Vankyo Leisure 530W review: “Not without fault, but an impressive budget projector”

The Vankyo Leisure 530W Vankyo is the latest offering from the projector manufacturer that has long been one of the key names in offering budget-yet-good big picture givers. This one offers an aggressive price point, as well as solid LCD projection and a compact design. But what can a budget projector offer in 2021? And could it be the best projector for those needing an inexpensive unit?

Design & Features

The design of the Leisure 530W is striking, smooth, and compact; smaller than most home projectors, bigger than truly portable projectors or outdoor projectors but a size you could easily pop in a bag to take elsewhere. It’s made of hardwearing plastic with a useful amount of top-mounted controls, and a lightweight remote (without backlight).

The 530W is well connected with two HDMI ports (many smaller projectors reduce this to one which can be annoying), a USB port that can house a streaming stick, and an SD card slot. On this unit, I regularly encountered an issue of switching to an HDMI input and the unit telling me there was “weak or no signal”. This was always solved by removing and reinserting the HDMI input so I initially thought it may have been that I’d just not connected the cable correctly – but I later had this when restarting the unit having not touched the cables when it had run fine before. A Google for this issue and projector hasn’t turned up mentions in other reviews, from customers or publications, so it may just be a fault within the individual unit, but it did cause a little concern.

Vankyo Leisure 530W

(Image credit: Future)

It has two three-watt speakers, smaller than most projectors which work from twin five-watt speakers, which perform pretty well. But as usual with projectors, it really does benefit from being plugged into an external sound system. 

A big plus point is the included screen which is a 100-inch diagonal screen with 1.0 gain. It’s not going to be at the top of best projector screen lists, but absolutely does the job for casual viewing. Included are hooks for hanging it up, handy for if you’re planning on occasional use and don’t want to have it up all the time.

Performance

The image quality is generally very decent, showing how far LCD tech has come in the last few years to give a good full HD picture at a very affordable price. It did struggle under direct sunlight, though on cloudier days the picture was watchable even with ambient light. There were some points where the image was almost too sharp, meaning you could see the outline of objects a bit too much.

Vankyo Leisure 530W

(Image credit: Future)

The colour controls need regular changing. At first viewing, the green of a football pitch looked sickly and artificial on default setting. Later, when later switching over to a cartoon, the colour palette was oversaturated and needed more changes. You can get a decent picture with the controls but it does take a while with a slow and fiddly menu slider each time. With many projectors, you can find a decent setting for each purpose while flicking through the presets, but I found the pre-loaded, un-editable picture profiles poor and had to use the customisation to get the most out of the unit’s offerings.

Input lag has been measured at decently under 50ms, making it fine for casual gaming and you’d need to be quite nit-picky to really notice any delay. A frantic game of Mario Kart 8 was absolutely fine on it, with no noticeable lag so it’ll give a good go at being some folks’ best projector for PS5 or Xbox Series X.

While the 530W is called wireless, it has only limited cable-free connectivity. There are no inbuilt apps, so watching without physical connections relies on screen mirroring with a device connected to the same wifi network. And unfortunately, a number of apps such as Netflix Amazon Prime appear to block mirroring through this on iOS. Do check out app compatibility before you commit if this is how you’d prefer to watch, particularly from Apple devices.

Vankyo Leisure 530W

(Image credit: Future)

Overall – should you buy it?

Ultimately, if you’re looking for a no-frills, low-cost projector for occasional use then the Vanko 530W is fine; not without fault, but an impressive budget projector. You do get what you pay for with projectors, and there are problems with the unit, but once you’ve got it set up there is a good picture that belays the low price. Providing a serviceable screen and HDMI cable shows how well this is geared towards the budget-conscious. Its faults will be a hindrance to some, but when you remember the price it’s impressive that projector tech has got to the point where a unit giving this picture (once you’ve made the necessary tweaks) is barely over $200/£200.

If you are on the hunt for an outdoor projector, then remember one of the best outdoor projector screens in time fo the summer to ensure you’re well set.

The Verdict

3

3 out of 5

VANKYO 1080p Mini Wireless Leisure 530W Projector

A good budget projector for casual viewing, but with practical issues and poor colour presets.

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