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VApex 120" Tensioned Electric Projector Screen Review

by November 09, 2011
VApex 120" Tensioned Electric Projector Screen

VApex 120" Tensioned Electric Projector Screen

  • Product Name: VApex 120" Tensioned Electric Projector Screen
  • Manufacturer: Visual Apex
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: November 09, 2011 11:00
  • MSRP: $ 699-$899
  • Buy Now
  • Screen material: 1.1 gain CinemaWhite
  • Format: 16:9
  • Case Material: Black aluminum
  • Remote: RF w/laser pointer
  • RS485 (RS232C-compatible) control
  • Size: 120" diagonal
  • Viewable size: 104" x 59"
  • Includes: Block & stud wall mounting hardware

Pros

  • Super easy to install
  • RF remote w/laser pointer
  • 12V wireless trigger included!
  • Quiet operation
  • 18" black drop
  • 3-way wall switch included
  • Removable power cable
  • Vertical limit setting

Cons

  • None at this price

Introduction

We've long taken the stance that the biggest screen you can get for your hard-earned money is a front projection system. Where it gets dicey is when you factor in the cost of a decent quality screen. If you want a tab-tensioned model on top of that, you're looking at even more and the cost benefits become less and less obvious. Visual Apex' new VApex screens (Visual Apex = VApex, get it?) are moving towards eliminating everything we know about what a projector screen should cost. The VApex line comes in three lines: Fixed Frame, Standard Electric, and Tensioned Electric. For this review we checked out the Tensioned Electric in their largest size: 120" diagonal. To say we were "stunned" by what we got for the money would be an understatement.

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About the author:

Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Blue Dude posts on January 03, 2015 11:08
Followup, two years later. The screen is still installed and working well. I did end up dismounting the screen after several months to keep the eye brackets from buzzing, by removing the brackets entirely. This took a few minutes, but the dismount and remount was again a 2 person job, so I wish I had done it in the first place. No more noise after the brackets were removed.

The extension limit has been rock steady. I adjusted it only once, and that was because I changed the room configuration slightly and needed more drop, not because the limit had drifted. The picture stays perfectly centered every time.

The wireless trigger doesn't eat batteries, but you can expect to replace the oddball coin battery once a year.

So far, the screen hasn't needed cleaning, so I still can't comment on durability after cleaning. I've dusted it off a time or two, but not scrubbed. The tension is still good.

It's holding up fine, no performance or quality issues at all.
Blue Dude posts on December 06, 2012 10:26
I'm going to answer my own post. I installed one in my light-controlled man-cave and I'm entirely happy with it. I did a ceiling installation, with the brackets carefully measured from the wall to drop the screen in front of a wall mounted plasma. Once the brackets were attached to the ceiling, the screen mounted easily to hooks on the vertical section of the bracket (this is the only step that needs two people). Once the screen was on the brackets I could bump it laterally to center it on the wall, then tighten screws to keep it in place. The case is black aluminum and has a subdued, professional look. An in-ceiling mount would have been overkill.

There are sliding eye brackets on the top of the case in order to mount to hooks. They fold flat inside their tracks when not in use. One thing I wish I had done before mounting would be to secure the eye brackets with putty or tape because they buzz at certain frequencies with a really loud sub woofer sweep. I haven't heard them resonate with program material though so it's not a priority to pull the whole thing down to fix this anytime soon.

The power cord is plenty long, and I ran it down some trim to a nearby outlet. I used the remote to extend the screen and the included tool in an iterative process to set the extension limit. The limit seems to be solidly set. I haven't seen it drift in the month or so in use.

I installed the wireless trigger to the projector to extend the screen automatically. I did have some issues with it at first, working only intermittently, but a battery change in the trigger fixed it. The battery is an odd coin type, larger than the ubiquitous CR2032's. Radio Shack had replacements. The remote is packed away.

The screen itself didn't need tension adjustments - it was wrinkle free right out of the case. The surface is a clean white with no reflective coating and it appears to clean easily. The border is black paint, not velvet. However, from the seating position I can't discern any overscan reflected from the border even with a full white screen.

Bottom line: it just works. I turn on the projector and the screen appears. I turn it off and it goes away. In between it provides a good looking surface to play movies on. All this for less than $1000 shipped.
Blue Dude posts on September 29, 2012 10:34
Does anyone have significant experience with this product? I'd like to hear from someone who has lived with it for a while. I'm thinking of installing one in my light-controlled man-cave.
Savage40 posts on January 30, 2012 14:15
I just ordered this screen last week and should receive it by Wednesday. Can't wait to try it out with my new Epson 6010.
Savage40 posts on January 24, 2012 08:13
audiofox, post: 858971
Sorry-the screen sat in its box in my garage for almost a month before I found time to install it (plus take down the old screen and find a place to store it). The screen is great-very easy to mount, works right out of the box, nice display. Only three minor complaints- (1) VisualApex does not currently have the details for the RS-232 interface (which I want to use), but they are working on getting the info from their supplier, (2) screen dimensions are slightly different than true 16x9-the height of the display area is about 1/2“ too long, which I decided I could live with and (3) there was a noticeable ”vinyl“ smell that lingered for a week or so after the screen went up (but is now completely gone). Other than that, the screen is perfect for my needs-no waves or wrinkles, just the right amount of gain for my needs (I have been able to watch a lot of sports during the day and evening without my blackout shades drawn), deployment and rollup smooth, motor not too noisy (wasn't a big factor either way for me anyway), RF remote and manual switch work perfectly (but have not tried the wireless trigger). My projector (a JVC HD250) does not have a 12v trigger out, which is the reason for my interest in the RS-232 function, but just using the wireless remote is working fine for the present. Hope this helps.

BTW, it is in my ”man-cave, in the same room as my home office desk, so I have gotten a lot more use out of my projector/screen combo than before because of the convenience of the deployable screen, plus NFL playoffs in the background make the weekend work go much faster!

Thank you for your review, much appreciated!

I still haven't pulled the trigger on mine as I am waiting for my HT Seating to arrive so I can play around with the two rows of seating I will have and make sure the back row viewing is good and that I don't need to go with a smaller screen. 120" should be fine for my 8' ceilings, but I want to triple check. I used tape on the wall where the screen will go to outline the screen, just need my seats now!

as for the screen not being a true 16:9, that is a bit unsettling. How can they not accurately measure and set a well defined, industry standard measurement?
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