Posted on February 8, 2018 By Art Feierman
Vivitek HK2288 4K UHD Home Theater Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Affect of Zoom Lens on Brightness, Difference In Brightness and Behavior of Light Modes, Image Noise, Sharpness
The HK2288 claims 2,000 lumens. It, like most projectors, came up a little short, topping out about 10% below claim in the brightest (and of course the least usable) mode. More importantly, this is a projector that, at mid-zoom, produces just about 1,000 lumens, twice what is needed in non-4K HDR modes, to fill a 100” diagonal 16:9 screen, in a room with very good lighting control.
Interestingly, Vivitek calls its low lamp mode “Default” – most manufacturers would call it Eco. Vivitek calls its full lamp mode “Boost.” This is probably a concession to the increase in fan noise, although the Vivitek is definitely not the noisiest of the 4K UHDs we’ve reviewed.
Much to our surprise, Eric’s measurements show a modest brightness difference between Boost and Default. Default is just about 19% less bright, but let’s allow for the margin of error and call it a 20% drop. Most projectors offer between a 20% and a 35% drop between modes, with around 30% probably the most common. One nice thing, no flicker. There is sometimes lamp flicker when running in low power modes, but typically that is more likely to happen when the drop to Eco is in the over 30% range.
The Vivitek does very well in terms of image noise. OK, true, mosquito noise, which is sort of moving background noise, is normally more visible on DLP than other technologies, but after that, the Vivitek performs well. For example, my favorite real life test for motion artifacts, is the slow panning of the neighborhood near the beginning of the movie Red. In that unusual pan speed, the Vivitek did very well, with visibly less judder than most of the others, including the Epsons, and interestingly, the Sony VW285ES which has the most trouble with that scene.
Years ago, I would run a suite of tests, but that was a decade ago. It is pretty rare today to find any home theater projector that doesn’t have what would have been considered great image processing a decade ago. That is, most of this is “mature” technology. We may be playing with higher resolution, but the processes are the same.
HK2288 lab credits from Ghostbusters 2016 4K UHD disc
Close up: HK2288 lab credits from Ghostbusters 2016 4K UHD disc
BenQ HT2550 (1920x1080x4) lab credits from Ghostbusters 2016 4K UHD disc
Sony VW285ES (entry level true 4K projector) lab credits from Ghostbusters 2016 4K UHD disc
Epson 5040UB (1920x1080x2) lab credits from Ghostbusters 2016 4K UHD disc
Epson HC4000 (1920x1080x2) lab credits from Ghostbusters 2016 4K UHD disc
Optoma UHD65 (2716x1528x2) lab credits from Ghostbusters 2016 4K UHD disc
No issue at all with sharpness. As expected, the Vivitek, with it’s 2716x1528x2 resolution, looks razor sharp on 1080p content, and very nicely sharp on 4K content from Blu-ray UHD discs. There’s no significant sharpness loss from center to corners, but there is some, as expected. I don’t think the optics have the clearness – the clarity of far more expensive lenses, but then this is a sub-$2000 projector.
I have provided our usual images including closeups of the opening scene from Ghostbusters 2016 and the lab scene/credits. In addition, you’ll find the same closeup of the lab scene credits taken from, in order: The Optoma UHD65 (the other image from a 2716x1528x2 DLP pixel shifter), BenQ HT2550 (1920x1080x4) DLP, Sony VW285ES (4096×2160) LCoS, Epson HC5040UB (1920x1080x2) 3LCD, and Epson HC4000 (also 1920x1080x2) 3LCD.
In theory, the VW285ES is the only true 4K projector (does 8.3M+ pixels without having to overlap the pixels). Yet, overall, all of these projectors are very similar. Although there are four different resolution projectors shown here, all claiming to run 4K content, and having different pixel configurations, the bottom line is it comes down to pixel size, optics, and image processing. For example, the BenQ, HT2550 – it has the same size pixels as the Epsons but pixel shifts two more times. Whether that brings extra visible detail is questionable. The Epsons – which technically have the lowest resolution (i.e., they are 1920x1080x2, next is the BenQ which is 1920x1080x4), I have found them to have especially good image processing for detail enhancement. I wouldn’t expect the Epsons or BenQ to be quite as “sharp” as this Vivitek or the Optoma UHD65, but awfully close. Whether you will notice a difference or not, (sharpness/detail aspects only), will first require you to be sitting pretty close.
If you have a 100″ diagonal screen and are sitting 12-15 feet back, it’s unlikely that you’ll spot any actual sharpness differences, between any of these. At 8-10 feet, however, you’ll start seeing some differences. Whether that translates to sharpness, detail, hardness, will depend, but still not great differences.
Even the true 4K Sony which in theory could be significantly better than the rest, has to deal with compromise. It is the least expensive 4K projector, and lacks the higher quality optics than Sony provides on their over $10,000 4K projectors. Oh, I give the Sony the natural advantage of being able to honestly do 4K – with one to one pixel mapping, something only a true 4K projector can accomplish with 4K content.
Very bottom line: Vivitek, HK2288 – nicely done. Sharpness is typical for under $5000 4K content capable projectors, perhaps a touch better than some and a touch worse than some others. For the most part, all of these are close enough to make it difficult to tell which is sharpness without a very close side by side comparison.
If you put up test patterns, you will see different performance from the different technologies and native resolutions. Still, on typical 4K content like movies or even sports, figure that the truly significant differences between these projectors will be in other aspects, not sharpness.
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