Acer H9500BD Home Theater Projector Review

How does the Acer H9500BD compare to other 1080p home theater projectors on the market?

Acer H9500BD vs. Panasonic AR100U

This comparison is taken from the Panasonic PT-AR100U review:

Now the fun begins. Both have 3D. This Acer H9500BD, is another DLP projector, but in many ways it exceeds the abilities of the two above. Pricing, once again, is a few hundred dollars more than the PT-AR100U. The Acer offers 3D, and unlike the two previous DLP’s above, this one has lens shift – both vertical and horizontal. The Acer can’t match the Panasonic’s zoom which is 2:1, but at 1.5:1 it’s got more range than most of the other DLP projectors at or under its price.

It also has a good dynamic iris, very nice black level performance, which I consider to best than the PT-AR100U’s.

Based on our original review, and the lack of a full set of grayscale calibration controls, we found this projector a touch thin on reds… The out of the box color is actually rather good, but couldn’t be improved much. We later took a second look, after a reader suggested another way of tackling a the problem (using the wall color feature), not what one would think of, but it gives you another alternative, that’s a touch warmer.

Bottom line, the Panasonic calibrated is more accurate, but the H9500DB should be enough to satisfy those looking for a great projector for the money, but can forgive a little color accuracy imperfection.

As to brightness, actually the Acer calibrates better with Brilliant Color on than off, but with the usual touch of “over the top”. It does that with about 1100 lumens though, putting it right up there with the Panasonic. Turn off BC and you have only 500 lumens.

You’ve got tough choice, between these two, if you aren’t interested in 3D. Like DLP over LCD, you’ll almost certainly choose the Acer unless you need every last lumen. Mind you, the Panasonic still has a good deal lot more brightness, which would be great if it also had 3D.

Overall, the Panasonic can handle a larger screen, or brighter ambient levels, but many will prefer the Acer for its better blacks and what I like to call a bit more “pop” to the image.

Acer H9500BD vs. Mitsubishi HC4000

The Acer H9500BD home theater projector compares extremely well against the Mitsubishi HC4000 projector.  The Mitsubishi is an older projector with better native black level performance, however it just can’t compete with the Acer because of the Acer’s dynamic iris.  Ultimately the Acer provides blacker blacks.  The Acer also has more placement flexibility. Both have a zoom lens, however the Acer offers you vertical and horizontal lens shift, a rare feature in the under $2,000.00 range.  And of course the Acer projector is 3D capable but the Mitsubishi is a 2D projector.  The Mitsubishi HC4000, however, is not without its own strengths.  It has the advantage over the Acer in terms of image sharpness. I find its lens to be a little bit better.  Another area where the Mitsubishi exceeds the H9500BD is color accuracy.  The Acer isn’t bad, but does not calibrate flawlessly.  The Mitsubishi has a full color management system so you can get more precise colors.  That said, the Acer is a relatively inexpensive projector selling under $1,500.00.  Most owners will tend not to be perfectionists demanding flawless color. Most will also not have perfect rooms. Therefore consider the Acer 9500BD to be a great choice despite the slight weakness in color.  Between these two projectors, most people will probably lean towards the Acer for its extra features including the 3D, the brightness, and so on.  You however, need to make the choice for your taste and your environment

