Acer V7850 4K PROJECTOR REVIEW – SUMMARY

Acer V7850 4K CAPABLE HOME THEATER PROJECTOR – SUMMARY:  Overview of the V7850, Everything but 4K, 4K/UHD, The Bottom Line, Pro and Cons



Overview of the V7850

Acer says the V7850, and it sibling H7850, are the worlds smallest 4K UHD projectors and I have no reason to doubt that claim.  This projector’s cabinet measures a compact 15.7″ x 11.7″ x 5″ which is smaller than many of the popular 1080p models with pixel shifting from manufacturers such as Epson and JVC, but larger than some of the really compact regular (i.e., without pixel shifting) 1080p models.  In any case the V7850 is small enough and light enough, at just under 12 pounds, to easily move around or to mount.

The V7850 has an attractive white cabinet, and as seen in the 1st photo above.  It has a 1.6X zoom lens and offers vertical lens shift with a modest 15% range.  I has manual zoom and focus adjustments.

The Acer V7850 uses TI consumer chip to achieve close to full 4K resolution by use of pixel shifting.  It uses a DLP display chip with 2716×1528 native resolution, just about half way between 1920×1080 (1080p HD resolution) and 3840×2160 (2160p or UHD resolution).  But, it uses large pixels compared to true 4K, but in this case with an area only about 1/2 as large (area-wise) as 1080p pixels.  As a result the two sets of pixels, within the two sub-frames, overlap which tends to soften the image somewhat as compared to a display with native full 3840 x 2160 solution.

Like the other DLP 4K/UHD lamp-based projectors, Acer’s literature may talk about wide color gamut (WCG) and being compatible with BT2020, but in fact the V7850 and similar 4K DLP projectors are essentially limited to Rec. 709 color space.  This projector cannot display WCG, rather it can accept UHD signals using WCG then convert them for display using the more limited Rec. 709 gamut.

The V7850 supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) and offers a user menu setting for 4 different levels of HDR processing that can be applied (basically 4 different gamma curves).  The user will need to manually select which HDR setting works best for their specific combination of projector/screen setup as well as the specific HDR enabled program.

As for resolution, the Acer V7850 is capable of displaying a more detailed image than 1080p pixel shifting projectors, but it’s still one notch below what is possible with a true native 4K projector.  This difference in visible resolution between the V7850 and a native 4K projector can be rather subtle, but visible when using a high quality native 4K/UHD resolution video source.  This assumes the native 4K projector has good alignment of the red, blue and green sub-images (good panel alignment) and also has a good quality lens with sharp focus.

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.

Everything but 4K

The V7850 does a average job at upscaling standard definition and high definition video sources for display at the projector’s 2160p resolution (using pixel shifting).  Once calibrated the color accuracy was very good in the ISF color mode (with both grey scale and color calibration) and good in “User” color mode (with grey scale calibration).  The better of the out-of-the-box color modes were only fair in terms of color accuracy with the factory default settings.  The V7850 has a moderately high black level and that combined with a limited native on/off contrast results in dark scenes having a rather “flat” appearance and losing some details in the darker areas of the image.  Bright scenes faired much better and in this regard the V7850 performed similar to many entry level DLP 1080p projectors. The better home theater class 3LCD projectors, such as Epson’s UB series, and the LCoS projectors, including those from Sony and JVC, provide more depth in their projected images, especially during dark scenes than does the V7850.

4K/UHD

UHD offers 3 possible enhancements over standard HD video.  Of course there is the increased resolution (i.e., the 4K part of UHD) and I discuss how the V7850 does in that regard below.  But first let’s talk about the other 2 aspects of UHD.

The V7850 cannot display wide color gamut (WCG) as its native color space is essentially limited to the more restricted Rec. 709 gamut, as used with HD video, including regular HD Blu-rays.  So the best the V7850 can do is to convert the WCG to the more limited Rec. 709 color space for display and it does a reasonable job doing that.

