The K750 could be the future of projection. In one fell swoop it hopes to banish the lifespan problems of traditional UHP lamps, the expense and brightness issues of LED lamps, and the eyesight safety concerns associated with laser-based lighting. How? By creating a DLP projector with a hybrid light system that combines red and blue LEDs, with a blue laser reflected from a phosphor ‘disc’ to produce green.
Deflecting the laser off the phosphor disc reduces its intensity enough to prevent it damaging eyes that might accidentally look down the lens, and applying it to the green colour element should also help boost the projector’s overall brightness.
It all sounds very clever. But does the K750 sidestep the performance issues we’ve previously seen attached to laser-based projection technologies?
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The K750 is seriously attractive. It combines a high-gloss top panel with an embossed silver Acer logo and grille-riddled matt grey edges, while its rounded corners give it soft, living-room-friendly finish. The K750 isn’t pitched exclusively as a home cinema projector, though; it’s reckoned to be up to data duties, too.
Given the K750’s affordable price, it’s remarkably heavy and robustly built, hinting at some quality internal componentry. Unless this is just the sort of weight and build quality you get as standard with an effective hybrid projection system.
Connections are a little on the rudimentary side, comprising two HDMIs, a 3mm audio in/out loop, a VGA input, an S-Video input (yes, these still exist), a composite video port, and an RS-232 port for system integration.
We’re starting to expect USB sockets and even Wi-Fi on modern data projectors these days, but we guess we could see our way to forgiving their absence on the K750 if its new-fangled projection system delivers the picture goods.
Putting more meat on the bones of what the hybrid projection system in the K750 really means in practical terms, perhaps the most eye-catching spec is a claimed lamp life of 20,000 hours. This is between five and a whopping 10 times as long as you can expect with normal projection lamps – and you shouldn’t experience anywhere near the same reduction in picture quality over that time as you get with UHP lamps, which can lose as much as 50% of their brightness after a year’s typical use.
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As for the amount of brightness on offer, Acer claims 1500 Lumens. This isn’t actually as high as the figures claimed for some UHP-based budget projectors, but it is bright by LED standards.
At first glance we were also wowed by the K750’s claimed contrast ratio of 100,000:1. But on reflection we suspect this figure will turn out to be more of a reflection of the intense brightness delivered by the laser part of the optics than a promise of brilliant black levels.
The K750 enjoys a Full HD 1920 x 1080 native resolution and sports a fulsome suite of picture-calibration aids which confirm that Acer's projector has (unusually) equal potential as both a data and a home cinema projector.
One other key feature is Acer’s ColorBoost II technology, which combines an "optimised" 6-segment RGBCYW colour wheel with image processing and light manipulation to deliver what's claimed to be a more natural colour range – especially for video sources – as well as an ultra-vivid look to very vibrant parts of the image.
There is one feature the K750 doesn’t have, though: 3D playback. This is unfortunate given that we still hold a spluttering flame for a good-quality 3D experience, but we suspect 3D’s absence won’t be a deal breaker for too many other people these days.
The K750 offers a reasonable amount of optical zoom to help you get its image in the right place on your screen or wall, and all four of its tabletop legs can be screwed down to different heights to help you get your angles right.
It’s a bit disappointing, though, to discover that the K750 doesn’t carry any optical vertical image shift, meaning that you may find it very difficult to get the edges of your image straight without using keystone correction – a technology which essentially distorts pictures to achieve a perfect rectangular shape.
It’s also important to note that the K750's lens is quite a long-throw affair, and so won't suit small rooms.
The K750’s menus are a bit longwinded in their design and are fiddly to navigate via the unusually large but inconsistently responsive remote control. They do, though, include a good selection of set up tools. These include a Movie preset as well as data options, a dynamic contrast mode, a black level extender, the DLP Brilliant Colour system for enriched colour response, and a full suite of colour management tools.
Our main setup advice would be that you start with the Movie preset but increase the brightness by two or three notches to try and improve shadow detail response. Leave off the Black Extension feature, change the colour temperature to CT1 from its rather yellowy CT2 default, and run the projector on its Eco setting when watching a film to both enjoy a more natural, cinematic image and reduce fan noise.