The PH110 is a fairly simple looking projector in silver plastic and that simple design idea extends throughout the projector, from connectivity at the rear to the menu structures used. Even those not used to using projectors should be able to get the PH110 up and running with a minimum of fuss. It'd be nice if it came with more than just a simple setup sheet - the supplied manual is in PDF format on an included CD - but beyond that we had no troubles whatsoever with setting up the PH110.
Rear connections are simple and kept to a minimum. It will take composite, S-video and RGB natively. If you're planning on connecting a component video source, you'll need to connect via the RGB port with a supplied component to RGB converter cable. One interesting omission is the lack of speaker connections beyond a simple headphone jack. With home projection in mind, it's unlikely that it'll be too sorely missed - you're more likely to connect up a DVD player to the video ports and leave audio to a dedicated home theatre system.
The PH110's has one distinct design oddity, and that's in the feet used to adjust the pitch of the picture. On most projectors, these are located at the front, to assist in tilting the picture upwards from a low projection point. The PH110 reverses this; the feet are at the back, and despite the PDF manual insisting that they can be used to "raise" the picture, the reverse is in fact the case. If your home theatre environment is one where the projector will be up high (without it being roof mounted), then it's a potentially useful feature, but we can't help think that it'll ultimately annoy more low-mounting users than it really should.
The PH110's remote keeps the simple motif of the projector; it's small and easy to get accustomed to, although there's no housing within the projector to store it; we predict it'll vanish behind more than a few sofas in its time.
The PH110 is a 16:9 aspect DLP projector with a brightness of 1,100 ANSI Lumens. Acer claims a contrast ratio of 2000:1, with support for native 480p signals and SXGA (1280x1024) images, depending on how and what you connect to the projector. That'll make it technically suitable for high definition TV images, albeit not at native resolutions. Then again, what do you expect in a projector that costs less than two grand?
The PH110 performed almost exactly as we expected it to, and on par with other projectors in the sub-$2,000 space. Images were clear but not stellar, and we did find some advantage in using the projector's preset image modes to improve picture quality when switching between video, PC and video game console images.
Acer rates the lamp within the PH110 as being good for up to 2,000 hours of projection life with a potential of up to 3,000 hours in low power economy mode. Economy mode also lowers the audible output of the projector to 28db from 30db. On paper, that kind of audio drop doesn't sound like much, but in operation it was certainly noticeable. On the subject of audio, the omission of standard audio ports is a strike against the PH110, although not a massive one, as long as you can get a speaker setup within range.
The budget projector market is an extremely competitive one at the moment, with dozens of choices to tempt the first time buyer. The PH110 stacks up well against the competition, although it certainly doesn't outshine them in any really notable way, putting it solidly in the capable but not stunning category.