Pocket/pico projectors are a great idea, there’s no doubt about that. Being able to carry around in your pocket a display device capable of producing images up to 90in across at the drop of a hat is brilliant. The feats of technological miniaturisation involved with Pico projectors appeal strongly to our inner geek, too.
However, the vast majority of pico projectors have a ‘little’ problem. Namely that they’re rubbish. Or at least, they’re rubbish if you value picture quality in any way whatsoever. Some of the smallest models we’ve seen are so short of brightness, for instance, that they struggle to produce a picture where you can even see what’s going on.
Cue the Qumi (pronounced Q-me) Q2. This Vivitek model has supposedly been designed and built from the ground up to address the usual quality issues, backing this claim up with such impressive stats as a 300-lumen brightness output capable of driving an image of up to 90in, and an even more startling 2500:1 contrast ratio. Plus, remarkably, the Qumi is 3D-Ready, if used in conjunction with a DLP-Link system.
This is all despite the fact that the Qumi is very much still pocket-sized. It measures 160(w) x 31(h) x 100(d)mm in its cotton socks, and weighs just 617g - and it ships with a carry pouch to protect it from damage from all the other junk you probably have tucked away in your pockets.
As well as being small, the Qumi is also really rather lovely with its low profile and its gleaming and impressively robust white and grey bodywork (a black version is also available).
At the heart of the Qumi, as you would expect, lies an LED light source and a Texas Instruments Single Pico DLP optical system. The life of the LED light - and, effectively, the projector - is quoted at 30,000 hours, while the chipset delivers a native HD WXGA resolution of 1280x800.
As usual with Pico projectors there’s no optical zoom facility; the throw ratio is locked at 1.55:1 (distance/width). There is a pleasingly ‘tight’ focus wheel down the projector’s right side, though, and the projector is equipped with keystone correction and digital zoom tools. As ever, though, you should bear in mind that Keystone and digital zoom tools inevitably distort the image. So avoid them if you can.
Tucked under a removable panel on the Qumi’s rear is a satisfying roster of connections. These kick off with a mini HDMI input, for which a handy - if extremely short! - HDMI-to-mini-HDMI capable has been included.
There’s also a Universal I/O port able to take VGA/component video inputs via an optional adaptor, plus a 3.5mm composite video input, a 3.5mm audio output, and USB and MicroSD inputs. No self-respecting pocket projector should now come without Apple support, of course, so the Qumi comes with cabling to support most types of iPod, iPad and iPhone.