While the Vava projector might not have the brand recognition of rivals, including the popular Xiaomi Mijia and I still think the weird app store is a missed opportunity (and not sure how much I’d use the companion app) but there’s a lot to like here.
At 2,500, the Vava isn’t the brightest out there — the LG CineBeam offers 2,700 and the CinemaX P1 has 3,000 — but it’s bright enough for the screen size and the domestic setting according to many guides and my own experience.
And while in total daylight with blinds up/curtains open etc you won’t get the most popping image (an Ambient Light Rejecting screen will really help here, as detailed in our CinemaX P1 review) it’s still usable in my opinion.
That’s the first thing I learned after turning on the Vava 4K laser projector in my front room.
Vava, then, is making something of a value play here, which makes sense given that there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the company before (it also makes home camera systems, among other things).
Vava might not be a name you’ve heard of, but the company’s first attempt at a short-throw projector is a notable one.
The Vava 4K Projector UHD Ultra-Short Throw Laser Smart TV (to give it its full name) was launched on Indiegogo last year, but recently just launched in a new black colorway.
Vava explained this away saying that most users prefer to connect a media player such as a Roku, but this does feel like a missed opportunity.
The brightness in conjunction with the 1500000:1 dynamic contrast ratio — the same as the CinemaX P1 — are bolstered with HDR10 support, though I found it hard to truly gauge how much impact the HDR was having compared to, say, a regular TV given that ambient light was affecting the image already.
Vava’s projector has three HDMI ports in total (one ARC enabled) meaning you can connect a variety of sources, along with a USB port so you can watch media you’ve pre-downloaded.
The room I had the Vava setup in meant the image was about 14 feet away from where I was seated, which according to most “optimal viewing distance” calculators is considered about right.
It’s hard to say if that’s just because of the sheer size of the image, or because it was better than they were expecting from a projector.
For context, on the high end, LG’s similarly-specced CineBeam short throw projector comes in at $5,700, and even the more affordable CinemaX P1 from Optima (which we liked) will cost almost $1,000 more for a comparable feature set.
But the most important things to know here are that Vava is using Texas Instruments’ 4K DLP technology (the same as many of its rivals) and offers up to 2500 ANSI Lumens and a 1,500,000:1 contrast ratio (3000:1 ANSI) — more on all this later.
It has slowly been gaining a dedicated fanbase and comes in at $2,800 — which makes it one of the more affordable 4K short-throw projector we’ve seen.
The Vava is about the size of an old VCR (if you remember those), and won’t look out of place perched where you normally keep your TV — as long as you have enough space to accommodate the 80-150-inch display it offers.
Testing this for a review is one thing, it’s a whole other thing when you’re about to lay down the best part of $3,000 and have a very different space.
Vava joins a growing number of UHD short-throw projectors that are becoming increasingly (and relatively) affordable.
It might not be the brightest projector, or conclusively best its rivals on contrast ratio, but it does perform well enough in these areas to make it worth considering.