Review: Acer H9500BD

Published: February 27, 2012 2:00 PM
By Pierre-Jean Alzieu / Pierre Anzil
Translated by: Sam McGeever
Acer splits its Home Cinema projectors into five different ranges, with series 9 the most expensive and impressive of the lot.  The H9500BD is a DLP projector with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and support for 3D.

Features and Design

Manufacturers rarely take as much care with the design of DLP projectors as they do with LCD models, and the H9500BD is no exception.  The remote is very simple and doesn't have any shortcuts, even for 3D mode.

Acer h9500bd lens

One unusual feature for a DLP projector is a lens-shift mode which can be used to adjust the position of the projected image on the wall, but as you can see above, it doesn't leave much room for manoeuvre. 

Acer H9500BD review - controls
Side

Acer H9500BD review - input and output Inputs and outpus


Acer H9500BD review - colours
Menu
Acer H9500BD review - backlit remote
Remote


The range of connectivity options is very generous, with two HDMI ports, a DVI input, three VGA connectors—two in and one out—component and composite video and S-video.  What more could you want?

Picture Quality: 2D

Overall, we were happy with the quality of the picture offered by this projector.  With the default settings, it was a little too garish, but that's par for the course.  Once it's set up properly—see the inset for more details—the H9500BD is very good.
Acer H9500BD review - colours
Colour handling in presentation mode: average deltaE: 2.9

Things were a little awry with the blue, but the average deltaE was 2.9—and we consider anything below 3.0 to represent accurate colour reproduction.

Acer H9500BD review -  contrast

35% white test card in presentation mode: contrast ratio: 540:1


Acer H9500BD review - contrast

1% white test in presentation mode: contrast ratio: 840:1


On the other hand, black levels were only just acceptable, swinging between 0.63 and 0.99 cd/m², which leaves blacks looking grey.  But the brightness of the whites largely evens out this problem: at 530 cd/m², they're enough to make the blacks look much darker than they really are.  That leaves the contrast ratio at anywhere between 840:1 and 540:1, depending on how bright or dark the current frame is.

The brightest areas are handled perfectly, and with a gamma level of 2.2, the H9500BD produces a perfect range of greyscale tones, without either overexposure (pale shades that are indistinguishable from white) or underexposure (darker tones that look black).

Viewers who notice the rainbow effect with DLP projectors will see it here.  We saw bright flashes when scanning our eyes across frames with a lot of contrast, but things were much more acceptable the rest of the time.  

To make moving objects appear smoother in films, Acer has used a motion interpolation filter called 'Acumotion'.  It really does smooth things out, but we still don't recommend you take it further than 'low'.  Any higher, and your favourite film will look more like a home movie and unwelcome artefacts will get in the way.

As ever, the quality of the upscaling is problematic, and low resolution source video from a DVD or normal TV ends up looking a little blurry.  Using the settings to boost the sharpness is a good idea.  But with native HD content, there's nothing to complain about: things are absolutely perfect!

Picture Quality: 3D

We're glad to report that not only can the H9500BD project a well-adjusted picture in two dimensions, it's almost perfect in three dimensions as well.  There's virtually no sign of crosstalk, something that caused problems for other projectors like the Panasonic PT-AT5000, the Sony VPL-HW30 and the Epson EH-TW6000W.  We could only spot a faint trace in the very centre of the frame, but it was so slight that we couldn't even capture it with a camera. 

Here's what we saw through the glasses (Acer H9500BD above, Epson EH-TW6000W below):

Acer H9500BD review - 3D picture quality
H9500BD

 With a perfect result, we shouldn't see any trace of the 'R' frame on the left, and, vice versa, none of the 'L' frame on the right. For the time being, only plasmas from Samsung and Panasonic get this right.

As is all too often the case, we were disappointed by the conversion from 2D to 3D: there wasn't much depth, and sometimes objects randomly appear closer or further away from the viewer than they should do.  All very odd.

You get one pair or glasses with the projector.  That's fine, but we don't know many people who sit down to watch a 3D film on their own.  If you want more, you'll need to shell out around £70 a pair.

Energy Consumption and Noise Levels

It would be hard to describe the H9500BD as quiet, and the keenest ears will hear a high-pitched whine while using it.  Projecting a picture at up to 530 cd/m² meant that energy consumption was going to be high: we measured it at 315 W while the projector was in use, and 0.2 W on standby.
5/5 Acer H9500BD DigitalVersus 2012-02-27 15:00:00

Pros

  • Picture quality in 2D and 3D
  • Two HDMI inputs
  • No crosstalk in 3D
  • Lens-shift

Cons

  • Makes a high-pitched whistling sound
  • Unsophisticated remote
  • Rainbow effect visible in scenes with a lot of contrast

Conclusion

The Acer H9500BD is the first projector we've seen that makes a decent job of 3D video, with a picture that doesn't suffer any crosstalk. Better still, once it's set up probably, it doesn't have any real problems in 2D either. Our only criticism would be that it isn't as bright as its SXRD or Tri-LCD rivals.

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