Vivitek D511 XGA DLP Projector
Projector Central Highly Recommended Award

Highly Recommended Award

Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.

  • Performance
  • 4
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$799 MSRP Discontinued

When I searched our database for XGA projectors that come within striking distance of 2,500 lumens with a 2,000:1 contrast ratio and a street price of about $600, only a handful of projectors popped up. When I asked for 3D capability, I was down to two, and after specifying a weight of less than 4.5 pounds, there was only one projector left . . . Vivitek's new D511. At 4.2 pounds and 2,600 lumens with a street price of $549, the D511 will appeal to mobile presenters who need a wide range of inputs including HDMI. Audio output is limited as it is on most very small portables. But picture quality, color, and saturation are solid. For photo club members, the D511 is a very inexpensive way to get great photos up on the screen.

Overview

Vivitek has designed a lot of functionality into the D511. It handles most data and video analog inputs, and it sports an HDMI digital input as well. It is small and light enough to delight the mobile presenter, and yet it puts up a bright image that will capture attention in small classrooms and conference rooms.

Brightness and Uniformity: With our test unit set for maximum brightness (Bright mode with BrilliantColor at its highest setting), it puts up 1,890 ANSI lumens, which is a bright picture for mobile presentation use, but not as bright as its rating of 2600. Movie and Presentation modes are equal at 1,310 lumens, while TV and sRGB both generate 1,000 lumens. Game mode puts up 1,205 lumens. The projector's Eco mode lowers brightness by about 14% in all preset modes.

Uniformity is 74%, which is close to the average we have seen for this class of projector. Small packages mean small lenses, and brightness uniformity usually does not match larger projectors. There is a peak in brightness in the lower middle portion of the image, but it is unnoticeable except with images like spreadsheets and text documents that contain a lot of white space.

Image Quality: Data images are sharp and clear once phase controls are adjusted. Edge to edge sharpness is excellent. For colored background material there is no visible hotspotting. Video images are very good. Colors are saturated and reasonably well balanced. The D511's 2300:1 contrast ratio provides a creditable dynamic range with good detail evident in both shadows and highlights.

The DLP color wheel rainbow artifacts from the 2x speed may be noticeable to some viewers when viewing full motion content or slide transitions in Powerpoint, but this is a fact of life for all portable commercial DLP projectors. act is minimal when putting the D511 through its gaming paces. Rainbow artifacts are typically not a problem when viewing still graphic images or photos, and this type of subject matter is a strong suit for this projector with its saturated colors and high contrast.

Image Size and Position: The manual zoom ratio is only 1.1:1, so there is little wiggle room in positioning the projector for a specific image size. Image offset is just about ideal for conference room table top use. The bottom of the image is 6" above the centerline of the lens with a 60" diagonal image projected. In many instances this can prevent the need to use keystone adjustments. If you do need to tilt the unit upward, there is ± 30° of vertical keystone correction available to square up the image. Moving the image higher on the wall is accomplished by dropping and locking the elevator foot on the front of the projector, and horizontal leveling can be done by adjusting the left rear foot.

Lamp Life: The 180-watt lamp is rated at 3,000 hours in Standard mode, but dropping down to Eco mode will add 1,000 hours to its life and drop projector noise to an unobtrusive 28dB.

 

Advantages

Connectivity: There are very few sub-$600 projectors that provide an HDMI digital input, but the D511 is one of them. This means an easy connection for sources like DVD players without the hassle of using adapters or special cables . . . which always seem to be missing when you need them most. You will also find connections for composite video and s-video along with a VGA connector for computer input and component video. Remote monitoring is accommodated via an RS-232 connector, although the D511 lacks an RJ-45 network connection.

Color Adjustment: Another surprise for an inexpensive projector is the ability in User Mode to get into the color settings at the color wheel level. In the Advanced section of the Image menu, you will find individual settings for saturation, value, and gain for the seven color wheel segments (Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, Magenta, and White). This is very helpful for color balancing with an HDMI input from, for instance, a DVD player where saturation and tint adjustments are not available in the Video menu.

On-Screen Menus: The five on-screen menus are easy to navigate. Image and Video menus take care of basic items like brightness, contrast, saturation, and tint while the Computer menu lets you tweak the sync settings for your computer input. There are two Installation menus that address projection modes (front, ceiling, etc.) as well as digital zoom settings, lamp modes, and several other features. The menus can be positioned in different parts of the image, and they have a variable transparency that allows you to see nearly the whole image as you make adjustments.

Presets: It was surprising to find so many preset modes in this low cost projector. There are six for standard screen presentations (Presentation, Bright, Game, Movie, TV, and sRGB) and five more for those times when you have to project on a colored surface (Yellow, Pink, Green, Blue, and Blackboard). There is also a User memory mode to store your unique settings. In addition, you can select one of three color temperature settings, and in an unusual move, Vivitek gives you ten different settings for its BrilliantColor option. Bright mode has a slightly green hue, and saturation is a bit high in Movie mode, but overall, the presets work as they are supposed to.

Fan noise:Fan noise is quite low and has no high frequency component. Heat is exhausted primarily from the front of the projector, so no audience member is going to be distracted by a flow of warm air in the face.

Maintenance: Typical of DLP light engines, the D511's chip is sealed and there is no air filter. A swipe of the air inlet grille with a vacuum cleaner every now and then will keep dust accumulation to a minimum. It is a bit inconvenient to replace the lamp if the D511 is ceiling mounted since the lamp access is through the bottom of the projector.

3D-Ready:The D511 has 3D mode, which may become handy in classrooms when 3D source material is available. It will not be compatible with higher performance 3D sources such as 1080p Blu-ray.

 

Limitations

Speaker Output: With as much brightness as the D511 provides, it could be used in medium size rooms, but the 1-watt internal speaker may not be up to the task. That said, the speaker does perform well with no breakup, buzz, or hiss at any volume level. However, there is no audio output jack for external amplification, so using the audio from your laptop may be a better option.

Remote Control: While the remote control is small, simple (only 15 buttons including directional controls) and functional, its credit card size makes it easy to misplace. It may even inadvertently wander off in someone's shirt pocket, which is a real inconvenience for the next presenter as menu navigation from the projector's control panel is a bit cumbersome.

Warranty: Like many inexpensive projectors, the D511 comes with a one-year parts and labor warranty on the projector and 90-day coverage for the original lamp.

One IR sensor: Finally, there is no infrared sensor on the rear of the projector, so you have to stay close enough to the screen to bounce the remote's signal to the sensor on the front panel.

Conclusion

If you are a mobile presenter looking for a sub-4.5 lb. XGA projector with a digital input under $600, there are only four models on the market at the moment. Vivitek makes three of them, including the D511. This projector is all about value--great bang for the buck. Very good at both data and video images, and a very compact 4.2 lbs. It falls short of its lumen rating, and there isn't much audio on board. But the picture is plenty bright enough for most mobile presentation use, and contrast is very sufficient for both data and video. For what it offers, $549 is a great price and an outstanding value in the current market.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Vivitek D511 projector page.

Comments (2) Post a Comment
tobias d. robison Posted Feb 23, 2011 7:09 PM PST
Price matters to me. I need a projector for a classroom situation. I will only be displaying text pages with the projector. I would like 30 or 40 people to be able to see the equivalent of about a halfpage of printed text per screen. Is the D511 a good choice for me? are there better choices, considering that I will not project video? I will project from a Windows Laptop.
Ken Gold Posted Aug 14, 2011 10:41 PM PST
Will this projector play videos from an Apple IPhone 4 and a Apple Pad 1?

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