCD.

    The Z2 was a different story here. Blacks were black but they were also very blocky in comparison to the HS20 - the shadow detail had gone.

    The HS20 wins hands down here.


    Overall Picture Quality

    The out of the box image from the HS20 was detailed and very natural looking and there was excellent depth to the picture. Colours were natural, the image looked smooth and the whole viewing experience was really enjoyable. Every bit as good as the CRT, if not better!

    The out of the box image from the Z2 was, in comparison, disappointing. It had a definite red shift, blocky blacks and generally looked a flatter picture. I'm sure that I could have spent hours tweaking it, but it looked less cinematic, and more digital. It must be said, though, that for the price the Z2 produces a remarkably good picture and is brilliant value.


    Which am I buying?

    I guess you know already. The HS20 is everything that I'm looking for at the moment and, to me, easily justifies the £700 (approx) price difference. I know its a keeper whereas I'd be constantly tweaking the Z2 to get the best PQ.

    If you can cope with the longer throw distance and the price differential the HS20 is a brilliant PJ for the money - I'm really impressed with it. I just hope that it doesn't have some of the problems that the HS10 had!
     
  2. phillfyspoon

    phillfyspoon
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    thanks for that mate I have been waiting ages for the low down on these two babies. Now I think i might just get the hs20 when I have the cash, just spent what I had on monitor audio front speakers :)
     
  3. buns

    buns
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    Interesting review and very informative. My own experience says that the blacks of the Z2 are poor in ultimate depth, but the detail within them is not an issue. This must simply be a calibration issue. But I can beleive the hs20 would will in the overal black dept.

    Also it seems exceptionally likely that the red shift noted is something to do with the component, it has been reported numerous times but simply does not exist with dvi...... im going to ask sanyo about this in fact

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  4. fred123go

    fred123go
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    did you notice vertical banding at all on the HS20?
    cheers
    fred
    nice comparison btw
     
  5. Chipster

    Chipster
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    I agree, very good review.

    I've allready taken the Z2 route as the HS20 was not in my budget...you have to draw a line somewhere :(

    Very early days with my Z2, and overall I'm very happy. Cant help thinking the guys at Sanyo must be colour blind when it comes to red balance settings though.

    Good luck with your new purchase.

    Chipster.
     
  6. Operandi

    Operandi
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    I'm sure that it is a calibration issue and that I could get a better PQ from the Z2 with time and effort which makes this an astounding PJ for the money (better value, in fact, than the HS20), however I think the lens and processor must be superior on the HS20 hence the sharper, less digital looking and greater depth to the overall picture. This is, of course, as it should be given the price differential.

    IMO the Z2 is brilliant value as you get a great picture from a quiet PJ with no rainbows for a great price. To me it looks like LCD's have a great future and will be a serious challenge for DLP's.

    I've also demo'd a SIM2 Domino 20 and feel that the price difference between that and the HS20 was not justified in the PQ differences. I got eye strain from the Domino and in no way feel that I'm losing out on PQ in my room with buying the HS20.

    No, thankfully :)

    BTW I've watched dark and gloomy films such as Seven and the chase through the sewers in Michael Collins as well as vibrant cartoons such as Toy Story 2 and aerial sky shots of Manhattan (Philadelphia) and experienced no artifacts or problems at all. I expected to be disappointed with these LCD's, in comparison to my Barco CRT, but I was really gobsmacked by the overall PQ.
     
  7. Quatermass

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    This seems to be another difference between the dvi and component inputs of the Z2 because to me (using component) lack of detail in blacks was an issue – in fact it was the biggest issue. Adjustment was required to rectify it!

    Edit - red push seems to be a part of the same component issue because adjustments made to increase shadow detail also got rid of slight red push.
     
  8. Chipster

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    Hi Quatermass

    At the risk of changing the direction of Operandi's thoughtful thread, I'd be interested to know what adjustments you made as I run component as well, and I have just started experimenting with settings in order to get the best PQ from my Z2.

    Thanks,

    Chipster.
     
  9. Quatermass

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    What worked for me was to take standard “cinema” picture (can’t remember if I also zeroed rgb controls or not) and then adjust gamma first and foremost – having also zeroed all adjustments on dvd player. Then raise gamma to a level where you have enhanced shadow detail but not so much as to knacker up the contrast ratio - go too far and you will get a washed out picture. Once you are happy with gamma - calibrate all other parameters like brightness, contrast, sharpness, colour etc as per normal using either calibration disk or eye. (I used dve (pal). Then hide your remote in an inaccessible place :)

    Hope this is of some help.
     
  10. buns

    buns
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    There is all round something unusual wrt the colors and how you connect, there genuinely seems to be totally different issues with the connections. More strange is the fact that i would kill to be able to have the compnent issues on dvi because that would make it so much easier to fix...... watch avs because im trying to stir up some action on this point

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  11. Quatermass

    Quatermass
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    I wonder if Z2er's who are using dvi enabled dvd players eg Samsung etc. are having the same issues. They could actually switch between the dvi and component inputs quite easily to test differences. Will have a look at avs.
     

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