Acer Predator Z850 UltraWide 24:9 Gaming Projector Review
Introduction and Specifications
Acer's Predator Z850 takes the gaming monitor concept to the next level, projecting screen sizes up to 120" from less than two feet from a wall. It offers an ultra-wide 24:9 aspect ratio (at 1920x720), very high 3000 lumen brightness for gaming with ambient light (something projectors didn't used to be able to cope with), and a laser diode illumination system that lasts up to 30,000 hours. It's big, it's red, and you'd better believe it's expensive!
The first thing you need to know about the Predator Z850 is that it's an ultra short-thow projector. This means that unlike standard projectors that need the length of the room, or short-throw projectors that still need a few feet, the Predator Z850 can project a huge image from just inches from a wall. This is a relatively new thing for consumer projectors (unless you count the old rear projection TVs, which used the technology), and there are only a few models with ultra short throw (UST) ranging from the mainstram LG PF1000U, to the $50,000 4K Sony LSPX-W1S.
It's remarkable how UST changes how we think about projection, as the same depth taken up by the average TV table could provide an image larger than nearly any LCD television available, while being easily portable in the process. The Predator Z850 is all about flexibility, combining the inherent UST ability to project massive 120-inch images from less than two feet away, to built-in correction for various colors of wall paint (this could be used with a projection screen, too, of course). The only problem I can forsee as we continue is the price tag, which is $4999.
So how can we justify the price of the Z850? No matter how you slice it $5,000 is a lot of money, and the same investment could build an amazing multi-monitor setup as an alternative. But there really is something about turning an entire wall of your house into a display, and I had a lot of fun playing around with this projector (my wife was sorry it had to go back, as she enjoyed her 100-inch football games on the wall).
Here are the full specs from Acer:
- Projection Method: DLP
- Resolution: 1920x1080 (max), 1920x720 (24:9 mode)
- Brightness: 3000 lumens
- 3D: No
- 3D ready: Yes
- Projection Lens
- Lens Type: Manual Focus
- Minimum Lens Aperture: F/2.40
- Maximum Focal Length: 5.38 mm
- Minimum Diagonal Image Size: 87" @ 35cm (0.25)
- Lamp Type: Laser Diode
- Number of Lamps: 1
- Normal Mode Lamp Life: 20,000 hours
- Economy Mode Lamp Life: 30,000 hours
- HD Audio: No
- Dolby Audio Enhancement: No
- Speakers: Yes
- Number of Speakers: 1
- Output Power: 10 W
- Speaker Output Mode: Mono
- HDMI: Yes
- FireWire/i.Link: No
- DVI: No
- S-Video: No
- DisplayPort: No
- USB: Yes
- Intel Wireless Display: No
- Total Number of USB Ports: 1
- Network (RJ-45): Yes
- Acer Converter Port: No
- VGA In: Yes
- VGA Out: Yes
- Audio Line In: Yes
- Audio Line Out: Yes
- Headphone: No
- Number of HDMI Ports: 2
- Composite Video: Yes
- Component Video: No
- Physical Characteristics
- Color: Red and Black
- Height: 3.8" (96mm)
- Width: 15.1" (383mm)
- Depth: 12.2" (310mm)
- Weight (Approximate): 12.1 lbs. (5.5Kg)
- VESA Mount Compatible: No
- Fan Noise: 33 dBA (Standard mode), 29 dBA (ECO mode)
- Warranty: 1 year Limited Warranty
- Acer Predator Z850 Gaming Projector - $4999.99, Acer.com
The Predator Z850 is about the size of a SFF desktop at roughly 15 x 12 x 4 inches. It's not particularly heavy at 12 lbs, making it fairly easy to transport.
On the upper left you can see the lens, and as this is UST there is a mirror beneath which directs the image back toward the rear of the unit. The top of the projector also offers access to the on screen menu system (though your hand will block the projection), but it is best to use the included remote.
Around back we have a full compliment of inputs, with a pair of full-size HDMI, VGA in and out, composite video, RS-232 (common to projectors for integration into control systems), and 3.5 mm analog audio.
Next we'll take a look at the sides.
The left side of the Z850 contains the cooling fans, and these exhaust fans carry a lot of hot air from the projector and must be kept clear.
On the right side there are removable filters for the intake, and there is a slider control on the bottom for adjusting focus.
And now the bottom of the unit:
There are standard threads for a ceiling mount down here, and three adjustable feet for leveling the projector when used in the front-facing orientation.
The included accessories are pretty basic, with a remote, VGA and power cables, digital manual, and paperwork.
Next we'll cover setup and see how the projector performs with gaming and entertaiment content.