Projector Reviews

Acer K138ST Projector Review – Hardware

Acer K138ST Projector Review – Hardware: Overview, Inputs and Connectors, Lens, Control Panel, Remote Control, Menus


The Acer K138ST is simple in design, with a sort of oblong rectangle shape. Starting in the front, there is the fixed, manual focus lens, complete with a lens cap. That is a feature I appreciate and take note of, as the two pocket projectors I recently reviewed did not have a lens cap, and therefore no protection from dust. Also in the front is one of the fans, and an adjustable foot centered underneath to adjust tilt, giving the projector a little more placement flexibility than the AAXA M6, its direct competition.

On either side of the K138ST are the stereo speakers. At the back of the projector is the inputs and connectors panel. Though simple, it has all the connectors you’ll need for entertainment, and even for presenting with a computer. The top of the projector has, of course, the control panel and indicator lights for Temp and Lamp. Now, let’s explore that back panel more in depth.

Inputs and Connectors

Acer K138ST Projector Back Panel Inputs and Connectors
The Acer K138ST's back panel has plenty of inputs and connectors for your home entertainment needs.

The back panel of the K138ST is nicely laid out, with an IR sensor for the remote control, a Kensington Lock slot, and an Audio In at the top left of the panel. Directly below is a VGA connector, and to its right, a single HDMI port. With these little pocket projectors, one HDMI is all you get. Separating the rest of the connectors is another vent, then to its right are the Audio Out port, a DV 5V Out input, and the connector for DC power.

If you should choose to get one of those wireless modules for projecting content wirelessly from your phone, tablet, computer, or gaming console (use WirelessHD Kit for that, not WirelessCAST), the HDMI port is the one you’ll plug into. Next up is the lens!

The Lens

Acer K138ST Projector Lens
The Acer K138ST has a 1.1:1 manual zoom lens with manual focus.

The Acer K138ST has a 1.1:1 zoom lens, which isn’t much but is more than those pocket projectors that have fixed lenses, meaning no zoom, like the two AAXA’s I recently reviewed. In addition to the zoom lens, Acer has provided a Digital Zoom feature on this projector, giving more placement flexibility than one would have without it. The focus ring is located directly on the lens and is manual.

The Control Panel

Acer K138ST Projector Control Panel
The control panel on the Acer K138ST is shaped like a target and is well laid out.

The control panel is nicely laid out and located on the top of the Acer K138ST. The design looks like a target, with the Enter button being the Bullseye. The circle surrounding that enter button is home to the obligatory directional arrow keys, while the outer ring has various functions. In the top right “corner” is the power button, directly below is your Mode button to choose the Picture Mode, to its right is the Resync button that allows the projector to automatically sync to the active input, and above that is the Source button so you can manually choose the input.

The Remote Control

Acer K138ST Remote Control
The Acer K138ST has a slim, attractive remote control.

The remote control is a simple white rectangle that is lightweight and has buttons that are easy to press, unlike those credit-card type remotes included with many competing pocket projectors. Thirteen matte finished silver buttons make up this remote, with two of those buttons serving a dual function. Starting at the top left is the Source button, with the Power button directly opposite. Below that are the four directional arrow keys surrounding the Menu button, with the up and down arrow keys serving the dual function of Keystone Correction (another nice feature). Below that, we have a group of six buttons. Those are: Hide, Freeze, Ratio, 3D, Zoom In, and Mode. The remote has pretty much everything you need for easy control of the projector.

But wait! Where does the battery go? This took Art and I a minute to figure out, as there does not appear to be a battery compartment on the back of the remote. That’s because the compartment runs the entire length of the back panel, with the release for the panel being a tiny, nearly invisible button at the base of the remote. Once you find that, installing the coin-sized battery is easy. Oh, and that battery is included! One more thing to mention before moving on to our discussion of Picture Quality: there are two buttons located on the right side of the remote to control volume, much like what you would see on an iPhone or a similar smart phone.

The Menus