Shining a Light: The Acer H6510BD Projector
The Acer H6510BD is a solid entry-level offering for those looking to watch Netflix on something other than a laptop screen
Why, in this day and age, would anyone want a projector? Never-ending slideshows of the family holiday are a tired joke from the 80s, and now, you say, we have big screens. Hi-def ones.
Well, you know as well as we do that your TV’s gathering dust while you binge on Netflix and get stuck on YouTube spirals of shame. When you want multiple input sources – laptop one day, games console the next – and to watch your media in gigantic hi res, turns out there is actually a place for the good ol’ projector in the 21st century. That is, as long as you have a nice place to put it opposite a blank wall, and a decent sound setup, which means you’d need to stop listening to films on your TV speakers, you animal.
The Acer H6510BD is a full-HD 1080p resolution single-chip DLP projector, with 3D capability when paired with DLP-Link 3D glasses. It’s an entry-level model aimed at those looking to start up a home theatre or projected gaming experience, and overall, it’s a good experience for this price range, with the picture a few steps up in both size and quality from screens at the same price.
In terms of picture quality, the Acer’s contrast is at its best in a fully dark room, but it is capable of still casting a very watchable image with some light (useful if you’re eating something complicated). The border of the keystone is not fully black, which isn’t particularly noticeable to some people, but others might find it distracting. The colour is bright and true, and even worked on a slightly off-white wall without noticeable discolouration. The 3000 lumens provide more than ample brightness, to the point that highly lit scenes could even do with some dimming. Some people might notice rainbow artefacts in scenes with white light.
It’s not the most cumbersome model on the market, but at 2.2kg, it’s also not the sleekest. It wouldn’t break your back to move it to a new room or house, but you might not be happy to lug to a friend’s flat for a film evening. The handy carry case could sweeten the deal.
Unfortunately, the Acer isn't the quietest of gadgets, so if you’re the type to notice a droning tone under the film soundtrack, it might not be for you. That said, the noise is even and not particularly distracting. It also pumps out a fair bit of heat, so it might not be the best idea for an enclosed space.
Connectivity options include VGA, HDMI and USB. It’s marketed as being compatible with Mac and PC, but is also, happily, compatible with common Linux distros out of the box. Installation is laughably easy: from opening the box, it took a mere five minutes to finish the set-up, including focusing, angle, and keystone adjustment. Small adjustable legs make angle adjustment a doddle, while focusing is also a very simple matter. It isn’t a short-throw model, so it does require some distance from the wall. This also means that zoom and focus are limited, so placement could be tricky for some furniture configurations.
If you’re a home theatre snob looking to upgrade to the perfect finish, the Acer probably isn’t for you, but if you’re interested in the idea of home cinema, it’s an excellent budget option to start out with.