- Performance V600
Tristan GreeneEditor, Neural by TNW
Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: He/him
Vankyo’s Performance V600 projector is a $250 answer to the question “are there any projectors good enough to play video games in broad daylight without a screen that won’t cost me a ton of money?”
More specifically it’s a native 1080p LED-light projector featuring 4,000 lux brightness, two HDMI-in ports, stereo speakers, and a crisp 300-inch viewing area.
Judged solely on its specifications, it’s a fantastic projector for presentations in spaces where total darkness isn’t an option. But the picture brightness, quality, and audio fidelity are juuust good enough to make it feel like a decent little portable home theater for people who actually care about resolution.
The experience of using the V600 is pretty old school. It doesn’t connect to WiFi; you don’t set up an account to use it; it doesn’t connect to the cloud for updates or content. Instead, you can use it anywhere you can get power to it and connect it to just about anything. I primarily used it with an Amazon Fire TV stick and a Sony PS4, but it’ll work with PCs, laptops, and just about any other device that outputs to a screen via HDMI, USB, or VGA.
In the looks department, it reminds of the Xbox One:
Interestingly I thought its lower-end sibling, the Leisure 410, looked like the Xbox 360:
You can either take the big boxy look or leave it – it’s about the same size as an Xbox One as well.. But the function of its form is excellent. Everything I need – from access to the menu, volume control, and a simple to use input selector – is easily available directly on the device so I don’t have to keep its remote handy. And this is a big deal because, like most projectors under $500, the remote on this thing is sheepishly under-engineered. You’ve got to have it pointed in just the right direction for it to work.
Also of note is the quality of the internal speakers. According to its spec sheet, it has 5W speakers. While that means they don’t get exceedingly loud – you won’t get away with using just the internal speakers at an open-air viewing unless you’re surrounded by silence – they do sound pretty good. In my bedroom, echoing off of my walls, “Game of Thrones” sounds fantastic. They don’t compare to my home theater speakers, but they’re definitely better than most laptops.
But the viewing experience is what’s truly important here. This is the least expensive projector I can recommend for playing video games such as Total War: Warhammer II, Civilization VI, and XCOM 2. It looks fine compared a standard HD TV (not perfect), and when you explode it to 300-inches tiny words don’t blur.
Most budget-priced projectors won’t throw a strong-enough picture for gaming in the sun. Sure, there’s plenty you can watch cartoons and bright movies on even with the blinds open, but gaming takes too much attention to detail. This one is different.
Here’s my PS4 dashboard in broad daylight at about 1PM with the sun reflecting off the ocean into my wide-open sliding glass windows and the overhead light turned on — keeping in mind that my walls are mocha, not white (which would make the image appear much brighter):
It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly playable. Now here’s the same screen with just a curtain covering the window:
And here’s the screen when I turn the projector to face a shadowed wall in the same room:
The bottom line is that this projector is good enough to use instead of a 1080p TV, and in many circumstances – such as throwing a Rock Band 4 party in full HD on a 300-inch “screen”, or reliving every bloody moment from “Game of Thrones” on your entire wall – it’s way cooler.
Consider this projector instead of buying a cheap TV for your guest room, game room, or home office. If you don’t need it for outside use, and a lack of 4K or HDR support isn’t a deal-breaker, this thing’s good enough for movie or game night.
My only complaint is that the crappy remote might turn off anyone planning to mount this projector. And WiFi connectivity would be nice, but at this price point I’m not going to frown over its omission. As far as mounting goes, I’d actually suggest keeping this one portable with a tripod. But the one you use for your DSLR camera probably isn’t going to cut it because at 2.6kg, this thing weighs a few pounds more than the average camera.
To that end Vankyo sent me its incredible projector/laptop stand to use with my review unit. Despite a bit of confusion on my part that resulted in my snapping the lever that raises and lowers it off (my fault for trying to crank on it after I’d locked it in place) it’s a sturdy and incredibly useful tripod. If you can’t hang your projector from the ceiling, it’ll at least get your image up off the floor — which is where it will be if you try to set this thing any lower than 4 feet off the ground.
It also makes for a decent standing desk substitute if you just want to stand in the middle of the room using your laptop. You can get one here on amazon for $49.99.
I like the V600 a lot. Vankyo’s not trying to tap into the technophile market here, this projector isn’t going to impress home theater afficianados. But if you want to play some 1080p games or watch Netflix on a larger-than-life scale in the comfort of your own home: it’s a winner.
If the price is still too high, consider Vankyo’s Leisure 410. It’s only $99. It doesn’t sound as good as the V600 and it certainly doesn’t get as bright, but you can use it in indirect daylight with relative results. And, if portability is more your thing: Vankyo’s M50 Passport Mini-Projector has a rechargeable battery and runs on Android. Finally, if money ain’t a thing to you, but having the space to take advantage of a projector is: check out my colleague Napier Lopez’ review of Vava’s drool-worthy $2,500 ultra short-throw projector.
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