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Acer PH530: 720p Home Theater Projector Review - Image Quality

Posted on October 23, 2007 by Art Feierman

Acer PH530 Home Theater Projector: Skin Tones

As noted on the Overview, the out-of-the-box color performance of the PH530 is off, but is correctable. This will be covered in greater detail in the calibraton section on the General Performance page. All comments on the rest of this page, (unless otherwise specified), are based on performance after a grayscale adjustment.

Skin tones turned out to be rather good, especially for such a low cost projector. But if you don't make the necessary adjustments, you'll find skin tones to be too reddish, and you might spot a bit too much green in skin shadow areas, such as around the neck.

For your consideration, first, two images from Lord of the Rings, from a standard definition (SD-DVD) disk. The other images provided are all from hi-definition Blu-ray disk movies.

Time for the usual notice: The images in this review are here to help support the commentary, not the other way around. There is no practical way to show images that closely show the full capabilities of a good projector. No monitor on your desk can come close to the black levels of most home theater projectors, even my digital SLR camera comes up way short of being able to capture the full dynamic range of the projected image. Worse there's no color matching system, so that what I see on the screen in terms of accurate color, are going to look the same on your computer (or mine). So, take the images with a great many "grains of salt", and enjoy. They can be helpful in comparing projectors, but remember, all of them are inherently compromises.

Click to Enlarge. So close.

Should give you some idea of the skin tone handling abilities of the PH530. Overall, I found the 530's performance in this area to be very respectable.

Also for your consideration is one side by side comparison image with the Acer on the left, and BenQ's slightly more expensive W500, on the right.

Click Image to Enlarge

Acer PH530 Black Levels and Shadow Detail

If I had to say which one does the PH530 do better – shadow detail or black levels, I’d have to say black levels. Shadow detail truly wasn’t bad, and much better than the BenQ W500 (as you will see immediately below).

ph530 w500 security
ph530 w500 aeon


Here's a closeup of the building above.

When it comes to both black levels and shadow detail, the PH530's performance, once again is respectable, but nothing special. In all fairness, though, since the PH530 is the least expensive 720p projector in the US, at least this month, that's not such a bad thing.

Black levels themselves are ok. They definitely could be better. My opinion is that both competing DLP projectors, the Optoma HD70, and the Mitsubishi HC1500, do a slightly better job. I'm not talking a difference that you would normally notice, if you saw the PH530 today, at a friend's house, and tomorrow, either of those at another friend's house, but the slight performance difference is there.

If I had to say which one does the PH530 do better - shadow detail or black levels, I'd have to say black levels. Shadow detail truly wasn't bad, and much better than the BenQ W500 (as you will see immediately below).

The second set is intentionally overexposed, which will show a bit more.

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