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Vivitek’s attempt to 'break' the UK has met with rather mixed fortunes so far. Its ultra high end H9080FD, the first projector we’ve seen to use three LEDs as its light source, blew us away. But the brand’s ultra low-end H1080FD, despite catching our eye with its knock-down £850 price, was rather underwhelming.
To be fair, Vivitek has been tinkering with the H1080 since I saw it, and is promising to send me the tweaked version for a reassessment soon. But in the meantime it’s hoping to prove that it really can do budget as well as high end with the DLP-based H1085 - a step up model from the H1080 that still costs a mere £900.
First impressions of the H1085 are pretty good. It’s a reasonably attractive box, for a start, with its glossy black, boldly angular exterior cutting quite a smart dash on your coffee table or projector mount. Oddly, the black finish makes it look slightly plusher than the white finish found on the H1080FD.
The only catch with the design is the light that the spills from the large grilles down both of its sides. Still, to be fair I personally didn’t find this light spillage noticeable when actually watching a film; it just stands out when you look directly at the projector rather than the film/game it’s projecting.
One side point worth raising here is that the H1080’s design and layout has much in common with BenQ’s recently tested and similarly priced (£999) W1000, reminding us that although there are a startling number of projectors around right now, they all start out from quite a limited number of places. Though as both BenQ and Vivitek would doubtless be quick to point out, surface similarities merely hide the inner differences that each brands’ respective engineers are paid to achieve.
This perspective is given extra weight, in fact, by the way Vivitek has been able to get stuck into the H1080 in order to - hopefully! - deliver a much improved performance by the time we see an updated ‘production line’ sample.
All of this talk is deeply interesting, of course (!), but let’s now get back to the H1085’s specifics - starting with the fact that as with the H1080, it’s superbly well connected for its money. Its two HDMIs, for instance, is in line with projector’s costing 20 times as much, while other highlights include a dedicated D-Sub PC port, an RS-232C control jack for system integration, and even a 12V trigger output for driving external kit - most likely a motorised screen. This latter tool is really unusual to find at the sub-£1k price level.