Vivitek Qumi Q2
October 10, 2011
Image Quality - The Q2 has six preset modes (Bright, Presentation, Game, Movie, TV, and sRGB) which vary brightness, contrast, and saturation to fit their particular applications. These presets work well for data projections, but they are less effective for video material with saturation too high and brightness too low. Fortunately, there is a User mode which gives you control over image settings including brightness, contrast, sharpness, and gamma. Judicious use of these settings produces a really impressive video image with plenty of punch and very good flesh tones. The Q2's 2,500:1 contrast ratio generates a reasonable balance of shadow and highlight details, and video noise levels are unnoticeable. The only distraction is that in three preset modes where Brilliant Color is enabled (Bright, Game, and sRGB), fan noise increases.
Data images and photos look sharp and have plenty of depth. There is a slight blue-to-red bias in the background from left to right, but you will only detect it on pages with a lot of white background.
Connectivity - Though the use of cable adapters, Vivitek has overcome the small size of its rear panel connectors. A general-purpose interface uses an adapter that terminates in a male DB-15 connector which plugs directly into the VGA port of a computer. Another adapter converts a mini-HDMI into a standard HDMI male connector which can plug into either a computer or a DVD player. There is also a mini-HDMI adapter that plugs into similar connectors on various portable devices like iPads, iPhones, and game consoles. A type-A USB connector handles devices like thumb drives, and two mini jacks accommodate audio input and output. Note that these adapter cables are short (typically 15"), so you will have to keep the Q2 close to its source unless you want to carry additional longer cables.
Menu Selection and Navigation - The Q2 has almost no controls directly accessible on either the remote or the chassis control cluster. That might seem like an inconvenience, but in short order, one gets used to the remote control or the touch-sensitive controls on top of the case, and making an adjustment to the projector is easy. That said, the controls on top of the projector are very sensitive, so care must be taken not to make an inadvertent selection.
The remote has only nine pressure pad keys, and four of them are directional controls for the menus. The other five allow source selection, audio muting, entry and exit from the menu system, and a selection key for the highlighted menu item. The chassis controls are even simpler: a menu key, four directional keys, and the selection key. Be aware that the remote is about the size of a credit card, and it can inadvertently wander away in someone's pocket.
There are five menus with minimum layering, and layered sub-menus are all labeled "Advanced" so they are easy to identify. A convenient feature is that when you return to the menu system, you are brought to the menu you had previously used which reduces button pushing when doing a repetitive adjustment like setting Brightness or Contrast.
Brightness - Even though the Q2 did not meet its published brightness specification of 300 ANSI lumens, it still put out 210 lumens which makes it one of the brightest pocket projectors on the market. Its five preset modes had brightness readings as follows: Bright, sRGB, and Game - 210 lumens, and Presentation, Movie, and TV - 140 lumens.
Eco mode dropped brightness to 60 lumens regardless of preset mode. This is unusual because Eco mode usually drops brightness by a fixed percentage of the light level in each mode. To add to this anomaly, and unlike most projectors, fan noise increased in Eco mode. Since brightness is already down in the 250-lumen range, you probably will not need to use Eco mode and can avoid the resultant noise increase.
Lamp Life - "Lamp life" is a misnomer since the illumination source for the Q2 is a set of LEDs. These LEDs are designed to keep working for upwards of 30,000 hours which practically ensures that you will have abandoned the Q2 long before its light source fails. On the other hand, if it does fail, it is not a field replaceable assembly, and the projector must be returned to a dealer or the factory for repair or replacement.
Quick On/Off - LEDs have replaced the traditional mercury vapor lamp in the Q2, so there is no need for lamp warm-up and cool-down. About 10 seconds after you switch the Q2 on, you have a full brightness image, and shutdown is instantaneous.