- Review Price: £1300.00
InFocus has been manufacturing projectors for a very long time. In fact, many of the projectors that you see from other manufacturers are often re-badged InFocus models. Although InFocus does produce some very good home cinema based projectors, its main market data projectors. Data projectors are generally split into two categories, fixed and portable. Fixed projectors tend to find themselves mounted to ceilings in board rooms, while portable projectors are used as tools for mobile workers that need to give presentations to clients.
The LP600 falls into the latter category, and it has to be said that it’s a very small and light unit. This isn’t the smallest or lightest projector you can buy, or even the smallest and lightest model that InFocus sells, but it does offer a very tempting combination of features and portability.
With a weight of 2.4kg, the LP600 will feel like you’re carrying another notebook in your bag – although with this projector you might not even need to take your notebook with you to give presentations, but more on that later. The dimensions are 263 x 218 x 75mm (WxDxH), and the unit fits nicely in its carrying pouch along with all the cables you’re likely to need.
The LP600 is an attractively designed unit, with a two-tone grey and silver finish to it. The materials are also very tactile, with a rubberised grey substance used for the top of the device. Whether this has been done to avoid you dropping it, or whether it’s just a design feature is uncertain, but the result is agreeable nonetheless.
On the top surface you’ll find a wide array of buttons for setup and adjustment – there’s also an LCD display to help you. It’s good to see that the keystone controlls have been given their own buttons – these are the controls that you’re most likely to need when you’re carrying a projector around with you and using it in different locations. The other picture controls are all accessible through the menu, which is clear and easy to navigate.
The LP600 doesn’t sport the widest array of connection options, but then it is a compact unit. For computer input you have both DVI and D-SUB ports. Interestingly, the supplied DVI cable also includes a USB port at the PC end. This allows you to control the your slide presentations via the projector’s remote control without having to touch the PC – a handy little feature.
You also get composite video and S-Video inputs, but sadly no component video option. Finally, there are 3.5mm audio jack connectors for both input and output. The built-in 3w speakers aren’t going to blow the roof off, but they’re good enough for a board room environment.
The lens has a manual focus ring, as well as a manual zoom. The latter is vitally important for creating the correct image size when your placement options are limited. inFocus quotes an image size of 26in all the way up to 215in, but there’s a happy medium in the middle that should suit most users.
Being a DLP projector, I expected the LP600 to produce a very bright and well resolved image and I wasn’t disappointed. Even in a bright room filled with flurescent lighting, the LP600 produced a stunning image that was beautifully focussed. Whether viewing a Windows desktop, a PowerPoint presentation, a 3D game or a DVD movie, the LP600 behaved flawlessly. Obviously any projector will look its best when thrown onto a proper screen, but even when I threw the image from the LP600 onto a whiteboard or light coloured wall, it still produced excellent results.
To highlight just how good the image from the LP600 is, I’m currently writing this review on a notebook attached to the projector. I’ve got the font set to standard 10pt and I’m sitting about 15 feet from a whiteboard that I’m using as a makeshift screen. The resultant text page is bright and the text is clearly defined, making it easy for me to type at speed while regarding my words at the other end of the room. Put simply, if you’re using this projector for boardroom presentations, even the guy sitting at the very back will have no problem reading your slides, unless he’s very short sighted and happened to forget his glasses that day.
Despite the limited video connection options, DVD playback proved to be very impressive, although the 4:3 native aspect ratio of the chip does limit the LP600 when it comes to movie watching. That said, if you wanted to take the LP600 home for a weekend to watch movies, you wouldn’t be disappointed.
The LP600 sports a native resolution of 1,024 x 768, which may seem a little low by computer monitor standards these days, but for a projector it’s perfectly fine. It’s unlikely that you’re going to want to give presentations or demonstrations at a higher resolution than this, and besides, a great many projectors on the market are still limited to 800 x 600.
The contrast ratio of 1000:1 is very respectable, and the 200W bulb has a quoted lifetime of 2000 hours, which is enough for a few years of presentation work. Of course the LP600 has a power saving mode which will switch the bulb off after a period of inactivity – as well as saving power this will also prolong the life of your bulb.
But there’s one connection option that I haven’t mentioned yet, and that’s a USB port labelled LitePort. This is definitely the killer feature of this little projector, and as I’ve already mentioned, it could mean that you don’t need to carry your laptop computer with you at all. LitePort allows you to carry your presentations on a USB memory key and show them directly without the need for a PC.
Using the supplied LitePort software you can convert any PowerPoint, Word or Excel file into a compatible JPEG image. If you then copy these images onto a memory key and inset the key into the USB port on the LP600, you can view each image like a slide-show. With LitePort InFocus really is taking the phrase “plug and play” to the next level.
I did however find one issue with the LitePort feature. If your USB memory key happens to have more than one partition, as one of mine does, then the projector may not be able to find the images that you’ve copied onto it. I did however try several other memory keys which only had one partition and they all worked without a problem.
If I have one major criticism of the LP600 it’s the amount of noise that it makes in operation. If you’ve got it sitting on a board room table with people all around it, the fan noise can be very intrusive. However, InFocus isn’t unaware of this problem and gives you an option to reduce the fan noise to a whisper. In standard mode the LP600 puts out an impresseive brightness level of 2000 ANSI lumens, but if you switch the unit to “low power” mode it drops to only 1500 ANSI lumens and the amount of fan noise reduces considerably.
As well as a full complement of cables, the LP600 also ships with an infrared remote control. You can use the remote to setup the projector and switch between sources. Also, as previously mentioned you can use the remote to control slide shows that are resident either on a PC or a memory key. The projector has infrared receivers at both the front and rear, allowing you to use the remote from anywhere in the room.
Now there was a time when a portable DLP projector would have cost the earth, but you can pick the LP600 up on the street for around £1,300. Of course this is still a lot of money, but if you want a high quality presentation device that’s small and light enough to carry around with you, you’re going to have to pay for that privilege.
The InFocus LP600 is a great little DLP projector. The image quality is superb and even with the device set to “low power” mode it’s bright enough to be used in a well lit environment. The LitePort feature is innovative and very useful, saving you the hassle of carrying a notebook with you in order to give presentations. Although £1,300 seems like a lot of money, it’s a reasonable price for a projector as good as this one.
Score in detail
Image Quality 9