Vivitek Qumi (Pico Projector) Review
This is my first pico projector review, and let’s just say…
I’m VERY impressed! Not so much at the price, but at what something so small can do. Not to mention my wife and daughter thought it was the cutest projector they have ever seen. If approval from your significant other is important, then I doubt they would be able to deny the smallness, and cuteness of the Qumi. During the time I had with the Qumi I watched a Blu-ray movie, watched some HDTV, and played a few games on it. I wasn’t expecting much from a tiny 720p projector, but I was pretty shocked with how much fun I had watching and gaming on the little guy. I actually preferred this over the Optoma GT720 I reviewed a while back. The colors seemed to pop more, and the Qumi is just altogether cool.
I actually took this to work with me, and everyone there was impressed with what it could do for its size. I popped in the micro SD card from my Droid X, and we watched a slideshow of pictures from my vacation and the circus. They were all impressed with the versatility. The positives I heard from them is the fact that it has a mini HDMI input, a micro SD slot, a USB slot, the image quality and the size. You can throw a few movies, a slideshow, or a presentation on an SD card, or a USB drive and you’re ready to go. It does not get much simpler than that. One thing negative I could say about it is it would have been nice if the VGA input was a DVI input instead, but that’s not too much of a letdown.
Another thing that I have to knock the Qumi for, is the fact you just can’t plug your ipod/iphone into the USB input and have it work. Apparently the USB port only works properly with a USB drive. At work we tried hooking up an iphone and an ipod Touch with no success. However, you can plug it into the AV input, or buy a special adapter for your ipod/iphone that will plug into the universal I/O slot. Also, the cables that come with it are VERY short, and really are useless in most applications. I suggest purchasing a mini HDMI (male) to HDMI (female) adapter. Luckily I had one on hand, so it was not too much of an issue. The cables that come with it are literally about 8 inches long.
Just for fun, I wanted to see if the Qumi could fill my 120 inch screen. I put it about 13 feet back on my bookshelf, and the little sucker actually filled every single inch. It was a little washed out, and not that bright, but threw a decent image nonetheless. My living room is not an ideal home theater room, as I have a gloss white ceiling, laminate flooring, and all of my walls are beige. I would say the sweet spot for the Qumi is at about 65 inches. Any more than that, and you are going to sacrifice picture quality. I kept it at about a 60 inch screen while watching movies, and gaming on the Qumi.
This little guy is bright for being so small. I was expecting to have to have every single light off, and reduce the screen size down to about 30 inches to get a positive experience out of the Qumi. Man, did the Qumi prove me wrong. I was able to game on a 60 inch screen, with a little ambient light perfectly fine. I have seen other pico projectors, but in a store environment. I did not get to play around with them much, nor did I have the desire to. The Qumi has totally changed my opinion on pico projectors altogether. Vivitek really did a great job with this one, other than some minor complaints.
As for movie viewing this little sucker surprised me; watching Blu-ray and HDTV was totally enjoyable. On the other hand, I found that the presets on the Qumi (other than the movie mode) really sucked! I would highly suggest calibrating it on the user setting to your taste. The preset game setting was absolutely horrid! I found the movie setting made the games I played look much better. I did not notice any lag on the Qumi, which is a good thing. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed gaming on the Qumi, nowhere near as much as my Epson 8700UB, but I was shocked that I enjoyed it as much as I did.
The remote is one of the worst I have seen, and the range is really bad. You have to pretty much point it directly at the unit from a few feet away for it to work properly.
It does have a built in speaker. While it’s not going to blow out your eardrums, it is OK. I was pretty surprised to get any sound out of this thing, much better than I expected in a projector this small with only one speaker. Here is my final verdict:
The color is very good
Black level is surprisingly decent
Very bright for a pico
It’s cute (says the wife and daughter)
No mini HDMI to HDMI adapter
The focus wheel should be recessed
No DVI (VGA is not digital)
The remote is horrible
No access to “smart” devices through USB
The price at $499 is a bit ridiculous
Personally, I think this should retail at a $299.99 MSRP. While I love this pico, and it throws a beautiful 720p image, I would not be able to justify the $499.99 price tag. You can practically get a decent full sized 720p projector for that price. I might even bite at $349.99, but man is the price steep for a pico projector. If money was not an issue, then the Qumi is remarkable for what it is. I actually miss the little guy, if the price drops I might have to pick one up.
Stay tuned, up next is the review of the Optoma HD33 1080p 3D projector!
Click here to visit Vivitek’s website for more info on the Qumi.
A few photos to get a gist of the size of the Qumi:
Here are the specs for the Qumi:
4:3 & 16:9 Compatible
or Ceiling (Front or Rear)
(162 x 32 x 102 mm)
(Standard / Boost Mode)