Vivitek DH3660Z FrontTop
Vivitek DH3660Z 1080P DLP Laser Projector
Price
$2,499
Pros
  • High-output, low-maintenance laser projector
  • 5-year/20,000-hour warranty
  • 3 HDMI ports
Cons
  • Lacks built-in WiFi option
  • No classroom extras
Our Take

With the power of an installation projector but small and light enough to be moved from room to room, Vivitek’s laser-driven DH3660Z can fulfill several roles for schools and businesses without busting the budget.

Long known for small solid-state projectors, Vivitek thinks big with its DH3660Z device that is aimed primarily at business conference rooms and the education and worship markets. Its laser illumination engine with sealed optics and DLP imager combine for pinpoint focus and close to 4,500 lumens that can help get a teacher's message across to the class or deliver solid impact for business presentations. By defining the border between portable projectors and those intended for installations, the Vivitek DH3660Z can be used for a wide variety of permanent and temporary applications and venues.

At $2,499, the DH3660Z is competitive with other laser projectors in its lumen class, though pricey compared with traditional lamp projectors. That premium is quickly justified, however, when when the DH3660Z's filterless design, low power use, and the lack of replacement lamps are factored in. In fact, the beauty of this projector is that the more you use it, the less its costs.

Vivitek DH3660Z Key Features

Under its white skin, the DH3660Z is a state-of-the art projector that can work in a variety of settings, from a small house of worship to a mid-sized classroom, lecture hall, small auditorium, or board room. Light from the 100-watt blue laser light source is divided into red, green, blue and yellow segments by a phosphor wheel, whose output is sent to a 0.67-inch Digital Light Processing (DLP) Dark Chip3 imaging target. The DH3660Z's Full HD resolution (1920 by 1080, 16:9 aspect ratio) should be more than sharp enough for classroom lessons or business graphics, or movie/video clips, even for those sitting close to the screen. This is particularly the case for those upgrading from WXGA or older projectors. The DH3660Z is also Full 3D compatible; just add your own DLP-Link glasses.

Vivitek rates the DH3660Z at 4,500 ANSI lumens with 20,000:1 contrast ratio. The company puts the life of its laser light source at 20,000 hours of use, the equivalent of six or seven conventional lamp changes. In fact, it should be able to run for more than a dozen years of use at 8 hours a day.

The HD3660Z's optics are spot-on, with a uniform focus and lack of artifacts for the non-changeable, 1.5x zoom lens, which is capable of projecting from a range of 3.9- to 33-feet to deliver an image that measures anywhere from a little more than 2 feet up to 27 feet. In the lab, it filled a 60-inch diagonal screen with ease from 80 inches. You can check out the Projector Central Vivitek DH3660Z Projection Calculator to establish the required throw distance for your desired screen size.

The DH3660Z has manually adjustable focus and zoom adjusted by wheels situated above the lens, so if you're looking for replaceable lenses as well as powered zoom and focus, you'll need to go up to the next class of projector.

The DH3660Z's connections should satisfy most school, business, or worship applications with three HDMI 1.4b ports (one more than usual) alongside a composite video input and VGA-in and -out ports. It's got a powered USB connector for running an appliance (such as a Chromecast receiver), along with RS-232 for remote control. There's a micro-USB port that's used for updating the system's firmware.

Vivitek DH3660Z FrontRtAngle

A gigabit wired Ethernet port is also on board, and allows for network control via Crestron, Extron, AMX, and Telnet control systems. There are also a dedicated HDBaseT connection for video signal delivery and control, and an RS-232C serial port.

However, the DH3660Z's networking abilities come up short with the lack of either built-in Wi-Fi or a dongle-based option for it. This is not an uncommon omission among business projectors, though built-in wireless and collaboration features can be found in many classroom-centric models. For classrooms or business applications that require wireless collaboration, Vivitek promotes its add-on NovoConnect collaboration solutions. These include NovoCast ($399), which allows mirroring from up to 8 mobile devices or laptops and supports file-sharing and Airnote annotating of the projected image from participating users; NovoPro ($799), which expands the network for up to 64 users; and NovoEnterprice ($999), which further allows wired HDMI connectivity and other features. No extra hardware or recurring fees are required with these systems.

