What’s even more remarkable about the Qumi Q2’s brightness is that it’s delivered without damaging black level response nearly as much as we would have expected based on previous pocket projector experience. Dark parts of the picture genuinely look quite dark rather than being hidden behind clouds of low-contrast greyness - a fact which contributes further to the picture’s dynamism, and opens up the Qumi as a genuine option for watching films at home if you decide to bring it back from the office for the weekend.
We tried this ourselves, leaving tests with a variety of business and computer sources for a while to indulge in a couple of Blu-ray movies, and the degree to which we enjoyed watching them on the Qumi is unprecedented in the pocket projector category.
Contributing further to our enjoyment of PC and Blu-ray - and TV, actually - viewing alike is the excellent sharpness of the Qumi’s pictures. HD and WXGA sources look definitively HD on the Qumi rather than the soft, imprecise mess you get with plenty of rival Pico models. In fact, the Qumi’s sharpness is almost as important to the large size of image it can comfortably deliver as its brightness.
The projector’s unexpected video prowess also finds it handling motion with aplomb, and HD pictures delivered with no significant noise, including grain or edge jaggies. The projector’s scaling software isn’t particularly great at suppressing MPEG noise in low-quality standard definition sources, but frankly it’s more than good enough by pocket projector standards.
Turning finally to the Qumi’s 3D capabilities, it needs to be stressed that we’re talking about the DLP-Link system here. So it will only take in 3D images from DLP-Link sources - essentially PCs equipped with suitable video cards. This isn’t too much of a problem for business users if they fancy doing some 3D presentations, or 3D PC gamers. The only way to connect a 3D Blu-ray player, though, is to use a DLP Link ‘adaptor’ such as Optoma’s 3D-XL, making 3D viewing a tortuous and expensive process that it’s hard to imagine any ‘living room’ users bothering with.
The idea of watching 3D on the vast majority of pocket projectors would be laughable, as their images simply wouldn’t be bright enough to survive the inevitable dimming effects of the 3D glasses. But the impressive brightness of the Qumi really does make 3D viewing surprisingly engaging, certainly if you can live with the image not being much bigger than 50-55in so that brightness levels remain high.
Aside from the remote control/menu size issues noted earlier, the only other negative comments we would raise about the Qumi’s performance would be a) that it sometimes runs very noisily in Normal lamp mode, and b) that its built-in speaker really does sound incredibly puny, leaving you requiring an external sound source for all but the most audio-light of business presentations.
Although we’ve been exceptionally impressed by the Qumi’s features and performance, there’s been a silent elephant sat in the room that we can’t just ignore, much as we’d like to. And that’s the Qumi’s £499 price. This is much higher, of course, than the price of the vast majority of other Pico projectors.
And herein lies Vivitek’s gamble. It’s betting on there being a previously untapped market of people who want the pico projector form factor along with genuinely high quality performance in one package, and will be willing to pay extra for it.
Only time will tell if such a market really exists,. But based on our experience with the Qumi - especially its ability to do quality home as well as office duties - we’re pretty sure it does.