Hardware & HandlingIts lightweight 617 g design helps make this projector easily portable. It's not quite small enough to fit into a pocket, but measuring 150 x 32 x 100 mm, it'll easily slip into a rucksack or a decent-sized handbag. Unlike pico-projectors, the Qumi doesn't come with a built-in battery—that's something you'll have to buy as an optional extra. Out of the box, the Qumi is therefore designed for use within reach of a plug socket.
The mini-HDMI, VGA and component connections ensure compatibility with all kinds of AV devices, including the latest games consoles, smartphones and touchscreen tablets. The Qumi also supports Apple products (iPhone and iPad).
There's a micro-SDHC card slot and a USB port for easy access to content such as video files, photos and music, which can be accessed via the built-in multimedia player. Unfortunately, the media player is only compatible with a limited number of file formats, and would only play the AVI files from our selection of test videos. That's a bit disappointing, as what could have been a great feature of the Qumi isn't all that useful in the end.
The Qumi has a built-in 1-watt speaker that we'd only really recommend using as a fall-back solution. You're definitely better off hooking up a pair of headphones or some speakers to the jack socket.
Both the projector casing and the matching remote control are finished in white. The remote is quite basic and doesn't have an On/Off button, so the Qumi can only be switched on or off using the physical button on the projector itself, which is a bit annoying. Similarly, the few buttons that the remote does actually have aren't always that easy to use, as the remote only works within a pretty tight radius of the projector. In other words, you have to point the remote straight at the projector sensor for it to pick up your commands.
3D Ready ... Well, Kind OfThe Qumi is 3D-compatible, which actually means it can pick up DLP Link signals. This in turn means that no emitter is required, as the projector can sync with 3D glasses (available separately) via white flashes in the video signal. These briefly displayed flashes are invisible to the naked eye.
The problem is that the Qumi doesn't have an HDMI 1.4 socket, so you can't watch 3D content from a 3D Blu-ray player or play 3D games on Sony's PS3 without using an intermediate converter box like the Optoma 3D-XL (£250-£300 with a pair of glasses thrown in). This converter acts as a go-between, connecting the 3D source (3D Blu-ray player, console etc.) to the 3D-ready projector so you can watch content in 3D. Note, however, that this device isn't NVIDIA accredited, so it might not work so well with PCs running 3D Vision. Anyway, while the Qumi is effectively 3D ready on paper, actually watching 3D content is a bit of headache.
As the Vivitek Qumi we were sent to test wasn't supplied with a 3D-XL converter box or any compatible glasses, we were unable to test 3D picture quality.
Image QualityAfter testing the various picture modes, we found that the 'Film' mode gave the best results with the colour temperature set to 'Warm'. From a distance of three metres (for a projected image measuring 1.98 metres horizontally), the Qumi image has an average deltaE of 6.7 (deltaE is the difference between colours requested by the video source and those displayed onscreen. With a deltaE of 3 or under, colours are considered to be accurate). The Qumi therefore doesn't reproduce colours accurately, and that's only too visible!
Contrast measured with a 35% white test card: 270:1
Since the black lacks depth in this projector, contrast levels are weak, with just 320:1 measured with our 1% white test card. While that's still better than anything you could expect from a pico-projector (usually around 150:1), it's much lower than the typical contrast ratios seen in standard projectors (the best can reach up to 2600:1).
When watching Blu-rays, the Qumi has to adapt the image to its native 1280 x 800 pixel resolution. There is therefore a slight degradation in image quality.
Note also that the LEDs used in this projector can cause rainbow effects, which can really bug some, more sensitive users.
Noise Levels & Power UseThe Qumi isn't the quietest projector out there, as we measured 37 dB with this model up and running. However, it doesn't guzzle too much power, using just 40 watts in its standard mode. You can halve the power use by switching to 'Eco' mode, although you do lose some brightness as a result. We therefore wouldn't really recommend the 'Eco' function.
- Portable design: 150 x 32 x 100 mm
- Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels
- Connections: mini-HDMI, VGA, component, USB, micro-SDHC
- Low contrast (320:1 max.)
- No battery supplied / Fairly loud when running
- Poor colour fidelity: average deltaE 6.7
- Some Blu-ray picture quality lost due to resolution
- Media player doesn't support many file formats
The Vivitek Qumi is a compact projector that's a handy size and weight for users on the move. However, image quality is rather disappointing. We can only hope that the next-generation model will have Full HD resolution, better colours and a decent contrast ratio!