What is the Acer V9800?
The V9800 retails for £4,695 as at the time of writing (August 2017) and also boasts a claimed 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, 2200 lumens of brightness, Rec.709 colour gamut and compatibility with both Rec.2020 and HDR content. It uses a 6 segment colour wheel (RGBRGB) with the ability to hit the Rec.709 gamut co-ordinates, something DLP projectors have struggled with in the past when using a colour wheel. There are also ISFccc password protected calibration controls that add a night and day preset to the menus and there's even full lens shift on board, which is another rarity for a DLP projector at the price point.
So the Acer promises much but we'll be asking questions about just how well this projector can live up to the 4K HDR promise and if its £4,695 price tag is competitive in today's consumer market. Lets see how well it performs.
Design, Connections and Control
There is no motorised lens cover; instead you are given a large plug like cover to manually attach when the projector is not in use. To the top right of the lens is the IR receiver and to the right of that on the top edge are three indicator lights. On the top plate under a flap are the two lens shift control knobs. One is for 65% vertical shift and the other for 27% horizontal shift. They are quite tight to move and thus hold their position well. I didn’t have any issues with the lens shift moving during testing of the projector. There is nothing else to note on the top or rear of the projector chassis and the connections are all on the right hand side (looking from the front).
The supplied remote is backlit and easy to use. It is the typical size for a modern remote control and made from plastic, with all the buttons to the top half of the unit. Here we have power and 6 image input keys to the top followed by the 3 input selection keys and below this the main circular menu and direction keys. Finally to the bottom we have direct picture control access key for gamma, contrast and so on. The remote sits neatly in one hand with all the major keys within easy thumb reach and being backlit (in blue) you will have no issues using it in a pitch-black room.
The Acer also promises to hit the complete Rec.709 colour gamut standard for HD playback and it is also claimed that the V9800 is compatible with HDR and Rec.2020 Ultra HD signals via HDMI 1 which is HDCP 2.2 compatible. Acer Colorpurity is a feature the company claims utilises the RGBRGB colour wheel and lamp control techniques to widen the colour gamut available and cut down on rainbow effects. Acer also claims that the projector has a brightness of 2200 lumens and a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 using dynamic black technology. Plus they claim the V9800 is quiet in operation at just 20db of noise. We will find exactly what that means in the tests below and in the picture assessment. Finally the Acer is also ISFccc certified with a hidden menu system for calibration of a night and day setting and a lock to save these adjustments.
When it comes to the colour gamut (top right) DLP usually struggles with green and cyan due to the colour wheel however, with the RGBRGB unit used here, we can see that the gamut is slightly over the Rec.709 target (dark triangle), but tracking is very good at lower saturation points. Given this projector comes with ISF controls and a full Colour Management System (CMS) we should be able to correct the slight errors in saturation and hue. However out of the box this is a very good result indeed for a DLP projector.
We also had a good result with the colour gamut (top right) where we were able to correct the saturation and hue errors compared to the out-of-the-box results. There was nothing we could do for the 100% saturation points, but from 75% and below (the most important area) we were pleased with the final results. We doubt any user would have noticed the out-of-the-box vs. the calibrated results with normal onscreen viewing material without a side-by-side reference image. But it is reassuring that the image can be calibrated correctly to give accurate results.
Colour gamut wise (top right) shows that within the Rec.2020 container the V9800 is not capable of tracking to DCI-P3 as the colour wheel restricts the ability of the projector to get anywhere near it. Acer does state that it is only Rec.2020 compatible and not capable. Green and cyan tracking suffers the most as we would expect from a colour wheel based projector as the energy just doesn’t exist to get that wide. However the V9800 does map to Rec.709 of which it covers 100%. So you can watch 4K HDR content via the HDMI 1 input and it has a stab at HDR content within the constraints of its brightness, but you will not get wide colour at all on this DLP.