Also missing from the DH3660Z are any lesson-helpers or other extras found on some dedicated education projectors, such as graphing backgrounds or internal memory for loading of a school logo. These will have to be provided by the computer that's displaying the lesson in a classroom setting.

A 10-watt amplifier and single speaker mean that the DH3660Z might not need an external sound system for mid-sized classrooms or meeting rooms. Still, for larger spaces there are jacks for a microphone as well as audio-in and -out for connecting the projector to an outboard sound system.

Vivitek NovoCast
Vivitek's collaboration solutions include the NovoCast ($399), which allows wireless screen-sharing for up to 8 users.

In addition to being able to rapidly turn the projector on and off like a simple light switch, the DH3660Z can be set to automatically power up when it sees a live video signal at its HDMI or VGA inputs. Its on-board control panel is the model of simplicity. Located in the back, its nine keys can power the projector on or off, call up the menu, navigate through its choices and enter them. There are Source and Info buttons as well.

The supplied remote control makes life even easier, adding dedicated buttons for direct access of individual inputs, and for adjusting brightness, contrast and volume. Teachers will like that the remote has a handy mute button as well as keys for freezing the current image and blanking the screen. The remote adds two other things helpful for teaching or conducting meetings in the dark: a red laser pointer and backlit keys. It had an effective range of about 25 feet.

Vivitek includes a lengthy five-year warranty, but the company goes a step further by covering the DH3660Z's laser for up to 20,000 hours of use, something we wish others would do. The warranty includes three-years of replacement service.

Setup

As is the case with many projectors, the DH3660Z's lens is off-center, which can complicate placement when it's being ceiling mounted. At 5.4 x 15.6 x 13.3 inches and 15 pounds, the DH3660Z is movable but no featherweight. While one person can carry it around, having a cart handy would be a good idea and the DH3660Z will likely need two people to install, particularly if it involves any ladder work.

With a pair of fixed feet in the back and height-adjustable ones in the front, the DH3660Z can be set up on a table, wall nook, or projection room. Flip it over and you'll find six threaded attachment points that worked well with a generic ceiling mount. It has settings for front or rear projection for either table or ceiling mounts. The projector requires about 20 inches of clearance on any side to keep it from overheating.

A key benefit of having a laser light engine is that the DH3660Z can be set up at any angle (including straight down) without risking overheating. It works fine mounted on its side for portrait display as well, such as to show yearbook photos at a school graduation or for retail and other digital signage applications.

Vivitek DH3660Z Top

While many competitors lack a way to shift the image or alter its geometry, the DH3660Z has multiple options. To start, there's a thumbwheel up front that can optically move the image vertically up or down in a range of +55% to -15% from the offset position. The projector also offers digital zoom and both horizontal and vertical digital lens shift.

Additionally, for problematic installs, the DH3660Z can correct for horizontal and vertical keystone image distortion of an incline up to 30-degrees, and it has 4-corner correction to restore a rectangular image by pulling in on any of the image's four corners. On the downside, as with other projectors, using the the projector's keystone correction can reduce brightness. In the DH3660Z, correcting for a 15-degree angle resulted in a 15 percent loss of output.

Performance

The DH3660Z's laser engine took about 16 seconds to start up and display an image, and the projector needs only about 4 seconds to fully shut down both its light source and fan. This avoids the long warm-up and and extended cooling time required by lamp-based projectors, and allows full-shut down between between back-to-back classes in a school setting.

Vivitek DH3660Z remote 2

Behind the scenes, the DH3660Z has six color modes including Bright (no surprise, the brightest), Presentation, Game, Movie, sRGB and DICOM Sim for accurately projecting medical scans. In addition, you can dig into the settings to adjust color, gain, hue and other attributes to calibrate the color, creating your own settings to match the environment where the projector will be used.

The manufacturer's ViviBlack enhancement takes this a step further. This setting examines the input signal to enhance its blacks while making colors stand out for an art history class or viewing a video. It can easily be turned on and off.

