Projector Reviews

VAVA Laser TV LT002 – Living Room Home Entertainment Projector – Performance Page

VAVA Laser TV – 4K UHD Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise, Sharpness

Brightness

The VAVA LT002 Laser TV is an ultra short throw design, which typically makes measuring them challenging.  This is the first review of mine since moving to Florida, and having Jason as my new independent ISF calibrator.  As this was his first calibration of a projector for review purposes, the process was rather different than calibrating a projector in someone’s home.  For example, calibrating doesn’t care about how many lumens a projector measures, but we do.

As a result of “new guy with new process,” things are a bit different, but we’ll get in sync quickly.

This time around, Jason did not measure specific brightness of each mode which is something we normally do, rather he concentrated on creating a calibrated mode, and measuring that.

The VAVA starts out claiming 2500 lumens.  With most home theater projectors, of the DLP variety we expect calibrated results to be less than half of claim.  With that in  mind, the VAVA Laser TV did rather well!

There are two power modes:  High and Standard.  As mentioned elsewhere, there isn’t that much difference – 7% to 8%, with Standard being a touch less bright but also quieter.

The VAVA measured, post calibration – at 1097 lumens in High, and 1017 in Standard.  That’s a barely visible difference, so folks are likely to make an easy choice, one way or another – a touch brighter, or a touch quieter.

Almost 1100 calibrated lumens is impressive for a 2500 lumen claim.  There are plenty of 3000 lumen DLP home entertainment projectors that measure a bit less.

Combine that much brightness with an Ultra short throw design and a proper “ambient light rejecting ” screen, and you can have one great, really large screen experience in most rooms with decent lighting control.  (Forget it if you have sunlight pouring in everywhere, and no shades.)

At night, of course the VAVA looks even better even with some ambient light, than it does fighting more ambient light during the day.

Jason reports that all the other modes fit into two different brightness groups, but again the differences are slight.  None of the uncalibrated modes is really significantly brighter than our calibrated mode. You can choose a mode with more pumped up color saturation, etc. to cut through ambient light better, but overall brightness remains close.  That’s true of most projectors’ “dynamic”, or “vivid” modes, or whatever they call their brightest, usually has higher saturation picture modes.

Bottom line on brightness:  Considering price and type of projector, the VAVA performs surprisingly well.  If I had to guess going in, based on some other 4K UHD DLP’s reviewed in the last year or so, I would have expected only 750-1000 lumens at full power, so to get almost 1100 – good job for the most affordable 4K capable UST laser projector around.

In fairness, the LG HU85LA easily beat the VAVA in brightness, but then it sells for almost twice the price (and is a 3 laser design). All’s fair.

Color Mode Lumens (High Lamp) Lumens (Standard lamp)
Standard 1827 1715
PC 1827 1717
Movie 1750 1619
Colorful 1832 1719
Sport 1832 1719
Customize (pre) 1286 1192
Customize Calibrated 1097 1017

Normally we quote mid-zoom for most measurements because we believe that is more “real life” than publishing the highest (closest placement).  But, of course, this is a UST projector, so no zoom lens.  Note that no mode stands out as being far brighter than the others.   

Contrast

Nothing fancy when it comes to contrast.  Contrast numbers from manufacturers are to be taken with “a pound or two of salt.”  VAVA does quote a native contrast (good for them) of 3000:1 – about right for most DLP projectors.  Then they have the usual very high number, but manufacturers all have interesting ways of measuring to get those numbers.

We prefer to assess black level performance by visual observation.

Black level performance is a step up from entry level.  Can’t tell you exactly why, as there’s no dynamic iris, or dynamic lamp dimming, so I’ll attribute it to simply being part of the laser engine design, as I find that entry level laser DLP projectors, overall, do seem to do slightly better on those very dark scenes.

Audible Noise

As mentioned elsewhere, the VAVA Laser TV tends to be on the quiet side – relative to most other home projectors, especially other home entertainment ones.  But, that said, its fan is low pitched, so quiet enough even on full power, for most folks.

Jason mentions some db specs in the calibration pages, but, measurements are not just tricky, but we’re talking UST projector here, so most folks are sitting a good bit further away, than with a normal or short throw projector on a table, or a projector ceiling mounted.

Count audible noise as minor, and more than competitive (quieter) than most projectors.

VAVA Laser TV Sharpness

Other than finding the upper left corner to be a touch softer than the rest of the image after using the electronic focus overall sharpness is “good”.  Using a test pattern, you would have to be looking closely to spot it on regular content.

Elsewhere in the review I recommend placing the projector precisely to fill your screen with a proper rectangular image, rather than using the trapozoid/keystone correction feature.  In theory, that is ideal, but the VAVA also seems to have overscan on, at all times (Jason pointed that out, too!)  Well overscan is, like keystone correction, a digital effect that destroys the ideal “1 to 1 pixel mapping”  that is, one pixel of data for each pixel of the projector.   (In fairness, on 4K content, remember we’re already pixel shifting – overlapping pixels, so it is never truly 4K with 1:1 mapping.

Translated, the VAVA in theory should be sharper by removing the overscan – (Hey VAVA team – how about that option if you do a firmware update for owners.

That’s the technical side of things. The projector looks very nicely sharp, even if…

In this player we have a couple of close-ups but also comparisons with other projectors using the 4K SDR Black List (Netflix) close-up and also the credits close-up from Ghostbusters 2016.