Pico projectors are generally made for the office, that’s just the reality of a front projection DLP that’s meant to be carried in a laptop bag. Vivitek remains committed with the Qumi Q5 LED Pocket Projector which is one of their smallest entries in the lineup, while trying to add some entertainment value to sweeten the deal.
Make no mistake, this is a 1.1lb miniature workplace projector that’s given a makeover for multimedia enjoyment — as if it’s trying to hide its true self with a brightly colored shell (available in red, yellow, blue, black, and white) made of slick glossy plastic. The overall styling is vibrant and relatively stylish with only a button sensor control panel for a clean appearance. It’s so low-profile that there’s actually more stuff going in the rear where all the connections are, with mobile from Roku-friendly HDMI/MHL, USB, 3.5mm audio out for headphones and speakers, A/V out (they include a RCA composite dongle for analog), and finally a universal I/O port for computer things. All of this comes in neatly measured in 1.3 x 6.3 x 4 inches (HWD) and can fit in a open palm.
The Q5 also gets a credit card remote that’s more novelty than useful, a power adapter that’s ironically almost as big as the projector itself, and a cool little carrying pouch too. The only evidence of its past PowerPoint life; a single VGA to Universal I/O cable.
All of this is fine and even the native WXGA (1280 x 800) and 720p HD resolutions work in agreeable tandem with the advertised 500 lumen count, but I probably don’t have to tell you that this won’t be your main entertainment machine. Fortunately the pop-up screen size is pretty reasonable at a minimum 30-inch and upwards to 90-inches, not only that but the Q5 is also compliant in PC modes with a maximum of 1600 x 1200 (UXGA) at 60Hz.
The setup couldn’t be any easier which is good, even better is the fact that there’s no lamp so boot and shut down times are miraculously quick at 3 seconds. You certainly don’t have to wait for the picture as HDMI is instantly recognized and looks great for a minuscule pico DLP, and should be more than enough for a small room. The image as a whole is decent with expected shortcomings in grayscale and middling black levels, it clearly isn’t about definitive reference quality but the color range is exuberantly vivid as a modest consolation. To compliment the video, Vivitek did throw in a single 2W mono speaker for sound, although we could live without it as the output is flat and distorted even at lower volumes.
Extras such as 3D-readiness (HDMI 1.4) are appreciated but viewers will have to endure mild crosstalk, this was present during the Blu-ray of Mad Max: Fury Road where multiple images were constantly distracting compared to traditional projectors. The Qumi Q5 can also do media integration and can read USB drives and many file types for images (JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF), audio (MP3, WAV), videos (MPEG-4, H.264, WMV, Divx), and of course documents for office applications (Doc, XLS, PPT, PDF, txt) – there’s even 4GB of embedded storage for added convenience though we doubt anybody would bother with it, but it is there if you happen to need it.
For anybody buying the Qumi Q5 projector they’re probably not going to use this as a home entertainment replacement, but rather a good little projector that’s lightweight and basic. It’ll work in the conference room, classroom, bedroom, or anywhere else that a spontaneous viewing get-together may happen — I think the price might be a bit high for its size but you’ll have the potential to be a game night hero.