Vivitek H5080

Vivitek H5080

Written by Dan Keener on 7/18/2011 for AV  

Earlier this year I had a chance to take in Vivitek at the 2011 CES on the show floor for the first time. My previous visits with them have been in a private meeting, so it was very interested in seeing how they presented their lineup on the floor. After going through the various new models (and they are releasing several cool projectors this year), my eye was actually caught by one they had released late in 2010, the H5080. I was impressed with it in the booth at the show, so I was excited to get a chance to review it in person and get some quality gaming on it.


The Specs

Model
MSRP
Best Retail Price
Engine Type
Native Resolution
Contrast
ANSI Lumens
Lamp Life (Hrs)
Dimensions (in)
Weight (lbs)
Warranty
Video Inputs
Screen Size (in)
Throw Distance (ft)
Vivitek H5080
$2,999
$2,695
DLP
1920 x 1080
25,000:1 (Full) 5,000:1
1800
3000/2000 Hours (Standard/Boost Mode)
17.0" x 7.1" x 13.5"
19 lbs
1-Year Limited Warranty, 90-Day Lamp Warranty
HDMI (x3), VGA, Component, Composite, S-Video, RCA
37” to 300”
4.9’ to 23’


Out of the Box
Much like we found with the cheaper cousin the 1080FD, the Vivitek H5080 came protected to the gills with the entire projector encased in in a rigid, plastic “air shells”. The two pieces fit securely together providing a snug fit and complete protection for the H5080 during transportation. In addition, there was a film over the high-gloss finish of the projector to protect it from scratching and dust. As expected, Vivitek takes care of its entire home theater projector line with the utmost care, regardless if it is their base-entry model or one of their flagship products.

In addition to the projector, the box contains a full size remote, manual (on CD), AC power cord, HDMI Cable, component Cable, VGA Cable, two AA batteries, lens cap, Quick Start guide and warranty cards.


Aesthetics
As soon as you pull it out of the box and remove the protective film, you can see what a beautiful piece of video equipment the H5080 is. It has a piano black, high-gloss finish on the top and matte black on the sides. The gently sloping fins on either side provide not only great lines, but allow for integrated venting that virtually disappears into the projector. The front of the H5080, it has a very elegant look, with the lens centered in the middle of the unit and encircled with silver accent trim. The rest of the front panel only has the logos for Vivitek, HDMI, DLP and the front IR sensor for the remote.

The top of the H5080 has one of the slickest aspects of the projector with a hidden panel directly above the lens that slides out to reveal the lens release and lens shift controls. I thought hiding this under the panel did a nice job of keeping the lines of the top of the projector intact so that only the recessed control buttons and Vivitek logo stand out. While this panel helps the high-gloss black finish stay smooth and intact to the eye, fingerprints and dust can be highly pronounced on the top of the projector. I found a quick wipe down of the top of the H5080 with a non-abrasive cleaner and micro-fiber cloth keeps that new-from-the-box sleek and sexy look no matter where it is installed.



The H5080 back panel is a Home Theater enthusiasts dream. From a video standpoint, it has three HDMI, one component, one composite, one S-Video, VGA, USB, and serial port for video. In addition, there are indicator lights for power, lamp and internal temp as well as a secondary IR receiver and both a Kensington and security chain lock. However, one of the coolest features is the dual 12V out connectors that allow a powered screen to be automatically deployed and retracted whenever the power switch is turned on or off. Aside from the standard power cable and switch, the remainder of the back is mostly made up of a vent with fan.

Overall, the H5080 is about as clean as you can hope for a projector to look. Nothing about it stands out, yet it provides a natural draw to your eye regardless of whether it is turned off or not.
 

Remote
One of the great things about Vivien’s projectors is that they always provide a full-size remote in the box that has just the right amount of controls on it. Both their base and top-of-the-line Home theater projectors come with the same remote, so you can control almost all functionality without having to manually go to the projector controls. The unit still has manual controls for zoom; focus and Lens Shift, so you will not find these buttons on the remote. Other than that, you will have full control over the projector from the comfort of your chair, with a logical (and backlit) layout of the remote.


