Acer H6500 - Review Summary
Time to try to put all the features, performance, flexibility, warranty, and other aspects of the Acer H6500 projector into perspective.
6/27/2012 - Art Feierman
Acer H6500 Projector - The Bottom Line
Overall, the performance of the H6500 seems very reasonable for its price. Up until now, however, there hasn't been a good place to talk about the "Elephant in the Room".
In this case I'm talking about the problem this Acer has with holding on to the signal. Now in my setup, I admit, I never lost the movie content, or HDTV content when I was just sitting around watching. That's a good thing. But, once I start playing with features and menus, all bets are off. With a number of projectors one time you expect to lose the picture for a second or two is when changing some modes. Actually the projector hasn't lost the signal, but the projector shuts down the image while implementing the different mode.
With the H6500, the tendency is to lose the signal completely. A blue screen (if that's how you have the background set) appears with a signal processing message. After a few seconds the picture comes back. That can happen two or three times just trying to scroll through the menu to the mode you want!
The problem is the Acer loses the signal a lot, even, often when making minor changes on the menus. And in addition, it often knocked me right out of the menus when the picture came back, wasting more time.
Now I like to play with controls - part of my job as a reviewer, I figure. As a result this flaw is going to drive me a lot crazier than someone who is simply going to turn it on and watch. Expect this to occur though at a minimum, whenever you change sources.
Let me say that this issue is one more reason why projector enthusiasts might be turned off by this projector. It would barely be an issue for a non-critical consumer (the average image quality mentality of an LCDTV owner). No offense intended.
Best I can tell, the biggest outlet for selling the H6500 in the US is the Best Buy chain. You really don't see online ads for the H6500, so I assume not too many other dealers besides Best Buy are being offered this projector, and I'm sure that's how Best Buy wants it.
Best Buy is probably a good fit. Again, no offense intended, but the average consumer shops there. The enthusiast, only if they have exactly what the enthusiast is looking for. I know. That's pretty much me.
OK, what we have here, in the form of the Acer H6500 is a nice little, but very bright 2D projector. It has acceptable color for most non-enthusiasts, and it can handle at least a little more ambient light or other room "flaws" than any of the most direct competition, and a lot more than the rest. You really do have to spend at least 1/3 more to find a projector brighter, and really, there's only one, without spending double the Acer's price.
The Acer works very nicely for sports viewing, though, like the other entry level competition, lacks any smooth motion (CFI) feature.
Don't expect to find CFI on any of the other low cost competition either. Even the more expensive Panasonic PT-AR100U lacks it (though it does offer simple frame interpolation, that's a different feature).
The image below from X-Men First Class is already cropped. It gives you a good taste of the Acer's color (User/movie mode), and sharpness. All considered, pretty impressive. And for your consideration, right below, the same image taken using the $2000+ BenQ W7000, another very bright, but far more expensive projector and one of our favorites. The Acer looks fine, but when you look at the W7000, as expected, the picture looks even better. Well, for about 2.5 times the price, you are entitled to more of everything.
Pretty good: H6500
Even Better: BenQ W7000 for more than 2x the price
The Very Bottom Line on the H6500 projector:
Here's how I might provide perspective on the H6500 projector. If this is you, the projector might be just right:
You are out at Best Buy, looking at $1000 ish 50" and 55" LCDTVs. Then the lightbulb goes off? "Why am I spending $1000+ on a 50 inch LCDTV, when for pretty much the same money I can buy an Acer H6500 and an inexpensive 100" or 110" screen." I've got the wall to hang the screen, and the room will work. I can buy the LCDTV, or for about the same money get a projector setup that's four times the size (or more).
It's really that simple. There's no way you can find a 65" diagonal 1080p LCDTV for anything near the cost of this Acer and a motorized screen (or a fixed wall screen for that matter). And the Acer will even control the motorized screen so that when you turn on the projector your screen rolls down and is ready to use. And even a 65" LCDTV looks downright tiny compared to a 100" screen. (think of how small a 37" LCD TV is compared to a 60"... Same idea!
Basically, you have a choice - if your room is not completely projector unfriendly, why not enjoy the big screen experience, instead of a cramped 50" LCDTV. Get immersed.
If that makes sense to you - and it should make sense to a lot of folks who may till now, have never seriously considered a projector.
Ultimately the Acer is a nice "little" projector. It has the basics one would expect in an entry level home projector. It's best in a family room / living room / spare bedroom / bonus room - where you have some lighting control, but it is bright enough to do a very good job in rooms with a decent amount of ambient light. My biggest complaints are the rough edges - the problem holding signal, and the lack of better color controls (and a bit too much fan noise).
Acer H6500 Projector: Pros and Cons
Above, image from Star Trek
Acer H6500 Projector: Pros
- About as bright (measured over 2100 lumens at max) as under $1000 home projectors get it can handle a good amount of ambient light
- Reasonably good color, right out of the box
- Presentation mode offers over 1700 lumens with reasonably good color
- Slightly better than average black levels for the price
- Lamp can be changed without unmounting the projector
- Geared for the tyical consumer, not the enthusiast
- Picture in Picture
- 2 HDMI inputs
- 1 12 volt screen triggers
- Easy to use, menus nicely designed
- Lightweight and portable
- From a performance standpoint a good value, it's the idiosyncrasies that are the issues
Image above, from Victoria Secret Fashion Show
Acer H6500 Projector: Cons
- Tendency to lose signal, during menu options changes, changing sources... - can be very annoying
- Lacks a full color managemetn system for fine tuning the color (there are some controls)
- Remote control is not backlit
- Lacks CFI for smooth motion (typical for entry level projectors)
- Fairly noisy. Not exceptionally so, especially for a DLP projector but it certainly could be quieter. Those who can, can switch to eco mode which still leaves plenty of brightness but muzzles the fan noise a good bit
- For a cross-over home entertainment projector - no sound
- Limited placement flexibility (1.2:1 zoom, no lens shift) but typicl of the price point
Captain Pike, from the Star Trek movie. (and above, from Victoria Secret) It just goes to show you, that you really can have some impressive skin tones on a low cost projector even without adjusting the color.
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