Vivitek Qumi Q2 WXGA DLP Projector
  • Performance
  • 4
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$799 MSRP Discontinued

Since the holidays are approaching, let's make a wish list for a pocket projector that we can use to share all manner of video, pictures, and presentations family, friends, and co-workers. The ideal projector might look something like this: 300 lumens, 1280x800 widescreen resolution, solid contrast, a lamp that lasts forever, 3D capability, all wrapped up in a tiny package that weighs less than 2 lbs. and sells at street prices around $500. Here is some good news . . . if you ask Santa for a projector like that, he will bring you the Vivitek Qumi Q2.

When I pulled the Qumi Q2 out of the box, I hooked up every source I could think of including a Mac, a PC, a DVD player, an iPad, an SD card reader, and a USB thumb drive. After many hours of operation, I can report that video performance was very good for such a small projector and connectivity is terrific. However, there are a few issues that take some of the bloom off the rose. Audio from the 1-watt speaker is weak, and focus drifts during the first 15 minutes of operation. Also, selecting Eco mode lowers fan noise on most projectors, but in the Q2's case, fan noise increases in Eco mode which is odd. Still, the Qumi Q2 offers a nice combination of features in a very compact projector, and it stands in a class by itself. And here is an intriguing touch: Vivitek doubles the choices over Henry Ford's offer for the Model T. You can get the Q2 in any color you wish as long as it's black or white.

Image size must be limited when brightness is in the 300-lumen range, and I found that with moderate ambient light, best results were obtained with the image diagonal under 60". This provides a bright enough image for a small audience while still delivering the impact of a relatively large image. One caution: even though the Q2 is 3D capable, brightness drops substantially when viewing 3D material, and it probably will be less than stunning to watch a 3D movie through the extra-cost shutter glasses that the Q2 requires.

Key Features

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.

 

Shortcomings

Focus shift on warm up - As the projector warms up, thermal expansion causes the image focus to shift. Once the warm-up is complete, the image focus is stable, but it is inconvenient to have to tweak the focus ring each time the Q2 is turned on. This is matched by relatively poor edge-to-edge focus from left to right although top to bottom is excellent.

Fan Noise - There is no color wheel in the Q2 since it sequences its LEDs to generate RGB colors. However, the fan noise is reminiscent of a color wheel's higher-pitched sound. In four of the preset modes (User, Presentation, Movie, and TV), the fan runs at a modest speed and fan noise is tolerable even next to the projector. However, in other three modes, the fan speed increases noticeably and the resulting noise is moderately irritating. Fortunately, since User mode is the one with the most control over image quality, you will probably default to this mode and fan noise will not be an issue.

3D Ready not compatible with Blu-ray - As with most inexpensive DLP projectors that claim to be 3D ready, they can handle 3D from a PC source, but not from broadcast or Blu-ray. So if you are planning to watch Avatar in 3D on this projector, you will need an external signal converter. That along with as many active 3D glasses as you need for your audience will boost the price of watching 3D movies on this projector by a lot more than you pay for the projector itself.

Audio Output - The Q2 has a 1-watt speaker which is normal for projectors of this size. Nevertheless, its output is so low that even at full volume it is hard to hear with the fan in its quietest modes, and it is impossible to hear when the fan speeds up in Bright, Game, and sRGB modes.

Brilliant Color - TI's proprietary Brilliant Color feature is embedded in three of the six presets (Bright, Game, and sRGB) and disabled in the others including User mode, but there is no way to change those settings. Saturation in most modes is already high in the Q2, and it would help image quality to be able to modify the Brilliant Color settings. A related issue is that in those modes where Brilliant Color is enabled, the fan speed increases and raises fan noise noticeably.

Summary

Overall, I enjoyed the small size and relatively bright images of the Qumi Q2. There are some distractions such as fan noise, low speaker volume, and focus drift, but the Q2 produces good images, offers 1280x800 native resolution for directly mapped 720p movie viewing, and has some of the best connectivity of any projector in or out of its class.

I think this is more a personal projector than a professional one, but that is a growing segment of the user population. If sharing many forms of data and video imaging in intimate settings is what you crave, the Qumi Q2 is definitely worth a look.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Vivitek Qumi Q2 projector page.

Comments (10) Post a Comment
zvi bar Posted Oct 20, 2011 9:03 AM PST
can I connect it to my HTC smartphone?
jamie griffiths Posted Nov 1, 2011 11:58 AM PST
Does it only run on Ac or is there a battery option? thanks
Gladys Posted Nov 3, 2011 7:38 AM PST
Compared side by side, which one performs better qumi or lg hx350T

Awaiting answer for purchase :)
alicia Posted Nov 19, 2011 6:57 PM PST
when i turn it on it only last about 2min before just turning off the lights on top will still flash though ... why is it doing this
Colby Parsons Posted Jan 30, 2012 6:59 AM PST
I don't understand the reviewer's comments about fan noise. The Qumi has no fan at all. I got one of the first of these when they came out last summer and I can say for sure that since then there hasn't been even the slightest noise.
Katie Posted Aug 23, 2012 11:21 AM PST
My Qumi does the same thing as Alicia's. Will someone please respond to our comments I do not know if I should fix something or just let it be.
Tung Ngo Posted Sep 7, 2012 2:14 PM PST
I do like the way you write your review. I made me smile when I was reading it. Thank you
William Posted Aug 21, 2013 9:35 PM PST
My Qumi has a fan and in the summer it works overtime. Also experienced the focus drift. Can connect my iPhone directly to it. Never use little speaker - quite useless. I project image +- 2.5m from enhanced back-end glass screen and it helps with the image quality (Need to limit light in the room for day use though), but I am thinking of moving it closer (2m) to the screen to bring more life to the image- but then the image size will also be much smaller. Curently 1.5 m high image All in all, I am very happy with it.
tesh Posted Jul 1, 2014 12:16 PM PST
qumi5 is a travel projector but the vouleme is so low that you need to travel with professional speakers any body can help for solution??
Edwin Posted Aug 17, 2014 6:00 PM PST
My unit makes a fan noise after 5 mins of operation... Looking for MFN guarantee.. (Blower/fan inside to cool down)

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