A superb projector that handles PowerPoint presentations and popcorn movies in perfect style
- Bright, crystal-clear image quality
- Impressive colour performance
- Easy to set-up, with short throw ratio
- Expensive for a non-4K projector
- Thin and weedy sound
The Acer Vero PL2520i sees Acer’s eco line of laptops and monitors embrace projectors with a model clearly aimed at business users but with potential for a little entertainment on the side. Like other products in the Vero range, the PL2520i is partly made from post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics and designed with energy efficiency in mind.
Beyond the sustainable construction, it uses a Laser light source that gives you the high brightness levels you want for conference rooms and presentations but with a lifespan of up to 30,000 hours.
While it’s not exactly cheap for a DLP projector with a Full HD resolution, the Acer Vero PL2520i delivers just what a lot of business users need. In fact, if you’re okay with the 1080p resolution, it’s a strong all-rounder you could misuse once the working day is done.
Acer Vero PL2520i review: What do you get for the money?
This is a DLP projector with a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution, ready for images with a 16:10 aspect ratio. Its brightness is rated at a maximum 4,000 ANSI lumens, dropping down to a still impressive 3,200 ANSI lumens in ECO mode. Acer claims it’s capable of reproducing up to 1.07 billion colours.
There’s no onboard streaming as you’ll find on some new entertainment projectors but with two HDMI 1.4 inputs, you’re free to use your own streaming stick as well as the HDMI output of a laptop or desktop PC. Alternatively, there’s support for Miracast and EZcast wireless casting, if you prefer working cable-free from your laptop, tablet or smartphone.
With a short throw ratio of 1.12-1.47:1, depending on your usage of the optical zoom, you need a throw of 2.8 metres to fill a 100in screen or 2.27m to fill an 80in screen. That shouldn’t be a problem in a good-sized meeting room, or in a village hall or living room, come to that.
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Acer Vero PL2520i review: What does it do well?
First and foremost, this is a great business projector. It’s quiet, putting out under 30dBA in Economy mode (measured from 1m distance to the side), and it’s surprisingly bright with an excellent grasp of colour. Tested with a colorimeter in the Standard image mode, I read brightness levels of 412cd/m2 at 30cm from the screen, which is significantly higher than I get from the majority of entertainment projectors. The black level is also high at 0.7cd/m2, so the contrast ratio isn’t quite so impressive but if you want a bright, punchy picture for your presentations, the Vero PL2520i won’t disappoint.
I don’t usually hope for much from business projectors in terms of colour performance, but the Vero PL2520i surpassed my expectations. In testing it covered 93.8% of the sRGB colour gamut and 73.3% of DCI-P3. The colour accuracy isn’t great, though, with an average Delta-E of 8.56.
Using a Windows laptop and running through a series of PowerPoint slides, it was hard to fault the Vero’s presentation, however. Whites are white, text is crisp and images and animations pop, even when you’re watching during daylight hours or in moderate artificial lighting. With its likeable, natural colour balance, it would be an asset to any meeting room. However, pair the Vero PL2520i with a suitable streaming stick – we used the Roku 4K Streaming Stick – and it makes a mean TV and movie-watching machine.
True, you won’t get the detail or definition you would find with a 4K home cinema projector, but the high brightness levels and vibrant colours are just as good for watching blockbusters or streaming shows on Disney+ as they are for PowerPoint presentations. I could have made it through two episodes of The Witcher and the first half of Tenet while only being dimly aware that this wasn’t a home cinema projector, if it weren’t for the weedy sound (more on that below).
The design isn’t exactly glamorous, but the plastics feel robust and the controls are very accessible on the top of the unit. Acer claims 50% of the plastics used are PCR, while all the packaging is recyclable cardboard, so this is a more sustainable projector than the average. The laser should be good for 30,000 hours on Eco mode or around 20,000 hours on Standard, and it’s designed to handle 24/7 projection, should you need to keep it running continuously. The Standard or Cinema modes are better for movies, and presentations still look great on the quieter, longer-lasting Eco mode.
The other big plus with the Vero PL2520i is that it’s fairly straightforward to set up. While it doesn’t have the clever automatic focus and geometry adjustments we’re seeing on some portable and entertainment models, the manual zoom and focus wheels are easy to work with, as are the keystone adjustment settings, and there is an automatic setting to handle vertical keystoning. I’ve had this projector set up in several different rooms during a couple of weeks, and it never takes me more than a few minutes to get a crisp, well-aligned image.
Acer Vero PL2520i review: What could it do better?
Sound is this projector’s biggest weakness. The Acer Vero PL2520i has a built-in 10W stereo speaker system, but the tone is thin and harsh at higher volumes, without much in the way of stereo spread. It’s fine for presentation purposes, but for entertainment you’ll want something with more impact. Here, your options are limited, with no Bluetooth output for headphones, a speaker or a soundbar, just a 3.5mm line out.
I’m not sure that’s a dealbreaker given the target market and the same goes for the lack of specialised game modes, which might disappoint PC and console gamers but not those buying for business. The menus could sometimes be clearer, better structured and more intuitive – finding detailed colour settings wasn’t as straightforward as it could be – but otherwise there’s barely anything to moan about.
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Acer Vero PL2520i review: Should you buy one?
If you’re in the market for a projector for business, then the Vero PL2520i deserves a place right at the top of your shortlist. It’s bright enough to use without closing the curtains or turning off all lighting, and the image quality is top notch. What’s more, it’s versatile enough to handle entertainment duties, too.
It is relatively expensive, and at this price you could also be looking at a budget 4K projector, including some of those you’ll find in our best projectors guide. What you won’t get, though, is the laser light source with its superior brightness levels and epic lifespan. On a projector that sees heavy use, that could make a real difference in the long term.