So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Acer Projector C20 Series pico projector
Acer Projector C20 Series review: A portable, battery-powered projector for business users
- Small size
- Battery powered
- Relatively cheap
- No height adjustment
- Remote control not supplied
- Blurry image quality
Acer's Projector C20 Series pico projector is for business users who need to give presentations while on the road. Its image quality isn't great, nor is it comfortable to use, but it's small, it can run on battery power, and it's relatively cheap.
Price$ 489.00 (AUD)
The Acer Projector C20 Series is designed for users who require the use of a pico projector while travelling. It's tiny, it can run on battery power and it also possesses a bit of a 'wow factor' (purely because many people aren't used to seeing a projector this small). It's not a completely practical tool, but it can serve a purpose in situations where presentations need to be made to a small group of people and other means of sharing a laptop screen aren't available.
The Acer C20 projector is based on DLP technology and it includes an LED lamp that has a stated brightness of 20 ANSI Lumens and a stated life of 20,000 hours. A screen with a diagonal size of around 50cm can be made from a distance of 1m away and it has a native resolution of 854x480 pixels (these specifications are slightly lower than the HP Notebook Projection Companion). It has a built-in speaker, weighs 166g and it's around 12cm long, 6cm wide and 2cm thick. Connectivity includes a VGA port, Mini HDMI, a microSD card slot and a micro-USB port.
The Acer C20 projector can play content directly off a microSD card, as long as the file format is supported (AVI, MOV, MP4, 3GP, JPEG, BMP, AAC, MP3); a converter is available to make PowerPoint and PDF documents readable. Of course, you don't have to worry about file support or conversions if you just use the device to project a laptop screen. The battery in the C20 lasted just over one hour in our tests.
Because it's so small, you shouldn't expect the Acer C20's image quality to be great — it's far from that. We found it to be very soft on the right side of the image and no amount of physical adjusting or focus control would fix it (nor was there anything to help in the on-screen menu). If you're playing a video, this softness isn't noticeable, but if you're giving a presentation consisting of graphs and words, it will be distracting. The projector works best in a darkened room and from a projection distance of less than 2m.
You can't adjust the angle of the projector without a tripod — it doesn't have built-in legs and it just sits flat on the desk. A tripod is optional. You can adjust the focus via a rotational control on the left side, but it's poorly designed — it's recessed into the body, which makes it difficult to grip, and it's too stiff. The control buttons on the projector are flush and have poor tactility.
It would be good if some of the projector's options weren't options but instead included as standard. We're primarily talking about the tripod and the remote control, and also the adapter for the iPhone. These options would make the Acer Projector C20 Series a very convenient piece of kit. Without them we think the projector is just too awkward to use comfortably.
While the Acer C20 pico projector is aimed at business users, creative computer enthusiasts might also want to consider it for modding projects. Because it's flat, it can be attached to a laptop lid (using double-sided tape would be the easiest method) so that you can easily project onto your ceiling — perfect for watching movies while lying on your back in bed.
That slightly whimsical note aside, the Acer Projector C20 Series has its upsides for business use: it's small and easy to carry, it ships with a battery that can last just over an hour and it has a relatively low price for a pico projector. However, there are also a few downsides: it's not easy to use due to its controls and the lack of height adjustment (the HP Notebook Projection Companion is easier to use), and its image quality is noticeably blurry on the right side. Nevertheless, if you're in the market for a pico projector, then the C20 is worth considering purely because of its comparably low price point.
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