Setup
Unlike the Vivitek 1080FD where I struggled to get it setup for a tabletop placement, the H5080 seemed to be designed to be installed just about anywhere in your room. Out of the box, I was quickly able to set up the projector, connect the power and video cables and have an image on the screen in less than five minutes. With a ton of connections, it was easy to just plug and go.

The one extra step I encountered was tracking down the lens shift functions I needed due to the table-top placement of the projector. Usually, these are controlled manually or motorized and are found near the lens (manual) or on the remote (motorized.) It took me a few minutes and a quick read of the instructions to learn that Vivitek did a cool thing and placed these controls under a hidden panel above the lens. Once I tracked them down, they were extremely easy to use and allowed me to shift the lens to compensate for the lower than normal placement I went with.

Even though I chose a table-top setup, the H5080 actually has several ceiling mount patterns on the bottom of it. One is a traditional triangle mount (three screws), the second is more of a trapezoid (four screws) and the option to use five screws (if you bracket can support it) is also there. In all cases, the H5080 should accommodate any UL Listed mount that uses M4 screws no longer than 6mm (.23in).

As for picture adjustments, the H5080 has a multitude of user-capable adjustments, so you will be able to change the image to meet your needs. I tested it with all three pre-set user modes (Movie/Bright/Normal) and found that games worked best on bright and movies and TV both looked best on the movie setting. The lighting in my test area had a lot to do with this, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the settings and it falls to personal preference.


Because, the Vivitek H5080 offers a full serving of Home Theater/gaming hookups, you should be able to get any piece of your gaming consoles and TV set-top box hooked up at once. The three HDMI inputs can handle the satellite/cable box, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, while the component will connect the Nintendo Wii. In all instances, you have everything hooked up simultaneously and can enjoy the maximum resolution and picture quality that each device provides.

After unboxing and getting the Vivitek H5080 ready to roll, I was pleasantly surprised that it took me less than 10 minutes to go from box to gaming. Despite the projector having lots of advanced features, you are able to get it setup to start enjoying it quickly, but take the time as you get used to it to make the tweaks needed to get the most out of your gaming or viewing experience.


Video Performance
Over the last five years, we have experienced transition from distinct products that fulfill a specific need to products that meet many needs. Gaming consoles have personified this transition almost as much as smartphones and tablets. It is on this note that I have switched my video testing from primarily DirecTV or cable box to streaming content through Blu-Ray disks, Netflix and ESPN 3 off the Xbox 360 Elite and a PlayStation 3.

A couple of movies on Blu-Ray I watched on the H5080 were ‘Red’ and ‘The A-Team’. Both are action flicks with some pretty intense on-screen activity at any given time. Red had so many location changes that the H5080 was given a workout just trying to keep up with the ever-changing scenes. There were so many locales in the movie that I think the H5080 was asked to handle just about everything except a desert scene. With the A-Team, there was tons of CGI, including the whole free-falling tank scene where they are shooting the cannon on the tank to line it up with the lake. There were also a lot of scenes that transitioned from light-to-dark and went from no activity to extreme action and the H5080 was extremely smooth in how it projected the image as it went from one extreme to the next. Not surprisingly, H5080 handled both of these films without any major flaws that I noticed. No issues with colors, shadows or screen tear showed up even once. It truly felt like I was sitting in a theater watching the movie, only the image was cleaner and brighter than most of the theaters I have been to.

I also spent a lot of time watching live and replays of college sports, English Premiere league soccer and a bunch of other clips and events that come across ESPN 3 on the Xbox 360. The live streaming of sports has always been one of my favorite review tests, because it shows me how well a projector can deliver that experience. With the H5080, I felt like I was literally in the front row of everything I watched, as the image was as bright and sharp as if I was actually in attendance. For those that are looking at this projector to possibly buy, if you love sports, you will love the Vivitek H5080 for the way it immerses you in the event you are watching.


