Pico projectors have appealed to a very limited demographic till now. Mostly, it was for people who wanted something for on the fly presentations or in offices that didn’t have the luxury of a huge space for PowerPoint. Essentially, the Acer C110 does pretty much that, and then something a bit more!
Look & Feel
The sheer tiny size of the C110 is impressive. It doesn’t seem much bigger than a portable hard drive, and extremely light to carry around as well. Acer packs in a carry pouch with the tablet, and we do appreciate that thought. Not only will it prevent scratches on the tablet, but also allows you to pack in the projector and the USB cable in one package and carry it without the risk of misplacing one or the other.
What is most impressive is that there are literally no controls on the projector itself, except for the focus. No power buttons, nothing for audio and no input-output ports either for AV.
Features & Performance
To power up the projector, you need to connect it to a PC with the USB cable provided. With no external power source to connect to, the C110 is walking the truly portable line. Plug it into a PC, and the Acer DisplayMate application prompt pops up, asking you to install it. There is no getting around it, and has to be installed. Once done, the install will prompt you to specify if you are using two USB ports on your PC or one – and manage the brightness of the projector accordingly.
You can either mirror or extend the PC’s display or set this up individually. Unfortunately, there is currently no Mac OS X drivers available for this projector. I had to fish out a Windows based laptop to test this device. If you happen to use a MacBook primarily, this could be a problem without a Windows PC around.
The C110 has a native resolution of 480 x 854 pixels, but the projector is capable of handling input signals up to 1280 x 800 pixels. For a Pico projector, the brightness levels and the colour depth is extremely surprising, for the better. The device has a native contrast ratio of 1000:1. This can only really be tweaked by changing the power settings from within the desktop software – low, medium, high and turbo. What really works is the 16:9 aspect ratio, and the widescreen display helps immensely when watching videos.
The brightness levels of the C110 are excellent, among all the Pico projectors. In a dark medium sized room, the brightness level is pretty much akin to an entry-level projector. Even if you have very dim lighting penetrating the room, the display will be sufficiently bright to watch comfortably. Most impressive is the vividness of the colours. Contrary to expectation, the vividness doesn’t get hit even at the brightness levels set at maximum. Handling of the whites is impressive, and useful for most document and PowerPoint presentations. While we cant really hold this against the C110, the black levels do tend to fade away a bit as the power settings are tweaked to full brightness and contrast.
Just to see how well it holds up with dedicated video viewing, we plugged it in to a laptop and placed it about 3 feet away from the wall. The display size we got was about 40-inches. While it was satisfactory for the most part, where it lost out was in fast moving scenes when the display became quite blurred.
For a price of around Rs 15000 in the market, the Acer C110 Pico projector is indeed something you could consider. This works well in office scenarios, and handles light video watching sessions quite well. Unless you exclusively use a MacBook! The ability to carry it around without any fuss is something we cant really put a value figure on! Don’t expect this to offer full-fledged projector performance, but it does a lot better than quite a few Pico alternatives out there.
Price: Rs 15000