Acer PH530 Home Theater Projector Review

Acer PH530 Home Theater Projector: Physical Tour

OK, let’s start facing the front of the Acer PH530. The manual zoom lens is offset to the left side. It has a 1.2:1 zoom ratio. To focus, turn the trim ring around the lens. The zoom adjust is a slide bar located on the top of the PH530, just behind the lens. Also on the front, is an infra-red sensor for the Acer remote control. At the bottom of the front, near the center, is a bar for dropping the center front foot. There is exhaust venting on the front right.

Moving to the top of the PH530, as I have already noted, is the slide bar for zooming in and out. If you move the slidebar to adjust, plan on having to refocus the projector. This is simply less than great build quality, and quite honestly, is fairly common on lower cost projectors – both for home and business.

Looking at the top from the rear, you’ll find the control panel toward the back left. The layout is a good one. There is the traditonal power button (once for on, twice for off), a source select button and resync. The rest of the control panel consists of the Menu button in the center, and the four arrow keys. There are also two indicator lights, labeled Temp and Lamp. The Power button lights up as well. OK, that takes us to the back of the PH530, which was a tad disappointing. With the latest generation of home theater projectors, almost everyone has two HDMI (or, less frequently, one HDMI and DVI) inputs. Not so, the PH530 with a single digital input. This is a negative if you lack an AV receiver with HDMI switching (or similarly, an HTPC). After all, ultimately, if not now, then soon, you’ll want a digital source for your hi-def DVD player and another for your cable/satellite feed. Yes, you can buy an outboard switchbox for $299 or so, complete with remote, but that sort of kills off the key feature of the PH530 – its low price. As to the rest of the inputs, there are the usual composite and S-video inputs, plus one component video input (three RCA jacks). There is also an HD15 connector for the classic computer input (analog). Lastly, there is a USB port. I should point out, that the Acer PH530 is one of the smallest and lightest home theater projectors out there, which may be important to some who plan to “take it with them” on vacations, etc. The remote control will be covered in the General Performance page. Time now, though, to consider image quality!

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