Remarkably, we’re kicking off 2010 in pretty much the same startling vein that we finished 2009: with a Full HD home cinema projector, the Acer H7530D, that costs under £1,000.
Um, or rather, it would have cost under £1,000 prior to the recent hike in VAT. As it is, the cheapest I could find the H7530D at the time of writing was £1,006.98. Hopefully it will be just a matter of time before the £7 or so needed to keep it under a grand gets knocked off.
With Vivitek’s H1085 recently setting a new standard for the £1,000 or less DLP projector market, it’s fair to say the H7530D arrives at a tricky time. But then with pretty much every new projector we see in this sector outgunning the last, maybe it will be able to continue the upwards trend.
First impressions are decidedly mixed. The H7530D’s design, for instance, is pretty low on sculpting flourishes, but gamely tries to make itself look cute by the application of a surprisingly glossy finish and a large Acer logo with edges that illuminate in a bright neon blue when the projector is switched on.
To be honest, this sort of design doesn’t fill the cinephile in me with much hope as to the seriousness of the H7530D's home cinema ambitions. The emphasis seems to be on (shudder!) family fun instead. But hey - maybe I’ll be proved wrong. Or maybe the projector will force me to let my hair down and just have a laugh for once rather than taking this whole projection thing so seriously!
My willingness to try and feel optimistic about the H7530D rather plummets, though, when I note only one HDMI among its thin row of connections. Both the aforementioned Vivitek H1085 and the £1,000 BenQ W1000 manage to provide two HDMIs, leaving the H7530D standing out like a sore thumb.
It does at least manage a full suite of composite/S-Video/component options, though, as well as an RS-232 control port and a 3.5mm audio input. This latter jack is there because, as with all the other really cheap projectors we’ve seen lately, the H7530D has a built-in speaker.
Obviously, as I always say, you shouldn’t expect much from this speaker. After all, it’s inevitably very low in power and dynamic range, and also produces a sound that neither possesses anything like the scale of the image it accompanies, nor sounds as if it’s appearing from anywhere near that image.
What the speaker does do, however, is provide a no-brainer audio solution for casual projector users fond of carting their projectors around to places where hooking up a separate audio system is hardly practical, if even possible.