The Acer K330 is a LED projector, using the same technology as the portable Acer C20 and BenQ Joybee GP2. It’s not a battery-powered model though — it’s designed to be used for business presentations on the road, but requires external power. See also Group test: what's the best projector?
Acer K330: Design and setup
The Acer K330 is small for a business data projector. It weighs only 1.3kg, and at 217x168x47mm it’s small enough to fit in a briefcase or larger laptop satchel.
The front of the projector is mostly a wide fan exhaust port, but the Acer K330’s lens is offset to the right side. The K330 comes with a plastic lens cap that’s attached with a short lanyard, so there’s no chance of losing it. Next to the lens mount is a small infrared receiver for the projector’s included remote control.
The remote control isn’t necessary, though, since the control panel on the rear top of the Acer K330 has all the necessary buttons clearly labelled. You’ll be using the central menu button and directional pad most, along with the power toggle — the majority of the projector’s settings are laid out in a simple on-screen menu.
Height adjustment for the Acer K330 comes courtesy of one front foot, which twists to raise or lower the projector as needed. Two adjustable rear feet handle unstable or tilted surfaces. There’s vertical and horizontal keystone adjustment but no physical lens shift.
The main inputs for the Acer K330 are HDMI and VGA, although there’s also a composite video and combination audio-video 3.5mm input jack. The projector can also read directly from its SD card and USB host ports to display a variety of video, audio, photo and data files including MP4, MP3, JPEG, PDF, DOC and Powerpoint. The Acer K330 has a single built-in 2 Watt speaker, which works over the HDMI input.
Acer K330: Specifications and performance
The Acer K330 uses a 1280x800pixel DLP chip, and its LED lamp produces 500 lumens of brightness in full-power mode. Changing to the Eco mode drops this by 100 lumens. This is almost double the brightness of the 300 lumens we’re seeing as standard on most LED-based projector, but it’s still a long way short of the 1200-or-higher lumen ratings of the vast majority of traditional projectors.
Generally, and especially for presentations, the K330 does a reasonable job. We did notice a small amount of artifacting — some minor image noise and sharpening flaws — on the native resolution output from our test Apple MacBook Pro notebook over HDMI, but not enough to be visible or distracting during viewing.
We kept the Acer K330 in its full brightness mode for the majority of our testing, since at its full 500 lumen brightness setting it’s only just bright enough to be seen in a fluorescent-lit room. We didn’t test it in a daylight-lit room but we don’t think the picture would be acceptably bright. It’s fine for dim or darkened rooms, but we would still have liked the projector to be brighter overall. When LED projectors crack the 1000 lumen mark we think they’ll find more mainstream adoption.
We found the Acer K330 performed best at a screen size of around 50in, with 1.5m from the front of the projector to the projection surface. Any further and the screen starts to dim more than is acceptable in a bright room — the Acer K330 can project a maximum screen size of 100in at 3m distance, but this is restricted to use in a darkened room.
There is a small amount of light fall-off towards the outer edges and corners of the projected image, but by and large the Acer K330 produces a consistent image. Sharpness is good across the frame, and the 1280x800pixel native resolution means the K330 is well-suited to displaying 720p high-definition video. DVD video playback also looks good, although there’s some minor scaling artifacts introduced when the projector is displaying a Full HD 1080p signal.
Acer K330: Conclusion
The Acer K330 may not be the brightest projector but in the right room it’s able to create a good quality image. With the caveat of its moderate brightness, we liked its small size and portability.