Acer H9500BD vs. Epson Home Cinema 8350

Here again we are looking at the Acer H9500BD taking on another 2D only projector.  This time it’s Epson’s Home Cinema 8350, which they claim to be their best selling home theater projector and a projector that’s in its second year.  The Acer can’t quite match the Epson’s placement flexibility as the Epson has a 2.1 to 1 zoom lens (which is a lot more range). Both have lens shift, but ultimately, both have very good placement flexibility. However, the Epson has great placement flexibility.  Picture wise, the Epson’s very solid, calibrates really well, and produces very good color and a lot of “pop and wow”. That said, the Acer is every bit as bright, offers the addition of 3D capabilities and as a DLP projector, and it too, has a dynamic picture.  Warranty is one place the Epson wins. Its two-year warranty includes two years of replacement program. The only way you can really improve upon that is to have three years of the same.  Not that there’s anything wrong with Acer’s warranty, which is fairly typical for the price range.  The Acer seems to be the noisier of the two projectors from a standpoint of fan noise but again it’s a very bright projector and in most cases you won’t need all those lumens except when doing 3D.  This means you can run the projector in eco mode (low-power mode), and knock the audible noise way down.  Despite the slight color issues with the Acer, due to its lack of a really full color management system and the fact that the Epson does it a little bit better, the H9500BD still has tremendous appeal for enthusiasts, especially due to the superior black level performance.  It’s a tough choice between these two projectors! Figure out which one will work best in your room, consider whether you really want 3D or need 3D, and it’ll all come to you

Acer H9500BD vs. Home Cinema 3010 and Home Cinema 3010e

This time we’re comparing two 3D projectors.  The Epson does have the better warranty. It costs several hundred dollars more for the Home Cinema 3010, the Home Cinema 3010e is several hundred more still, but includes wireless HD which can save you money when installing.  Black level performance is all Acer especially true since when you go to 3D. The Epson does not let you use its dynamic iris or other dynamic features. DLPs just don’t seem to be as bright doing 3D as other technologies despite similar brightness ratings.  In this case that means the Acer does not come across anywhere near as bright in 3D as the Epson, however, the Acer is still one of the brighter 3D capable projectors out there.  I wouldn’t worry about the Acer too much, if it doesn’t have the lumens for 3D the Epson is probably the only other game in town without spending twice the price. Warranty and support go to the Epson.  When it comes to fan noise neither projector is particularly quiet. Running in low-power mode is desirable for both if you happen to be overly sensitive to audible noise.  Mostly I find these projectors fine unless there’s no sound at all, but others are pickier.  This is a really tough competition between the Acer 9500BD and Epson Home Cinema 3010, I personally tend to lean to the Acer myself due to the black levels, but overall the two products are very comparable. That is why both of them picked up top honors in this year’s awards.

Acer H9500BD vs. Optoma HD33

I will keep this one short.  The Optima HD33 was the first under $2,000.00 3D capable projector we reviewed.  It blew us away at the time, however others have arrived since then that are brighter, have more features. The Acer is one of those. It is both brighter and it does have more features especially when it comes to placement flexibility.  Ultimately the Optoma is the more refined projector as it can produce more accurate colors with calibration thanks to its color management system. It just puts a more perfect picture out there I would say. Against that slight picture advantage, the Acer has a lot going for it. Most notably, the much better black levels than even the HD3. Regarding brightness, there’s not enough difference between these two to make a real decision. However one other area of importance is the lack of lens shift on the Optoma HD33.  This simply means that more people will be able to use the Acer in their room.  The Acer in this case offers a lot more bang for similar bucks, not quite as refined, a little rough around the edges by comparison but it does really beat out the Optoma in a couple of key areas, especially black levels.  Tough choice once again, but were it mine, I’d probably go with the Acer.

Acer H9500BD vs. Optoma HD20, Viewsonic Pro8200, Vivitek H1080fd

Basically I’m lumping all the lower cost 2D projectors together here for a quick comparison to the Acer.  Not one of those other projectors can match the Acer’s excellent black level performance.  Of all those projectors, not one can match the placement flexibility again, of the Acer.  And that’s due to the lack of lens shift on all of these projectors.  It comes down to this: Most of those are lower cost under $1,000.00 projectors so they’re definitely $200, $300, $400 less but they are 2D only. They cannot match the black level performance, none of them are really brighter than the Acer, and some of them do have a built-in speaker which can be nice if you’re really not mounting your projector, but rather moving it from room to room and maybe taking it out back to run a movie for the kids.  These are just some things to factor into your decision.  I just wanted to say however, if the budget is there whether or not you really need 3D, the Acer is pretty much a better overall solution than most of these other guys.  If you do want 3D, of course there’s no comparison.

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