3 star rating

Acer C120 LED DLP Projector Review

Pros: Inexpensive ; Simple to use; Doesn't require external power plug
Cons: No in-projector menus or anti-keystoning feature; Small foot; Loud fan
The Verdict: The Acer C120 LED DLP projector is well suited for mobile professionals looking for something super-portable.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

Small and simple, the Acer C120 LED DLP projector is a no-frills device that, while lacking some of the features of its competition, costs half as much. This projector, which can be found for as little as $229 at Amazon, can be powered by USB alone and has the barest of controls. But sometimes that's all you need.

Article Continued Below

Design

Acer C120 LED DLP Projector Image 1Measuring 4.7 x 3.2 x 1 inches, the C120 is a bit smaller than other mini-projectors such as the ViewSonic PLED W200 (5.1 x 5 x 1.3 inches), and weighs just 6.4 ounces, far lighter than the W200 (14.6 ounces). Still, they're both pretty small and will disappear inside a bag.

The C120 is an exercise in minimalism. The top is a glossy black plastic that's a fingerprint magnet. The sides have a number of ridges running horizontally, and the bottom is a matte black. On the left side is a small focusing wheel, and the right has ports for USB 3.0 and power. That's it. There's no on/off button, no menu buttons, nothing. Some may like this less-is-more approach while others lament the lack of features.

One thing we wish Acer had included was an adjustable foot. All the C120 has is a small flip-out tab that barely elevates the image. However, given the absence of an anti-keystoning feature, you'll want to keep the C120 level with whatever surface you're projecting onto, anyway.

Setup

Unlike other portable projectors, the C120 uses USB 3.0, not a VGA port, to connect to a notebook. The projector comes with a USB y-cable, as it requires two USB ports next to each other, which could be an issue on some ultraportables. As soon as you plug it into your notebook, the C120 automatically installs the required software.

While this means the projector will take up two of your USB ports, it also means that it doesn't require an external power source to work. However, one is provided. If you don't use the external power supply--which is the same type used by Acer's netbooks--the brightness is cut in half.

Interface

Unlike most other projectors, there's no on-screen menu for the C120. That means there's no anti-keystoning, or settings for brightness, contrast, and so forth. The only controls are within the taskbar on your computer, which lets you mirror or extend your display.

Performance

Like the ViewSonic W200 and ASUS P1, the Acer C120 uses a DLP LED, only it's rated at 100 lumens, compared with 200 lumens for the other two.

When 6 feet from a wall, the C120 projected an image that was 49 inches diagonally, with an average brightness of 94 lux when using the external power supply. While smaller than the W200, which projected a 78-inch image from the same distance, it was marginally brighter, by about 4 lux. When we switched to USB power, the C120 averaged just 45 lux.

Picture quality was quite good for something this size. While not as rich as the W200, the red Starfleet uniforms and the blackness of space in "Star Trek" showed up well when we played the movie through the C120. We noticed some lag when moving the mouse while playing an HD movie, but it was barely noticeable. The small focusing wheel on the side required a bit of finessing to make sure our image was sharp, though.

After 15 minutes, the top right corner of the C120 was 114 degrees Fahrenheit, and the bottom was 100 F. This despite the fact that the fan on the C120 whirred noticeably, even when we had music playing.

Verdict

Acer C120 LED DLP Projector Image 2Yes, the Acer C120 may lack a number of features found in other mini-projectors such as the ViewSonic PLED W200 and the ASUS P1, but it's just as portable and, at $229, costs half as much. If all you need is something small and light for PowerPoint presentations, the C120 should fill the bill. Just be aware of its limitations.

Tags: Acer C120 LED DLP Projector, Acer C120, ultraportable projectors, Projectors, Accessories, Acer, reviews

Technical Specifications
Acer C120 LED DLP Projector
www.acer.com


Projector Resolution1280 x 800
Contrast Ratio1000:1
Brightness100 lumens
Video Inputs
Image Engine
Remote Control Features
Cool Down Time
Speakers
Color System
Zoom Focus
Output TerminalsUSB 3.0
Projector TechnologyDLP
Size4.7 x 3.2 x 1 inches
Weight6.4 ounces
AUTHOR BIO
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor
Michael A. Prospero has overseen reviews on Laptopmag.com since 2007, focusing on producing the most thorough and authoritative mobile product reviews. After receiving his Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia in 2003, Mike worked at Fast Company. Prior to that, he worked at The Times of Trenton, George and AlleyCat News.
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor on
Twitter Google+
FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE