Acer H6517ST Review
1080p Short-Throw DLP Projector for Home Theater
Light output. Out of a rated 3,000 lumens, our test sample of the H6517ST measured 2,636 lumens in Bright mode with the lamp at full power. Bright mode is the projector's brightest display mode, sacrificing color accuracy and shadow detail to bring you a brighter picture with a slight green tinge. The most impressive aspects of Bright mode were the balance of the image compared to similar modes on other low-cost projectors, as well as the relative lack of fan noise. Even in this mode, the projector doesn't get loud.
The projector's other display modes are all designed for different tasks. Standard mode (1617 lumens) has a slight blue-cyan tint and better shadow detail than Bright mode, so it might be appropriate for computer graphics when the projector is serving as a monitor. Movie mode (1416 lumens) offers a warmer white balance, more accurate color, and better overall image balance for film and video use. If you can eliminate ambient light, Dark Cinema (1334 lumens) has better low-end shadow detail than Movie mode, but sacrifices light output to get it. Game mode (1660 lumens) is brighter than Standard mode, but lacks Standard's blue tint. Finally, Sports mode (1881 lumens) is a compromise between Game and Bright, giving you higher light output in exchange for less shadow detail while preserving the more accurate color of Game mode. It's ideal for those times when you want to watch the game on a really large screen, but either cannot or choose not to eliminate ambient light from the viewing area.
If none of these modes are to your liking, the H6517ST includes one User setting to customize however you like. However, unlike many other inexpensive projectors, you can also modify the factory preset modes without being shunted over to User mode, so you can set each mode to your own preferences.
All of these image modes are quite bright. If that's too much light for your application, you have two options. Eco mode reduces lamp power, cuts brightness by roughly 20%, and extends estimated lamp life. But even 80% of those image modes is quite bright, so you can also reduce white peaking or disable it entirely by turning off BrilliantColor. With BrilliantColor turned off, all image modes measure roughly 600 lumens, though they do retain their characteristic differences in color balance.
Contrast. It's difficult to build a bright projector that also has super-deep black levels. Moreover, the first casualty of ambient light is black level, so most entry-level projectors have black levels that are "good enough" but don't try to compete with more expensive projectors tailored to home theater in a darkened dedicated room. The H6517ST follows this same philosophy. Black level is so-so, giving the picture enough oomph to imbue it with a sense of three-dimensionality. The factory settings do give the picture some black crush in all modes except Dark Cinema, but you can fix that with a little bit of fine tuning. The H6517ST is built for use in ambient light, so if you do have a dedicated theater space, you're likely to notice that black level isn't as deep as it could be.
Detail and clarity. The sharpness of the H6517ST's image is heavily dependent on how meticulously the projector was mounted. If the projector is dead square to the screen, the worst you'll encounter is some slight softness at the very corners of the image, usually confined to one corner. If, however, the projector is even slightly out of square, you can expect to see two or more corners with some softness. This isn't an inherent flaw of the H6517ST as much as it is a fundamental law of the optical components involved. Other short-throw projectors have the same issues to some degree. It's just another factor to be aware of when you're picking a projector and planning your installation.
Input lag. The H6517ST measured 33 milliseconds of input lag in all image modes. That's roughly two frames of video from a 60 frame per second signal. Despite the name, Game mode does not reduce lag, so you can feel free to play games in any image mode you care to use.
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