The Acer K132 is perhaps the lightest 500-lumen projector we’ve encountered, weighing in at less than a pound and not much more when the power adapter is added. Acer describes this projector as being a good fit for frequent business travelers. Its image quality is typical of projectors in its class. Its connection choices are fairly limited, however.
The K132 is similar in dimensions to many of the micro projectors we’ve been seeing, measuring 1.6 by 5.5 by 4.6 inches (HWD). That’s a little larger than palmtop size; I can barely hold it in my rather large hand with fingers outstretched. It’s very light for a 500-lumen projector; I weighed it at just 14 ounces, or 1 pound 10 ounces when you add the power adapter and cord. That’s even less than the 500-lumen InFocus IN1144, which weighs 1 pound 13 ounces, and 2 pounds 10 ounces including the power block. The K132 comes with a soft carrying case, which fits just the projector; you’ll have to carry the adapter separately.
The DLP-based K132 has native WXGA resolution (1,280 by 800 pixels) a rated brightness of 500 ANSI lumens, and a 10,000:1 rated contrast ratio. It has an LED light source, rated at 20,000 hours in normal mode and 30,000 hours in eco mode, so the bulb should last the lifetime of the projector.
It has a universal I/O port for connecting via VGA using an adapter cable; a USB type B port for connecting to a computer, and an HDMI port. Few projectors include any HDMI cables, but the K132 comes with two of them: one HDMI-to-HDMI, the other HDMI-to-mini-USB. The former cable is very short, so whatever you’re connecting to would have to be very close to the projector.
The K132 lacks the USB type A port found in the Dell M900HD, which allows users to run presentations from a USB thumb drive or plug in a Wi-Fi adapter, and also lacks the Dell’s SD card slot. The InFocus IN1144 also includes an SD card slot and a port for a USB thumb drive or Wi-Fi dongle. The Editors’ Choice 3M Mobile Projector MP410 offers a micro-SD card slot, a port for a USB thumb drive or wireless adapter, and 1GB of internal memory.
On top of the K132 is a four-way controller with center button, with which you can access the menu system. A tiny remote control comes with the projector. Behind the lens is a focus lever. One nice touch on the bottom of the projector is a threaded hole that allows you to screw the projector into a tripod.
The projector filled our test screen with an image about 60 inches diagonal when about seven feet away from the projector. Image quality in some data images was considerably degraded when a fair amount of ambient light was introduced. The projector is best suited for use in a smaller, dark room.
In my testing using DisplayMate software (www.displaymate.com), data image quality proved typical of a palmtop projector. Colors were generally well saturated; I saw some green or red or green tinting in certain images with white to mid-gray backgrounds.
I noticed one issue that the K132 shares with numerous recent LED-based WXGA projectors that use a TI DLP chip: the appearance of what resemble scaling artifacts, which usually indicate a mismatch between the image source’s resolution and the projector’s native resolution, even though both resolutions would seem to be 1,280 by 800. These artifacts usually take the form of extra or thicker lines in patterned fills with closely spaced lines or dots.
Fortunately, such anomalies won’t have any effect on most image types used in presentations, but they may adversely affect text quality. This may have been the case with the K132, as text was blurred (and showed spurious color) at the two smallest white-on-black font sizes, and blurred at the smallest black-on-white.
All single-chip DLP projectors are potentially subject to the rainbow effect, in which one may see little red/green/blue flashes in light areas against dark backgrounds, particularly in moving images or when one’s eyes move quickly. I noticed rainbow artifacts in data images, but they shouldn’t be a distraction there, even to people sensitive to the effect.
Video quality is suitable for showing short to mid-length clips as part of a presentation. Rainbow artifacts were more prominent in video, and would likely be distracting to people sensitive to them. I also noticed that there appeared to be too much red in some scenes. Another issue was posterization, a tendency for abrupt shifts in color where they should be gradual.
Audio from the K132′s 2-watt internal speaker is feeble, and can only be heard in the projector’s immediate vicinity.
The K132 is 3D capable, but you’ll need DLP-link active shutter 3D glasses to use it as such.
The K132 is a small, very light, and capable low-brightness LED projector, with typical image quality for its ilk. Its text quality may have been adversely affected by the same phenomenon that caused scaling-like artifacts to appear in some data images; among the few WXGA LED projectors that retained high text quality despite the presence of similar artifacts are the InFocus IN1144 and the Editors’ Choice 3M Mobile Projector MP410. The IN1144 is also notable for its relative lack of rainbow artifacts, and the relative clarity (if not volume) of its audio. At 300 watts, the 3M MP410 is fainter than the MP410. If you need more brightness, the 900-lumen Dell M900HD is still reasonably compact and lightweight.
Two things set the Acer K132 apart from other LED-based micro-projectors we’ve looked at; its surprisingly light weight for its brightness, and its relatively sparse selection of ports. You can’t run presentations from SD cards or USB keys, or connect via Wi-Fi, with this projector, but if an HDMI connection is more your speed, the Acer K132 is a capable, tiny, and notably lightweight.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc