Posted on September 30, 2014 By Art Feierman
The folks at Visual Apex have been offering screens under their Vapex moniker for a number of years now. We blogged about one of them two or three years ago. This time around, I decided to take a look at one of their screens that they said provides a large image and is suitable for both inside and outside use, home or business. My focus though, is as an outdoor screen for those backyard movie parties, although I’ll comment on other uses as well. Today’s projector screen review is of their ProjectoScreen 120HD. There’s even a larger version at 144″ diagonal. Bother are 16:9 aspect ratio.
Since the only other outdoor screen I’ve reviewed was an inflatable, I thought a more traditional type screen might be interesting. We have limited ability here to measure screen performance. Ultimately consider this more of an educated end user review, as I can’t confirm specs such as screen gain, nor, for that matter determine precisely if the screen is a very accurate reflector of light, or if there’s some color shifting.
Instead the focus will be on the use – setting up, and watching the screen, disassembling it, and my opinions relating to its strengths and weaknesses.
No better place to start than price. That proves easy. You’ll find the ProjectoScreen 120HD selling online for $219. Officially the list price is $399, but that hardly matters.
The screen comes with a one year warranty.
As a basic description, let’s start out that the screen is a fixed type screen that uses lots of snaps to attach to a very foldable metal frame.
Then, a pair of foldable legs attaches to the bottom of the frame, if needed, or one could hang the screen’s frame instead – such as, perhaps to the top of a garage door.
In the images here, you can see the process for assembling the screen. The documentation was pretty good, but missed a couple of small steps, nothing though that weren’t obvious, or easily correctable after the fact. Locking the four pair of hinges around the frame was one thing missed.
It took me, an “old guy” about 15 minutes, perhaps a touch longer to assemble and set up the screen. In fairness, I didn’t use the extra ground spikes or the nylon cord that together supply extra resistance to that outdoor breeze. I’d add 5+ minutes to the total if I did do those extra four stakes. I had to supply my own hammer to pound the stakes I did use, into the ground. Easy enough.
The whole screen comes in a box, and within that is the carry bag with the whole screen and hardware inside of that. That bag is just than 40 inches long, and weighs perhaps 25 pounds or so, with everything. That’s just a guess on the weight – the brochure says 33 lbs, but my guess is that is in the shipping box.
The first step after unboxing and unzipping the bag, is to remove the main frame, and unfold it into a single large (120″ diagonal) rectangle. Since I was going to be setting it up using the feet, that was next – sliding in the two feet to the bottom of the frame. I did not open the feet, so that the frame was still flush on the ground.
Now it was time to unpack the screen surface material, which is a vinyl material (good for dealing with outside conditions). I removed the protective cardboard slats, unfolded it and laid it on top of the frame. That led to 5 minutes of thumb numbing activity of pressing down the screen surface’s snap tops, to all the snaps around the frame. I will concede that my old thumbs were exhausted from all that snapping! Next was putting the large hand knob/screws into the frame to lock the feet to the frame. Easy, and about 10 seconds work each.
Almost done. At that point, with the screen attached to the frame, it was time to lock the hinges, even if they forgot that in the manual. I actually skipped that step, opened the folded part of the feet and stood up the entire screen. Easy enough to do, even for one person.
Then I noticed that the hinges weren’t yet locked. So, I was able to lock the two lower pair with my hands, got out a small step stool, (and my hammer) and used the hammer to tap the upper hinges into locking position.
At that point, I noticed that there was a very nice horizontal crease running from left to right. I’m told that will slowly go away if the screen is left attached to its frame for an extended time.
Well, I left it attached for two full days. I’d say most of the crease was still there. That said, it really was hard to spot while actually watching projected content. For a screen for outdoor use, I don’t think that’s a problem. If you are instead, using this indoors, even as a portable business screen, that crease still shouldn’t be a real concern. I should note that the inflatable screen I reviewed a few years back had a horizontal seam, if I recall correctly.
Back to the installation. At this point, the screen is standing upright, all ready to go, but just “sitting” on the grass. I repositioned the screen to where I wanted it to be for viewing and got out four stakes from the travel case.
As you can see in this image of one of the feet, I have one stake going through a hole in the front of one leg, and one in the back. In the photo, I haven’t yet pounded them into the ground. After pounding all four through the feet into the ground I was done. My front yard where I set this up is pretty sheltered from the wind, and held for two days. For more support use the nylon rope, and hammer four more stakes into the ground well forward and rear of the screen, to keep the top of the screen steady when there’s a breeze.
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