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Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman
Very compact and portable
Carrying case fits everything you need
Good cooling design with quiet fan
Vertical angle adjustment is manual and not very high
No feet adjustment to level the projector
Not very bright
Terrible built-in speakers
The Vankyo Leisure 3 is a very compact and portable projector with Full HD 1080p resolution. The projection is not that bright, so it may not be suitable for a conference room or spaces with too much ambient light.
The Vankyo Leisure 3 is a budget-priced mini projector that’s super compact, designed for someone who wants to be able to move their projector around on a whim or take it with them to events. The Leisure 3 even comes with its own carrying case for better portability. We spent hours testing out this projector’s design, setup process, image and audio quality, features, and overall performance. Let’s take a closer look.
The Vankyo Leisure 3 is nothing special to look at. While there were certain design features we appreciated, we couldn’t help but think that the projector felt and looked like a cheap toy.
At 12.24 x 9.43 x 4.63 inches and only 2.4 pounds, the Vankyo Leisure 3 is surprisingly tiny. The lens is covered by a rubber cap, and the focus, keystone, and hardware control buttons are located on top of the case. When adjusting the focus, we noticed that the lens was wobbly and did not fit tightly in the case.
On one side of the projector is the power cord input. At only four feet, the power cord is annoyingly short and we had to get an extension cord to use the projector. On the opposite side are several connectivity options, including VGA, USB, HDMI, an SD card, the 3.5mm AV port, and the 3.5mm headphone output.
We couldn’t help but think that the projector felt and looked like a cheap toy.
The projector has a pretty decent fan design and runs cooler and quieter than expected. The speaker is located on the back, but it’s very small and not very powerful. We generally don’t expect much when it comes to built-in sound on a projector, but we found the Vankyo Leisure 3’s speaker to be basically useless (more on that later).
On the bottom is a thumbscrew-style kickstand to adjust the vertical angle. There are no side-to-side leveling adjustments and the feet are glued-on, non-slip rubber pads, so you’ll want to make sure you have a level surface to set it on.
We also liked the carrying case that came with the projector—it fits everything inside including the cables and remote without having to stuff anything in. It has what feels like a strong zipper and a sturdy fabric handle.
We found the setup process for the Vankyo Leisure 3 simple and quick. We plugged it in, turned it on, and tested out the VGA and HDMI connections with our laptop. We pressed the auto-detect button and our computer screen came right up on the projection surface. The SD card and USB connections were quick to establish in the same way—just plug into the port and the projector will recognize your device.
You can adjust the kickstand on the bottom of the projector to raise the image higher on our projection surface and easily use the keystone to adjust the image. We didn’t have any problem finding the right setting for the keystone, but the focus was a little trickier—the lens fit so loosely and was so wobbly that it took a bit longer to get the focus we wanted.
Our first thought was, “There’s no way this thing is going to project a quality image,” because it looks like a toy. Surprisingly, the projection was nice and clear with decent color and contrast. The bulb is not very bright, though, and the only way to get a decent projection is in a very dark room. We weren’t really satisfied until we closed the blackout curtains and had very little ambient light around us.
Surprisingly, the projection was nice and clear with decent color and contrast.
Unless you’re able to get that same level of darkness, you’ll find yourself frustrated with the image quality. In general, we would say this projector is not suitable for business situations—the ambient light needed for meeting attendees to take notes and read supplemental materials would be too much. The Vankyo Leisure 3, true to its name, is more suited to watching TV shows and movies at home.
Don’t expect much when it comes to the two 2W built-in speakers. We found them basically useless. They are thin, tinny, harsh and they blend in with the fan noise.
Luckily the projector has a headphone port that acts as an audio output, and you can hook your projector up to your stereo system with a 3.5mm cable. Audio quality through the port sounded good but ultimately we opted to connect a laptop to a portable Bluetooth speaker and use that as our audio source instead.
The Vankyo Leisure 3 runs custom software with all the usual options. It’s easy to understand and navigate via the remote or the hardware buttons on the chassis. It includes adjustment options for things like contrast, brightness, and luminosity—the same types of settings you may be familiar with from your TV or computer monitor.
Presets like “cinema mode” look okay, but we almost always prefer to set our own custom preferences. Every room and media source is different and we think minor adjustments to the settings can make a big difference when it comes to the quality of your projected image. The Vankyo Leisure 3’s software is very basic but it gets the job done.
The Vankyo Leisure 3 is very affordable and usually sells in the $70 to $100 range. There are a lot of other projectors in the same price range, but not from familiar brand names. The Vankyo Leisure 3 is a good value for its level of quality and a very popular option, mostly because it is so affordable.
Projectors in this price range are definitely for budget home entertainment systems or for occasional use as a novelty (like projecting a movie at a party). Cheap projectors sacrifice brightness, image quality, contrast, and projection size to get their prices so low.
Projectors in this price range are definitely for budget home entertainment systems or for occasional use as a novelty.
If you think ambient light is going to be a problem or want a brighter image, look for something that is 3,200 lumens or brighter. They are a little more expensive but the brightness makes a big difference.
Vankyo has a pretty good reputation in the projector market and they have several more options for just a little bit more than the Vankyo Leisure 3. One of those options is the Vankyo Leisure 420, which is in the same price range. It may cost you $20 more than the Leisure 3, but it’s a decent upgrade that larger but it’s still very portable and includes all the same connectivity options.
Besides the form factor, the major difference is that the Vankyo Leisure 420 provides 3200 lumens of brightness as opposed to the Leisure 3’s 2400. The extra brightness means a lot more clarity, better colors, and better contrast. At 40-140 inches, it has a narrower viewing size, but not by much.
We think the Leisure 3 is the winner here, unless the super compact size of the Leisure 3 is a major selling point for you.
A decent budget buy—if it’s for the right space.
Despite its toy-like construction, the Vankyo Leisure 3 is a decent projector from a respected brand. It’s an incredibly popular option, and as long as you know what you are buying, it can be a lot of fun to use. Just plan to use it in a very dark room, and don’t expect the most nuanced adjustment capabilities.