Acer C200 Pico Projector Review – Travel-Sized and LED

The Acer C200 is a DLP projector with an LED light engine and small stature. This tiny pico projector weighs almost nothing and can be carried in a large pocket or small purse, and easily fit into your carry on for traveling. The C200 has a native resolution of 480p – that’s 854 x 480 pixels. This is standard definition, not HD – but it is just as good as what you can expect from a DVD, and the Acer is offered a fantastically low price. Such is the benefit of going with a lower resolution.

Acer C200 Specs
Price$199.99
TechnologyDLP
Native Resolution854x480
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)200
Contrast
Zoom Lens RatioFixed
Lens ShiftNo
Lamp Life20,000 Hours
Weight0.77
Warranty1 Year Parts and Labor
View Full Specifications Here >>

Overview

The Acer C200 claims 200 lumens. It did not meet its claim, but it came way closer to hitting it than the AAXA P300 Neo, which I measured at the same time. That one came in at less than half than its claim, so in that regard, I am more impressed with the Acer. More on that in the Performance section of this review.

The C200 has an LED light engine, as is typical of these tiny pico and pocket projectors. It boasts a light engine life of up to 30,000 hours – that gives you 8 hours a day, 365 days a year, for about 10 years, or 3.5 years of 24 hours per day use. I wouldn’t recommend that, however. The point is, you could accidentally leave this projector on overnight and it wouldn’t affect the lifespan of it dramatically.

The Acer C200 can project an image of up to 100” diagonal – this is quite large for a projector of this size. It’s not terribly bright, so I wouldn’t recommend it for those who have little control over the amount of ambient light in their viewing space. You’ll want to be able to block out most of the light coming in from your windows.

Acer C200 What's In The Box
The Acer C200 comes with the projector, a Quick Start Guide, Warranty Documentation, an HDMI cable, and the power block. That power block has interchangeable prongs so the projector can be used both in the United States and internationally, with the proper power piece.

If you’re planning on doing most of your movie and TV show viewing at night, then it will be plenty bright for you. I see this as a projector that would be suitable for travel or a child’s home theater – possibly even your college student’s dorm room if resolution isn’t much of a concern. Now, onto the Acer C200’s special features.

Highlights

  • 200 Lumens
  • $199.99 List Price
  • 480p Resolution (854 x 480)
  • LED Technology
  • Light engine life of up to 30,000 hours
  • 2000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • Up to 100” Diagonal Projection
  • On-Board Media Player
  • 4.5 Hour Battery Life

Special Features

I mentioned that the Acer C200 would be suitable for travel – that is due to its tiny footprint of  4.3” x 4.7” x 1.2” and 0.77 lbs. You’d barely notice it in your carry on or luggage. If you want to use this as a travel projector, I recommend getting yourself an NVIDIA Shield. That’s a streaming player and gaming system that is the size of a DVD case. It pairs nicely with the C200.

Among the most impressive features of this little projector is its on-board battery life of 4.5 hours. I just published my review of the AAXA P300 Neo, a 720p pico, and that projector has a battery life of 2.5 hours. I was impressed with that, since other models with built-in batteries only last 90 minutes or less. So score one major point for the Acer over that AAXA.

The Acer C200 can hook up to a smartphone via USB, but only Android. No iPhones, which is a bummer, but not unexpected. iPhones are so proprietary that you could hardly expect a $200 projector to accommodate such a thing. Oh well.

Hardware

The Acer C200 has a sleek design, with attractive black casing. It has a fixed, recessed lens positioned on the far right side of the projector’s front. On the right side, a focus wheel. To say that the focus wheel is irritating would be an understatement. It is difficult to get right, as just when you think you’ve got it, one miniscule movement can throw the whole thing out of focus. Once you do get it, though, it’ll stay in focus.

Acer C200 Inputs

Also on the right side, just under the dreaded focus control, is an air vent, with the other air vent to be found on the bottom of the projector, along with the screw-thread for mounting on a tripod. The speaker is located on the back of the projector, under the inputs. I haven’t been able to find any documentation as to the wattage of said speaker, but it is loud enough to view video content in an intimate space.

The Acer C200 has but a few inputs – all that you need on such a projector, really. There is an audio jack for headphones or external speakers that connect via an 1/8th inch AUX cable, an HDMI input, USB port, and the connector for DC power. There is a power button next to that, and a Kensington lock underneath.

