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Best in Class – $2500-$5000 Performance Home Theater Runner-Up: Acer VL7860

Posted on August 30, 2018 by Art Feierman
  1. The 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Report
  2. The 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Report: List of Winners
  3. Best in Class – Under $1000 Value Home Theater: Epson Home Cinema 2100 and 2150
  4. Best in Class – Under $1000 Performance Home Entertainment: Epson Home Cinema 1060
  5. Best in Class – Under $1000 Value Home Entertainment: ViewSonic PJD7828HDL
  6. Best in Class – $1000-$2500 Most Innovative: Smart Projector: Optoma UHD51A
  7. Best in Class – $1000-$2500 Performance 4K Capable Home Theater: Epson Home Cinema 5040UB
  8. Best in Class – $1000-$2500 Performance Home Theater: Optoma UHD50
  9. Best in Class – $1000-$2500 Value 4K Capable Home Entertainment: ViewSonic PX727-4K
  10. Best in Class – $1000-$2500 Bright Room Home Entertainment: BenQ TK800
  11. Best in Class – $2500-$5000 Most Innovative: Smart Projector: LG HU80KA
  12. Best in Class – $2500-$5000 Performance Home Theater: JVC DLA-RS440U (And DLA-X590)
  13. Best in Class – $2500-$5000 Performance Home Theater Runner-Up: Acer VL7860
  14. Best in Class – $2500-$5000 Performance Home Theater Runner-Up: Sony VPL-VW285ES
  15. Best in Class – $5000-$25,000 Performance Home Theater: Sony VPL-VW885ES
  16. Best in Class – $5000-$25,000 Performance Home Theater: Sony VPL-VZ1000ES
  17. Best in Class – $5000-$25,000 Value Home Theater: Epson LS10500
  18. Best in Class – $5000-$25,000 Value Home Theater: Sony VPL-VW385ES
  19. Best in Class – $5000-$25,000 Performance Home Entertainment: Optoma UHZ65
  20. 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Winners – Charts
  21. 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Report – Non-Winners Under $1000 Class
  22. 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Report – Non-Winners $1000-$2500 Class
  23. 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Report – Non-Winners $2500-$5000 Class
  24. 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Report – Non-Winners $5000-$25,000 Class
Acer projector VL7860

What we have here, in the form of the VL7860, is a relatively affordable ($3,999 list price), 4K UHD laser projector. It lacks the motorized lens and lens memory capabilities of the other award winners in this class, but it still has very good placement flexibility thanks to a 1.6:1 zoom and some vertical lens shift!

The Acer VL7860 finally delivers on what I and many others keep telling the DLP projector manufacturers – add a good dynamic iris to enhance black levels.

Acer VL7860 Overview

In the case of the VL7860, which is a laser light engine projector, Acer modulates the laser engine to emulate a fast dynamic iris. Their first attempt at emulating an iris that I got to see, had major issues (see the full review), but the current, shipping versions have succeeded. I am impressed.

That is, I am very pleased with the Acer’s black level performance. It did great in outer space, in Passengers, and just as successful in the dark scenes in Hunger Games – MockingJay, such as the march on the dam!

$2500-$5000 Best in Class Best Performance Home Theater Runner-Up Acer VL7860

I think of the Acer as a bit rough around the edges. It’s missing some features found on the competition. This is a single chip DLP, and that means a color wheel. The Acer’s is slow. I see lots of rainbows. Bad Acer! Fortunately, only a very small portion of the population is Rainbow Sensitive, so this is only an issue for perhaps 5% of the population (there are no good numbers on this).

With calibration, the Acer VL7860 can produce some pretty close-to-accurate color.
With calibration, the Acer VL7860 can produce some pretty close-to-accurate color.

To do a full calibration properly, you need access to the Color Management System, to calibrate individual colors. Unfortunately, access is saved for the two ISF modes – Day and Night – for professional calibrators. You’ll have to decide whether to splurge on a “pro” calibration (it will calibrate extremely well).

With the CMS, the projector produces some very close to right-on-the-money color. Without them, not so much. Seriously though, still very good, but not as great color accuracy without the CMS.

The Bottom Line on the Acer VL7860

No matter, this is a fun projector. Fully calibrated, it cranks out around 1,200 lumens but laser projectors always seem brighter. There’s almost 2,000 lumens in modes with merely very good, not great color. And remember, the brightness of this projector is going to drop very slowly over time, unlike lamp projectors. Also, once calibrated, it will hold that color with little change for years. Nice.

And it is very nicely sharp. It looks great on 4K content. I thought center to corner sharpness might be a little better than some of the other 4K UHDs to roll through here.

Of the projectors in this price range, this Acer intrigues me the most. If it had a faster color wheel, I could see spending a whole lot of time watching it, enjoying its black level performance, combined with that DLP “look and feel,” and seriously comparing the experience against the definitely not quite as sharp JVC.

The Acer is definitely my favorite 4K UHD DLP projector so far, from a performance standpoint, at least for those not rainbow sensitive. Even if a bit “rough around the edges,” I’m a bit jealous – DLP – Laser – Black Levels – HDR… Have fun!

