The H5080’s standard definition pictures are upscaled well to the projector’s Full HD resolution and my 100in screen, meanwhile, and HD sources are presented with a good level of sharpness and detail.
I can’t go any higher than ‘good’ when describing the sharpness, though; I’d say the best LCD, D-ILA and SXRD rivals can look a little crisper still. But as I’ve noted before, I personally don’t mind a gentle hint of softness to an HD picture provided it doesn’t go too far, as this tends to reduce the times when you’re distracted from a film by video noise.
The last positive thing to say is that thankfully the H5080 doesn’t handle motion badly at all even with its ViviSettings options inactive. What judder there is seems reasonably natural and undistracting, and is to my eyes preferable to the artefacts produced when using the projector’s judder-reduction processing.
My problems with the H5080 are all fairly lightweight. The first is that it doesn’t quite have enough core brightness to portray shadow detail as plentifully/convincingly as more expensive projectors do during its otherwise well-presented dark scenes. But really you’re looking at spending serious money before you find any projector that totally solves this issue while still producing a convincing black colour.
I also found the H5080’s pictures just a touch noisier than those of your typical LCD/SCRD/D-ILA projector, with low-level grey dot crawl during dark shots and a fraction of instability in the portrayal of washes of bright colours, like blue skies. But I have no doubt that many people who audition an H5080 against similarly priced rival technologies will feel that the H5080’s natural, stable black levels and superb colour toning and saturations are ample compensation.
Next, the H5080 can leave bright parts of the picture looking a little bleached out if you leave its brightness and contrast too high. My sample occasionally flickered green for a fraction of a second before settling down again, but I’m sure this was just a small problem with my test sample.
Finally the projector isn’t the quietest runner I’ve heard. Vivitek claims 27dB of running noise using the lowest lamp output setting, but it felt slightly louder than that to me – maybe because of the slight inconsistency in its noise levels, and a slightly high-pitched underlying tone.
Even taken en masse, however, the H5080’s down points become a mere drop in the ocean of everything the projector does right. For provided you can site it a little way from your seating position and don’t mind putting a few minutes into calibrating its images, for the vast majority of your viewing time you’ll be sat there wondering what you’ve done to deserve so much picture quality for so relatively little cash.
It feels like almost every projector I see right now progresses the quality of home cinema projection forward in some way. And the H5080 is no exception, delivering black levels and colours in particular that are pretty revelatory on a sub-£3k projector. In fact, the level of achievement it delivers for that money makes the H5080 for me the most all-round attractive Vivitek projector yet – and possibly the model which, more than any other we’ve seen so far, secures Vivitek’s place at the UK AV table.
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