Vivitek H1080FD Projector Overview
The Vivitek H1080FD is (as of 2/12/11) $899! It is available from online dealers and I imagine, also possibly in some big box houses (like Best Buy, Costco, etc.). Let's start with one scenario to try to give you a quick idea of if this projector is what you are looking for:
Your friend has a really nice home theater. That friend is really into it - a serious enthusiast. A friend that can't understand why you are watching a 42 inch LCDTV.
After some time, you finally decide - it really would be great to have a "big screen" capability, you want to use it for sports, movies, HDTV in general. It just seems like such a hassle, but, hey, why not!
The thing is, you aren't an enthusiast. You just want something that will do the job well, but not be perfect. Hey, you bought a 32" Sony Trinitron back in the 90's and never noticed or used the controls for your TV - it's probably still in the "vivid" mode most TVs seemed to ship with as the default setting. Didn't even know there was a movie mode and several others, right? OK, this Vivitek is your kind of projector.
For an entry priced 1080p projector, it's really bright, has good color, and even a built in speaker, which could come in handy on occasion, for those not permenently mounting the H1080FD projector. I know I'm going to sound like "a broken record" but, this projector is a good match for family rooms, bonus rooms, or even out in the back yard, or cul-de-sac for a movie party.
The Vivitek H1080FD is a DLP projector using the Darkchip 2. Like most of the lower cost entry level projectors, it lacks a dynamic iris to enhance black level performance.
The Vivitek is rather typical of low cost DLP projectors - limited placement flexibility (discussed in the Tour section), filter-free design, for less maintenance, compact, and typically a bit noiser than competing projectors that use LCD design. On the other hand, there aren't yet any 1080p LCD projectors selling down at or within about $250 or $300 of the Vivitek, at the time I am writing this.
On the other hand, the H1080FD has one additional charm. It's very suitable as a cross-over projector. It has everything you need for typical business use. With almost 2000 lumens it's as bright as many entry level business projectors, and performs competently on Powerpoint presentations, spreadsheets and documents.
The Vivitek is very different from the other $999 1080p projector (Optoma HD20) we have reviewed, in terms of its strengths and weaknesses. That's a good thing, as it will give people who are shopping in this price range, more of a choice, than having two almost identical products.
Let's get rolling by first summarizing some of the most notable aspects, and then we can dig into more detail.
Built in Sound
The H1080FD has a small, rear facing 5 watt speaker. It actually throws out a very healthy amount of sound. Of course, bass is rather limited. It may not be surround sound quality, but it will do the job in a pinch. I can picture taking out the projector for Sunday football, plenty of volume.
And, consider, this projector is suitable for business presentations. The speaker will come in handy there. The Vivitek projector has a pair of stereo audio inputs, and one stereo output as well, so you can, for example run a cable from the projector, to a nice boom box, or other portable solution if you want to move the projector from room to room, take on vacation, etc.
Or, just get by with the single speaker.