Not to be left out, I did go back to and old standby and run through a few dramas off the DVR as well as Netflix. CSI Miami is my standard due to how beautiful the show looks, and I wasn’t disappointed. To do a cool comparison, I watched a couple of episodes from last season on Netflix while also watching a few shows from this season I had recorded on the DVR. I have to say that the H5080 did both streams proud as it was difficult to even tell if there was a difference in quality from one to the other. They both looked great and the lush landscaped really popped off the screen. You also could get an up-close and personal look at David Caruso’s eyebrows. Needless to say, the H5080 exceeded my expectations and probably looked better with the dramas than the other projectors I have tested with as well as the Family 56” Rear Projection DLP.

The main thing that impressed me about the H5080 during video tests is how consistent it was at providing a bright, clean and highly-detailed image regardless of the content source. I sent it Netflix, Blu-Ray, cable content and streaming live sporting events and every single one of them looked as well as I could hope. I expected the best picture from the highest grade sources, but to get it every source, every time was a pleasant surprise.

 

Gameplay Tests
I was in a bit of a musical mood while testing gameplay on the H5080, so I went with a real heavy dose of Rock Band 3 and The Beatles: Rock Band for many of my tests. As usual, these provide excellent on-screen video testing due to the multiple on-screen movement, brilliant colors and animations. As I found with the Vivitek 1080FD we previously reviewed, the H5080 did an absolute superb job of presenting the Rock Band graphics, cut-scenes and musical notes on-screen in a very clear format without any motion blur. The colors also really popped off the screen for the notes and background images, as the DLP chip in the H5080 can render darks very well and colors that look very natural. In The Beatles: Rock Band, the old film clips looked sharp and clean and all of the white san yellows from the hippies years were distinct and didn’t blend together.

I did have my old nemesis show back up while playing Rock Band 3, which is that the lyrics were a bit blurred and “jumpy” on-screen. I have seen this a few times now, but it is relegated to when I use my Xbox 360 Elite and its HDMI out. I know it isn’t strictly a projector issue, as the LCD in my office has experienced this issue as well. So this is not a Vivitek H5080 specific issue, nor a side-effect specific to DLP technology. It appears to lie within the Rock Band 3 code itself or maybe with the Xbox 360 HDMI output found on my Elite, because when using The Beatles: Rock Band, Rock Band 2 or Rock Band 3 on my Xbox 360 Pro, this “jutter” for the lyric and harmony line doesn’t appear.

The one thing that didn’t show up was any sort of lag from console to the H5080. Much like its little brother, I didn’t have to calibrate the game at all to match the H5080, as it responded beautifully to my controls on the instruments and singing. The longer I play the Rock Band franchise and use it for review cases of video products, the more obvious it is that Home Theater projectors like the Vivitek H5080 are much more suited to handle this genre of games than an LCD panel when it comes to lag.

Even though I was in a musical mode, I did get in a lot of time with Call of Duty: Black Ops while I had the H5080. I played most of the way through the campaign and spent several hours online getting fragged by some kids that were probably half my age and twice as good as me at the game. Although the campaign mode as a lot of activity on the screen at any given time, there are a lot of “quiet” times where the projector really isn’t asked to produce and heavy duty images. However, when you hit those multiplayer maps, look out. There are people running everywhere, buildings streaking by you as you run for cover, RC vehicles whizzing about and helicopters buzzing from above. There is also that pesky napalm drop that turns the entire area into a BBQ on steroids feel with lots of flame and smoke. What this adds up to is one fast-moving game with constantly changing scenes. Because the H5080 was so good at providing me a silky-smooth 92” gaming experience, I felt like I had an edge on my competition even though I generally stink at multiplayer. What was most impressive is that the screen never blurred, never hitched and was always bright and easy to see. I have reviewed a few projectors that have gotten bogged down when a lot of action is on the screen, but the DLP chip in Vivitek’s H5080 was more than up to the task.


