Acer S1200 review

£574
Price when reviewed

The trouble with most mid-sized projectors is that to get a big image, you have to be a good distance from the surface you’re projecting onto. In our last projectors Labs, for instance, the biggest screen size any projector managed at two metres distance was 72.5in.

Acer S1200 review

Projectors such as this ‘ultra short-throw’ model from Acer aim to change all that. Like BenQ’s MP522 ST (web ID: 236100), the S1200 claims to project large images from very short distances – up to 82in in this case from a distance of a mere metre.

That’s an impressive claim, especially considering the BenQ could only manage a 57in display from the same distance, but in our tests the S1200 lived up to it, projecting a huge image of 81in from corner to corner. It was so big, in fact, that we had to put the S1200 on the floor to stop the image from spreading across the ceiling. Another area where this Acer has the BenQ beat is that the image is projected further up the wall, with the display appearing some 10in above the position of the projector. This means you could easily place it on a low coffee table at home and still get a big, watchable picture at eye height.

These optical gymnastics have major benefits for small meeting room and home projection, but there are consequences for image quality. The DLP engine boasts intense brightness of 2,500 ANSI lumens, which means the projector’s 1,024 x 768 resolutions pictures are very bright, especially from such short distances. And the colours are as natural and balanced as we’ve come to expect from DLP projectors.

But that extreme fisheye-style lens doesn’t make for the crispest all-round focus. In our technical tests, which displays a matrix of geometric patterns repeated across the screen, there were patches of distinct blurriness, in each of the four corners.

In general use, however, you’ll hardly notice this and elsewhere the S1200 is perfectly respectable. You get HDMI and VGA inputs to go with composite and S-Video and it’s not the noisiest projector we’ve come across either.

You might sniff a little at the price – £519 is, after all, a little pricey for a 1,024 x 768 projector – but it’s around the same as the BenQ MP522 ST and a better all-round machine. In fact if you want big images in cramped surroundings we’ve seen nothing to match it.

Basic specifications

Projector technology DLP
Resolution 1024 x 768
Lumens brightness 2,500 lumens
Contrast ratio 2,000:1
Keystone correction? yes
Speakers? yes
Speaker type Mono
Speaker power ouput 8W

Dimensions

Dimensions 269 x 275 x 103mm (WDH)
Weight 3.000kg

Optics

Max diagonal image size 7.6m

Lamp & running costs

Lamp power 200W
Lamp life, standard mode 3,000hrs
Lamp life, eco mode 4,000hrs

Power & environment

Typical power consumption 275W
Peak noise level 32.0dB(A)
Idle/eco noise level 28.0dB(A)

Video inputs/outputs

VGA inputs 1
DVI inputs 1
S-Video inputs 1
Composite video inputs 1
HDMI inputs 1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1

Data ports and connectors

Front panel memory card reader no
Other memory media support N/A

Audio inputs/outputs

3.5mm audio input jacks 1
RCA (phono) inputs 1

Miscellaneous

Carry case yes

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