OLED, QLED, Mini LED, LED and so on and so forth. TV sets not only rely on increasingly up-to-date picture technologies, but are also getting bigger all the time. Whereas a few years ago you had to take out a loan for large screen diagonals, the purchase price of televisions is now falling year by year. Consequently, nowadays you can conjure up a real cinema experience in your own four walls with a suitable TV set. But what has actually become of the beamers that were so popular in the past? Home cinema fans are relying less and less on the home projection of blockbusters. Acer now seems to have found a niche with its AOpen AV10a, which could also make owners of an already large TV weak. The mini-projector is suitable for portable use thanks to its integrated battery. We have taken a closer look at the cinema for on the go.
|Brightness||700 ANSI lumens|
|Image resolution||854 x 480 pixels|
|Operating noise||36 db (standard), 27 db (eco mode)|
|Lamp life||20,000 hours|
|Dimensions/Weight||8.8 cm x 8.8 cm x 13.6 cm/ 680 g|
|Price||€ 179.00 *|
Scope of delivery
Let’s first take a look at the scope of delivery. In the high-quality packaging, we find not only the compact LED projector itself. On top of that, Acer puts the matching power cord along with adapter in the package for the power supply.
In addition, a handy compact remote control is included in the package. The AOpen AV10a is a mini-projector that also wants to score in terms of portability. Accordingly, the manufacturer includes a well-padded carrying case, in which the beamer finds space. Last but not least, an angled adapter for the 3.5 mm jack is included. This is especially practical for those who want to position the beamer on a wall.
The first impression
The workmanship of the mini-beamer immediately stands out positively. Here, the manufacturer relies on high-quality aluminum, which reminds a bit of the mini speakers from Sonos (Sonos One). You can already see the two speakers with a power of 5 watts each under the metal mesh. The beamer, which weighs just under 700 grams, feels very good and can be carried comfortably with one hand. There is also a practical thread on the bottom of the LED beamer, which makes it easy to screw the projector onto common tripods.
However, we have to grumble a bit about the control panel located on the top. When you tap on it, the extremely positive impression of the rest of the device wanes a bit again. After all, it doesn’t seem to be made of high-quality plastic, which is a bit wobbly. The piano look should please many. However, I am personally not the biggest fan of this high-gloss look, as experience has shown that it is very susceptible to fingerprints.
The manufacturer uses a commercially available model for the remote control. Unlike the projector itself, it doesn’t come in a high-quality aluminum look, but in classic plastic. The design and size are strongly reminiscent of the remote control of the Fire TV series from Amazon. I do not like the pressure points of the individual buttons as much. They sometimes look a bit spongy.
As an alternative to the remote control, the beamer can also be controlled on the upper control surface. Here you will find more or less the same buttons as on the remote control itself. However, since you sometimes have to click through submenus here, it’s preferable to use the classic remote control.
An evening at the movies on the go
I think to the theory we have lost enough words. After all, a beamer must score above all in one discipline – cinema experience. So lights off and spot on! Or something like that…With a press of the power button, the fan of the small cinema expert initially sounded loudly. Fortunately, it settled down to a pleasantly quiet noise after about ten seconds.
After the Beamer quieted down a bit, the splash screen also greeted me right away with a friendly “Welcome”. Those who are afraid of a long setup marathon can breathe a sigh of relief. All you have to do here is select the appropriate language and you’ll be taken directly to the clearly laid out user interface.
Once in the main menu, you get access to the handy features of the little beamer. “Entertainment” lets you play content that is either on the network or a connected USB memory or micro-SD. Productivity” allows you to use practical features like the integrated browser. With the help of the applications that you can save in “My Apps”, you can turn the projector into a real portable Smart TV. With “Connectivity”, “HDMI”, and “Type-C” you can access connected devices.
For my practical test, I used my Fire TV Stick 4K from Amazon. The connection was child’s play in this case. Once plugged into the HDMI input of the beamer, it was immediately recognized. Now I just had to select the HDMI port in the main menu and I was ready to go. Since my Fire TV Stick had already been plugged in for a while, it was in sleep mode when I selected the correct input. A bright red Iron Man of the screen saver beamed at me. At first glance, I was really pleasantly surprised.
Although I was only at the standard lighting level, the luminosity of the image convinced me. You don’t have to create real darkness to get a good picture out of the small projector. This should prove to be a big advantage especially for outdoor applications. If it is a bit too bright and the picture is difficult to recognize, the brightness can be adjusted upwards. The battery life suffers from this, but more about that later.
In the dark room, I quickly forgot that I have a projector and not a big TV in front of me. After all, you can hardly hear the fan of the small projector. This proved to be a very big advantage over other representatives, especially in the dialogue passages of my small series marathon of Modern Family. In loading pauses, which don’t produce any sound, you can hear the fan, but it wasn’t really disturbing at any time.
Too low resolution for large screen diagonals
While I had a lot of fun with the cinema feeling that the small beamer brings with it, there is one point to really complain about with the picture. And this concerns the resolution. The AOpen AV10a comes with a resolution of 480p. That’s simply not enough if you want to use a screen size of 55 inches and up. Of course, you’re used to beamers that the image isn’t as sharp as it is on standard TVs.
However, above a certain screen size, I could really start counting pixels on the AOpen AV10a. So if you’re looking for a projector for gigantic screen diagonals, you’d better look for a device with a higher resolution. However, it is questionable whether the small projector even wants to achieve this goal. The focus here is probably more on portability and thus the possibility of conjuring up a good picture on the wall anywhere, which can convince in typical TV sizes.
A good sound
By the way, I also liked the sound of the small beamer. Here it becomes clear that the optical similarity to a Sonos One is not by chance. Although the mini projector can’t keep up with the US experts for smart speakers in terms of sound, what comes out of the small box is really good.
The AOpen AV10a offers one speaker in the front and one in the back, which can provide a power of 5 watts (10 watts total power). This does not provide a Dolby Atmos feeling, but it should be sufficient for the vast majority.
Over two hours of battery life – in eco mode
As with all devices that advertise portability, one thing is especially important for portable beamers – battery life. And this is where the little projector really surprised me. According to the packaging, the AOpen AV10a should have a battery life of two hours. In my test, however, the mini-projector actually lasted a little over two hours. I have to say that I used it in Eco mode, which, according to experience, focuses on energy-efficient work.
In a new attempt, I then wanted to test the battery life at maximum brightness of a proud 700 ANSI lumens. However, not only the fan’s volume increased significantly. On top of that, the mobile beamer also ran out of breath faster. After just under an hour, I received a warning that the battery capacity was slowly running out. So, if you want to use the device at maximum brightness, you should have a power source nearby if possible.
Connection to iPhone not possible
A projector is primarily used for watching series, movies or a presentation. But Acer also promotes its AOpen AV10a as a handy way to project smartphone content onto a wall. I would have liked to write here how much this feature excited me. However, it simply didn’t work for me. I was able to establish a Bluetooth connection to the device, but screen synchronization was not possible.
The situation was different when accessing content on a USB stick or micro-SD card. Thus, the corresponding content could be conveniently accessed and played back via beamer. Thus, the AOpen AV10a proves to be the perfect solution for home use or a presentation on the road. However, those who own an iPhone unfortunately have to look down the tube. However, I don’t know how it looks with Android devices. Maybe the synchronization works better with the appropriate operating system.
Wow Acer. The little AOpen AV10a really blew me away. I have to preface this by saying that I have never been an avid beamer user. I always felt the inhibitions were too great. Besides the screen and the limited lifetime of the light source, I was also bothered by other cumbersome factors. For this reason, I have always preferred a classic TV. However, with its portable projector, Acer delivers exactly what I would have wanted on many small camping trips or other activities on the road. A good picture in combination with a solid battery life ensures that many will probably opt for the small beamer as a companion on vacation. Thanks to the battery life of up to two hours, you can watch any average-length movie to the end. For longer movie nights, you simply supply the device with some additional power. Last but not least, thanks to its compact dimensions and low weight, it will fit in any pocket. I was also thoroughly impressed by the high-quality workmanship. Only the control surface on the top could have done without piano lacquer in my opinion. However, this is a subjective opinion.
However, I have to complain about one or two things. If you want to get a replacement for a full-fledged TV or large projector in your house with the small projector, you won’t be happy. This is primarily because the resolution is simply too low. 480p is not enough for a certain screen diagonal. The picture then looks pixelated and causes more frustration than joy. As an iPhone owner, I also have to complain about the connectivity. I simply could not connect my iOS device to the portable projector. However, Acer should be able to solve this problem with a suitable update. I cannot say how it looks for Android owners either. It is possible that this is an iPhone-exclusive problem. Unfortunately, Acer does not provide any exact information about this.