Another area that the H5080 really stood out while playing Black Ops was during the campaign mode while working your way through Kowloon City. This map presents a significant challenge to projectors because the environment changes from sunlight to darkness, with rain, rooftops and lots of bad guys thrown in for good measure. I was once again impressed with the H5080 being able to effortlessly switch from one environment type to the next without seeing any type hiccup in the image. This is critical, because the game throws so much at you that you need the picture it be razor sharp and have the ability to see into the farthest and darkest corner to know what you are up against. During one firefight in particular in Kowloon City, I started thinking about how detailed the H5080 was instead of focusing on the bad guys. I was pinned down in a room that was open to a courtyard and an elevated walkway and I was taking heavy fire from somewhere back in the shadows of the building across the courtyard. I grabbed a scoped rifle and started scanning for the shooter when I spotted his silhouetted form in the deepest shadows of a room that had clear site lines to my location. On a smaller TV or one with less depth and color, I never would have seen this soldier peppering me. But with the H5080 and the DarkChip3 and BrilliantColor technologies that its Texas Instruments DLP chipset has, I could see more of the game and deeper into the corners and shadows that I ever could with a standard flat-panel or LCD projector.

Other titles I popped in for some playtime included Red Dead Redemption on the Xbox 360, Uncharted 2 on the PS3 and Super Mario Galaxy 2 on the Wii.

When it comes to playing games on the Vivitek H5080, I say run out and get one as soon as possible if it is in your budget. The projector is able to give you all of those advantages a gamer could ask for both in the hook up and playability of your games and consoles. I didn’t have any bad experiences with the H5080 and actually felt like it helped me during several gaming session due to its razor-sharp picture and rendering of black levels and colors.

Miscellaneous Items of Note
• Extremely Quiet Operation
• Easy ceiling mount pattern
• Hidden lens controls a plus

 
Pros Cons
Bright
Rich, Deep colors
Great Value
Super Sexy Look
Moderate Lamp Life
Fingerprint Magnet








Testing Methodology
Items utilized in the testing of the Vivitek 1080FD included, but not limited to:

Xbox 360 Elite, PlayStation 3, 16:9 92” Da-Lite fixed screen.
 
Testing was done at a throw distance of 12’ to a 92” 16:9 screen with a table-top install location (approx. three feet off the floor.) Seating was at a distance of 10 feet from the screen.


The Conclusion
The Vivitek H5080 is easily one of the best projectors I have reviewed to date for both gaming and video performance. The colors are deep and rich, the picture quality is amazing and both gaming and movies just pop off the screen. The back panel is loaded with enough inputs to hook up even the most robust gaming console collection and still have room for your cable or satellite feed. The best thing about the Vivitek H5080 is that you get performance that rivals those of the larger and more expensive models, for a sub $3,000 price tag.
The Vivitek H5080 offers a ton of quality and performance for the price and would make a fine addition as the centerpiece in any home theater, game room or man cave. Its performance matches its stylish looks and it has enough inputs to make even the biggest consumer electronics junkie happy. With a price below $3,000, Vivitek has a projector solution for anyone that wants to invest in a high-quality projector without paying an elevated price.

Rating: 9.5 Exquisite

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.

Vivitek H5080 Vivitek H5080 Vivitek H5080 Vivitek H5080 Vivitek H5080 Vivitek H5080 Vivitek H5080 Vivitek H5080

About Author

I spent the greater part of my informative years glued to the front of a Commodore 64 after we wore out our Intellivision. If you were in the Toledo area surfing C-64 bulletin boards in the mid 80's, we probably have already met. When not running the BBS, I spent countless hours wandering around the streets of Skara Brae, as my life was immersed in The Bard's Tale series on the C-64. After taking the early 90's off from gaming (college years) minus the occasional Bill Walsh College Football on Sega, I was re-introduced to PC games in the mid 1990's with a couple of little games called DOOM II and Diablo. I went all-in with the current generation of consoles, getting an Xbox 360 on launch weekend as well as adding a PS3 and Wii in subsequent years.


While my byline is on many reviews, articles and countless news stories, I have a passion for and spent the last several years at GamingNexus focusing on audio & video and accessories as they relate to gaming. Having over 15 years of Home Theater consulting and sales under my belt, it is quite enjoyable to spend some of my time viewing gaming through the A/V perspective. While I haven't yet made it to one of the major gaming conventions (PAX or E3), I have represented GamingNexus at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas for the last six years.

I have been a staff member at GamingNexus since 2006 and feel lucky to have the opportunity to put to use my B.A. in Journalism from The Ohio State University.


 

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