If a portable projector is in your future, the Qumi Q5 ought to be on your radar. At 6” x 4” x 1-1/4”, it is just slightly larger than many of the pico projectors out there, but this thing is truly useable in many lighting conditions. While the pico projectors I’ve seen can only be used either 17” away from the screen or in totally darkened rooms, the Q5 has got enough horsepower (lumens) that it could be used during a typical business meeting.
When you first turn on the Qumi, you’ll see what’s called the Media Player Screen. From here you’ll select the media type you want to play: movies, audio, photos, office documents, etc. Yep, you read that right. The projector will play all those WITHOUT your computer, if you have them stored on a USB stick. Now we are talking portable!
With the MHL cable – you can also play directly from your Micro-USB equipped smartphone or tablet. More and more reasons you may be able to finally leave that laptop at home.
With an optional Wi-Fi dongle, you can also supposedly tap into a network and actually browse the Internet.
This DLP projector is ready to go in a matter of seconds, merely plug in the power cord and turn it on. If you are going to be displaying contents from a USB stick, go ahead and plug it in right away. Select the type media you want to project on the first screen and then toggle your way down to the file you want.
Even if all your media files are in the root directory of your USB device, the Qumi will only read one variety (video, audio, PPT, etc.) at a time – so you need to select that type file first from the opening screen. Switching from video to PPT? You’ll need to go back to the opening screen and reselect the other media type, even if they are the only two files on your USB stick.
With the enclosed remote, I was able to do everything I needed to do and from up to 20-25 feet away from the projector. I didn’t use the buttons atop the projector much at all. Buttons on top of the Qumi are fewer in number than the buttons you find on the remote, but they perform all the same functions. They need to be used in combination to perform some of the media playback options.
The owner’s manual shows a tripod mounting hole on the bottom of the unit, which I would have never otherwise discovered. It’s really cleverly covered with a sticker. That will be handy for anyone who has a tripod, because without any built-in height adjusters, you need to stack things to get the Qumi to the right height. The keystone adjustment does a good job of compensating however for any angle.
According to the owner’s manual (on CD), the standard cables that come with the Qumi are VGA cable and power cable (with 19V – 3.42Amp-62W power brick – which is 1/3 the size of the Qumi itself.) It also comes with a business card-sized remote.
Listed as optional cables are the standard HDMI, MHL and Audio/Video cable. Also listed as optional are the carrying case and Q5 Wi-Fi dongle.
On the unit I tested, everything was included except the Wi-Fi dongle. Notes say that accessories vary model to model, so you’ll want to inquire.
One minor complaint – like 99% of the manufacturer’s out there, Vivitek provides a nice soft-sided case for the projector and remote, that totally ignores the power cord, power adapter and hook-up cables. There’s no way they will fit. Since the Qumi won’t run on batteries, and since you have to take the cords and brick with you, it sure would have been handy to be able to put them in the carrying case and keep everything together. Why manufacturers never show any love for the power brick is beyond me. Add in all the various media cables (VGA, HDMI, A/V) and you’ll probably want a carrying case twice the size of the Qumi. (End of rant…)
Playing your media
Since this is what it’s all about – let me say I think the Qumi shines (bad pun, I know.) It played just about all my media files, including some that the owner’s manual said it wouldn’t.
I ran a dozen videos on a USB stick through the unit and all but one played. The one that didn’t was a high bit rate, 1920×1080 MP4 homemade video and the Qumi only claims to play H.264 video up to 720p. I was able to play two other 1080p videos that even had higher bit rates than the one that didn’t play, so I can’t quite explain why that one didn’t play. All the other 11 looked great.
Again, the manuals says it will play H.264, MPEG4, VC-1, DivX, Real Video, AVS and MJPEG. I also found it works on .MOV files, so you can play back many DSLR-shot videos and Quicktime videos.
Playing Netflix videos via the HDMI worked great as well. I did need to set the controls to “Bright” to get adequate shadow detail, but it worked like a champ.
The Qumi does have a speaker on-board so you can listen to your videos or project your MP3 files and watch as the audio equalizer bounces up and down. There’s also an “audio out” jack for an external amplifier, which you’ll probably want for an audience more than one or two.
The slideshow function will display your still JPG, PNG or BMP photos. The Office function does a decent job of displaying Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files.
My various media files played perfectly from a 64GB Lexar P20 Jumpdrive but would not play from an external 64GB SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive that also can attach via USB cable. With the capacities of jumpdrives available these days, that’s really not a deal breaker any longer.
Resolution: HD (720p, 1280×800) – per user guide
Resolution: Native: 1280×800 Max: 1600×1200 – per website
Max illumination: 500 Lumens
Contrast ratio: 10,000:1
Aspect Ration Compatible: 16:10, 4:3, 16:9
Projection Distance: 39” – 118”
Projection Size: 30” – 90” diagonal
Audio speaker: 2W mono
Inputs: HDMI, 3.5mm AV, USB, Universal I/O port
Outputs: Earphone jack 3.5mm
Life expectancy: 30,000 hours for non-replaceable LED
Would I buy it? Absolutely. If portable is your criteria, this works well, day or night. If you want a 90” screen in your rec room, mount this to the ceiling, connect to your cable box and walla – you saved 90%. Check them out and pick your favorite color at http://www.vivitekusa.com.
Disclaimer: Vivitek provided the Q5 for me to test