Acer's K10 projector is simple to use and relatively compact, making it a good companion for a laptop, providing that the low native resolution is not a problem for the content you have in mind.
Compact; easy to use; long-life LED lamp.
Native resolution only 858x600; bulky mains adapter.
Acer's K10 pico projector is designed to be small enough to be carried along with a laptop, enabling users such as travelling sales staff to give presentations at a customer site.
Announced in March and available to purchase now, the K10 is certainly small as far as projectors go, measuring roughly 12cm square and about 4.5cm high. It's about the same size as a bedside clock radio. It also weighs just half a kilogram, which should not prove too much of a burden to carry alongside a laptop computer.
We found the K10 easy to set up and use, and were able to get a satisfactory image within minutes without referring to any documentation, which was not supplied with our evaluation unit in any case.
While the K10 is not designed to match full-sized meeting room projectors in performance, it should prove a good choice for users who need to give an ad hoc presentation against a wall or other suitable surface.
On the downside, the K10's portability is somewhat spoilt by its power adapter, a brick of a device resembling those that used to come with laptops some years ago. The projector also has a relatively low native resolution of 858x600, with resolutions higher than this scaled down to fit.
The K10 is Acer's first projector to use LED lamp technology, which means it has no fragile bulb to worry about. Acer also claims a lifetime of up to 20,000 hours for the lamp, which means it may never need replacing during the projector's lifetime.
As well as being small, the K10 has a fairly minimalist design. It has just a handful of buttons on the top, and just two inputs: a VGA-style connector to a computer and an RCA jack for composite video.
In operation, the K10 has a fan inside its front edge that is clearly audible, but not intrusive. A focus control on the top allows for fine adjustment of the image sharpness with a fingertip, and a small circular foot unscrews from the front underside to adjust the angle of the beam.
In specifications, the K10 is rated at 100 ANSI Lumens for brightness, and has a contrast ratio of 1000:1. We found it produced a clearly visible image even in a room without the blinds drawn to cut ambient light. The K10 is designed to throw an image only a fairly short distance, producing a display up to 50in (127cm) across the diagonal from about two metres away.
Our test laptop produced a default image resolution of 800x600 when connected to the K10, but it can support resolutions up to 1,440x900 by scaling the image to fit.
An on-screen menu provides access to colour settings and other adjustments, such as keystone correction to adjust for trapezoidal distortion of the projected image. The K10 has automatic keystone correction enabled by default, but the user can override this if the result is unsatisfactory. Access to the menu is via a four-way navigation key.
When turning off the projector, it displays a warning advising you not to unplug the power supply while the fan is still running, presumably to allow the lamp to cool to a safe temperature. The power LED, which glows a steady blue during normal operation, blinks red during this shutdown procedure, which only took 10 seconds or so in our tests.
The K10 pico projector is available from Acer's web site, or via Acer resellers. It is backed by a two-year carry-in warranty, with a 90-day warranty covering the lamp.