Vivitek D952HD 1080P DLP Projector
  • Performance
  • 4
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
$1,899 MSRP Discontinued

Most business projection is done at low resolutions such as 1280x800 or 1024x768, resolutions commonly found on laptop computers and meant for Powerpoint presentations and other low-detail material. However, some business presentations benefit from a higher-resolution treatment. Some also need more accurate color than that available on most commercial models. Enter the Vivitek D952HD. The D952HD is a 1080p (1920x1080) presentation projector built for portability and maximum image quality. The D952HD includes the sort of color adjustment capability usually reserved for home theater projectors, making it a great choice for photographers or museums in need of a more accurate projector. Yet it still packs a wallop when it comes to light output. Capable and fully-featured, the D952HD has an MSRP of $1,999 but street prices can be found below $1,500.

Applications/Best Uses

The D952HD is a bright 1080p projector built for business, so it's a great fit any time you need high-resolution data projection in ambient light. This could be anything from a particularly large Excel spreadsheet to data graphics or photography, which is helped by the D952HD's exceptional color performance. Light output in Normal mode, which has a good balance of brightness and contrast, is roughly 2,000 ANSI lumens. This is enough for a 80" to 100" diagonal image in ambient light, while a darker room could support a 120" or larger image while still creating the three-dimensional pop that makes high-contrast graphics and photographs look their best.

The D952HD is designed with portability in mind, so it uses a lens with a small 1.2:1 zoom range and has a fixed throw angle offset of 29%. This is a common lens arrangement to find on a business projector and it lends itself especially to placement on a conference table. The D952HD will produce a 100" diagonal image from 11' 7" to 13' 11". A 60" diagonal can be obtained from as little as 7 feet.


High contrast. The D952HD has excellent contrast, providing the maximum dynamic range in any given frame even when there is significant ambient light in the room. Thanks to its dynamic range, photos pop and even small text is still easy to read. Introducing ambient light to the equation will reduce contrast, of course, but we found the image from the D952HD easy to read even with some light falling directly on the projected image. In the dark, things get really exciting; the D952HD gives high-contrast photographs and graphic material that three-dimensional quality you want from a projector.

High resolution. Most business projectors have relatively low resolutions - 1280x800 or lower. This is fine if all you're doing is showing Powerpoint presentations. Low-resolution products are also more than adequate for simple text documents and small spreadsheets, though those can get a little hairy when text sizes become too small.

But many users need higher resolution, among them graphic designers, museum curators, medical personnel, and photographers. The D952HD is perfect for those who need to display high resolution content. Its 1920x1080 pixel matrix keeps detail clear and sharp. The D952HD combines the brightness and portability of a business projector with the resolution of home theater projectors. It is not the first of its kind, but there are relatively few of these projectors in existence and the D952HD is a stand-out example.

Great color. What makes the D952HD so great for graphics and photography isn't just contrast; color plays a significant role. At defaults, the D952HD's Normal mode is close to the 6500K standard used for film and video; with some adjustment it matches almost perfectly. Even better is that the D952HD has extensive color adjustment controls, allowing you to fine-tune the projector's handling of all six primary and secondary colors. For anyone serious about color, this feature is priceless.

3-year warranty. The D952HD is backed by a three-year warranty, which is great news for presenters. Projectors taken on the road tend to meet with more bumps and bruises than their permanently mounted brethren, so the chances of a problem occurring are higher. A three-year warranty is the longest offered in the industry.

Connectivity. The D952HD is replete with connections in a way that few portable projectors are. For video, you have the choice of composite, s-video, YPbPr component, VGA in and out (monitor pass-through), and two HDMI 1.3 ports. For audio, there's L/R RCA input, a 1/8" input, and a 1/8" pass-through. For data, there's a USB connection for control of your computer's mouse via the remote, a 12V trigger, RS-232C for remote control, and an RJ-45 networking jack for remote monitoring and maintenance.

Placement flexibility. When it comes to placement flexibility, one has to be realistic. The D952HD is a portable presentation projector; most of those have 1.2:1 manual zoom lenses and the D952HD is no different. It has a mild offset of about 29%, so the bottom edge of a 100" diagonal image will appear approximately 14.5" above the lens centerline. This configuration is easy to set up on a conference table, but a ceiling mount installation will work as well. As for adjustments, the D952HD has a spring-loaded front foot plus a screw-in rear foot to adjust tilt on crooked tables. Together, this combination is enough to at least get you on-screen in most conference rooms.


Lower than expected brightness. The D952HD is rated at 3600 lumens maximum brightness, but our sample did not measure that much. Its brightest mode was Bright, with the lamp in Boost and using Lamp Native color temperature. This produces a bright picture, but contrast and color suffer. Our maximum reading was 2573 lumens, or 71% of the published specification. This is still plenty of light for most smaller conference rooms, but there is a big difference between 2600 and 3600 lumens.

Moreover, someone who's after the contrast and color that make the D952HD such a wonderful projector for photography and intricate graphics shouldn't be using the Bright setting to begin with. Normal mode netted 1978 lumens along with much better color than Bright. Switching to the lower lamp setting caused a 20% drop in lumen output along with a corresponding 1,000 hour boost in expected lamp life (from 3,000 to 4,000 hours). For maximum color accuracy you'll want Movie mode, which produces the smoothest, most natural, most color-balanced picture available at the cost of significant lumen output--maximum in this mode was 892 lumens.

Clunky remote. Some projectors have remote controls which are tailor-made for them, laid out beautifully and including only the functions necessary for that projector. This isn't one of those. The D952HD uses what we've come to think of as the standard projector remote; in fact, if you've been reading our reviews for a few years you've probably seen it before. Two control pads are used to move through the menus and move the mouse. An included laser pointer is helpful in presentation situations, or in situations involving cats and too much free time. The layout is somewhat byzantine, though; the actual button to access the menu is near the bottom of the remote. There is no backlight. Once you learn it, it's easy enough to remember, but getting there is a bit of a trek.


Displaying high-resolution data on a projector meant to handle it can mean the difference between a clear, detailed presentation and a garbled mess--so when it matters, get the right product for the job. The Vivitek D952HD is an excellent choice for the user who needs a portable, high-resolution projector suitable for graphics and photography. Lumen output is lower than specified, but the projector is still bright enough for a great many applications, among them use in small museum exhibits or photography clubs. The D952HD is a great little projector for high-resolution data display, and at prices below $1,500 it's affordable even on a tight technology budget.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Vivitek D952HD projector page.

Comments (1) Post a Comment
Dale F Posted Feb 1, 2011 3:26 PM PST
one thing you didnt mention is the color wheel speed.i know the 950hd is a 2x which to me is unacceptable. is this model the same as its lower lumen brother?

Post a comment

Enter the numbers as they appear to the left