1080p 3D Home Video Projector
April 12, 2013
Acer, the fourth-largest maker of PCs in the world, has become well-known in projector circles for building affordable home theater projectors that perform exceptionally well for the price. Their latest effort, the H6510BD, is a 1080p projector with full HD 3D capability that sells for less than $1,000.
The H6510BD has full HD 3D compatibility, making it one of the least expensive full 3D projectors on the market. As such, it is getting a lot of attention as an affordable way to bring 3D into the home. While it certainly has its issues, chief among them being color performance, for certain users the H6510BD is a good choice. Whether you need a projector for the theater or the living room, the H6510BD can hold its own.
Editor's note: We erroneously reported the BenQ W1070's color wheel speed as 4X in this article; it is 6X (3X physical wheel speed, RGBRGB segments). We apologize for the error. - Bill Livolsi
The Viewing Experience
The H6510BD is a small projector clad in a square-edged white case with a small lens mounted off center. It has a 1.3:1 manual zoom/focus lens and no lens shift, so projector placement is critically important. As such, the best mounting options for the H6510BD are either a ceiling mount or a table placement. Ceiling mounts have the advantage of being up and out of the way, and with the H6510BD's white case the projector can disappear into the ceiling. On the other hand, a table placement requires no additional hardware and has the advantage of being portable. With a projector as small as the H6510BD, bringing it along to friends' houses isn't out of the question. As a bonus, it does have a small 2W speaker.
The H6510BD's 1.3:1 lens can project a 100" diagonal 16:9 image from 8' 5" to 10' 10", or a 120" diagonal image from 10' to 13'. The projector has a mild throw offset of roughly 7%, meaning that the bottom edge of the projected image will appear 7% of the image's height above the centerline of the lens. On a 100" diagonal image, that would be about four inches. If you do plan to use a ceiling mount, that mild offset might require you to use an extension tube to bring the projector down low enough to hit your screen.
Once we got the projector set up properly, we connected a Blu-ray player over HDMI and fired it up. Preset image modes on the H6510BD are almost uniformly bright, ranging from 2524 lumens on the high end to 1336 lumens on the low end. Low lamp mode can reduce output by 26%, bringing output down to 988 lumens on the low side, but that's still quite a bit of light. While that much light has some beneficial applications - namely living room use and 3D projection - it can be too much light if you plan to use the projector in a dark room. In those cases, you can disable BrilliantColor to reduce light output by about half.
As far as actual image quality goes, the H6510BD needs some adjustment before it's suitable for use in a home theater environment, though the default calibrations are just fine for living room use. The H6510 is really ideal for a living room environment -- both because of its high brightness and its middling black level, putting it on par with other home video projectors. The projector does do a respectable job of differentiating shadow detail. And, contrary to our usual advice, we ended up getting better, more consistent results for both color and gamma with BrilliantColor on.