Acer VL7860 Review

Acer projector VL7860

What we have here, in the form of the VL7860, is a relatively affordable ($3,999 list price), 4K UHD laser projector. It lacks the motorized lens and lens memory capabilities of the other award winners in this class, but it still has very good placement flexibility thanks to a 1.6:1 zoom and some vertical lens shift!

The Acer VL7860 finally delivers on what I and many others keep telling the DLP projector manufacturers – add a good dynamic iris to enhance black levels.

Acer VL7860 Overview

In the case of the VL7860, which is a laser light engine projector, Acer modulates the laser engine to emulate a fast dynamic iris. Their first attempt at emulating an iris that I got to see, had major issues (see the full review), but the current, shipping versions have succeeded. I am impressed.

That is, I am very pleased with the Acer’s black level performance. It did great in outer space, in Passengers, and just as successful in the dark scenes in Hunger Games – MockingJay, such as the march on the dam!

$2500-$5000 Best in Class Best Performance Home Theater Runner-Up Acer VL7860

I think of the Acer as a bit rough around the edges. It’s missing some features found on the competition. This is a single chip DLP, and that means a color wheel. The Acer’s is slow. I see lots of rainbows. Bad Acer! Fortunately, only a very small portion of the population is Rainbow Sensitive, so this is only an issue for perhaps 5% of the population (there are no good numbers on this).

With calibration, the Acer VL7860 can produce some pretty close-to-accurate color.
With calibration, the Acer VL7860 can produce some pretty close-to-accurate color.

To do a full calibration properly, you need access to the Color Management System, to calibrate individual colors. Unfortunately, access is saved for the two ISF modes – Day and Night – for professional calibrators. You’ll have to decide whether to splurge on a “pro” calibration (it will calibrate extremely well).

With the CMS, the projector produces some very close to right-on-the-money color. Without them, not so much. Seriously though, still very good, but not as great color accuracy without the CMS.

The Bottom Line on the Acer VL7860

No matter, this is a fun projector. Fully calibrated, it cranks out around 1,200 lumens but laser projectors always seem brighter. There’s almost 2,000 lumens in modes with merely very good, not great color. And remember, the brightness of this projector is going to drop very slowly over time, unlike lamp projectors. Also, once calibrated, it will hold that color with little change for years. Nice.

And it is very nicely sharp. It looks great on 4K content. I thought center to corner sharpness might be a little better than some of the other 4K UHDs to roll through here.

Of the projectors in this price range, this Acer intrigues me the most. If it had a faster color wheel, I could see spending a whole lot of time watching it, enjoying its black level performance, combined with that DLP “look and feel,” and seriously comparing the experience against the definitely not quite as sharp JVC.

The Acer is definitely my favorite 4K UHD DLP projector so far, from a performance standpoint, at least for those not rainbow sensitive. Even if a bit “rough around the edges,” I’m a bit jealous – DLP – Laser – Black Levels – HDR… Have fun!

Acer VL7860 Review

  1. The 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Report
  2. The 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Report: List of Winners
  3. Best in Class – Under $1000 Value Home Theater: Epson Home Cinema 2100 and 2150
  4. Best in Class – Under $1000 Performance Home Entertainment: Epson Home Cinema 1060
  5. Best in Class – Under $1000 Value Home Entertainment: ViewSonic PJD7828HDL
  6. Best in Class – $1000-$2500 Most Innovative: Smart Projector: Optoma UHD51A
  7. Best in Class – $1000-$2500 Performance 4K Capable Home Theater: Epson Home Cinema 5040UB
  8. Best in Class – $1000-$2500 Performance Home Theater: Optoma UHD50
  9. Best in Class – $1000-$2500 Value 4K Capable Home Entertainment: ViewSonic PX727-4K
  10. Best in Class – $1000-$2500 Bright Room Home Entertainment: BenQ TK800
  11. Best in Class – $2500-$5000 Most Innovative: Smart Projector: LG HU80KA
  12. Best in Class – $2500-$5000 Performance Home Theater: JVC DLA-RS440U (And DLA-X590)
  13. Best in Class – $2500-$5000 Performance Home Theater Runner-Up: Acer VL7860
  14. Best in Class – $2500-$5000 Performance Home Theater Runner-Up: Sony VPL-VW285ES
  15. Best in Class – $5000-$25,000 Performance Home Theater: Sony VPL-VW885ES
  16. Best in Class – $5000-$25,000 Performance Home Theater: Sony VPL-VZ1000ES
  17. Best in Class – $5000-$25,000 Value Home Theater: Epson LS10500
  18. Best in Class – $5000-$25,000 Value Home Theater: Sony VPL-VW385ES
  19. Best in Class – $5000-$25,000 Performance Home Entertainment: Optoma UHZ65
  20. 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Winners – Charts
  21. 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Report – Non-Winners Under $1000 Class
  22. 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Report – Non-Winners $1000-$2500 Class
  23. 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Report – Non-Winners $2500-$5000 Class
  24. 2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Report – Non-Winners $5000-$25,000 Class

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