While it’s not without its good points, overall the Q7’s picture quality is rather less impressive than we’d hoped it might be given the projector’s fairly high price.
Starting with the good stuff, pictures look quite detailed and crisp for a 720p rather than full HD projection imaging device. This is particularly apparent with PC presentations, but can be seen in movies too. What’s more, this crispness remains more or less undiminished when the projector has to handle a lot of motion in the frame.
It’s also good to see motion untroubled by the sort of fizzing and banding artefacts that can afflict rival cheap DLP projectors. In a similar vein, since the projector uses a triple LED system you don’t have any of the ‘rainbow effect’ colour striping problems delivered to some extent by all cheap DLP projectors.
Pictures are bright by portable LED projector standards, too. Not amazingly so, but enough to enable you to comfortably run a picture of up to around 80 inches in a darkened room (though things started to get a bit dim when pushed to the 107in maximum Vivitek claims for this projector) or to go up to around 65 inches in a fairly bright room too – though ideally only if the content your watching is predominantly bright and colourful.
The Q7’s ability to work in dark or light environments makes it a potentially effective good work/home all-rounder for the ultra-portable projection market.
This flexibility is underlined by its contrast range. For even though the eye-catching 30,000:1 contrast ratio quoted by Vivitek looks extremely optimistic, there’s no doubt that the Q7 is capable of getting a little deeper with its black levels than much of the ultra-portable LED competition – especially with its lamp output set to Eco.
However, while the Q7 may handle dark content better than the majority of ultra-portable rivals, that’s not to say that dark scenes look particularly convincing by the standards of the projection world at large. A noticeable pall of greyness hangs over dark sequences even in the lower-brightness Eco lamp mode and worse, dark areas also look pretty hollow and flat thanks to a distinct lack of subtle detailing – especially if you’re attempting to push the picture towards the outer extremes of its size potential.
Certainly there are non-LED budget DLP projectors for the same money or even less – albeit with less portable designs – that can deliver dark scenes and thus your typical film more satisfyingly than the Q7.
Turning finally to colours, the Q7 is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s certainly able to deliver more subtlety in its blends and tonal shifts than many cheaper ultra-portable projectors, while still injecting pictures with plenty of vibrancy. However, while colours with PC graphics are satisfying enough, we found it hard to get a completely believable tone with video, even with the gamma value set to the 2.2 level generally associated with the best video results.