Acer H6500 Projector - Performance
6/28/2012 - Art Feierman
Below, we discuss the Acer H6500 projector's brightness in its best and brightest modes, with images showing relative brightness of the modes. We also look at sharpness, image and audible noise levels. Note, I performed these measurments, not Mike who does almost all home projectors for us. My meter seems to be about 5-6% more optimistic than Mike's (given, that's slight), so if you are really comparing, subtract about 5-6% from my numbers below to compensate. A five percent difference is something you likely wouldn't even notice if the drop was over a few seconds. On the other hand, I checked one other H6500 projector review out there, and those folks measured about 50 lumens higher than I did.
Acer H6500 Brightness
Before measuring the Acer H6500 projector I did only minor adjustments to the picture. We did not calibrate, or adjust color (other than color saturation) in any way. Using Movie as our basis (when you adjust a mode, it becomes User), we increased Brightness from 50 to 51, Contrast remained at 50, and Color Saturation was reduced to 45 (or 44).
OK, let's look at some numbers.
H6500 Lumen Output at 100 IRE (wide angle on zoom):
Most modes had essentially the same brightness, but the measurements varied by about a percent or two - normal error. Instead of having 5 modes all with different lumen counts that varied by less than 20 total, I listed them all at 1354 lumens. Onnly Bright, Presentation and Game measured different than the five... Game came up less bright. I do believe that is accurate, and not an error while measuring late one night. The modes sharing the same brightness seem to be essentially the same with variations in the default gamma and other differences. It would seem that any of those 5 modes are essentially interchangeable.
Bright mode, by far the brightest, does have a strong green component. (Interestingly, that's a characteristic more common to the brightest mode of 3LCD projectors, rather than DLP projectors.
Dark Cinema= 1354
Effect of zoom on lumen output:
Since the Acer H9500 has only a 1.2:1 zoom - that is, only a 20% difference in image size from wide angle to zoom, we measured at full wide angle for the brightest measurement. When the zoom is in telephoto, the furthest distance, the projector measures about 15 percent less bright. That, of course is true for any mode.
H6500 Eco-Mode vs. Full Power
True, dropping to eco-mode will make the lamp last longer - 6000 hours instead of 3500. And the projector runs quieter. When it comes to brightness, eco mode results in the H6500 projector being approximately 26.5% less bright. Our User mode still was an impressive 992 lumens.
Since this is both a very bright, and somewhat noisy (fan noise) projector at full power, many people will choose to run the Acer in Eco-mode.
Brightness drops almost exactly 25% going from full to Eco. For our testing, we considered Cinema1 mode, but all modes should have the same percentage drop.
Lumen Output (Eco Lamp, User): 992, vs. Full power (User): 1354
Acer H6500 Brilliant Color
Considering this as a family room projector, I did virtually all my viewing with Brilliant Color turned on. Turning it off will give you a touch more natural look, and also a bit more red to deal with. Brightness drops 38% with Brilliant Color off
User Mode, Brilliant Color
On: 1354 lumens
Off: 838 lumens
Combine eco-mode and Brilliant Color and your "best mode" will end up down around 620 lumens, a number that's rather typical for the best mode of most far more expensive projectors designed for dedicated home theaters - ie, most JVC and Sony projectors. The point is, on a smaller screen, at night, you can knock the brightness right down to typical theater brightness levels.
Acer H6500 Sharpness
This H6500 projector is plenty sharp for the price. Even though entry level DLP projectors aren't going to get outfitted with the superior optics found on many projectors 5 times the price, as single chip DLP projectors they have no convergence issues, which gives them a head up on more expensive 3LCD and LCoS projectors. I had no complaints, as edge to edge sharpness was pretty good, better than I expect from most entry level models. Even very small text is extremely readable (if you are close enough, as you can see here): What you are seeing in this image represents about 1/64th of the total screen area. Despite being 1080p, as you can see, this type is so small that each letter is only made up of about 8 pixels high (that means the screen has enough room for more than 100 lines of type at this size, from top to bottom!
