Acer H6510BD Projector review

The Acer H6510BD Projector delivers 1080p resolution and full 3D support for video sources like Blu-ray players and FiOS boxes.
Photo of Acer H6510BD Projector

The Acer H6510BD Projector is a big step up from the Acer H6500 that it replaces in Acer’s line (although the H6500 is still available from various Web sites at this writing). Both offer full HD resolution, at a native 1080p, but the H6510BD is brighter, at a rated 3,000 lumens; it adds full 3D support for video devices like Blu-ray players and FiOS or cable boxes; and it’s about $100 less than the H6500 was when it was introduced. Add in reasonably good image quality, as long as you’re not bothered by rainbow artifacts, and it’s a potentially good pick as a low-cost home entertainment projector.

Much like the Acer H5370BD that I recently reviewed, the H6510BD is small and light enough that if you don’t have a room to set it up in permanently, you can easily store it away when you’re not using it, and then set it up only when you need it. In fact, it’s even lighter than the H5370BD, at four pounds, 13 ounces.

As with the Acer H5370BD also, the H6510BD comes with a soft carrying case, which makes it easy to store, or even carry to a friend’s house for a movie night or the like. If you need the portability, that gives the H6510BD an important advantage over projectors like the LCD-based Editors’ Choice Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 3020e, which weighs more than twice as much. Keep in mind, however, that the 3020e has its own advantages, including a guarantee to be free of rainbow artifacts, thanks to its three-chip LCD design

Setup
Setting up the H6510BD is absolutely standard, with manual focus and a 1.3x manual zoom, which gives you some welcome flexibility in how far you can put the projector from the screen for a given size image. For most of my tests, I used a 78-inch wide (90-inch diagonal) image at the native 16:9 aspect ratio with the projector 88 inches from the screen.

Connectors for image sources include two HDMI ports, an S-Video port, three RCA plugs for component video, and the usual VGA and composite video ports. There’s also a VGA pass-through port, which is unusual for a home entertainment projector, and two stereo mini plugs for audio in and audio out.

Brightness and Image Quality
Evaluating brightness for single-chip DLP projectors isn’t as straightforward as with three-chip LCD projectors like the 3020e, which have the same white brightness and color brightness. Most DLP projectors, including the H6510BD, have lower color brightness than white brightness, which can affect both color quality and the brightness of color images. (For more on color brightness, see Color Brightness: What It Is, and Why You Should Care.)

That said, in my tests, using a 2.4 gain Severtson GP169923D ($1,150 street, 4 stars) screen, the H6510BD was bright enough for a 78-inch wide (90-inch diagonal) image with the level of ambient light typical for a living room or family room at night. You can also adjust the brightness for bigger or smaller image sizes, different gain screens, or different light levels by choosing a different preset mode, switching to Eco mode, or both. For my tests, I settled on the Dark Theater preset, which sacrifices some brightness in favor of better color quality.

Image Quality and Rainbows
For 2D video, the H6510BD did a good job with skin tones and shadow detail (details based on shading in dark areas), and I didn’t see any motion artifacts or posterization (shading changing suddenly where it should change gradually). I saw a moderate level of noise in large solid areas, but that’s typical for inexpensive projectors, and there wasn’t enough to count as a problem.

The one potentially important issue is rainbow artifacts, with light areas breaking up into flashes of red, green, and blue. The artifacts come from the way single-chip DLP projectors create colors, with some projectors showing them more easily than others.

The H6510BD falls somewhere in the middle, showing them less often than some projectors, but often enough (particularly with black and white clips) that anyone who sees rainbow artifacts easily is likely to find them bothersome. If that includes you, or you’re concerned that it might be an issue for someone you watch movies with, you’ll be better off with an LCD projector like the 3020e.

3D and Other Issues
According to Acer, the H6510BD supports 3D both with computers, using HDMI only, and with video sources that follow HDMI 1.4a standards. As is typical for current models, it will work with either 120Hz or 144Hz glasses with games, but it needs 144Hz glasses for 24-frame-per-second video.

For all of the image quality aspects that 2D and 3D images share, the 3D image quality was much the same as with 2D in my tests. For 3D-specific issues, I saw slight crosstalk in scenes that tend to show crosstalk and a hint of 3D-related motion artifacts in clips that tend to show them. It’s unlikely that anyone would find either of these seriously annoying, however. With 3D, as with 2D, the only serious potential quality issue is rainbow artifacts.

Ultimately, how you feel about the Acer H6510BD Projector is going to depend largely on how you feel about rainbow artifacts. If you, or someone you watch with, sees them easily and finds them annoying, this is obviously the wrong projector for you. If you don’t see them easily, however, or don’t mind seeing them, it has a lot to recommend it otherwise. The combination of full 1080p HD, good image quality, and full support for 3D with video sources make the Acer H6510BD Projector a seductively attractive choice for the price.

Specifications
Native Resolution 1920 x 1080
Video Inputs Component, Composite, HDMI, S-Video
Computer Interfaces Analog VGA, HDMI
Wireless Connectivity No
Weight 4.8 lb
Rated Contrast Ratio 10000
Engine Type DLP
Type Consumer
Aspect Ratio 16
Rated Brightness 3000 ANSI lumens

Verdict
For those who don't see or don't mind rainbow artifacts, the Acer H6510BD Projector is a potential bargain, with 1080p resolution and full 3D support.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc