Acer P1265 review

£455
Price when reviewed

Portable projectors usually carry a price premium, but Acer aims to break the mould: its latest P1265 not only comes in with a price tag on the right side of £500, but it also delivers a native XGA resolution of 1,024 x 768. This DLP projector incorporates Acer’s ColorBoost technology to improve picture quality, while a 2,400 lumens rating means it will work in a wide range of lighting conditions.

The P1265 is nicely designed with a high-gloss top panel that can be released with clips at each side to access the bulb housing. The fact you can change the bulb from the top is useful, as it means you have no problem reaching the bulb regardless of whether the projector is positioned on a desk or mounted from the ceiling.

Two wheels are provided around the lens housing for manual focus and zoom adjustment but, annoyingly, any changes to the zoom require you to re-focus the lens. A standard drop-down leg and ratchet at the front make light work of vertical adjustment, although we’d have preferred the leg to have been a little longer. A control panel on the top provides full access to the projector’s menu system, which we found easy enough to use.

For testing, we installed the P1265 in our boardroom and used it for a range of presentations. Most conspicuous by its absence was noise – in fact, this is one of the quietest projectors we’ve used. In standard mode it was barely audible, but in Eco mode it simply whispered. This mode also reduces light output to 1,920 lumens, which increases the lamp’s life from 2,500 hours to 3,000 if used all the time. A handy Resync button on the remote causes the projector to run through its inputs, locate the active one and set its colour balance automatically.

Our audience rated the picture quality as generally good, although felt colour lacked vitality, which the brightness and contrast controls did little to improve. Overall quality for black text on a white background varied, as the projector was unable to resolve uniform fonts even at standard 12pt sizes. The image in standard mode was very bright in a darkened room and, even with the curtains open, the picture was clearly visible during daylight. Admittedly, the weather was typically British on the day in question but we’d still expect the P1265 to work well enough on a brighter day.

Acer provides a useful range of handy features to make your presentations flow smoothly. The remote handset incorporates a laser pointer, while the Empower button activates an eView menu so you can swiftly select the best display mode. The eTimer function displays a countdown timer in one corner while the eOpening option allows you to pick your own image for the startup screen. Handily, the onscreen menu offers you six different display settings, allowing you to store custom configurations for different scenarios. The USB host port also proved useful, as we connected this to our notebook and used the PgUp and PgDn buttons on the remote to flick though the pages of our presentation.

Although colour quality could be better and some picture controls are of limited use, the P1265 offers a lot of features for the price. It’s also endowed with a good selection of inputs and noise levels are remarkably low.

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