Posted on July 18, 2010 Art Feierman
This review has been a long time in coming. I’ve been receiving requests to review this projector, since about the time we published the Optoma HD8600. These two projectors are very similar, as they are coming off the same assembly lines. They are cosmetically a bit different, and there are also performance differences. With all the home projectors out there awaiting review, it seemed foolish back at the beginning of the year, to review a sort of non-identical twin, the H5080.
In fact it was mostly my issue with the HD8600’s iris action (and nudging from people’s comments) that really got me to pursue the Vivitek H5080 for review. I brought it in primarily to see if the iris worked the same way as the Optoma. It did not. Because of that, I decided that a short review was called for. As such, I’ve pirated some text from the HD8600 review, where the projectors behave the same, and I’m using a number of its images, since the two projectors do have similar look and feel. I will be doing a short photo shoot and dropping in some critical photos from the Vivitek H5080, but, Vivitek fans, you won’t see near as many as with most reviews. Bummer!
I am now sorry I waited so long!
Seems like the Vivitek H5080 isn’t as similar to the HD8600 as I expected. And of course, there’s the fact that the H5080 projector is a $2999 projector available online, while that Optoma is “local dealer only” and about twice the price. Hmm!
The projector itself is a 1080p resolution, single chip DLP. It claims 1700 lumens, and while it didn’t quite get there the way we measure – “close enough.” This is one bright projector!
Whereas some projectors have very long range zoom lenses for great placement flexiblity, Vivitek (and Optoma) took a different tack. They offer a choice of three lenses. The standard lens is a 1.25:1 zoom, but there are two others, one is a longer throw zoom, and the other an extremely short thow fixed lens (no zoom). The advantage of Optoma’s design is that shorter zoom lenses are brighter, and easier to make with less distortion. Some of that shows up in the brightness of this projector, no doubt.
The H5080 is loaded with a number of dynamic features. The native projector performance itself, however is impressive. The dynamic iris, as it turns out, is pretty smooth, the opposite of the iris action in the Optoma HD8600. It also, however, doesn’t have the range it seems, as the Vivitek projector’s blacks are not its strength.
We seem to have another serious contender under $3000. It’s got plenty of competition though. It’s got brightness, a nice sharp image, and bright vibrant colors going for it.
Let’s get started!
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