Acer recently announced this portable projector which caught my attention. There was a nice offer from an online shop here in Switzerland, so I purchased one of them to check if some of my uses cases would be possible with it.
The unit has a lot of specs for a projector (or I am too old and not used to see all these in one). It has a battery so you can use it without the need of a constant feed of power, and the same can be used to charge your devices in case you are out of juice in one of your devices. While it is portable and the form factor is quite attractive, I wouldn’t use it as a portable battery pack. It can also be used as a wireless speaker though, so maybe it does have a lot of specs for you to “carry” it with you?.
The form factor has a reason, Acer claims is the first projector with portrait mode. You can also use it horizontally and when you move it in either orientation, the image will auto-adjust to be displayed correctly. This I believe is something not all projectors do, and when combined with a nice automatic keystone correction, the image looks quite nice and not distorted I must say. I tested rotating it while in horizontal mode and the image was corrected each time to make sure it was shown the best possible angle and not distorted.
I took some pictures of the unboxing for you:
As you can see from the above images, the projector comes in a compact nice packaging and well protected so its not damaged on-transit, nothing to say on this regard. While they added a pouch bag for you to carry the projector protected, they seem to have forgotten to include 2 x AAA batteries for the remote control.
You can see that the projector has several ports, that should cover most people´s needs, this includes: Standard size HDMI, USB Type C, USB Type A (with video out support). It also allows direct media playback from a USB device. You can learn more about the specs here, and on Acer´s press release you can find more details.
But the most attractive part for me was the possibility to wireless mirror content from my iOS devices.
It required several re-tries to connect to my Wi-Fi network, not sure why, but when I finally got it working, it was mirroring tests time!
Trying to wireless mirror using the out of the box iOS “Mirror Screen” fails 98% of the times making it completely unreliable. To ensure the problem was not on my device (iPhone 11 Pro) I also tested it with my iPad 11 Pro 11″, same issue.
I thought I would have better luck with a Samsung S10 mobile, so I downloaded the Smart view app as recommended on the instructions of the projector. It did not work at all.
I also tried wireless displaying content from my Windows 10 laptop and the image flickered so much it was unusable.
I tried to find a firmware update (this unit was using: 1.23566.20191207) but there was none available. I even tried searching for it in different support sections from different countries on the Acer website, but I couldn’t find anything.
Workaround with a Chromecast
As the device has an HDMI port and a USB port, I wanted to try a way of sending content from my iPhone to it to test how it works. So I plugged in an old Google Chromecast and it worked quite straight forward. It didn’t look pretty, but it worked.
My 3 year old son was quite excited to see such a big “Fireman Sam” on our living room 🙂 The image looked quite good considering this is not a super bright projector, but with low light environments I must say the image quality was quite good.
I found the projector quite noisy. Loud enough that I wouldn’t want to use it, and much less to watch a movie. I recorded a video that I uploaded to YouTube with the noise level tests on the different screen modes:
I link the video below if you promise to not get distracted with another YouTube video 🙂
While this review doesn’t try to be exhaustive by any means, it shows how a product that brags from being a holder of a “2020 CES Innovation Award” fails to deliver a good consumer experience. Even if you get used to the noise, it shouldn’t be the case that customers must become technicians to try to fix issues.
The concept of the unit is really great, and it caught my attention enough to purchase it. But or I was unlucky to have a faulty unit, or Acer did not do their homework before releasing this excellent theoretical device to the market.
On either case if Acer wants to send me another unit for me to re-test, I will happily check it out and update this post if anything changes.
On the meantime, my recommendation is: search for other options.
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