It’s not uncommon to find projectors in homes nowadays. There are numerous entry-level models which will work for those on a very tight budget. Then there are those with slightly better specifications which are still reasonably affordable. The Vivibright C90 projector is one of them.
Before I go on, let me just say a couple of things about the really entry-level projectors. You can find some of these projectors for under S$100. Although some will brazenly claim support for Full HD or even 4K resolution, which technically is true that they do, but in actual fact can only display a true native resolution that is far, far, lesser. You might be looking at resolutions as bad as 480×320, though 640×480 is more common, and some may do 800×600.
I’ve tried these projectors. With our eyes so used to Full HD these days, or even QHD or 4K UHD resolutions, the 640×480 just cannot cut it. In fact, trying to watch a movie in 640×480 can be quite painful. If you are going to get a budget home projector, I strongly recommend to look for something better than 800×600 native resolution.
The Vivibright C90 projector has reasonably good specifications for a budget home cinema projector. It has a native resolution of 1280×800, and claims 3500 lumens brightness good for projection sizes up to 120-inches. It has one VGA input, two HDMI inputs, two USB ports, and 3.5 mm audio outputs.
With the USB port, you can playback movies or other content directly from a plugged-in USB storage. The Vivibright C90 supports MPG, AVI, TS, MOV, MKV, DAT, MP4, and VOB movie formats. This is very convenient if you want to play a movie you’ve already download in to a USB flash drive, as you don’t even need to connect a computer.
The main projector controls are on top of the body. An IR remote control is also provided.
I was most concerned about whether the 1280×800 resolution will truly be sharp, and if the claimed brightness will pan out to be usable. It won’t be fun at all if the image turns out fuzzy or faded. As it turned out, I’m quite happy that the Vivibright C90 performed well.
For testing, I setup the Vivibright C90 in my living room. I don’t have a proper screening room, so I can’t achieve total or nearly total darkness. I don’t have blackout curtains, so even when I test at night, there will be some light coming in through full-height windows on the side wall. The projector is set up about 2 metres from the projection wall, and the photo below shows how the image looks. The living room lights are switched off, but the adjacent dining room lights are on, hence you can see that the room still seems to be lit.
In this test scenario, the Vivibright C90 already seems pretty good. You do not need anywhere near total darkness for the C90 to produce good projection image.
The next photo below shows with the lights in the adjacent dining room switched off. It’s not like the room is in total darkness, because even in this condition, there is enough light spilling out from elsewhere in the house, as well as from the lights outside the house, to be able to see around easily. Yup, this is definitely brighter than a typical Golden Village Gold Class cinema with enough ambient lighting to consume your dinner during the movie.
The projected image is bright, the colours come out vibrant, and overall, the sharpness is acceptably good. As you can see, I don’t even have a projector screen, and using the wall, which isn’t even pure white colour, is a less than ideal condition.
However, I think this test scenario is going to be typical for most home users, so my experience is most relevant. If you’re looking for a budget projector, you probably are going to be like me, having to make do with a living room wall for your movie screening. In fact, I found the Vivibright C90 projector image to be workable even with normal room lights on, though it was certainly a little washed out.
Most people are also going to need to position the projector off-centre. The Vivibright C90 supports 15° of vertical keystone correction, i.e., it can correct for distortion when you aim the projector up or down by up to 15°. It cannot do horizontal keystone correction. Therefore, you need to at least have the projector centred horizontally, and fortunately, this is usually an easier problem to deal with.
Audio coming from the Vivibright C90 projector is, to put it bluntly, bad. It’s not loud enough, and sounds as bad as on a cheap notebook. It is workable, not as if the sound is that badly mangled up, but if you wanted a big screen experience, I think you should hook up better speakers. Again, fortunately, this is an easy problem to solve.
There’s a bit of fan noise coming from the Vivibright C90. Unless you sit right next to the projector, it’s easy to forget the noise is there. A good thing out of that powerful fan is that the Vivibright C90 runs quite cool You don’t feel any heat even when you sit close to it, unless of course you go purposely feel the projector chassis, and even then, it is merely warm.
Overall, the Vivibright C90 projector performs very well for its price. It is a bit clunky, but its regular shape makes storage easy (because you can pile things on top of it…).
The Vivibright C90 projector is available from Amazon (affiliate link) for US$104.99 plus US$27.82 for shipping to SG.
The Vivibright C90 projector performs well for budget home movie screenings.
- Overall image quality is good
- HDMI, VGA, and USB ports
- Built-in speakers as bad as on cheap notebooks
- Size is a bit clunky