It feels a little harsh to mark down a good product simply because it’s in competition with something even better. It’s similar to the way that in sport, we tend to remember only a few losing finalists, and mainly only by virtue of the way in which they were beaten.
So we shall kick off this review by praising the Vivitek HK2288. You wouldn’t get anywhere near a 4K HDR picture from a projector costing less than £1500 a few years ago, and still you won’t find anything able to put this one to shame.
BUILD & FEATURES
In terms of the basics, the HK2288 is a long-throw projector offering a picture from 26 up to 325 inches from a distance of between 120cm and 10m; its 310W lamp, meanwhile, will shine for up to 5,000 hours, at up to 2000 ANSI Lumens brightness.
At 43cm wide and weighing 9kg, it’s not the slightest or most lightweight of projectors. That may concern those with little room to spare, given the space the HK2288 will need around it so as not to overheat, but it does mean there is room for a healthy spread of connections.
Brightness 2000 ANSI Lumens
Image size 25.9 - 324.9 inches
Projection distance - 1.2 - 10m
Dimensions (hwd) 17.3 x 42.8 x 38cm
Those run to three HDMI ports, one RS-232, a 3.5mm jack for audio out, a power-only USB A and a mini USB, all of which Vivitek has located on the back of the projector along with an array of buttons for power and menu and source navigation.
Having positioned the HK2288, focus and zoom adjustments can be made easily via a ring at the front of the projector and one on the top of the lens. But for perhaps having to flip the image once you’ve turned it on (the projector can be mounted to the ceiling, so depending on how it’s positioned, you may find everything upside-down) it’s testament to the Vivitek’s native performance that you can get a quality image with a set-up as simple as that.
There is, of course, more you can tweak. There are adjustment tools for gamma, white balance and hue, for example, as well as Day and Night modes that can be switched between depending on surrounding ambient light.
And all those features can be accessed via the Vivitek’s remote, included in the box. It’s fairly lightweight and plasticky, which isn’t a surprise, but at least has all the controls you need, and you’re unlikely to be using it all that often.
We spend a couple of days playing a range of content, from DVDs to 4K Blu-ray, black-and-white to HDR, and the word we keep coming back to when describing the HK2288’s presentation is ‘natural’.
In terms of aspects such as detail, depth and motion processing, this looks like a projector above the HK2288’s essentially entry-level pricing. It would be a stretch to say that Vivitek has altered the landscape of sub-£2000 projectors, but it hits all the right notes that enable us to sit back and enjoy a film, rather than pick at any obvious flaws.
There is certainly an upgrade in terms of colour palate with HDR switched on, with more vivid hues and greater contrast, but the Vivitek’s ability to paint its picture with realistic, natural tones isn’t altered with a change in the source material. While it doesn’t particularly wow us with deep blacks or vibrant bright lights, there’s never any sense of the HK2288 being washed out or playing it overly safe with muted colouring.
But the reason Vivitek loses out on a fifth star is due to its rivals, in this case Optoma’s Award-winning UHD40. That’s mainly because the latter does have that ability to wow with a more vibrant palate.
The Optoma UHD40 goes brighter and delivers greater detail in deeper blacks than the Vivitek – not enough to put the HK2288 to shame, but enough for it to be our pick if we had the choice. And while in terms of detail and motion the two are pretty much level pegging, that extra vivacity offers the picture greater depth and dimension, as much as making a scene pop.
Make no mistake, however: this Vivitek projector is a fine product for the money. It doesn’t quite possess the palate to become a new class leader, but we will freely admit we kept watching long after we’d decided upon our verdict.
Add to that the fact the Optoma is currently available for a few hundred pounds cheaper than this Vivitek, and it equates to the latter losing a star.
- Picture 4
- Features 5
- Build 5