For most people this next tidbit is a little off the beaten path, and that's 1:1 pixel mapping. When you have that, each data point has one pixel - no blending or smoothing... Ideally every projector should start out with it, in their native resolution. If you are up, or down scaling - you aren't using 1:1. If you engage keystone correction, overscan or a couple of other features, they too defeat the sharpness 1:1 offers.
Here's a closeup from the same test image showing that the alternating one pixel wide white and black vertical and horizontal lines, are clearly defined. Hence - good 1:1 pixel mapping!
Comparison images: We take a close up look at the Video icon from the Sony PS3. Below you can compare with 5 other projectors, a mix of DLP and LCD projectors.
Top left: Acer H6500 , Top Center - Acer H9500BD, Top right Mitubishi HC4000.
2nd row left: Panasonic PT-AR100U (3LCD), center: Optoma HD33, Right: Epson Home Cinema 8350 (3LCD)
Acer H6500: Bottom Line Sharpness
Like most other aspects of this projector, sharpness seems very reasonable for a low cost 1080p projector. For openers, in this price range you just aren't going to be getting top quality optics. There may be sharper looking projectors out there in this price range, but, it's been a while since we've had any below $999 1080p's tested, as many out there are well into their 2nd or 3rd year. If razor-sharp is your thing, this projector isn't likely to be your finalist. Still I had no real concern, and I not only watched movies and sports with it, but alos used it for a lot of internet surfing, and projecting work I was doing from my MacBook. Again, keep in mind this is an inexpensive 1080p projector - one of the very least expensive. Don't go expecting projectors like this to blow their budget on lens sharpness. At this price point there are tons of trade-offs. In most cases, a well balanced projector is preferred to one that is really, really good at a couple things, and truly mediocre to bad on others.
Overall, better than average sharpness for under $1000 projectors we've reviewed.
Oh My! Or OMG, or are you kidding? Strike 1, Strike 2...Wait! Good thing this is a family room type of projector and rarely destined for a dark theater with dark walls, floors, etc. Light up this Acer H6500, and it glows - a lot! Yes, the front left side has this not really dim orangish red (and purple), lamp "glow" coming out the vents. It's even more noticeable from that side of the projector.
It's very diffused, and is going to be less bright than the best black the Acer projector can do, so, it really isn't going to matter but a small amount in your family room, except as something to comment on. If there's any ambient light, that would almost certainly put more red (as well as other colors) on the screen than this vent will.
It's almost cool, if it weren't inherently undesireable. That is, unless you are buying this projector as a decoration or Christmas ornament.
Because of the class of projector most of you should not worry, but if you are a bit picky or will be putting the projector in a small room where people might be sitting fairly close and notice it, then definitely take this leakage into consideration.
Not bad, there's what I can only describe as about the typical amount of background noise associated with lower cost and small DLP projectors. That I almost exclusively used this projector with Brilliant Color on, tends to emphasize noise issues as the dynamic tricks of Brilliant Color make such things easier to notice or should I just say "make noise worse"?
Speaking of Brilliant Color: Here's what it does in terms of both overall brightness and image handling:
Without Brilliant Color engaged:
With Brilliant Color on:
As expected, with Brilliant Color engaged you have a bit more brightness on the brightest areas, and color transitions are unfortunately a bit more noticeable - the flattening of the number of colors in the flesh tone. Also note how the brightest part of her face has lost most of the skin color - almost white. Brilliant Color though, does deliver more overall "pop and wow". Generally it's "less perfect" but very desirable.
Most projectors have one or more noise filters, often with many settings. We rarely work with the noise filters, unless there's something that desperately calls for one.
An enthusiast putting one of these in a small home theater, no doubt would be yelling "fan noise" when in full power mode. Dark quiet theaters seem to amplify sounds. Well, any way you slice it, the Acer H6500 is not very quiet as home projectors go. On the bright side, it isn't unusually noisy relative to the competition, as most of the lower cost home entertainment projectors are DLP type projectors and those are typically a bit noisier than other types. Often LCD projectors are a good deal quieter (not always), but then, you just try to find a current model LCD home projector. As of this writing the typical price of the two lowest cost, best selling 1080p home projectors MAP (minimum advertised price), at $1099 and $1199 respectively.
This Acer should be in the 35 db range. It makes more noise than the Epson Home Cinema 5010, which I do believe is 32 db.