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Acer P1166 DLP Projector
It might seem like an Acer-sponsored week for my beat, as today as well I'm reviewing an Acer product - a DLP value model called the P1166. It’s not a full HD one but rather a candidate for a versatile entertainment cum business projector.
Design and features
This model has quite a typical mid end projector design, with stark looking ridged side panels. These are the type that run all around the sides, except of course the circular lens cavity is present on the right side of the front panel. The dial around the lens is for focus adjustment, and is a contrasting metallic colored shiny finish, so is the Acer logo imprinted on its left.
The top panel is divided into two separately finished surfaces, one a gloss piano black finish, and another matte one with a dark gray hue. It looks nice from the top, but overall it is a basic design - mainly straight edges and smooth surfaces. The top panel has a centrally located square plane containing flush mounted buttons, very neatly arranged and exuding a sense of professionalism. The power button glows in a red backlit LED when in standby mode.
This P1166 model is a DLP kind, with all the embellishments that come with this technology for projectors, like a 6 segment color wheel for instance. The Connections offered are impressive and make it viable to use as a multimedia projector. We have the usual: one VGA in (D-sub), one Composite Video (RCA), one S-Video and mainly one HDMI in.
There is also a USB (type B) input, VGA output and an audio in (Stereo mini jack) for use maybe when in portable mode. It's not exactly light - it’s a good 6 kgs - though the form factor and carry bag supplied allow it to be taken into the boardroom.
The contrast ratio is 2000:1 native, while the brightness is at 2500 ANSI lumens. The native resolution is 800 x 600 and maximum resolution is 1600 x 1200. There is a 2X digital zoom feature and the throw ratio is about 1.60:1. Thus screen sizes attainable are 26 inches minimum – 300 inches maximum and projection distance is 3.3 feet - 32.0 feet.
We plugged in our piece of equipment via HDMI into our test HTPC, filled with brand new Full HD trailers and clips, downloaded off the net. Plus our regular video test patterns also were beckoned in to see the performance of the projector. First things first , the menu is quite comprehensive with enough controls for achieving a a nice sweet spot in the image after calibrating. There is contrast, brightness, individual RGB, gamma and color temp settings.
Once set, we finally got an image of about 130 inches from a distance of 11 feet, mounted on a table top. The brightness is decent but not striking or spectacular. One definitely needs to shut off ambient light completely to enjoy any sensation of vividness.
The contrast performance is again average to decent, as black levels could be discerned but the difference between light and dark colors was not as vibrant. But then again this is not such an expensive projector, and its native res is 800 x 600. We simply could not use that, so I choked it till maximum res of 1920 x 1080. The specs do not mention it but via HDMI you can go upto 1080.
We watched the new terminator trailer in HD, and also Ratatouille on Blu-ray. The colors can be notched up in saturation through the menu, and then we get a satisfactory image. Motion was smooth, as is the fluid like motion of DLP models. Minute clarity suffers a bit, though it is not in its native resolution. Focus needs to be set minutely in detail if fonts and stuff are to be read clearly, as this projector has clear problems with displaying minute detail - it leaks out of its borders here and there in the image.
At a price of Rs. 53,029, I cannot call it a steal of a deal as the brightness and contrast is not spectacular or compelling enough to convince. It is good enough to enjoy a movie or game though, there is no compromise to be made. Just that it should have been cheaper. Colors are fine, they have a good neutral quality, but then again sharpness is something that requires attention.