To survive in the UK projection market as long as InFocus has, you've got to be doing something right. Actually the InFocus formula for success is blindingly simple: just make really good products that you then sell for remarkably affordable prices. Hardly rocket science, is it?!
But with times getting ever more competitive, with its latest projector, the IN78 - launched under a new ‘Play Big' sub-brand - InFocus has been forced to produce what looks like its biggest bargain yet: a projector which uses Texas Instruments' acclaimed DarkChip 3 DLP technology while only costing £1,475.
To be fair, this is not quite as cheap as the DarkChip 3 Optoma HD73 we tested a couple months back. But it hugely undercuts the current DarkChip 3 offerings from rival brands like Sim2 and ProjectionDesign. And in any case, the HD73 wasn't really all that much cop, so if the IN78 can out-perform it enough to justify the extra £100 or so, it'll be laughing.
The first thing you'll notice about the IN78, after its price ticket, will be its extravagant looks. It sports a beautifully curvaceous design strikingly clad in a high-gloss black finish, with the whole lot then positioned atop a ball-jointed ‘foot'. The idea behind this is that it allows you to swivel and tilt the projector to your heart's content when trying to get its pictures perfectly positioned on your screen.
Not surprisingly this makes the IN78 more flexible than most rivals when it comes to adapting it to work in a living room environment, especially as it also features keystone and vertical image shift adjustments. In an ideal world the joint mechanism would be a little less stiff, so that you could make smaller adjustments more easily. But although it might take a bit of toing and froing, you can always get it set right in the end.
It's also during the setup stages that you note a couple of other big attractions of the IN78. First, the remote control supplied with it is unusually friendly by projector standards, featuring a helpful backlight so that you can use it in the dark, and a sensible button layout.
Second, the projector's connectivity is really impressive for its money, in that there are not one but two digital video inputs: a standard HDMI, and an ‘M1-DA' multi-format affair that can, via the right adaptor, work with all manner of connection types and standards - including HDMI, DVI, component video and analogue PC video. An HDMI to M1-DA adaptor is included. People with or thinking of getting a motorised screen, meanwhile, will also appreciate the IN78's 12V trigger output, designed to automatically trigger the attached screen to roll down.