- Light, compact and highly capable
- multiple connectivity options.
- Gets extremely hot
- manual calibration is required for best image quality.
If your job involves giving presentations in places where fixed projection facilities are not available, then your options have up to now been limited. You can crowd everyone around a large-screen notebook, or carry a data projector with you. Obviously the lighter a projector can be made, the better -- so long as there aren't too many trade-offs. New ultraportable products such as the LP130 from InFocus are bringing the functionality and image quality of larger products to a package that weighs only 1.33kg. The catch is, you'll have to pay for this portability, the LP130 costing a hefty £4,475 (ex. VAT).
The LP130 uses Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology, which is based around Texas Instruments' Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) chip. The LP130's single-chip DLP engine provides a native resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels (1,280 by 1,024 is supported with interpolation). Because the DMD chip and its rotating colour wheel is a more space-efficient method than a three-panel LCD engine, InFocus has been able to reduce the size taken by the LP130 to a 15.9cm by 21cm footprint that's significantly less than an A4 sheet of paper. Not only that, but it's a very bright product, with an impressive rating of 1,100 ANSI lumens.
Some sacrifices have been made to achieve this, and the LP130 lacks the integrated speakers of its larger siblings. However, connectivity hasn't been compromised, this product featuring a DVI-I connector for standard VGA or dedicated digital cables and a composite video port for attaching non-PC video equipment.
If your PC has a DVI-compliant graphics adapter (which are still quite rare), then you won't need to worry about the calibration issues that occur when converting analogue video signals into a digital signal. However, for VGA connections, you may find that a certain amount of fine-tuning is required on top of the automatic calibration in order to eliminate noise on some images.
Once this is achieved, the overall image quality of the LP130 is very good. Because it's a DLP-based product, misconvergence isn't a problem, and colour uniformity was very even across the whole screen. We did notice some slight rippling on static screens and haloing around text, but you're unlikely to notice these during general use.
Rear projection is supported, although this tends to be more useful for static installations, and the LP130 also features digital keystone correction up to 20 degrees. The latter allows you to adjust the image to compensate for projections onto a surface at an angle to the lens. Although this is effective, you lose a certain amount of detail as pixels are removed from the image.
What concerned us the most about the LP130 is the heat generated during use -- an inevitable by-product of the bright UHP lamp and the small size of the projector's chassis. Although the fan does its best to keep the innards cool, the surface of the LP130 gets too hot to even touch in some places, which is worth bearing in mind before you pick up this expensive piece of equipment after a long presentation.
That said, the LP130 will provide you with a bright clear image of over three metres wide at its furthest throw (6.4m) and has the remote control and trimmings of a product twice its size and weight. If you are on the move a lot, this product can save you the strain of hefting a three or four-kilogram monster around with your laptop.