It seems to be the season for new pocket projectors, with Acer just announcing a new model, the C20. Although Acer has a couple of ultraportable models, the K10 and P3250, it has never dipped into the pico projector market (although confusingly, the K10 is often referred to as a 'pico' model). Available with a pink, blue or silver metal surround, it's apparent that this new product is aimed mainly at the consumer market, although for this category of product there are really no such clear boundaries yet.
Looking remarkably iPhone 4-like in shape, the 118mm by 60.6mm by 18.6mm C20 weighs just 168g and has a native widescreen (16:9) resolution of 854 by 480 pixels (WVGA). It looks to have a fairly basic feature set, with no on-board memory, although it does accept standard and SDHC micro-SD cards. It's completely silent, with no cooling fan. The 0.3in. DLP chip is capable of displaying 16.7 million colours with a 2,000:1 contrast ratio. The light source for this Digital Light Processing (DLP) device is an RGB LED with a claimed 20-ANSI lumen output and a life of 20,000 hours, which is about par for these devices.
Acer C20: WVGA resolution, 20 lumen brightness
At 2 metres distance, the C20 projects a 42in. diagonal picture, giving it a 2.2:1 throw ratio. At the maximum quoted distance of 3.2m, the display's diagonal increases to 66in. Battery life from the rechargeable 1,410mAh Li-ion battery is one hour in standard mode or two hours in the reduced-brightness Eco mode. No doubt this will be affected by how much the built-in 0.5W mono speaker is used.
A wide range of AV inputs are supported, including USB, HDMI, analogue RGB, composite and component video signals, plus stereo audio. A collection of adapter cables is supplied, and a remote control is an optional extra. Menu navigation buttons are located discreetly on the top surface.
Whether this stylish pocket projector will strike a chord with the increasing number of smartphone users remains to be seen. Prices are still high, and even 20 lumens is still pretty much at the 'could-you-draw-the-curtains?' level of usefulness. The C20 costs Â£279.99 (inc. VAT) and is available immediately.