BT2020, 4K, HDR, WCG, REC709, 25 Mbps AVC, 16:9, ISF, THX, yada yada yada. Dealing with bleeding edge technologies, both professionally and as a hobbyist for essentially all my life, I’m beginning to feel weary about my home theatre. I feel the magic starting to vanish.
Being a member of various forums, discussion groups and mailing lists around the world, I find more and more members bickering about every aspect of every home theatre technology. This hobby, it seems to be, has turned too many people into pixel peeping, argumentative, technology slaves. Lest we forget, home theatre is about fun.
Thankfully, Vivitek sent me a Qumi 3 portable Android-based 3-LED DLP projector ($500) just in time for my trip to Ottawa to celebrate my daughter’s 18th birthday. The projector is a mere 7 x 4 x 1″ in size and weighs a single pound. At the bottom is a slot for screwing in a tripod, and behind it, a USB slot, HDMI input, SD card slot and 3.5mm stereo output jack. The 8,000mAh rechargeable battery lasts around two hours – based on four trial sessions, the longest I could use it before needing to recharge was about two hours and 15 minutes. Bluetooth capability allows you to connect it to an external Bluetooth speaker so you don’t need to be chained by wires. But the best part: the projector functions as an Android box as well; allowing you to download Android apps, from social media to games.
Connecting to Wi-Fi is a breeze, although it can only connect to the 2.4GHz band (not that you’d need the speed potential of the 5GHz band for a device like this since you’ll need a bandwidth of no more than 1.5Mbps). After downloading both the YouTube and Netflix apps, I was ready to go.
I got the obligatory popcorn ready, and my daughter and I started watching a slew of YouTube videos, mostly the Honest Trailers and Screen Junkies channels, since they’re fun to watch. I used my daughter’s freshly-painted apartment ceiling for the screen. Time flew by, and when the battery drained, we went for a quick dinner while the unit recharged. Afterwards, we watched the original Ghostbusters on Netflix; this time, on her apartment wall.
The next day, with only the curtains closed (i.e. it was still pretty bright inside the apartment), we continued by watching the new 2016 Ghostbusters reboot. This time, we used a portable Blu-ray player connected via HDMI to the projector. We were both amazed by the projector’s brightness: 500 Lumens and 5,000:1 contrast ratio may not sound like a lot on paper, but to both our eyes, it’s mighty bright without being washed out. And that’s particularly impressive for a projector of this size.
Is the projector perfect? Not by a long stretch. It’s around 5dB noisier than what I’m used to, the colour rendition is visibly off (and it can’t be calibrated since there aren’t enough control parameters to do so), but that’s about as far as the negatives go. That said, the projector is very bright for its size, the overall colours popped, it’s very easy to use, and, most important, it’s a whole lot of fun!
That evening, and in the following days, my daughter and I had the most fun watching movies together for as long as I can remember. The projector also invoked the nostalgia of the fun times I had with my late grandfather, experiencing the magic of movie watching which later inspired me to go deeper into home (and commercial) theatre technologies.
So to recap, lest we forget, home theatre is supposed to be fun and what fun we had. As for the Vivitek Qumi 3, it is, to say the least, inspiring.