No remote control to be found, which kind of sucked when changing color modes for testing, but the remote controls that come with pico and pocket projectors are generally, truly awful and their buttons are difficult to press. The remote will not be sorely missed.

Picture Quality

The Acer C200 has but three modes – Standard, Bright, and ECO. Standard is the best mode, with a cooler tint than ECO, which is much warmer. Bright is just so ugly, and horrendously green. That’s normal of bright modes, even on $1000+ projectors. The point is, you’ll want to use Standard or ECO for most things. I used Standard Mode for all of the photos in the slider below.

The picture quality is… meh. It’s not HD, and with less pixels, it’s not as smooth as 720p or higher. It’s alright. There are some scenes that look really good and others that are just okay. Keep in mind that this is DVD quality – not Blu-ray – so if you’re still watching DVDs, you won’t care about the resolution in the slightest.

I myself am a resolution junky. I have a 4K capable home theater projector, and my mom brought over Maleficent to watch on one of her visits. It was on DVD. I refused to watch it because DVD is standard definition, so we went out and bought the Blu-ray version. But that’s just me and my stubbornness.

Color is decent for most things, though you will notice colors looking a bit “off” if you’ve seen the movie or TV show on a TV, computer, or higher end projector. It’s not bad, by any means. You can see some examples of the picture quality in the above slider – just know that projected images often look better in person than what is picked up by our DSLRs.

Performance

Color ModeLumens
Bright137
Standard105
ECO91

The C200’s brightness claim is 200 lumens. It did not meet claim, instead coming in at just over 30% below claim. Its brightest mode, Bright, measured at 137 lumens. You’ll never use that mode, so consider this Acer to be a 105 lumen projector, as it measured in Standard Mode. ECO, surprisingly, measured at 91 lumens – not much less than Standard. Usually, ECO Modes clock in at a lot less than the best modes. So, you can really use either mode without much of a difference in brightness.

I mentioned that the other projector I was measuring at the same time, the AAXA P300 Neo, came in way below claim. Its claim was 420 – it measured at just over 200 lumens. This is still bright enough to be used, but I was not pleased that it came in so far below the manufacturer’s claim. In terms of brightness, these two projectors are almost evenly matched. Like I said, though, you’ll want to use the C200 in as dark an environment as possible in order to get the most vibrant image.

Summary

If you’re looking to create a mini-home theater for your child, this may be an option to consider. The C200 would also be suitable for a teen or college student where space is an issue, such as in a dorm room. If you’re not bothered by the SD resolution, then I would recommend it for travel – just make sure you get yourself a portable DVD player or streaming device like that NVIDIA Shield I mentioned.

Acer also markets this as a perfect projector for a road warrior – someone who needs to present on the go without a laptop. This projector may be suitable for that, though I would be wary of its low lumen count for such a thing. Since the environment a traveling presenter is given for their presentation varies from place to place, there may be times where the ambient light is overpowering for the Acer C200. Just something to be aware of.

I would not recommend it as your main projector for a living room or media room. Since many people will be watching TV while it is still light out, this may present a problem when coupled with the low-lumen count of the C200. If you’re open to spending a bit more, check out the Acer K138ST – that’s a short throw 720p pocket projector that is excellent for gaming. Alternatively, you can check out the AAXA M6, which is a 1080p pocket projector, though far less suitable for gaming than the K138ST, it will still be suitable for playing video games.

If you’re not convinced and want to take a look around before buying, just be careful when choosing your $300 or less projector. Check the manufacturer’s name against our database of manufacturers – I personally would only ever buy a projector from one of these companies, as I’m weary of electronics from off-brands exploding or something ridiculous like that.

Pros

  • 137 Lumens – Bright enough for rooms with a lot of control over ambient light
  • $199.99 List Price
  • 480p Resolution (854 x 480)
  • LED Technology
  • Light engine life of up to 30,000 hours
  • 2000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • Lightweight and Portable – Weighs less than a pound and is tiny (3” x 4.7” x 1.2”)
  • Large Image of Up to 100” – Most Picos only do up to 65”
  • On-Board Media Player
  • Long Battery Life of 4.5 Hours

Cons

  • Measured well under claim
  • Focus wheel is difficult to use, though not impossible
  • Standard Definition – Will be a deal-breaker for some, and not for others

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