Many UHD video releases are being offered with High Dynamic Range (HDR).  One complication wtth HDR is these UHD/HDR releases are being authored with different target brightness levels.  Some HDR enabled releases are being authored using UHD monitors with a 1000 nit max. brightness level (about 292 foot lamberts) while others are using UHD monitors with up to a 4000 nits max. brightness.  Even the lower 1000 nit level is 10 to 20 times the typical brightness levels seen in projector-based home theaters.  The V7850 offers HDR settings for Off plus 4 different levels of HDR, basically 4 different gamma curves.  For the few HDR movies I viewed, I found a setting of 1 or 2 worked best.  When displaying a program with HDR the user will need to see which HDR setting on the V7850 looks best for that specific title.  Also it may be necessary to adjust the brightness and/or contrast setting to get the appropriate the black level and white level respectively.

Even after some adjustment of the V7860’s available controls, I found the HDR performance was only fair.  I suspect this is at least in part because of the projector’s relatively high black level and limited native contrast, which limits the extent of the available dynamic range that can be displayed.

The photos above show a comparison from of the image details (i.e., resolution) when the input is from the 4K/UHD version of the Blu-ray disc for the move “Lucy” vs. from the regular 1080p version of the same movie.  The 1st photo shows the full image frame while the 2nd and 4th images are close-ups from that full frame with a 4K/UHD input and the 3rd and 5th images are similar close-ups with the 1080p input.

As for image detail, the V7850 did a very good job at displaying the added details from the best quality 4K/UHD releases I viewed from my collection of Ultra HD Blu-ray movies.  Any difference from what you might see, in terms of fine details within the image, in comparison to a projector offering native 4K resolution would be subtle.

The Bottom Line

The main reason for consider the V7850 over a standard 1080p projector is the added capabilities offered by 4K/UHD.

Overall the 4K/UHD performance is fairly good as a entry-level 4K projector.  Of the 3 picture enhancements offered by UHD, the V7850 does a very good job at supporting the increased resolution (i.e,, the 4K part of UHD), a fair job at support High Dynamic Range (HDR) and simply does not support Wide Color Gamut (WCG).  We have seen similar limitations with other entry level 4K DLP projectors and as for lack of support for WCG, at least out to DCI-P3 color space, it’s still not well supported by a number of projector manufacturers.

Since the V7850 does not offer deep blacks or high contrast, it may be better suited for use in an environment where ambient lighting cannot be fully controlled as opposed to a home theater with full light control.

1/8/2018 UPDATE – While the black levels were not all that impressive for a home theater projector in this price range, in comparison to the nearest competitor’s 4K DLP projector, the V7850 did have lower black levels and that’s a plus for this Acer model.

So the bottom line is if you really want something close to full 4K resolution with some support for HDR, then the V7850 is worth your consideration, as long as deep blacks and high contrast are not among your top priorities.

Pro and Cons

PROS

  • Good price for a projector capable of displaying near full 4K resolution
  • Bright image with 1100+ calibrated lumens (with new lamp)
  • Supports HDR
  • Smallest and lightest 4K projector available, so it can be easily be moved as needed
  • 1.6X zoom plus modest vertical lens shift provide more placement flexibility that some competing projectors
  • Remote with backlight works well in a dark home theater environment
  • Can be calibrated to provide very good colors
  • ISF calibration modes
  • Two built-in speakers a plus when being used as a portable projector
  • Fairly quiet operation, especially in Eco mode
  • Lower black level that the nearest competitor’s 4K DLP projector we have reviewed.

CONS

  • Moderately high black levels and only modest contrast result in fairly ‘flat” images for darker scenes, as compared to the better non-DLP projectors in this price range (1080p and 1080p w/pixel shifting).
  • CMS calibration adjustments are only available in ISF color modes, meaning full color calibration will require a ISF certified calibrator to gain access to these adjustments and I found some residual color errors at the 100% saturation levels when calibrated for good performance at lower saturation levels
  • The only non-ISF color mode where user settings are saved in memory is the single “User” color mode
  • While supporting HDR, the actual displayed dynamic range is limited by the combination of a rather modest on/off contrast and a max. calibrated light output of around 1200 lumens
  • Excessive light leakage from the front panel air exhaust vent
  • No capability to display UHD images with a wide color gamut as the V7850 is essentially limited to Rec. 709 color space
  • Lacks power lens focus or zoom
  • No support for 3D from sources such as Blu-ray Disc
  • 1 year warranty is shorter than some competitors

 

 

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