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Review - Acer H6500

Hey All! It's been quite a while since my last review, but I was able to get my hands on the Acer H6500.  It's a portable, bright, entry level projector that supports native 1080p resolution, and the price makes it an appealing option for those wanting a 1080p proejctor on a budget.   There are many strengths to this projector, but there are some weaknesses that should be considered before purchasing.  Read on to find out how the Acer H6500 holds up in the game room and how it compares to the GT750.  And be sure to read the conclusion! First, I want to point out that the Acer H6500, physically, is an extremely portable projector.  The only other projector that I have reviewed (excluding pico projectors) that matches the H6500's portability is the Optoma GT750.  It's not quite a backpack, but the Acer H6500 includes a carrying case of sorts so you can easily pack it up and bring it anywhere. Like most projectors in this price range, the Acer H6500 does not have any lens shift.  This means the projector needs to be pretty much centered in respect to the screen.  The H6500 does have keystone correction, but in my opinion, it's is a feature that should be used to tweak a slightly offset image, and not relied upon as a substitute for lens shift. The Optoma GT750 had an extremely short throw distance which helped make up for it having no lens shift.  The Acer H6500 does not have this luxury.   I was forced to table mount the H6500 in the center of my theater room simply because I could not get H6500 to fill my screen in the same position as my Epson 6500UB.   Just to give you an idea of the space constraints, I was almost able to fill my 100" screen with the Acer at full zoom (~10ft throw). Once I had placement of the H6500 figured out, I immediately noticed the brightness of the H6500.  Even in its best mode, it is a light cannon! I also noticed the image was very sharp, noticeably sharper than my 6500UB.  The combination of the brightness and sharpness of this projector in brighter scenes was impressive.  It definitely had a "wow" factor. In mixed/darker scenes, the projector did struggle a bit.  As you would expect, because the H6500 projector is so bright, the black levels suffer as a result.  It's been a while since I've had the GT750 in my possession, but if my memory serves, I would say the GT750 has marginally darker overall blacks.  However, I was very impressed with the shadow detail on the H6500.  I don't recall the GT750 having as much shadow detail. I usually find that overall black levels and shadow detail go hand in hand, but the H6500 seemed to have very good shadow detail compared to its absolute black level.   The darker scenes in Resident Evil 5 are my overall black/shadow detail reference and though the over black reference was a dark gray (not an inky black), I didn't seem lose detail in the shadows as much as many other projectors in this price range. There aren't too many calibration options for the H6500.  The color accuracy seemed pretty acceptable in its best mode but the brightest mode didn't seem to increase lumens enough to justify its awful colors. This projector is DLP, so Rainbows may be an issue for some.  I was able to see them, barely and rarely, but only if I was looking for them. I'm pleased to say the Acer H6500 did great with input lag.   I wasn't able to detect any lag while playing and I captured 0-30ms (with an average around 15ms) with my camera.  It's not zero, but it's definitely one of the faster projectors I've taken a look at.
Acer H6500 projector

Acer H6500 projector

Conclusion: Overall, I consider the Acer H6500 to be a strong competitor in the entry level projector market.  It gives an extremely sharp, full 1080p image with little input lag and great shadow detail.  But there are a couple basic features missing on the H6500 that prevent it from being spectacular. In this price range, I can overlook lack of 3D support and limited placement flexibility.  I can also deal with the mediocre black levels, especially since the projector is extremely bright.   However, I don't understand why Acer did not include built in speakers, or more importantly, an "audio out" connection. I can understand skipping the built-in speakers (I've never been a fan), but this projector comes with a travel's meant to be portable!   Why doesn't it have an audio output!?   In the end, you can rig something up, but it's something small that just makes things more simple when you are moving the projector around. Acer H6500 OR Optoma GT750? It's a tough call...  The Acer H6500 gives you full 1080p. The Optoma GT750 sports 720p with 3D support.   Personally, I think 2D 1080p trumps 3D 720p, abut that's just my opinion.  The Optoma gives both built in speakers as well as an audio out connection, while the Acer has neither...which could prove to be a pain depending on where you are using the projector.     In the end, I think it's a simple question of lifestyle.   If you think your projector is going to stay at home most of the time, I think the H6500 will consistently throw a better image -  primarily because it is full 1080p resolution.  If you are going to be moving your projector around fairly often, and want something you can setup anywhere - the GT750 wins. That's all for now... -Pete

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