InFocus IN1 Home Entertainment Game Projector Review: Overview
12-1-2007 - Art Feierman
InFocus IN1 Projector Highlights:
- Designed as low cost gaming and general home entertainment projector
- 2nd version due out, will work with iPods to show iPod stored video, images and audio, (as well as other sources)
- $499 Initial Launch price, but expected to rise, first to $549, then higher! MSRP is $799
- Picture quality fine for kids playroom, general viewing for those not overly critical
- Non-HD 4:3 VGA native resolution, but can accept hi-def sources
- Works well with game machines, and specifically targeted as a companion for the Nintendo Wii game console.
- As is typical for an all-in-one type projector design, built in speakers are decent, but lack low base
- Lamp replacement cost is record low $80, providing the lowest cost per hour of operation
- Reasonably portable
Heads up! It isn't easy going from reviewing several high end projectors and top performing 720p projectors in a row, to a low cost home entertainment projector, and maintain a fair perspective. Afterall, this all-in-one design (but, no built in DVD player), initially selling for $499, is only $100 or so, more expensive than the replacement lamps for most home theater projectors.
I'll start off by saying this isn't a projector for those really into high quality movie watching - those looking for superb color accuracy, high resolution, and superior black levels. The IN1 does better on TV sources than movies, but still compromises.
It is however, a nicely designed piece for the family to share. Kids and teens will love it, or at least like it for gaming, TV and movies. Adults looking for a low cost system for the family that can fill a screen or large chunk of wall, primarily for gaming, especially with the Wii, or other standard resolution game machines, plus non-critical watching of movies and TV/sports, should find the IN1 an attractive value, based on price, and cost of operation.
As of this time, InFocus is only selling the projector with one of the bases, but, I can imagine that, in the future, they might market the projector alone (no speakers, no component video input), for $399, or maybe slightly lower. Not this holiday season, however. Maybe next!
InFocus IN1 Game Projector: Basic Specs
MSRP $799, Initial launch price: $499, then $549
Native Resolution: VGA (640x480
Brightness: 500 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: None - fixed lens
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 1000 hours at full power
Weight: 9.9 lbs (both pieces combined) 5.7 lbs. for projector alone
Warranty: 90 Days Parts and Labor standard
Click here for more complete IN1 specifications and brochure.
InFocus IN1 Home Entertainment Projector: Physical Tour
The IN1 I received for review is the computer gaming version. At some point I may also take a look at the iPod version after it starts shipping. This version consists of two pieces (as does the iPod version). The top piece, is the main projector (module), which consists of the projector itself, controls, and basic inputs, including composite video and s-video, and stereo audio inputs. The audio inputs on the projector module only work with sources plugged directly into the projector module (composite video and S-video).
The IN1 projector module has the power cord receptacle. All the inputs are on the right side (if you are looking from the front). Also on that side (closer to the front), you can see a vertical wheel for adjusting the focus.
This raises an important point. The projector module will run by itself, without either the game base or iPod base. No speakers, but a smaller, lighter, device (5.7 lbs.) for hauling around if you have composite or S-video inputs, and some sort of sound system for the audio.
The gaming base has two 7 watt speakers (you can see one speaker's outline in the base) and amplifier. The base also offers additional inputs in the form of high end component video inputs (3 color coded RCA jacks), stereo audio input and an audio out for headphones.
If you are using component video inputs, then the audio must be plugged into the audio jacks on the base, not the projector. The speakers put out adequate sound volume. Not the "wall shaking" sound the brochure mentions but respectable for an "all-in-one" type system. It sorely lacks that low frequency output, that is needed to do any serious wall shaking. The audio output, however may allow you to connect a small powered subwoofer.
Opening the InFocus IN1 box, you'll find two boxes inside, one with the projector, one with the base. Set the base down on a table, and the projecor fits right on top, with connectors at the top of the base, and the bottom of the projector, connecting the two. To separate the two, there is a release button on the bottom of the base, at the front, centered. Pressing on this allows you to separate the two modules.
Both are finished primarily in an irridescent blue - it is very cool looking (pretty). To the right, the top of the Game base.
The projector module itself has the lens window in front. The lens is fixed (no zoom), so you'll set the unit down where you need it to be to fill your screen, or a large area of wall. With the optional mirror (which I did not receive with the unit), you can project on to the ceiling instead.
I suspect many gamers will love that capability! Shown to the right is the bottom of the projector module.
Note the three feet (remember, the projector will work without a base). Only the front foot is screw thread height adjustable.
Shown here - snapping the projector module into the Game base.
On the top of the IN1 are all the controls. Looking at the IN1 from the rear, from the left moving to the right, is the power switch, then volume up and down, followed by brightness up and down, and lastly the Input select.
That's it folks. No menu button, because there are no menus. No preset modes, because there is only the default. No color controls, because there is no way to adjust the color, contrast, or for that matter, anything but brightness and audio.
The Input button (with the IN1 game base attached), toggles you between your choice of three video inputs. Composite or S-video (on the projector module), or component video on the game base.
As a heads up, I tried hard to go out and buy a Wii to use with the IN1, but, unfortunately, the Wii, once again, is the hot product for the holiday season. Costo, Best Buy, etc., no one seems to have stock.
Without a Wii on hand, for testing the IN1 projector, I used a Toshiba HD-DVD player, connecting Component video and stereo audio (for movies) into the gaming base. I also used my Sony PS3, for games (Carbon Canyon - a auto racing game), and movies. The PS3 was hooked up using the composite video input, and audio inputs on the projector module. I also fed the IN1 projector movies from both my PS3 and Toshiba HD-DVD player, and TV content from my cable TV box and DVR.
One real strength of the IN1 is that there's basically nothing to screw up. Hook everything up, turn it on, select the source (input), adjust brightness and volume, as needed. What you see, is what you get. We'll discuss how good the color and other aspects of picture quality are, in the next section on Image quality.