So let's talk HDR first of all and how the Acer V9800 copes with that content. With bright scenes and in HDR1 the tone mapping for highlights is very good and the opening shots approaching Deepwater Horizon have excellent detail and bright sharp highlights to metallic surfaces. Image sharpness is really a highlight with DLP projectors and the Acer really pulls out the stops with superb edge definition without any processing or sharpening. Because it is a single chip projector the V9800 is certainly more defined and sharper than the three other competing models. Colours are also handled well and whilst not wide colour gamut capable, the Acer displays at Rec.709 even for 4K content, skin tones look accurate and colour brightness is good even if saturation is not quite where it would be with DCI-P3. In bright well-lit scenes during the opening of the film the Acer produces a really nice cinematic looking image with some dynamic range and no highlight clipping being obvious or visible. Even when things go south quickly and explosions start to light up the screen the V9800 manages to portray the yellows and oranges at the heart of these explosions with superb detail retrieval from within the balls of flames. It is not as vivid as it would be with a wider colour gamut on the competing three projectors we mentioned, but the image performance with brightly lit scenes is strong and sharpness is superb.
Moving to standard Blu-ray and we get a very similar performance with the Acer, it hits Rec.709 easily and we get an accurate reproduction of the HD graded material in terms of colour and the greyscale is also very good. The out-of-the-box settings do have a slight yellow tint to them as we covered in the image tests above, but this shouldn’t detract from the viewing pleasure. When calibrated we were able to get reference levels of accuracy from the greyscale and the colour gamut was also excellent from 75% down (the most important areas to get correct). Colour luminance (brightness) is not shown in the graphs above but was also excellent meaning we had superb colour reproduction, which is rare from DLP colour wheels. Our trusted test clips were put to full use and the Acer managed to make an excellent stab at everything we threw at it. Sharpness was superb and colours strong and accurate and the only weakness were, again, the mediocre mixed scenes and black level performance. Using the dynamic black settings didn’t make any real performance difference at all.
Motion and video processing were areas where the Acer really nailed it with no induced judder or image smearing. One thing we did notice, and this is a very personal result and varies from person to person and how you visually perceive motion, but we really noticed quite a bit more of the rainbow effect than we normally do from single chip DLPs. This could be down to colour wheel speed or the new pixel shifting mirrors causing us to see RGB strips down edges within scenes. It was certainly easier to notice the odd flash here and there more often. Like we say this will vary from person to person and it is not constant or in any way spoils the experience, it is just a little more obvious than normal. One other thing to note is that the V9800 doesn't support 3D, which is a shame, because DLP projectors are particularly good at delivering crosstalk-free 3D images.
Watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Blu-ray was a decent enough experience on the V9800 and the only niggles were in mixed contrast scenes as already described. We were testing in a completely blacked out cinema room and of course if you raise the black floor of the room, by having white walls and ceiling, this can go some way to levelling up the black performance, but doesn’t retrieve the lost shadow detail which is never present. Overall we didn’t find the performance of the V9800 any better than the BenQ W2000 (1080 Rec.709) in the key image attribute areas, which was again disappointing for such an expensive projector.
- 4K Ultra HD HDR compatible
- Faux 4K performance is very good
- Very Sharp images thanks to single chip and good quality lens
- Rec.709 colours are accurate
- Decent out-of-the-box picture modes
- ISFccc certified with password lockout
- Good motion and image processing
- Decent HDR and EOTF mapping
- 20db fan noise
- Mediocre black levels and lacking shadow details
- No wide colour
- Expensive and the competition offers more performance at and below its price point
Acer V9800 4K DLP Projector Review
This is the main issue we have with the Acer V9800. We understand it is a new model using a new and affordable chipset and there are a few manufacturers using the same set up to launch this technology. We also understand that Home Cinema projectors are a niche and costs will be high to produce these DLP machines initially. But when compared to the JVC X5500 and the Epson TW7300 and TW9300 competition, they perform to a far higher standard, have wider colour gamuts and make a decent attempt at HDR, while producing superb black levels and shadow details. The V9800 in such company and with the performance it offers, looks extremely overpriced and we just can’t recommend it as things stand.
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Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
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