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Acer S1386WHN Short Throw Business and Education Projector Review

Posted on November 9, 2018 by Chris Kahl

The Acer S1386WHN is a WXGA (1280x800) short throw projector intended for business and education environments such as conference rooms, K-12 classrooms, and retail settings. With a 3,600 lumen claim, this Acer has plenty of brightness for most applications with moderate ambient light. This short throw projector sits just a matter of one or two feet from most screens, producing a bright, clear image suitable for most business and education applications.

This projector has a nice complement of special features for image enhancement. The Acer S1386WHN also allows for PC-Free Presentations, has an onboard media player and powerful built-in 16W speaker. Coupled with a healthy amount of inputs and connectors, optional wireless connectivity and wired networking (LAN), it is a versatile addition to Acer’s lineup of projectors geared toward the business and education markets.

This review of the Acer S1386WHN will start with a brief overview, followed by some highlights before we explore its special features. Then, we’ll take a look at this Acer’s hardware, followed by a discussion on picture quality and performance before we wrap it up on the summary page. By the time we conclude this review, you should have a good idea whether or not the Acer S1386WHN meets the specific needs of your business or education applications. Here we go!

Acer Specs
Technology DLP (1)
Native Resolution WXGA (1280x800)
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 3600
Contrast 20000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio
Lens Shift No
Lamp Life


The Acer S1386WHN is a 3,600 lumen projector with a resolution of WXGA (1280 x 800). The list price for this model is $649. The S1386WHN is part of a small series of two business and education projectors, Acer’s S1 Series. Its sibling is the S1286HN, an XGA model with a list price of $599. The rated lamp life at full power is 5,000 hours, and in ExtremeEco mode, Acer claims you can squeeze 10,000 hours out of the OSRAM lamp.

The S1386WHN is a DLP projector with a RGBRGB color wheel. DLP technology allows for a reduction in overall projector size for lighter-weight, portability and ease of installation.  A sealed light engine protects the internals of the unit, prolonging brightness and maintaining image quality over a longer period of time than a traditional projector where the light engine is not sealed.

DLP projectors tend to be more cost effective in rooms with more ambient light, performing better than 3LCD projectors at a similar price point, with better white lumens. On the flip side, a 3LCD projector maintains better brightness across the color spectrum than DLPs, but the cost per lumen is significantly higher. Basically, if you want really good color in ambient light, go with a 3LCD; if color isn’t important but the readability of text is, then DLP is the way to go, generally speaking – but, of course, the projector you choose will have to fit your needs in more ways than just brightness and color.

The sealed light path that is a hallmark of DLP projectors offers savings ($$$) for school districts who likely operate hundreds, if not thousands of projectors. You know how your computer gets a nice, thick layer of dust inside, often an inch thick or more, over the period of a few years? The exact same thing happens to projectors! Except, in a projector, that glob of dust can interfere with the projected image. Dust removal is a time-consuming, money-sucking hassle; multiply that by the number of projectors in your operation and we’re talking big money. Manufactures of 3LCD projectors are starting to seal their light paths too, but in a different way than those of DLPs.

Another money saving claim is that extended lamp life of 5,000 hours at full power and 10,000 using Extended Eco mode. Think not only the cost of lamps, but the cost of labor across a large fleet of projectors. The longer the lamp life, the less often it needs to be replaced, potentially saving hundreds of labor hours over the lifetime of the projector.

As mentioned, the Acer S1386WHN is a short throw projector, and produces an image that measures 87 inches diagonally with a throw distance of just 38.5 inches. It can be mounted on a table top using front projection, ceiling mounted with front projection, and rear projection both table top and ceiling mounted, though ceiling or wall mounting is the most likely installation setup for the S1386WHN.

PC-Free presentations, the onboard media player and file browser, Acer eDisplayPro, Optional Wireless and Crestron control add to the suit of special features found on this projector. This Acer offers all the inputs and connectors needed for the vast majority of business and classroom applications, including multiple HDMI, USB and VGA ports – but, we’ll save that for our Hardware Tour.


  • 3,600 lumens
  • $649 list price
  • WXGA (1280 x 800) Resolution
  • DLP Technology
  • 5,000 Hour Lamp Life (up to 10,000 hours in ExtremeEco Mode)
  • 20,000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • Short throw – 0.52:1 Throw Ratio
  • Sealed Light Engine – Stays brighter, longer
  • Optional Wireless – Requires Dongle
  • PC-Free Presentations – eDisplayPro app allows collaboration of up to 4 contributors at a time
  • 16.0 W Speaker – Loud enough for most classrooms and conference rooms
  • Supports Crestron
  • Laser Pointer Integrated into Remote Control

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