In its Bright mode, the projector measured 4,320 ANSI lumens in the lab—just shy of its 4,500-lumen spec and well within ANSI tolerances. If you use the warmer-looking Movie or Game mode, the projector's output drops to 3,311 and 2,846 lumens, respectively, while the sRGB mode delivers 2,219-lumens. If you want to use the bluish-green Presentation mode or the grayscale-oriented DiCom Sim mode, you'll get 2,120 and 2,173 lumens. Among the color modes, Movie mode is tuned to be close to the Rec.709 color standard for the most accurate color.

For those who blanch at the DH3660Z's $2,499 street price, the projector is economical to use and needs neither lamps nor dust filters, potentially saving at least $1,000 over its lifetime. At its highest brightness settings, it used 304 watts. If the projector is turned on for 8 hours a day during a school year, it adds up to an annual expense of about $58 based on the average cost of power in the U.S. (13 cents per kilowatt-hour). That's about half of a comparable lamp-based projector in the DH3660Z's class.

You can also extend the savings further with Vivitek's Eco mode. It reduces power use to 237 watts, but drops illumination in Bright mode to 3,555 lumens. The Custom setting further allows you to create your own power-saving mode based on your environment and use habits.

Even when operating at full blast, the DH3660Z keeps its cool. The case never got above 104 degrees Fahrenheit and the exhaust never broke 112 degrees F. Vivitek rates fan noise as 35dB in Normal power mode and 29 dB in Eco mode as measured in the usual controlled test conditions. In casual measurements in the lab, it measured 43.2dBA of noise from 36-inches away in Normal, up from a background sound level of 35.4dBA. That's a little loud from that proximity, however not so much that it will get in the way of a business meeting, worship service, or debate practice. In fact, if the projector is ceiling mounted, viewers will be hard pressed to hear it at all.

Vivitek DH3660Z front

Conclusion

All told, the Vivitek DH3660Z may not come with all the bells and whistles we see on some dedicated classroom projectors, but as an all-around multipurpose projector it offers up high lumen output and all the benefits of a maintenance-free laser light engine to help fill the screen of anything from lecture halls to meeting rooms with a bright and vivid image. Sure, it's expensive compared to lamped-based competitors, but it represents good value over the long haul. If you think of the DH3660Z projector as an investment, it will pay dividends whenever it is switched on.

Measurements

Brightness. The projector's light output can be adjusted in the menu's Control section, where the Light Mode provides two preset power levels that apply to all the available color modes, and a Custom setting for picking your own light level and power use. The Normal setting uses full power to create maximum brightness (4,320 ANSI lumens in Bright mode), while Eco drops the DH3660Z's output and power use by approximately 20 percent (3,456 ANSI lumens in Bright mode; it uses 237.4 watts at this setting). The Custom selection allows you to adjust the brightness level from 25 percent up to 100 percent power. Color brightness in the Bright mode default settings measured 755 lumens, about one-fifth of the full white brightness. That's a more significant drop than seen on some other projectors in this brightness class but not likely to have a significant impact in the high ambient light environments this projector is intended for.

Here are the projector's ANSI lumens brightness ratings for each color mode:

Vivitek DH3660Z ANSI Lumens

Mode Normal Eco
Bright 4,320 3,456
Movie 3,311 2,649
Game 2,846 2,277
sRGB 2,219 1,770
Presentation 2,120 1,696
DICOM Sim 2,173 1,738

Zoom Lens Light Loss (from widest to maximum zoom): 54 percent

Brightness Uniformity: 88 percent

Fan Noise. Vivitek specs fan noise at 35dB in Normal mode and 29dB for Eco mode. Casual measurement of the fan's output 36 inches from the projector's exhaust registered at 43.2dBA in a room that mimics a classroom or conference room with a background noise level of 35.4dBA. This level of noise is not likely to be a distraction, particularly if the projector is mounted on the ceiling several feet above the listener.

Connections

Vivitek DH3660Z connections
  • HDMI Version 1.4b (x3)
  • Computer RGB in (15-pin D-Sub)
  • Computer RGB out (15-pin D-Sub)
  • RS-232C Serial Port
  • USB (Type A, Powered)
  • USB (Micro-B, firmware upgrade)
  • Composite video (RCA)
  • Wired LAN (RJ-45)
  • Microphone (3.5 mm)
  • Audio in (3.5 mm)
  • Audio out (3.5mm)
  • Stereo audio in (RCA)

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Vivitek DH3660Z projector page.

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