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Vivitek H538W-3D review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £643
inc VAT

Works great for smaller rooms, but the H538W-3D lacks the features and image quality to take a place in your main home cinema setup


1,280×800 resolution, 3,200 ANSI lumens, 78x261x190mm, 1.9kg

As its name suggests, the H538W-3D can play 3D content from a compatible source. Although it doesn’t require an external transmitter, the projector doesn’t include any active shutter glasses in the box – you’ll need to buy them separately, at an additional expense. The projector supports any glasses which use the open DLP-link standard – such as the Optoma ZD201‘s, which are £51.

Vivitek H538W-3D top controls

Watching Avatar in 3D, we were impressed with the depth effects – we had to turn up the lamp brightness to compensate for the dark active shutter glasses, but colours were still surprisingly accurate. Like all active shutter glasses, we still struggled with flicker from overhead fluorescent lighting. If you don’t have any 3D content, you can also enable 2D-3D conversion using the remote control – we aren’t fans of the upscaling effect used by many TVs and projectors, but were surprised by how well the H538W-3D managed to separate 2D images into separate depth layers.

Although we liked the D538W-3D for its compact size and clear 2D picture quality, the lack of 1080p support is disappointing and it suffers from the DLP rainbow effect. Unless you’re desperate for 3D now, its 720p resolution might limit its appeal as a projector for the living room. However, we can see the appeal if you’re looking for something compact for the office or bedroom.

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Price £643
Rating ***


Projector technology DLP
Lamp brightness 3,200 ANSI lumens
Lamp life 3,000
Lamp life in economy mode 4,000
Contrast ratio 3,000:1


Native resolution 1,280×800
Max compressed resolution 1,600×1,200
Aspect ratio 16:10
Other aspect ratios 16:9, 4:3
Max diagonal at 7ft 52in
Throw ratio 1.52 to 1.76:1
Optical zoom 1.6x
Projection distance 0.8 to 7.6m
Mirror image yes
Invert image yes
Lens shift horizontal N/A
Lens shift vertical 30%
HD Ready yes
Special view modes Movie, PC, user


VGA input yes
DVI input No
Sound inputs 3.5mm, phono
Composite input yes
S-video input yes
HDMI input yes
Component input no
PAL support yes
SECAM support yes
NTSC support yes
Audio output none
Video output none
Others inputs/outputs RS232


Noise (in normal use) 31dB(A)
Size 78x261x190mm
Weight 1.9kg
Internal speakers yes (2W mono)
Extras remote, cables (AC power, VGA), carry case
Remote special features picture mode, colour temp, aspect ratio, lens shift, zoom, keystone, overscan, black level, freeze
Power consumption standby 0W
Power consumption on 228W


Lamp cost (inc VAT) £216
Lamp supplier
Lamp cost per hour of use £0.07
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy) £0.05

Buying Information

Price £643

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