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Vivitek H1085 review: Vivitek H1085

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The Good Much better picture quality than usual at this price level; easy to use; decent connectivity.

The Bad Noticeable rainbow effect; some judder; it runs rather noisily if you leave the lamp set to its maximum output; traces of crawling noise over dark scenes.

The Bottom Line If you only cough up £990 for a projector, you'll clearly have to accept a compromise or two. But the Vivitek H1085 will force fewer compromises on you than you might expect, making it a surprisingly enjoyable option for casual users on a budget

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7.5 Overall

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You may well have never heard of Vivitek before. Although the brand is actually one of the biggest in the projector world, its only presence in the UK before now has been as an OEM supplier to other brands. But now Vivitek wants to try and crack the notoriously difficult UK market under its own name. On the evidence of the 1080p H1085 DLP projector, available for around £990, it's here to stay.

Plastic fantastic
The H1085 certainly doesn't look like a projector that only costs £990. Its black surface is glossy enough to disguise the fact that it's actually quite plasticky, and its bold sculpting means it looks much better than the simple rectangular slab we expected.

Its connections are also better than expected, and include two HDMI ports, a D-Sub PC port, a 12V trigger output for controlling a motorised screen, and even an RS-232C port so that you can pipe the H1085 into a wider home-entertainment system. These latter two jacks in particular go well beyond what you'd expect from a budget projector.

Many budget projectors feature a built-in speaker these days, as does the H1085. Unsurprisingly, this speaker sounds pretty flimsy. It also delivers sound that doesn't appear to be coming from anywhere near the screen. The crowd sounds don't work too badly when you're watching a football match, though, and the built-in speaker makes the projector much easier to set up if you want to take it round to a friend's house.

Unfortunately, the set-up process is made more complicated by the H1085's lack of optical image shifting. This is hardly surprising given the projector's price, but we'd still hoped we might find it. The lack of optical image shifting will leave you dependent on digital keystone adjustment to get the edges of your picture straight. It's pleasing, then, that Vivitek provides a fairly intelligent auto keystone adjustment, to take some of the hassle out of this fiddly aspect of setting up a projector.

If you select one of the three picture presets, you'll be able to access a surprisingly long list of image adjustments. These include a colour-management facility, allowing you to tweak the gain, hue and saturation of the six primary colours. We also found the sliding-bar gamma adjustment and a flesh-tone adjustment useful.

Endorsed by the Imaging Science Foundation, the H1085 has been deemed flexible enough to have its settings professionally calibrated by an ISF engineer. You can expect to pay around £200 for this service. ISF support is practically unheard of at the H1085's level of the market. 

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