Vankyo V600 Review: The Cheapest Native 1080p Projector At $250
So I recently received something pretty interesting from a relatively unknown company called Vankyo. Their proposition was simple: they were selling a native 1080p projector for $250. Considering most projectors at this price point have a lower native resolution and simply accept 1080p feeds, I had no choice but to accept their offer. This is the resulting review.
Vankyo V600 review: Introduction and unboxing
The Vankyo V600 is a projector that could readily be called the first native 1080p offering for the consumer. If you are in the first-hand market for projectors, this is the lowest you are ever going to get so the question then becomes whether it's worth your $250. Keep in mind the class of consumers that shops in this range for a projector can only be described as completely casual. This is also probably a consumer that has very little idea of what to expect so the first impression matters a lot here.
The Vankyo V600 claims to achieve 5000 lux of brightness, a contrast ratio of 3000:1 and other bells and whistles like auto keystone and a ton of IO ports. The chip is TFT LCD based so should easily outlast any and all enthusiasms of buying a projector of this class. A cursory inspection of rival offerings will show you that this is on-paper, the best projector you can buy for the $250 price point (assuming, of course, you don't head to eBay for a second-hand device).
The Vankyo V600 comes packaged in a sleek black box and the packaging experience is clearly different from the el-cheapo projectors that are flooding the markets right now. It is clear that Vankyo wants to differentiate themselves from their competitors and create a brand name that is instantly recognizable. The projector comes wrapped in a very high-quality carrying case (don't you just love value-added products?) along with a power cable, an HDMI cable, a component cable, and remote control. All you need to run this bad boy is available inside the box.
First look and features
The projector itself is boxy in design but uses decent quality materials including an aluminum finish that gives it quite a nice look. A lens cap is also added with the projector along with a ton of IO. The orienting mechanism is also located at the bottom and all in all the projector is pretty well designed. The infrared window for the remote control can be seen at the front as well.
The build of the projector is quite sturdy and should handle being thrown around in that carrying case quite well. The IO includes a VGA port, two USB ports, and two HDMI ports. Buttons for manual control, in case the remote is not working for some reason, are also included. The focus and zoom rings are also accessible from the top like most projectors in the class above it and the entire device is decently cooled. The window for the speaker is also situated at the back along with the power port.
Turning on the projector reveals a decently complex menu with options for contrast, saturation and user modes for storing your settings. All in all, this looks like it would do just nicely for a dark room and a console with a screen size of fewer than 100 inches. At 50-70 inches, I can imagine this guy being very good value for money. The auto keystone ability is also present inside the menus ( I don't recommend using auto keystone in high-end projectors so I am certainly not going to start now). With the intro out of the way, let's dig into the meat of the review.
Setup, calibration and image quality of the Vankyo V600
Needless to say, any projector that claims to achieve 5000 lux is indulging in, well, let's call it marketing mumbo jumbo, but I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised by this guy's output and I was not disappointed. My calibrated 4k cinema projectors that I use for testing can output around 300 lux of brightness at 150 inches and 2200 lux at the source. This tiny projector managed to squeeze out 80-90 lux of brightness at 150 inches and 700 lux at the source - which isn't too bad all things considered. At 100 inch, the display was crisp and easy to view and that is what I would call the recommended maximum for this projector (still quite a lot considering te price point!) and at 70 inches, the image was just great.
The default settings that the projector ships with are oversaturated and over-enhanced and will ruin the integrity of pretty much any image you view on them. The first thing I did was calibrate the image by turning down the sharpness completely and reducing the contrast by 90%. The result was a much much better image albeit at the cost of lost brightness (which is how this equation works so is just fine). The resulting image is what I would be able to recommend to viewers at the $250 price point.
One caveat with this projector that everyone must be aware of before buying, and in fact this is true for all projectors in this range, is that the projector must be oriented dead center to the viewing surface to produce little to no distortion, any attempts to keystone or project at an angle will be met with abject failure. This is not a failing of this projector, I should add as cinema-grade lenses are expenses and would easily over-run the cost of this projector but just something to keep in mind. Here is how the centered and calibrated image of the Vankyo V600 looks like at 120 inches.
As you can see with the calibrated settings and with good centering, the image was more than acceptable (compared in-class) and I am sure would satisfy the casual buyer. If you are someone that wants to hook up their console or just Netflix on a large enough screen and don't have the budget for a serious projector (which usually start at $479) then this is a good choice for you, assuming you understand the caveats involved.
At the $250 price tag, you honestly cannot complain and everything considered this is great value for money once setup correctly and calibrated. You can get "pocket" native 1080p projectors below this price point but those have laughable brightness or you can get similar brightness at a lower native resolution but I can say with certainty that this is one of the best, if not the best, brand new projectors at this price point and the cheapest native 1080p projector in the world.
I can recommed this projector for the casual buyer looking to setup a projector for a screen size of up to 70 inch in a preferably dark room and a budget of only $250.
At the $250 price point, the Vankyo V600 offers the best possible picture quality that should satisfy most casual buyers (assuming the setup is done correctly).
- Cheap native 1080p projector
- Great value for money at $250
- Calibrated colors are best-in-class
- Calibrated brightness is best-in-class
- Contrast and sharpness are best-in-class
- Very little distortion if oriented correctly
- Lots of features and IO ports
- Great lamp life
- Powered HDMI port (for tv sticks)
- Comes with a high quality carrying case
- The projector must be oriented dead center to the screen to avoid distortion
- Calibration reduces brightness