Acer V7850 4K UHD DLP Projector Review

The V7850 is one of three new 4K/UHD projectors that Acer has introduced this year.  The features and pricing of each of these models is very similar to the new 4K/UHD DLP projectors that were recently introduced by Optoma (see our review of the Optoma UHD65, the most similar Optoma model – HERE).

As compared to the previous reviewed Optoma model, the Acer V7850 is noticeably smaller.  In fact it’s cabinet size is the smallest we have seen to date for a 4K/UHD DLP projector. The other 4K/UHD projectors in Acer’s line-up include the model H7850, a similar home entertainment projector priced at just under $2,000, and the model VL7860, a laser light engine home theater projector priced at just under $5,000.

All of these DLP 4K UHD projectors, including the V7850 reviewed here, use a single Texas Instruments DLP (DMD) micro display chip with a native resolution of 2716 x 1528 pixels, which is 1/2 the number of pixels found in a true native 4K display (approx. 4M pixels vs. 8M pixels).  Pixel shifting is then used to create a 4K image.  This technique produces an image that is sharper, with more fine details, that what is possible with a standard 1080 HD projector, including 1080p models that also offer pixel shifting.  In any case, this model is not a native 4K resolution projector, rather is it what we like to call a “FauxK” or “4K-lite” projector.

1/8/2018 UPDATE: The V7850 received our Special Interest Award for offering lower black levels and better performance on displaying dark scenes that does the closest competitor’s projector (i.e., the Optoma UHD65) that we have reviewed.

Acer V7850 Specs
Price$2499
TechnologyDLP
Native Resolution3840x2160
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)2200
Contrast1200000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio1.60:1
Lens ShiftYes
Lamp Life4,000 hours
Weight12.1 lbs.
Warranty1 year on projector and 90 days on lamp
View Full Specifications Here >>

Overview

The main competition at this price point for some sort of 4K support are the pixel shifting 1080p projectors using 3LCD technology (or LCoS for somewhat more money) and pixel shifting DLP projectors from other manufacturers (such as the previously reviewed Optoma UHD65 – HERE).  All of the DLP models are using the same micro-display chipset from Texas Instruments.

When moving to 4K/UHD there are 3 picture enhancements available from certain sources, including Ultra HD BluRays and from some of the streaming video services.   From a moving to 4K standpoint, there’s one piece of the puzzle missing with the Acer V7850 and other current DLP models, and that relates to the ability to actually display a wide color gamut (WCG) – which simply provides richer, more intense colors than the ITU Rec. 709 standard we’ve enjoyed all these years for HDTV and standard HD Blu-ray movies. Just remember, almost all Blu-ray UHD movies support not only 4K resolution, and HDR, but also WCG (extended color space) based on the ITU Rec. BT2020 standard.  However, the full color gamut allowed by the BT2020 standard it not actually being used, rather the more practical, obtainable DCI-P3 “subset”, as used in commercial cinemas, is generally what you will find on the current generation of Ultra HD BluRays.

Acer claims in in some of their literature for the V7850:

“The V7850 has a 2,200 lumens rating and boasts a RGBRGB color wheel, which helps produce a wider color gamut, and supports the Rec. 709 standard to reproduce original colors and tones true to the film director’s intentions. It also touts a contrast ratio up to a whopping 1,200,000:1 and is compatible with Rec. 2020 signals, the UHDTV standard.”

Most projectors that try to support Rec. 2020 come up way short, even for the more limited DCI-P3 color space.  Later in this review we’ll discuss how well the V7850 actually performs, but it appears to be particularly challenging for lamp based DLP projectors, of which the Acer V7850 is one, to support a color gamut significantly wider that Rec. 709.

One more thought before we get into more of an overview of the projector itself:  Just keep in mind, that the Acer V7850’s native resolution of 2716×1528 is still one half of true 4K (either 3840×2160, or true DCI 4K which is 4096×2160, – note that the difference is in aspect ratio, rather than any real difference resolution). Pixel shifting helps, just as it helps the 1080p pixel shifters look sharper than standard 1080p projectors.  Appreciate the Acer for the sharpness it delivers, which is most impressive.  However, don’t fall for the 4K UHD hype.  Manufacturers tend to want to let readers “assume” it’s true 4K, and regularly use terms like 4K processing, 4K Enhancement, etc.  In fact most brochures today of 4K UHD projectors proclaim 3840×2160 resolution, but typically fail to remind us that the size of their pixels is larger than true 4K pixels, and you just can’t get as sharp an image when the pixels are relatively large and are also overlapping the adjacent pixels.  Roughly speaking, if a true 4K projector’s pixels were the size of a nickel, then this projector’s would be about the size of a quarter.

That’s marketing folks, skip the hype, instead concentrate on the fact that this is a $2500 projector with sharpness we’ve never seen so good without spending $5000 list price for the lowest cost Sony true 4K model (the Sony VPL-VW285ES, reviewed HERE).  As to the rest of the feature set, picture quality and performance – we’ll get to that.

The big feature of the V7850 is the higher pixel density DLP chip that meets the 4K UHD standard by displaying 8M pixels, through the use of using pixel shifting.  After that, very important is the support for HDR – High Dynamic Range, the rest of this Acer is a pretty typical home projector.   Lens functions are manual zoom and focus.  Plus, there’s vertical lens shift as well.  It’s a modest amount, allowing only 15%, of screen height, vertical adjustment but it does provide for placement flexibility.

I mentioned the lower cost Acer model H7850 above.  Let’s take a moment to define the difference between the two, (besides the lower $1999 price of the H7850).  These are very similar projectors with basically the same feature set; the primary difference is the color filter wheel.  Whereas the V7850 uses an RGBRGB color wheel, the H7850 uses a different configuration with a large clear slice.  This is typical of single chip DLP home entertainment projectors vs. DLP home theater ones.

That clear slice provides a lot more white lumens, (but less for color ones), with the idea being that as a home entertainment projector, the H7850 needs the extra lumens, to overcome the room’s ambient lighting, at the expense of providing less color saturation.  So the V7850 reviewed here is expected to offer more accurate colors while the H7850 can potentially provide a brighter image, at least for whites and lighter color shades.

Highlights

  • Accepts 4K content with HDR
  • 2200 lumens
  • Fairly quiet (29 dB at full power)
  • 2716×1528 pixel DLP chip (with pixel shifting to 4K) provides higher resolution than 1080p pixel shifting projectors
  • Pixel shifting allows each pixel to be displayed twice offset by 1/2 pixel width, providing for 8.3 million displayed pixels meeting the 4K UHD standard (which doesn’t specify how large each pixel can be)
  • 1.6:1 zoom lens and modest vertical lens shift for good placement flexibility
  • RGBRGB Color wheel
  • A pair of 5 watt speakers for portable use
  • Multiple HDR settings
  • Frame Interpolation for smooth motion
  • Uses lamp dimming to improve black level performance
  • MHL on one of the HDMI ports, for working with mobile devices, streaming sticks

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