Acer X1261P Projector - Physical Tour
4-5-2011 - Art Feierman
Acer X1261P Appearance
The Acer X1261P is one of the smaller projectors considered in the report. Oh, there are far smaller projectors around, even without getting into pico projectors, but this Acer projector is certainly, "travel with it" small, and for that matter, lightweight at slightly under five pounds. It has a footprint about that of a sheet of letterhead, and is just under three inches tall, not counting the small feet.
The X1261P projector is basically a shiny black box. Only the flat silver trim around the lens, and the Acer logo, break up the black.
The lens itself is recessed, even if the barrel protrudes from the front, so you can focus the lens. The zoom control is located on the top about an inch back from the lens. Mind you this is as minimal as a zoom lens gets. The Acer has a 1.1:1 zoom. That means, whether portable or mounted, this projector is only going to offer about a half of foot of placement range, on a five foot diagonal, 4:3 screen.
The Acer X1261P vents hot air out the front. There is an infra-red sensor for the Acer remote control, on the front (and no, there is not a second one in the back, as is common on most projectors). On the bottom: A single front foot is screw thread adjustable. There are two screw thread adjustable rear feet. There you will also find the lamp door, and mounting threads for a ceiling mount. It looks like some mounts may allow you to change the lamp, without unmounting the projector, so, choosing the right mount is something worth paying attention to.
Back to the top. There is only a single indicator LED light on the top, and one button - Power (press once for on, twice for off). But there is a slot, right behind those two items, and into it, you can slide the small (but not credit card style) remote control. If you are portable, note that it doesn't lock into place, so keep an eye on it, if you like leaving it in the projector after you've set up for your presentation or class. If ceiling mounting the Acer X1261P, of course you would have the remote with you.
While this Acer has a lot going for it, massive quantities of inputs and connectors does not describe this projector. The X1261P projector has a single HD15 input (VGA connector) for analog computer, or component video. There's also a monitor out, as is expected in any projector for education, or for that matter anyone hooking one up to a desktop (so that the computer's monitor still functions).
The X1261P also has an S-Video, an RS-232 serial port a composite video input (RCA jack), and finally the obligatory audio input (a stereo mini connector). No HDMI or DVI, and only that one computer/component video input. If you want to feed this projector some hi-def video, and a computer signal (different times), the switching will be elsewhere, since there's only one available input. You might have a basic switch box to switch between a computer, and a Blu-ray player (for a standard DVD player, you could get by with S-video).
Acer X1261P Setup and Use: Control Panel and Menus
Let's look at the menus only. We'll describe the Acer remote control below. As noted above, the remote IS the control panel, so no point in describing it twice.
OK, when you press Menu, it will start you off with the Color Menu. Note that all the major menus are represented by icons down the right of the menu area.
The projector offers you multiple presets, which you can rotate through with the left and right arrow keys. Acer didn't put all those modes on a sub-menu, as some do. (We favor sub-menus, because those often allow you to select a different one, that's not next in order). Typically, projectors take a second or two to change each time you switch, so if you have to pass by 3 or 4 modes you can waste 10 seconds. Of course, that's not something you'll be doing often, regardless.
Acer, like many projectors, also offers modes to produce respectable color and contrst when projecting onto a colored wall, instead of a screen.
Acer provides a nice set of Red, Green, and Blue color controls along with a Color Temp adjustment.
The next menu is the Image menu, which handles positioning (front, rear, ceiling, table), aspect ratio, their Auto Keystone correction, and manual adjustments for the analog pc signal.
From my testing, you aren't likely to ever need those tracking adjustments, as the Acer did a fine job automatically on all 6 non-native resolutions I threw at it, between my MacBook and a PC.
Also of great note, are the 3D menu items found here, first is 3D On or Off, and the second let's you choose the 3D standard. The Acer X1261P supports Nvidia's standard, or you can select DLP 3D. You can leave on, or turn off, 3D warning messages.
The Settings menu is next, allowing placement of the On Screen menus, control of security features (password), and the ability to turn off the VGA output (monitor out) to save $$ and electricity if not used.
Next up is the Management menu, which offers first, Eco mode On / Off. There's also items including high altitude mode, lamp hours and reset, and the auto shutdown, if there's no active source.
Interestingly, the Acer has a Timer mode, that can be used counting up, or counting down. That makes the good for timing presentations, or parts thereof. Or when to take a break, or resume...your call.
Bottom line on Menus: Overall, the layout is pretty logical.
Navigation is pretty quick.
In our images type appears small. That said, even the smallest type size on menus is very readable from anywhere near the screen. No problem here. Understand that the actual size of each menu covers about 1/3 of the total screen area. That is to say, the menus themselves are extremely larger, so that type that appears pretty small in our photos, look great in the real world.
One real complaint: No Information menu, (which most projectors offer) that provides all your info - which source is in use, resolution, and perhaps up to 10 other items.
Acer X1261P Remote Control
The Acer remote control, as mentioned above, can be stored on the projector, where it would double as being the control panel. The remote itself is almost 3.5 inches long, and two inches wide. It is very thin, though not as thin as a "credit card" remote. Weight is insignificant.
I'm pretty sure my iPhone weighs more than 4 of these Acer X1261P projector remote controls.
Layout is upside down, compared to most remotes. The Menu button is at the top, surrounded by the navigation controls in a square rocker style configuration.
Below that are thre direct input buttons; VGA, Video, and S-Video. The next line has Resync (if a PC signal needs help), Zoom, which activates the 2:1 digital zoom.
The digital zoom works in increments of 20%: 1.0:1 (normal) 1.2:1, 1.4:1...2:1.
Once you have zoomed in, the navigation area allows you to scroll the image to the enlarged area you want to view.
Next comes Source, which is simply auto source, (in case you don't remember what you have turned on?)
The second last row offers Freeze (of the image) on the left, aspect ratio control in the center, and the image mute on the right.
Finally, on the bottom row, are the power button, and a direct button for engaging (or turning off), eco features, including lamp power, but also timer management...
And that covers the remote. I like it. It's small, and black, so can get lost easily, but it works so much better than most credit card remotes. Its range is good, and most of all, it works well in your hand, buttons have good spacing even considering the remote's size. Nicely done for a remote with a decent number of features, but not dozens of buttons.