However, despite this seemingly rather negative opening gambit, we’re not trying to suggest that the IN81 is not an excellent projector in its own right. Far from it. The situation we just described says far more about the outstanding strengths of the IN82 than it does weaknesses in the IN81.
For instance, compared to rivals at its £2,000 price point, at least the DLP ones, the IN81’s pictures are pretty bright and dynamic. What’s more, this brightness doesn’t seem to have necessitated as many black level compromises as you’d normally expect of such a relatively affordable projector. For instance, the darkest corners of J.F. Sebastian’s apartment during the final face-off of ”Blade Runner” suffer remarkably little from the greying over we’d expect of such a cost-effective projector – especially one sporting a DarkChip2 DLP system.
Even better, there’s nothing at all forced about the IN81’s black level depth. Which is to say that dark areas don’t just look like empty black holes, but rather contain all the subtle colours and background details that make them feel like fully integrated parts of the picture as a whole.
Another string to the IN81’s bow is its colour handling. The vivid animated neon advertising hoardings in ”Blade Runner” look exceptionally vibrant and aggressive. And as for the film’s tricky-to-render skin tones these, as lit by the ever-changing artificial lighting of Ridley Scott’s futuristic city, tend to look surprisingly authentic – albeit not quite so outstandingly credible as with the IN82.
Yet more good news comes from the IN81’s full HD pixel count. In other words, its HD pictures are terrifically detailed, clean, and sharp. Every leaf, for instance, of the ”Lost” jungle and every bit of stubble on its leading men’s faces are immaculately rendered. It’s also notable how impressively smooth blended colour transitions tend to look.
With the IN81 only very occasionally revealing the odd bit of DLP’s ‘rainbow effect’ (where bands of pure red, green and blue flicker round your peripheral vision or over particularly bright parts of the picture), we’re really struggling to find anything bad to say about it considering its price. Perhaps, at a push, we might say it could run a little quieter. But heck; a little bit more fan noise than we might ideally want to hear doesn’t even get within a million miles of being a deal breaker when there’s so much other cool stuff on offer for your two grand.
Does the IN81 fall short of the glories of the InFocus IN82? Yes it does. But does it nonetheless outperform its £2k asking price by a country mile? You’d better believe it.