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It's big, it's bright, and it's reasonably priced. The Vankyo V600 is an excellent projector, although it suffers from a slightly dated software interface.
Vankyo may not be the first name you think of when it comes to high-performance projectors, but the V600 is a very solid performer for a reasonable price. This projector is bright and produces a very sharp image at a native full HD, 1080P resolution. It makes some sacrifices to meet this price point–but are they enough to stop you buying this projector? Read on to find out.
If you’d like to build your own home-cinema, then don’t forget to enter our giveaway contest at the end of this review, where we are giving away a Vankyo V600 performance projector.
The Vankyo V600 is a “performance” projector. In theory, this should set it apart from other projectors in its image quality, brightness, and feature set. Performance and budget don’t often work well together, but the V600 retails for $249.99. For this modest price you get:
- 1920 x 1080 pixel native resolution
- 300-inch largest screen size
- 5,500 lumens brightness
- 6,000:1 contrast ratio
- Built-in 5W speaker
- LED lamp
- 1 x AV input
- 1 x VGA input
- 1x audio output
- 2 x HDMI inputs
- 1 x MicroSD input
- 1 x USB input
Features and Design
While it’s not 4K, the native 1080P resolution is excellent. It’s better to have a good 1080P resolution than a sub-standard 4K resolution. The 6,000:1 contrast ratio is excellent, as is the 300-inch maximum screen size. The maximum brightness of 5,500 lumens is outstanding at this price point.
But take that figure with a grain of salt. The gold standard of measuring projector brightness is ANSI lumens. These set the benchmark of how to measure projector brightness, and ensure that every manufacturer is measuring output brightness by the same standards. Projectors that do not quote ANSI lumens are free to measure brightness any way they choose, including in ways favorable to their cause. We suspect that the Vankyo is taking liberties with these brightness measurements, given they are not quoted in ANSI lumens.
That said, the V600 is brilliantly bright, and you won’t be disappointed with its output level, even if it doesn’t match up to its quoted figures. Thanks to the LED bulb you can expect to achieve more than 50,000 hours of use.
The built-in speaker delivers average sound quality. There’s only one, so it’s not capable of reproducing stereo audio, and as it operates at 5 Watts, it can only just rise above the projector fan speed. Despite this, you don’t buy projectors for their sound quality, and so this tiny speaker is more than adequate to handle basic audio duties in an emergency. Any serious media consumers should consider purchasing an external audio system to pair with this projector.
The choice of I/O on this projector is confusing. There are two full-size HDMI inputs (no mention of their HDCP status), one VGA input for those still running computers with analog outputs, and an AV input if you want to connect an ancient video camera. While more ports are always better, you can’t help but wonder if Vankyo is recycling old parts to save money.
The MicroSD and USB inputs are welcome additions, but these are not as useable as you’d think. It’s possible to play media off an external drive, but you may become frustrated by the limitations. You need to format your drives in a very specific format (we had success with NTFS). After this, only certain video formats will play at all. We’re not sure on the definitive list of what is and is not supported, but some modern codecs will refuse to play. Any media player should be able to handle a variety of formats, and this projector falls short here.
The V600 measures roughly 11.8 x 9 x 4 inches (30 x 23 x 10 cm). The cooling system is excellent at maintaining a steady operating temperature, but it does produce a lot of excessive noise. This isn’t unusual for a projector, but it will drown out the built-in speaker. The front contains a small adjustable foot to fine-tune the projector height, and on the top, you’ll find a series of buttons to control the projector, alongside the included remote control. You’ll need to supply your own batteries, however. The manual focus ring is smooth and offers plenty of room for fine-tuning the focus. You have to unwind the focus to use the included lens cap, however, which is frustrating if you don’t often move the projector.
Ease of Use
The V600 is easy to use, but the software interface is basic. It looks dated, and as discussed above, is incapable of playing many types of video. A healthy amount of vertical keystone can be corrected, and this projector provides settings for both rear and upside-down installation options. You can adjust the color temperature, keystone correction, brightness, power-up options, and more from the simple (but ancient-looking) menu. Choosing different input sources happens through a secondary source menu, which lets you choose inputs quickly.
Various buttons on the top of the unit allow navigate menus easy enough, but outside of this their use is limited. For example, there’s no way to play or pause a video. To use this projector in any capacity, you have to use the included remote control. Quite why so many buttons are present, yet such limited control is possible from the projector itself is baffling, but the controller is easy enough to use and has a reasonable range.
Brightness and Image Quality
This projector is unbelievably bright. Thanks to the LED bulb, it is outstanding. It can project a bright and clear image with lights on or ambient daylight filtering into the room, although like any projector it will suffer significantly when competing with bright sunlight streaming into your room or directly in the path of the beam. Colors look bright and vivid, even when projecting onto a plain white wall instead of a dedicated projector screen.
The image quality is outstanding, especially when you consider the price. This projector blows away the competition at this price, especially when compared to any travel projector or budget models. Image quality is the main feature of any projector and the V600 is worthy of its performance moniker.
Films look stunning, and video games benefit from the super immersive experience offered by this projector. While I don’t have space to project a 300-inch image (which requires a throw distance of around 32 feet), I did experiment with several smaller screen sizes. While the brightness does reduce slightly at the large end of these screen sizes, it’s more than useable at any sensible screen size (that is, screens less than 100 inches diagonal).
Should You Buy the Vankyo V600?
This projector is quite simply stunning. Its insane output level and stunning image quality place it in a class of its own, and it far exceeds expectations for a budget projector. It represents outstanding value for money.
While the software interface is clunky and limited at times, the core feature of image quality blows away the competition. We can highly recommend this projector, but it’s not for everyone—and that’s ok.
If you’re looking for a portable projector, or one with a little more attention to detail (such as the software interface, or the lens cap), then this projector isn’t for you. Equally, if you must have extensive software control options, or you need to use a variety of different media formats or USB drives, then you may want to skip this model.
If you’re looking for a stunning projector without too many bells and whistles to distract from the image quality, then the V600 performance projector is perfect for you. It can get the job done for a very respectable $249.99. If you need something portable, then take a look at the Nebula Capsule 2. While it can’t compete with the V600, it is smaller and comes with a built-in battery.
If you’d like to own a Vankyo V600 projector, but can’t afford the modest $249.99, then make sure you enter our giveaway contest below for a chance to win one.