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Acer Predator Z850 UltraWide 24:9 Gaming Projector Review

Subject: Displays
Manufacturer: Acer

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!

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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).

Continue reading our review of the Acer Predator Z850 UltraWide Gaming Projector!!

Here are the full specs from Acer:


Technical Information

  • 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
    • Lamp Type: Laser Diode
    • Number of Lamps: 1
    • Normal Mode Lamp Life: 20,000 hours
    • Economy Mode Lamp Life: 30,000 hours
  • Audio
    • HD Audio: No
    • Dolby Audio Enhancement: No
    • Speakers: Yes
    • Number of Speakers: 1
    • Output Power: 10 W
    • Speaker Output Mode: Mono
  • Interfaces/Ports
    • 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

Design

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

Video News


October 21, 2016 | 11:57 AM - Posted by Wang (not verified)

immersive, ultrawide, and ultra-bright porn please!

October 23, 2016 | 02:17 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You can get fully surround porn if you stop being a loser and get a girlfriend.

October 23, 2016 | 06:16 PM - Posted by NotWang (not verified)

Wangs joke was better. Thank you come again

October 21, 2016 | 12:34 PM - Posted by Chaitanya Shukla

Because 34" ultra wide monitors too mainstream. Also seems like Acer like LG is a cheapskate for just bundling VGA cable in box.

October 21, 2016 | 12:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

1920 x 720
3000 Lumens

October 21, 2016 | 01:51 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

I don't know why those numbers weren't in the specs rundown. Fixed!

October 22, 2016 | 01:24 PM - Posted by Mobile_Dom

man I love projectors.

October 22, 2016 | 10:10 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

I do, too. And the best part? After this review my wife is 100% on board with getting one. Too bad 4K models run $8k+ (unless you count pixel shift) - not that I need any more than 1080p...

October 22, 2016 | 10:50 PM - Posted by Mobile_Dom

I mean the projector in my home office is an old education projector and it's barely over 720p (1280x768) projecting at about 90", and from about 7 to 8 feet away, it still looks great.

would 1080p be better? sure, but should I spend £500 on a 1080p projector when my £25 (yes, seriously) 720p one still works? likely not.

Though yo, Wife being on board, milk that for all it's worth

October 23, 2016 | 06:19 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Probably best to get a ~1000 model, and upgrade once the price of 4k units come down in price.

HDR is the next big thing, and I can only think of one model of projector that has it.

October 24, 2016 | 01:12 AM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

I'm with you here. Currently the sweet spot looks like a refurbished Epson Home Cinema 3500 for $899 (amazon link). Hard to argue with 1080p, lens shift, auto iris, and 2500 lumen output. I NEED IT.

October 27, 2016 | 12:33 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I myself have a BenQ W1070. It has many image-correcting options to position it almost anywhere. Right now it is ~$700, I think I paid a bit more about 2 years ago.
Only cons is that it may be a bit loud.

October 24, 2016 | 03:02 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The Z650 costs less than 1/4th and has very similar specs.

November 1, 2016 | 11:11 AM - Posted by John H (not verified)

So does buying a 1080 projector and running it with black bars..

October 24, 2016 | 09:06 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I assume this is not HDCP2.2 as it's not listed anywhere on this article or Acer's website.

However I am disappointed this was not mentioned by PCPER in the article. This is a new projector (is $5000) so it should have HDCP2.2 even if it is not 4k.

The lack of HDCP2.2 should be something mentioned by reviewers to consumers (especially when the manufacturer leaves it out), as it could easily result in scenarios were someone might try to hook it up to a uhd bluray player for it not to work.

October 25, 2016 | 12:21 PM - Posted by PCPerFan (not verified)

I would have liked to see a photo of the 16:9 with the extra light on the sides.

October 25, 2016 | 08:17 PM - Posted by Romey Moore (not verified)

The review'er realized that the price was so high, that he stated it almost as a secret. Took a second to realize that he was talking about the acer and not the sony. 5g's is a lot when also considering new graphic cards annd kabylake. First adopters - let us know if you feel that it was worth it and putting off 10 series Nvidia or a new cpu and motherboard.

October 26, 2016 | 04:01 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

A secret? It's on the front page. I'll quote the review's first page here for your convenience:

"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..."

I would argue that reading the review is a prerequisite for critique.

March 11, 2017 | 09:33 PM - Posted by Kon (not verified)

(FACE PALM) Do you know how much a SONY laser projector cost?

October 27, 2016 | 01:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I've gamed on a BenQ 1080ST short throw at 6 feet away for a 125" screen size from my PC at full HD 1080p/60 for less than $900 and it was amazing. I do a lot of gaming and movies but decided to dedicate movies only at that size and transition all gaming to a 70" 4k display instead because gamers know, you spend a LOT of time in a game and at some point you will burn out the bulb and have to replace it for another several hundred dollars.

This 1920x720 is a garbage resolution at those large screen sizes and should be avoided, especially at that price. This a failed attempt to market the over priced Predator brand to uneducated consumers with expendable income.

March 11, 2017 | 09:40 PM - Posted by Kon (not verified)

In case you didn't know, laser projectors are the future. You should always do a bit of research before you dissing it like you know everything.

October 28, 2016 | 09:06 AM - Posted by DrB (not verified)

Sound a gimmick more then anything else same projector without short throw .900$ so you pay 4100 $ to get short trow.no surprise .this is clearly aimed at the mobile market. RV TRUCK DRIVER.where space is a premium. HDMI only?1920x1080 100 plus inch . I can see the market for this type of device . Getting something light and efficient is awesome .truck are limited in what they can carry.w eight wise so this is awesome .would have to compare with similar product and simulate an 18 wheeler. And see the result.not sure this cuts it

March 11, 2017 | 09:54 PM - Posted by Kon (not verified)

Laser is not a gimmick..

Lasers last 10 times longer than lamps.
Lasers are far more energy efficient.
Lasers provides image quality lamps cannot imagine.

This Acer is, very cheap, among laser projectors..

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