So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Infocus Play Big IN72
- Attractive design, Excellent Standard Definition performance, Good range of connection options.
- Some problems in High Definition image quality, Price
The IN72 is a high quality Standard Definition projector at an over high price point.
Price$ 1,399.00 (AUD)
When reviewing the IN72 home theatre projector from InFocus, we couldn't help but compare it to the Play Big IN74. For the most part they are the same, although the Play Big IN74 has a higher native resolution and a higher price. The IN72 has a native resolution of 854x480 making it ideal for standard definition projection. While it does accept high definition video signals up to 1080p, the higher the resolution of source, the greater the drop in image quality.
We tested the standard definition performance using the same method that we use for testing televisions. We ran three different DVD tests using the Philips CE2006 demo DVD, Digital Video Essentials and the lobby scene from The Matrix.
In the Philips CE 2006 tests, the projector performed rather well. The motion jitter test showed only a minor level of jitter and the colour tests revealed excellent colour reproduction and separation with no over-saturation. The contrast tests were passed without incident, with the IN72 exhibiting good detail without any unwanted block artifacts, aliasing on edges or stepping. When testing sharpness we were pleased to discover that there was no over sharpening and the level of detail was more than adequate. The IN72 utilises a six segment colour wheel and thus the level of Rainbow effect was so minor that the majority of the time we didn't experience it at all. This says a lot about the quality of the device, as other six segment DLP projectors we have reviewed have not been quite as effective.
The Digital Video Essentials tests, for the most part, were handled brilliantly, with the only problem being a very slight pixel flutter at around 20% grey amplitude (very dark grey). The black on white contrast test was absolutely perfect with no discolouration along the line where the two colours collide. The colour block tests were also flawless with no noticeable problems and the SMPTE bar tests followed suit.
When watching the lobby scene from The Matrix we found only one issue, which was a slight amount of fly-screen effect and associated pixilation, but this was mostly negligible from a comfortable viewing distance of around two metres. This is mostly likely the product of interpolation. While this is a standard definition projector, it is built with NTSC standard definition in mind with a native 480p DLP chip. PAL standard definition runs at 576i/p so when using this projector when watching PAL DVDs, the image is immediately subject to possible scaling artefacts. Apart from this one issue, the image quality is quite remarkable. There was no image noise, no discolouration, smooth motion with no ghosting, no over sharpening, excellent skin tones, and brilliant contrast with no stepping. It is obvious that this unit's strength is definitely projecting DVDs and standard definition video sources.
Unfortunately, High Definition capabilities are a different story. Firstly, it should be noted that the fact that the unit can accept high definition sources up to 1080p resolution is both unique and commendable. Considering the native, standard definition resolution of the DLP chip, it does a fairly good job at displaying HD sources. However if you are considering this projector with High Definition in mind, you should be aware that there are other units on the market for around the same price that are natively High Definition and will look far better.
To test High Definition performance, we connected the Xbox 360 video game console to the unit at 720p, 1080i and 1080p resolutions to perform gaming tests. We played Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and found that while the image quality was quite good, the level of pixilation and fly screening that occurred was noticeable even at a two metre distance. The problem got worse the higher the resolution and while the 1080p performance was good, text and fine details were lost in the scaling process. Apart from the pixilation and fly screening, there were no other problems when displaying HD gaming content. The motion response was quite impressive and avoided any ghosting or lag. The colour, contrast and sharpness were all top notch and were consistent with results of our standard definition tests. In addition to HD gaming, we also ran HD video at 720p and were not surprised by the result. The pixilation was still present along with moderate fly screening but the Rainbow Effect on all High Definition content was barely noticeable.
Like the Play Big IN74, the aesthetic of the IN72 is quite attractive with a gloss piano black finish. The heat vents are situated on either side of the unit to dissipate heat more efficiently while also looking attractive. The ports are located on the back of the unit and consist of HDMI, Component, Composite, S-Video, and a DVI/M1-DA connection. These are all the connections most people will need for their home theatre setup. Fitting with the somewhat minimalist design, the top of the unit sports only a handful of function buttons and a focus/zoom ring for the lens. Measuring 360mm (width) x 360mm (depth) x 120mm (height), it is also a reasonably large unit when compared with most DLP projectors.
The throw distance was also excellent and could produce a large image from a short distance making it ideal for sitting on a coffee table in a lounge room. We produced a four metre (diagonally) image from only two metres at maximum zoom. The reported throw distance ratio is 1.76:1 at minimum zoom and 2.12:1 at maximum zoom and the minimum focal distance is 1.5 metres. Keep this in mind and think about where you intend to place the projector to ensure it will suit your needs.
The InFocus IN72 is a top notch standard definition projector. However, for the price there are equally high quality native High Definition DLP projectors on the market and even better quality LCD projectors as well. In the end, the reason to buy the IN72 is primarily design. If you want an attractive projector that can sit on a coffee table in your lounge room and produce a great image when watching your DVDs, this is the projector for you.
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