A summary of the Acer X1261P and a list of this Acer projector's pros and cons.
The Acer X1261P projector earned our Runner-Up Best In Classroom Projector Award in this year's 2011 Classroom Projector Report: The Best School Projectors for K-12 Education!
Acer X1261P Projector: Bottom Line
The Acer X1261P projector is not dripping in sophisticated features, as are many of the more expensive projectors we've looked at for the Education Projector Report. Nonetheless, I have to really like what this projector brings to a teacher, or school, or business, where price is a critical factor, 3D capability (for 3D now, or for some future proofing), and a really low cost of operation (long life lamp, and no filters to change).
As noted, this Acer is an XGA projector of the single chip DLP variety. It's especially small (as in portable), and at under 5 pounds, delivers a lot of horsepower in a highly mobile package.
The thing is, this Acer does more than just be a bargain. Color is very good relative to the DLP projectors we've reviewed of late, not as good as the best, but this projector can do very good photo reproduction and video with good skin tones. No, it really isn't your first choice to double as a home theater, but it's not that bad at it either. It is a DLP projector so that means a small percentage of viewers will be bothered by the Rainbow effect. This is most likely to happen when viewing a video, and fast white objects move against a dark background, or the other way around. The Acer color wheel is a six segment wheel. They don't publish the speed, but my best guess is probably 3X, since I am rainbow sensitive, and this Acer isn't as bad as some others (2X is as slow as color wheels go, higher priced home theater projectors typically are 4X, 5X and an occasional 6X).
Considering the $400ish typical price tag, a 3D projector for that price, with decent lumens and XGA resolution has to be considered pretty much a bargain. Oh, there's some other competition around there, but it's hard to argue with this projectors' value proposition.
As noted earlier, the projector is somewhat limited in inputs, with but a single VGA port (for analog computer or component video), composite, s-video, and audio. That's it, no digital (what do you expect, for the price, there are plenty of projectors at 2x the price without). Since this is more of a portable projector, be it from classroom to classroom or city to city, than something most would install (but you can, and they do), most will not mount their projector. If doing so, look for a mount that will let you change the lamp, without unmounting. I mention this to make a point:
At full power, the Acer X1261P claims those 5000 hours for the lamp. In a school year environment, 5 days a week for 2 hours a day, that lamp should roughly 15 years! We realize that people who regularly travel with projectors also are unlikely to put more than a dozen hours a week on, unless it's a very projector based training department.
A note: we have three reviewers working on the education report,each of us doing several reviews. We won't swap notes until the reviews are done. It will be my job to analyze how all the models compete, and pick the final winners. There are other low cost projectors, that I haven't reviewed. That said, this one should prove to be a contender.
In summary, the strengths of the Acer X1261P portable projector include low cost and value, 3D ready, good color for a DLP projector (in the brighter modes), extremely portable, works (plays) well at non-native resolutions, and handles everything up to, and including Blu-ray discs and HDTV. Note that it can't handle Blu-ray 3D, but none of the projectors in the report can, all for the same reason - due to not having an HDMI 1.4a input. There's some downside too, no networking, which takes this projector out of contention at schools and other places where the plan is to network the projectors, for notifications, monitoring... Also nice would be a second computer port, and a second audio. This is a five pound portable, so having a single 2 watt speaker, isn't bad, and fine for on the road in most cases, but definitely thin for regular classroom or other rooms where noise levels may not be silent.
In a classroom, set up table top, I imagine most teachers would want to supplement sound on the desktop with some small speakers
Acer X1261P Projector: Pros
- Excellent value based on $400 ballpark street price
- 3D ready - just add active glasses, and appropriate 3D content
- 3D support for DLP 3D, and also Nvidia's standard
- Very good brightness - beats its 2700 lumen claim, good for medium sized rooms with ambient light
- Extremely portable at under 5 pounds
- Good compact remote control
- Monitor out
- Supports resolutions up to 1080p
- Plays Blu-ray discs (1080p), via component video
Acer X1261P Projector: Cons
- No digital input (HDMI or DVI)
- Only a single VGA input, so only one hi res input. Switching may be needed for a computer and a hi-res video source using component video
- Remote doubles as control panel. Losing the remote could be a short term disaster
- More motion noise in videos than other projectors in the current report, still, definitely "business presentation quality", and fine for classroom
- Lacks information menu
- Only one (stereo) audio input
- One year warranty, shorter than most, but then this is one of the least expensive projectors and more than 1 year is probably the exception with projectors selling for under $500