Vamvo L6200 projector hands-on: Value projector with some setbacks
There is no shortage of low-cost projectors on sites like Amazon or AliExpress. Many of these budget-oriented devices offer similar specifications: a 1920x1080 resolution, built-in speakers, and bright LEDs. Which one should you pick?
Vamvo is a projector manufacturer gunning for this market segment. The company sent me the L6200, one of their more popular models, for review. I've used the L6200 over the past month. How does it stack up against its many competitors? I give my thoughts below.
The Vamvo L6200's design is rudimentary. It's a little larger (31 x 24 x 11 cm, or 12.2 x 9.4 x 2.3 inches) than most similarly priced projectors, but its bigger footprint allows for a healthy amount of I/O (2x HDMI 1.4, 2x USB 2.0 [1 w/ 5V power], 1x VGA, 1x 3.5 mm audio, 1x composite video, 1x microSD card slot) and good ventilation.
There are capacitive buttons along the front of the top side for navigating menus, though media controls are noticeably absent. The included remote must be used to pause the video, adjust volume, etc.
Aesthetically, the L6200 is rather plain and unassuming. Its simple matte gray plastic doesn't attract much attention. It will blend into either a home theater setup or a boardroom.
There is a small pop-out foot that extends 4 cm (1.6 in) underneath the lens to angle the projector. This foot is small and somewhat unstable, but it elevates the projector well enough (so long as the main surface is stable).
Overall, the L6200's design is subdued, if unremarkable. It's a simple-looking projector.
Software, Features, and Media Experience
Unlike the compact smart projectors I've recently reviewed, the L6200 has very simple software. There is a basic menu for changing inputs, playing media on a connected device, and adjusting projector settings (like flipping the projected image when the device is mounted upside down). The L6200 isn't able to play media by itself and requires a connected device.
That said, the menu is simple to navigate and settings are intuitive. Inputs switch quickly without any fuss. Users must manually focus the projector via a slider on the lens. Keystone correction must also be done manually via a knob on the back. The L6200 can keystone correct images up to +/-50º vertically. Horizontal keystone correction is not possible.
The image quality is fairly good, especially considering the price. Vamvo claims the L6200 can hit 5000 lumens at its peak. In my experience, the image is very bright. It cannot be seen in direct sunlight (e.g., outdoors at noon), but the LED light shines bright enough to project a clear image indoors. Images should be fully visible on a dedicated projector screen in an office or home theater, but big windows may cause some readability issues during the day.
Vamvo says the L6200's contrast ratio is 8000:1, but I find that hard to believe. The contrast is low and creates blurry images. I don't notice any blocky artifacts in dark movie scenes, but blacks are more akin to dark gray and the image looks somewhat washed out. Anecdotally, I'd say the contrast is on par with lower-end LCD monitors. It's certainly usable, but those that want excellent picture quality will be sorely disappointed.
Speaking of disappointment, the included 5 Watt stereo speakers are terrible. The sound profile is very thin; bass is absent, and the overall curve leans heavily into highs while clipping mids. The speakers are on par with my smartphone's (iPhone 8), which gives you an idea of how weak the projector's built-in sound is. Thankfully there is a 3.5 mm audio jack for hooking up external speakers, which is highly recommended. Sadly, this is the only dedicated audio output; there are no optical jack or dedicated speaker hookups.
The built-in fan is fairly quiet but constantly runs. It falls underneath the built-in speakers, but those sitting next to the projector will hear it. There is no battery, so the L6200 must be plugged into an outlet to power on.
The Vamvo L6200 is a basic projector offered at a basic price. Considering the L6200 retails on Amazon for US$120, it does its job fairly well. It's a no-frills projector designed for basic home theaters or business settings. While it includes some nice features (like the built-in speakers), they tend to fall flat in execution.
That said, the L6200 is a good option if you're looking for a cheap Full-HD projector. It's best suited to non-media environments (e.g., business presentations, churches, etc.). It excels with still images and simple presentations, and at $120, it presents a good value. Unfortunately, it doesn't do much to set itself apart from other low-cost projectors in the market.
Disclaimer: The author of this review received the Vamvo L6200 projector free of charge for the purpose of testing.