Acer XD1280D review

£457
Price when reviewed

Although the name hints at higher resolutions, Acer’s XD1280D is an XGA projector, and quite a remarkable one. At 2,600 lumens, it literally outshines every other projector on test, and its 2,200:1 contrast ratio is second only to the Optoma’s. Acer’s determination to impress is confirmed by the notable presence of a DVI socket (found only here and on the BenQ). The remote control is comfortable to hold and by far the most fully featured we saw this month.

Acer XD1280D review

The Acer romped through our technical exercises, producing rock-solid lines, crisp text and super-smooth video. Some horizontal strobing was detectable in greyish areas in tests via VGA, but this vanished when we switched to the included DVI cable.

These optical strengths are, however, offset by a few weaknesses. Primary colours seemed fairly lifeless and mixed colours were positively dull, giving a cold cast to our photos in PowerPoint slides. Manually turning up the saturation added warmth, but caused pale colours to become washed out.

Worse, on several occasions during our tests, we were visited by the DLP rainbow effect, which manifested as the impression of momentary flashes of primary colours, particularly when viewing white text on a black background and when changing between slides. As we continued testing, other chinks in the Acer’s armour began to appear: keystone correction was pleasingly even, but made the whole screen seem slightly fuzzy. Shutdown times were agonisingly slow (nearly three minutes), and we noted that the warranty is a year shorter than most manufacturers offer.

The XD1280D’s brightness and clarity, coupled with its DVI interface, brought it within sight of the prize this month. Ultimately, however, its various shortcomings held it back. Nevertheless, it’s outstanding for the price.

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