Hooked Up - Vivitek QUMI

Article

posted 12/30/2011 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
Platforms: AV
Welcome to Hooked Up, the Gaming Nexus series that puts the spotlight on gaming related products that impact the Video Game experience. This week we take a look at Vivitek’s QUMI PICO projector.


What is it?
The QUMI is PICO style LED projector from Vivitek that is touted as “the smallest and brightest 3D pocket projector in the world.” While it won’t quite fit in your pocket, it is indeed small and exceptionally bright for its size. It comes in black or white and is shipped with a Power Adapter, Universal I/O to VGA Cable, Mini-HDMI to HDMI Cable, Mini-HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable, Carrying Pouch, Remote Control and the Warranty Card.



Impressions
As I unboxed the QUMI, I wasn’t really sure what to expect; as I had only seen it on the show floor at the 2011 CES hooked up in an ideal setting. It is approximately the size of two video game boxes stacked together (6.3” W x 1.3” H x 4.0” D) and weighs just over one pound. The chassis has silver accents with a high-gloss finish and a combination of both touch and physical controls. I really like the way it looks (we received the white one) as its compact size and aesthetics exudes an aura usually associated for expensive new toys that you would want to show off. Although I have reviewed nine projectors over the last four years and seen countless more at CES, I am always impressed when I come across one that offers me something I haven’t seen before, and the QUMI had this effect on me.

Where the QUMI quickly grabbed my attention was how much performance is packed in that beautiful white gloss case. When I hooked it up and started setting it up, I realized just how simple it was to use and how quickly you could get rolling. The image was bright and clean, and looked especially nice when projected from a distance of four feet or less. I was a bit disappointed to find that there wasn’t an included Apple video adapter (although understandable to keep costs and legal issues at bay) and that the HDMI to Mini-HDMI was only about 12 inches long. However, once I picked up the needed adapters, I was able to run a full slate of tests starting with video performance.

Most of the video testing I did with the QUMI consisted of pumping though iTunes clips and movies as well as hooking up my iPhone 4s via an Apple video adapter. My main video test was actually done with the missed Ohio State-Colorado football game earlier this year. I watched a big chunk of it via ESPN 3 through my laptop and the QUMI. The picture looked great and I was able to broadcast it on the wall of my office at about a 32” screen size from three feet away. I will touch on it again in the gaming section, but there was zero lag from laptop to QUMI with the picture.


One thing I did notice is that the QUMI seemed to need to have the focus tweaked just a bit after it warmed up completely. This is a once time deal and really isn’t a cause for concern, but is something I wanted to mention. More than likely you will be playing with the projector focus anyways as it is portable and can be accidentally moved from its setup location due to the nature of its compact size.

Much like any projector, it is important to try and use it in an ideal setting as much as possible. This is especially true for the QUMI, as its 300 lumens in more than adequate in a darkened room, but will have some troubles when dealing with ancillary light sources.

Pros
-30K hour rated lamp life (LED)
-Crisp, clear picture
-Compact
-Inexpensive
-Carrying Case included

Cons
-Could use an included HDMI to Mini HDMI adapter
-Wish it had a few more Lumens
-Tends to be rather warm after use
-Apple Adapter not included
 


Gaming Impact
When I started the gaming tests with the QUMI, I wasn’t exactly sure what the proper applications would be. The inputs on the back are not your normal standards, yet the projector can easily handle today’s consoles, PCs and laptops based on its rated specs. After a while (and a quick trip to the local electronics store to grab a couple of adapters), I put the QUMI through its paces and was pleasantly surprised at what I was able to accomplish with it.

I started with PC gaming, as the QUMI has an HDMI to Mini HDMI included, so hooking it up to my gaming laptop was a snap. It was actually pretty cool playing Portal, Team Fortress 2, Guild Wars and Skylanders projected on the wall of my office. One thing I was worried about was any lag between the mouse and the projector, but the reaction was instantaneous, just like using the laptops built-in monitor. I did have some issues with ancillary light form a window washing out the one side of the screen, but I ended up redirecting a smaller projected image to a different wall that was darker and closer.


Wanting to also test out mobile gaming, I used an Apple video adapter to do a little broadcasting onto the wall as well from my iPhone 4s. While it is amazing playing Cut the Rope and Angry Birds on that bright screen in the palm of your hands, there is something equally cool about watching those birds taking out pigs on a 40” screen on the wall. Now this was a little harder to accomplish than just playing video through the iPhone (which looked great btw), as you have to line up your finger for your shot on the device first, then look up to watch the destruction take place. So from a gaming experience on a mobile device, I think it is cool, but will not necessarily enhance the experience overall as you still have to look at the mobile device first before watching it on the broadcast.

The last bit of game testing was via the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. I had to purchase a HDMI (female) to Mini-HDMI (male) adapter to hook up the consoles, as the included HDMI to Mini – MDMI is only about 12” in length. After playing with the setting, I actually found that the 1080p output (despite the QUMI having 720p as its native resolution) looked the best. I played various games including Black Ops, Rock Band and arcade titles and was very happy with the performance and complete lack of lag. Unlike the PC gaming done in less than ideal conditions in my office, the console tests were done in the Home Theater room on a Da-Lite screen. In this environment, the light was completely controlled and the 300 lumens the QUMI is rated for was able to produce a comfortably bright image.

Although I put the QUMI through several different gaming scenarios for testing, I can imagine a ton of other gaming uses for it, especially for those that are on the go or want to break out the “big screen” without a dedicated home theater room. Any hardcore gamer knows, there will come a time and place when you want to game on the go or pull out a big screen to entertain. Whether it is heading over to a buddies house, hosting a gaming party at your place or taking your gaming on vacation, the fact that you can pull out the Vivitek QUMI and accomplish this from a device the approximate size of a couple of video game cases stacked together is amazing.


The Skinny
The Vivitek QUMI is not only the smallest projector I have reviewed, but also one of the coolest. I have seen many PICO and pocket projectors at CES and at retail, but the QUMI is the only one I would feel comfortable enough using for any entertainment purpose including gaming. Although it has a few opportunities for improvements (more lumens, a couple of needed adapters should be included in box), the QUMI will provide you with limitless opportunities to put it to use for gaming, entertainment and productivity purposes. Despite the 300 lumens probably limiting it for everyday use (it is close, and an ideal room setting sure helps) the QUMI is absolutely perfect for using when you need a big screen and you need it now. I was actually tempted to refer to the QUMI as “cutie”, but I think it packs enough punch to make even the most ardent gamer and home theater enthusiast happy to have it when needed.

Miscellaneous Items of Note
-QUIMI comes in white and black
-HDMI to Mini-HDMI adapter as well as Apple adapter not included
-May need to refocus after unit is completely warmed up
-Has an internal 1w mono speaker
-Can play media/productivity files directly off USB or MicroSD
 


Testing Methodology
The Vivitek QUMI was tested using an iPhone 4s, ASUS Gaming laptop, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.


Where to Find/Buy
The Vivitek QUMI can be purchased for $499.99 from Best Buy, Amazon, Sears, The Projector People as well as a host of other online retailers.


If you have a gaming related product or accessory that you would like to see featured in Hooked Up, please contact the Author regarding inclusion.
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