Small and portable. Can project from and charge MHL-enabled tablets and smartphones. Reasonably strong, good-quality audio.
Limited to HDMI/MHL connectivity. Poor text quality. Some rainbow effect in video in our tests.
- BOTTOM LINE
The Acer C205 is a compact projector of modest brightness and decent audio output, designed for businesspeople who need to give presentations in small rooms.
The C205 is an LED-based DLP projector with a rated brightness of 200 lumens and native WVGA (854-by-480) resolution. Acer claims a lamp life of up to 20,000 hours in Standard mode and 30,000 hours in Eco mode, so the light source should last the lifetime of the projector.
The chassis measures 1.1 by 5.7 by 4.3 inches (HWD) and has a simple, handsome design. It’s rectangular with semicircular wings that house its two 2-watt speakers. The speaker and ventilation grilles are silver, while the rest of the projector is white. The projector itself weighs 10.7 ounces; adding the power adapter brings the total weight up to 17 ounces. The small focus wheel is out front, next to the lens.
A built-in, rechargeable 4,200mAh battery provides up to 2 hours of cable-free operation. Connectivity is limited to an HDMI port, which also supports MHL, letting you connect to an MHL-compatible smartphone or tablet to project images, as well as charge the mobile device. There’s a USB Type A port, but its only function is to let you charge a USB device, such as a smartphone. The projector also has an audio-in jack.
I tested the C205 from about 5 feet away from the screen, where it threw a 4-foot (diagonal) image. There was some degradation in image quality with the introduction of ambient light; the image looked better when I reduced it to about 36 inches (diagonal).
Data-image quality, while otherwise decent, is brought down by poor text quality. Black text on white was readable (though not sharp) at 10.5 points, while white text on black was only easily readable at 12 points or larger. You could use the C205 for presentations, but you’ll want to stick to larger type, and it’s best to use black type on a light-colored or a white background. The upside is that there’s no tinting to speak of, and colors are well-saturated, though there is some pixel jitter.
I noticed rainbow artifacts—small red-green-blue flashes—in some bright areas against dark backgrounds. This so-called rainbow effect, which is frequently seen in single-chip DLP projectors, is less of a problem with data images than with video. Even those sensitive to the effect are unlikely to be bothered by it when watching data presentations with the C205.
Video and Audio
In our testing, video was of a quality suitable for shorter clips as part of a presentation. Rainbow artifacts were more apparent in video than they were in data images in our tests, and they’d likely be distracting to those sensitive to the effect. When you’re presenting on the road, you have no way of knowing how sensitive to these artifacts your audience may be, and thus you’re best off using video sparingly with this projector.
Also, some pixelation due to the projector’s relatively modest resolution is evident in video. This can be counteracted by keeping the projected image relatively small; a 36-inch (diagonal) image is a good size both to reduce pixelation and to keep the image relatively bright.
Audio from the twin 2-watt speakers is of decent quality, and should be fine for a small room. This puts the C205 ahead of the many palmtop projectors that are barely audible unless you’re sitting very close to them.
The C205 could be thought of as a miniature version of the Acer K137 it’s smaller, and has lower brightness and resolution than that 700-lumen WXGA model. The Acer K137 has slightly more powerful (two 3-watt) speakers as well. The C205 is even more portable, and sells at barely half the price of the K137.
The AAXA P4-X Pico Projector, Editors’ Choice as a micro-projector (pico or palmtop) is dimmer than the C205. It’s rated at just 80 lumens, or 50 lumens if you’re running it from its battery. Even so, it showed surprisingly good image quality in our tests, with good text quality and decent video with a minimum of rainbow artifacts. It also has the ability to project content from a microSD card or a USB thumb drive.
That said, the AAXA P4-X’s sound is barely audible. If audio is important to your presentations (and text quality isn’t vital), and if you can connect with HDMI or MHL, the Acer C205 is worth considering.
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