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7/10

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Acer H5350 DLP Projector - Acer H5350

Setting up the H5350 brings the first real problems. For starters, the remote control is pathetic; one of those horrible skinny things powered by watch batteries that inevitably get lost down sofas or left in pockets even when they're predominantly used in a bright room, never mind the pitch black environment that's best for watching films in.

I also found the wind-down leg mechanism for adjusting the picture angle fiddly and imprecise, and was pretty dismayed by the puny amount of optical zoom on hand. If you're really struggling, the projector does carry a x2 level of digital zoom. But I always steer clear of digital zooms where possible, as the processing they use invariably leads to some corruption of the video quality.

It should be said, though, that the H5350 isn't a total set-up wash-out. For starters, its focus ring is effortless to use, and keystone correction is on hand to get the sides of your pictures straight if you have the projector positioned above or below the centre of your screen.
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The basically presented but efficient onscreen menus also contain a few unexpectedly handy features for home entertainment users. The first is a duo of ‘Cinema' presets, Vivid Cinema and Dark Cinema, of which the Dark option is comfortably the best. There are also dedicated Sport and Game presets, showing that Acer clearly appreciates the sort of casual ‘party' duties the H5350 might find itself undertaking.

There's more video mileage to be had from degamma and red, green and blue intensity adjustments, as well as an ‘eco' mode that reduces the lamp output in return for deeper black level response and (considerably) less fan noise.

I was pleasantly surprised by the H5350's image compatibility, too. PC and MAC support is offered to UXGA, SXGA, XGA, SVGA and VGA VESA standards, while video playback support even runs to the latest 1080p/24fps system favoured by Blu-ray discs.

One of the H5350's more unusual tricks is that it can actually play sound. Obviously it does so very feebly, and there's the usual problem of how the sound from a projector has no geographical connection with the picture on the screen metres away. But we guess the audio might just about be handy when you've got a room full of people watching a football match or something similar.

One final rather neat feature that casual ‘put it away when you're done with it' users will appreciate is the ability to unplug the H5350 as soon as you've finished watching it, rather than having to wait for its lamp to cool down as is the case with the vast majority of other projectors.

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