Acer S1210 review
A bright lamp and colourful DLP technology make the S1210's image vibrant and the short throw ratio is useful, but you need to position the projector accurately and it's expensive
Review Date: 27 Apr 2012
Price when reviewed: £475
Reviewed By: Barry de la Rosa
The Acer S1210 is a specialised projector with a very short throw ratio and a high 2,500 lumens brightness. A projector's throw ratio is a measure of how large a picture can be projected in relation to the distance from the screen, and the S1210's throw ratio of 0.61 to 1 means it can project a 60in diagonal screen at a distance of under 30in.
Although the large bulbous lens protruding from the front of the S1210 points straight forward, it actually projects the image upwards so that the bottom edge of the screen is at about the same height as the top of the projector. This means you can project from a coffee table, or even place the S1210 on the floor in front of a wall, and it's ideal for ceiling mounts.
You'll need to have the projector facing straight-on to the screen to make sure the top and bottom of your projected image are straight, as the projector doesn't have horizontal keystone control. There's more leeway if the projector isn't in quite the right position vertically thanks to vertical keystone control, but bear in mind that adjusting this will degrade image quality.
2,500 lumens is incredibly bright, and it means the S1210 punches through fluorescent lighting easily, producing a bright, crisp image even when directly under strip lighting. Contrast is surprisingly good for such a bright projector, but the sky-high brightness affects black levels. However, in our test presentation, the photos had a surprising amount of detail visible in darker areas.
Colour accuracy takes a back seat to punchiness here; the colours seem boosted to look better under harsh lighting, and the S1210 defaults to a very warm colour temperature. In our test pictures, skin tones were very red at the default setting, so we switched Colour Temperature to the more neutral middle setting. Some people may also notice the DLP rainbow effect to varying degrees; this is most apparent in black and white films if you move your eyes rapidly across the screen, and start to see individual colours in the spinning DLP wheel.
With the lights out, the S1210's colours are bold and bright, but often overblown. This is most apparent in reflections and highlights; for example, light shining on skin can produce a kind of green sheen. Still, movies often benefit from larger-than-life colours, and we found our test Casino Royale disc looked fine. The only problem is the projector's native 4:3 aspect ratio - you can change it, but image quality will suffer as you'll be making the projector use a non-native resolution. This is most apparent under Windows, where even changing the resolution from the native 1,024x768 to 1,280x720 made text look fuzzy.
In any case, the S1210 is designed for presentations rather than watching movies. Lamp costs are low, although it's worth bearing in mind that the projector sucks up 223W of power while active. It's an expensive projector, though; the Epson EB-X11 also has a very bright lamp, has both a zoom and horizontal keystone correction, and its 3LCD technology doesn't produce DLP's rainbow effect. It's also about £100 cheaper, so is the better buy unless you really need the S1210's short throw ratio.
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