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Vava Chroma short-throw projector review: Excellence at a price

For most people, a decent TV is the best way to get a bright, vibrant image in the living room. But if you’re building a serious home theater, you’ll probably need to take a different route. While there was once a time when projectors had to be kept at a distance, these days, short-throw projectors are all the rage. Vava, a relatively new company, has released the latest short-throw projector in the form of the new Vava Chroma.

The Vava Chroma isn’t cheap, but it’s also very high-tech. The projector offers a 4K resolution, Alexa voice control, and more. But it’s also relatively expensive. At almost $3000 for the Indiegogo special, or a hefty $4,699 when it launches to the public, should you get the Vava Chroma? I’ve been using it for a while now to find out.

Vava Chroma design

The Vava Chroma is sleek and stylish, and should look great in any living room or home theater. The projector is clearly made from premium materials too, and comes in a black brushed metal that looks modern, and seems relatively strong.

Vava Chroma Logo
Vava Chroma Logo Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The projector measures in at 21.25 inches wide, 14.88 inches deep, and 4.33 inches tall. It’s definitely not a small unit, but it should still fit on a small tablet or stand in front of your projector screen. On the sides, you’ll find metallic-looking grilles hiding the vents for air flow. On the front, there’s a fabric covering hiding the speakers, and on the top, there’s a depression where the projector’s lens is. It all looks great.

The back is where all the ports are. The projector offers a range of ports, and there should be enough for most home theater setups. You’ll get three HDMI ports, one of which supports HDMI ARC, a USB port, an audio output and A/V input, an optical port, and an Ethernet port for better connectivity. It’s a good selection.

Vava Chroma Lens
Vava Chroma Lens Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The remote that comes with the Vava Chroma is also well-built. It’s not very thick, and it’s very simple, offering only software controls and a microphone button for voice searches. Unfortunately, it’s powered by two AAA batteries, so it’s not rechargeable. But that’s not really a huge issue. A bigger issue is the fact that it doesn’t have a play/pause button which is a strange omission. You can use the center button to play and pause content, thankfully.

Vava Chroma features and software

The Vava Chroma is packed with features that should make it a great experience overall. We’ll get into the image and audio features a little later. It’s important to note that we were checking out a pre-production unit of the Chroma — and as a result, we ran into more bugs and issues than we would expect from the final result.

The projector doesn’t have Android TV built into it, but it does have an Android-based operating system that should make it a little easier to use. Generally, I found the software easy to navigate. I also found it to be incredibly responsive, reacting quickly to button presses and changes.

Vava Chroma Remote
Vava Chroma Remote Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Unfortunately, because it doesn’t run Android TV, it also doesn’t have the Google Play Store built in to it. Instead, it has its own app store, which is based on Aptoide. You’ll be able to find some of the most common apps on the service, including the likes of Netflix, YouTube, and Disney+. Some, however, are missing. You won’t get Apple TV+, for example. If you want a more comprehensive software experience, it’s worth using a streaming stick or other external box.

The Chroma offers other smart features though. You’ll get Alexa built right into the projector, and it can be used by holding the microphone button on the remote. That means you can use the projector for things like controlling smart home devices and finding information from the web, which is nice. Also, it supports

Vava Chroma performance

The Vava Chroma is built to offer an excellent image quality, and thankfully, it succeeds in this. The projector supports a screen of between 80 inches and 150 inches. Not only that, but the projector uses a triple laser light source, which allows it to use a different laser for red, green, and blue. All this tech means that the projector isn’t cheap — but for many, it may be worth the cost.

Vava Chroma Ports
Vava Chroma Ports Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The Chroma supports a number of image features that you may or may not use. For example, it supports Full HD 3D, which I never used during testing.

The projector supports HDR10, but no other formats of HDR. It would have been nice to get Dolby Vision support to match the Dolby Audio, but alas you’ll be stuck with HDR10 only.

Despite that, generally, images on the Vava Chroma look excellent. The Chroma delivers a bright, vibrant image with excellently deep black levels. Out of the box, the projector is a little saturated, but if you’re savvy enough, you can easily fix that yourself. If not, you probably don’t care.

The 2500-lumen ANSI brightness is fine for most, but in bright environments, you may struggle a little. Vava actually makes a special Ambient Light Rejecting screen, which can be bundled with the projector, and is built to reject light from windows and lights. The screen will need to be permanently installed on a wall, but if you’re building a home theater, that may not be a huge issue. Generally, it worked quite well.

Vava Chroma audio

The Vava Chroma comes with Harman Kardon 60W speakers built into it, which is far better than the majority of projectors out there. Not only that, but the projector supports Dolby Audio.

Generally, the speakers can get relatively loud, and in a pinch, they’ll relatively easily fill a small to medium room. Now, if you’re building a high-end home theater, it’s probably worth investing in a larger speaker system to match the picture quality.

Vava Chroma Speaker
Vava Chroma Speaker Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The speaker is generally able to deliver deep bass response, with slightly scooped mids, and good detail in the high-end. The high extension and bass extension aren’t quite as nice as you would get on a better sound system, but it’s definitely not bad.

The fans built into the projector are audible, but don’t distract from the viewing experience. You won’t really notice them when you’re watching movies or videos, as the sound is easily covered up by even relatively quiet audio.

Conclusions

The Vava Chroma is a beast of a projector. It’s not perfect — a slightly brighter image would have been nice, and a play/pause button on the remote would help. But those issues are relatively minor. Generally speaking, the Chroma boasts incredible image quality, solid audio, and more.

The competition

The Vava Chroma is great, but it’s not cheap. If you’re willing to drop this much on a short-throw projector, there are some other options to consider. For example, you’ll want to consider the Optoma CinemaX P2, which gets a little brighter. It doesn’t, however, support the triple laser tech on offer by the Chroma, so may not offer quite the high-end image quality. Depending on when and where you buy the Chroma, you may be able to get it cheaper too — which you should do over the CinemaX P2.

Should I buy the Vava Chroma?

Yes. The Vava Chroma is an incredible projector, and offers among the best image qualities in the business.




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