Pico projectors like the 3M PocketProjector MP160 fill a niche for portable display devices, tiny in size but low on performance. They could prove a complement for an executive delivering a presentation on the move, or for a school or business needing a projector that can be easily whisked from one room to another.
What they tend not to do is to offer an awful lot in the way of features or performance. The Vivatek Qumi Q2 ups the price tag to around £670 – pico projectors have typically cost £300-£400 – but also delivers rather more versatility along with one extra that may raise eyebrows.
Visually, it’s something of a triumph. Compact, smooth, and nicely polished, it cries out to be picked up and shown off. At 635g, it’s not light by pico standards, but it’s undersized enough to be wielded without feeling the weight.
When not in use, the ports and connectors of the Vivitek Qumi Q2 are hidden behind a secret panel. It’s a shame, that the panel has to be taken off completely to allow the ports to be accessed – the design would remain elegant if you could reveal and hide each port as you needed it.
The range of connectors itself is fairly decent, going from USB to a Universal IO and mini-HDMI. Additional cables are included that allow you to hook up to full-size VGA and HDMI ports. However, these cables are rather short.
In the case of the mini-HDMI, we had to place the Qumi on top of our Blu-ray player in order to get the cable to fit. We understand that Vivitek want users to be able to stash away the accessories in a tiny space, but some of the cables simply aren’t long enough to be practicable.
Setup options of the Vivitek Qumi Q2 (navigated most easily using the neat remote control) are fairly limited, although this does at least make the Vivitek Qumi Q2 relatively easy to start up. In practice, you’ll just have to position the projector on the table and adjust the focus control to get a clear image.
The Vivitek Qumi Q2's specifications can’t match to full-size projectors; but they compare favourably to other pico models. The native resolution of 1280 x 800 is good, and pushes the Vivitek Qumi Q2 way ahead of most of its rivals.
The manufacturer's given contrast ratio of 2500:1 is one of the best figures of any pico model. The Vivitek Qumi Q2 also has a little more colour depth than competing models. That 300 ANSI lumens brightness rating of vivitek's is generous for a pico too, and the Vivitek Qumi Q2 works moderately well in rooms with plenty of light.
For best results you’ll still want to dim the lights. Image quality of the Vivitek Qumi Q2 is relatively dark and vibrant, with plenty of colour differentiation at the far ends of the palette.
Most pico projectors are totally unsuited to watching films, and while the Vivitek Qumi Q2 falls down in this area when compared to full-size models, it still outshines pocket-sized rivals. You have a good choice of image sizes, too, with the Qumi packing enough brightness to blow up to a larger size.
And then there’s a really surprising addition – the Vivitek Qumi Q2 is 3D Ready. This isn’t quite as sensational as it sounds. The 3D requires a DLP Link source, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to plug in your lounge Blu-ray player and start enjoying extra dimensions.
Chances are you’ll need to connect the Vivitek Qumi Q2 to a PC equipped with a graphics card, along with all the other extras needed for 3D.
If you don’t already have the glasses and IR emitter, expect to fork out another £100 or more. And then there’s the question of whether a pico projector is really capable of producing realistic 3D.
Well, in fact, it is. You may need to drop the image size in order to keep a sufficiently high brightness to do it justice; but you can get a decent 3D effect from the Vivitek Qumi Q2. It certainly wasn’t the most convincing 3D experience we’d had, but given the limitations of the Vivitek Qumi Q2’s size, we think the quality was acceptable.