InFocus IN34

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The InFocus IN34 is a versatile mid-range DLP projector priced competitively for both the home and business user.

InFocus IN34
Many will argue about the pros and cons of LCD and DLP projectors. To summarise the differences between them, pixels in a DLP projector are much close together so that the "screen door" effect is not as apparent as with LCD. Contrast ratios are also much higher in DLP projectors and are better at creating a "blacker" black. DLP projectors can also be made much smaller and lighter than LCD projectors.

Where DLP suffers, however, is with lower colour saturation and unnaturally bright whites. Also, because DLP uses mirrors to create the image, it is quite common to have background light spilling around the outside of the image from the mirrors, diverting light away from the screen. The last failing of DLP projectors is the visual noise which occurs in light grey and white areas of the picture, however the degree of this visual noise varies from projector to projector. In overall terms, it appears that more people feel that DLP projectors are the way to go -- due to a more compact size, colour stability and less of a "screen door" effect.

How we tested
We tested the InFocus IN34 with images from a PC powered by an AMD FX62 processor, 2GB of RAM and an ATI Radeon 1900 graphics card running at the projector's native 1024x768 resolution. We also tested the projector using a DVD player connected via composite video.

We ran various test patterns which include lines, moire and colour to find any faults in the image quality. We tested playback of high definition video (1080p) and lastly, took light readings to measure how even the distribution of light is across the projection.

What's inside
The InFocus IN34 is a 2,500 ANSI lumen DLP projector priced at a reasonable AU$1,699. This price puts it in the middle when compared to other projectors with the same brightness and similar 1000:1 contrast ratios. Prices can vary between AU$1,200 to well over AU$3,000 for similar spec projectors.

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The InFocus IN34 is built with a very solid casing but is let down with a flimsy plastic front foot that rattles and has a very poorly designed mechanism for raising and lowering the projector.

There is a very good range of connectivity options including DVI, D-Sub, S-Video and RCA, but it would have been nice to have component video for the more serious video enthusiasts. There is also plenty of options for controlling the unit including the backlit control panel on top of the unit, infra-red remote control, serial and USB.

Overall, the picture is bright and primary colours are saturated, but we were disappointed in the reproduction of secondary colours such as yellow, cyan and magentas. They were dull and this was apparent when navigating in Microsoft Windows where the folders are usually a bright yellow -- on the InFocus 34, they appeared as a dark mustard colour ... almost a light brown. Our biggest complaint is the noticeable amount of uneven weighting in lines and text due to poor interpolation. Pixels on the computer are not mapped directly to a pixel on the projector due to corrections such as key stoning and with certain test patterns, moire and mixed weighted text and lines can be distracting. We measured a 30 percent difference in brightness from the top to the bottom of screen and this is perfectly in line with what InFocus have stated in their specs, but visually it is very difficult to see any unevenness in the projection at all.

Where the InFocus IN34 performs well is with video. We tested both high definition from a PC and standard definition video from a DVD player and both looked great. We were impressed with the difference switching to Film mode made to the image. While the overall picture was darker and warmer, once your eyes adjust to the change, the Film preset removes the unnaturally bright whites in the image giving a more subtle and natural picture suited to movies and video.

Verdict
A versatile mid-range projector priced competitively for both the home and business user, the InFocus IN34 has a wide range of connectivity options, is quiet, has reasonable image quality and is portable as well. The interpolation problem is more apparent with small text and thin lines and in most presentations and situations this should not be too much of an issue.

Product InFocus IN34 DLP Projector
Price AU$1,699
Vendor InFocus
Contact 1300 725 295
Interoperability
3.5 out of 5
Boasts plenty of connectivity options -- missing only component video.
Futureproofing
3 out of 5
Has very good connectivity options, uses more colour stable DLP technology and at 2,500 ANSI Lumens is bright enough for most situations.
ROI
3 out of 5
Priced well, good 2,000 hour lamp life, quiet and has good image quality.
Service
3 out of 5
Limited one year back to base warranty. Phone support is available. Online support, self service FAQs and knowledgebase are available online.
Rating
3 out of 5

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