InFocus IN83 Home Theater Projector: Summary, Pros and Cons
The InFocus IN83 belongs on a very short list of the best under $10,000 1080p home theater projectors. When one considers the best of the competition, in terms of picture quality, the InFocus has the distinct advantage of being the brightest of the group.
Mind you, it isn't the brightest of all the 1080p projectors, the Optoma HD81-LV is brighter still, but it can't match the naturalness of the IN83's picture.
It translates this way: If you want an especially bright projector with great color accuracy, a natural film-like picture, one with more than enough lumens to easily handle large screens, look no further.
I'll discuss my opions on how the IN83 stacks up with key competitors, lower on this page.
InFocus IN83 Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities
InFocus IN83 Projector: Pros
- Extremely bright home theater projector, both in "best" and "brightest" modes
- Outstanding color accuracy after calibration (in part thanks to starting with better color accuracy than most competitors, to start with)
- ISF Certified
- Darkchip4 DLP processor for superior contrast
- Excellent shadow detail
- Extremely sharp, crisp, image
- Very good black levels but falls a little short of the best projectors in class
- Digital image shift
- Good color management tools, but not exceptional
- Good user manual - better than most
- Very good menu layout
- Good remote control
- Good warranty
- HDMI 1.3 with support for Deep Color and 24fps
- Supports 3rd party anamorphic lenses with appropriate aspect ratio
- Nicely shaped look, piano black finish
InFocus IN83 Projector: Cons
- Limited placement flexibility due to lack of lens shift and limited, 1.2:1 zoom lens
- Still uses their proprietary MD-1A connector (a DVI adapter is included), a regular DVI or HDMI would be preferred. (there is one standard HDMI port as well)
- While black levels really are very good, even better black levels might make this hands down, the best projector in its class. It would be gret if the next generation sported a first class dynamic iris (in addition to the manual one)
- Could use additional user savable settings
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InFocus IN83 Projector: Typical Capabilities
- Lamp Life
- Fan noise - reasonably quiet
- 3 user settings
- Overall image noise
- Price performance when compared with other projectors sold only by "local installing dealer"
- Typical complement of inputs
InFocus IN83 Projector: Competitive Aspects
Here are quick impressions on how the InFocus IN83 stacks up against some of the other best projectors. Of all the projectors I'll mention, only one, the Optoma, shares the IN83's limited placement flexibility. The rest all have lots of adjustable lens shift, zoom lenses with significantly more range, and the ability to be shelf mounted. Therefore I won't reiterate those points below.
InFocus IN83 vs. Epson Home and Pro Cinema
I've always said the Epson image was just a little hard, not fully film-like, but a great picture, with plenty of "wow" and "pop". By comparison, though, the InFocus really does have a film-like quality, and is definitely more natural looking. Add to that, the InFocus's strengths, a slightly sharper image, and over double the brightness in best mode. The two produce about the same brightness in brightest mode, but the InFocus definitely has the better color accuracy and picture quality in bright mode. The InFocus, despite its Darkchip4, still can't quite match the blackest blacks of the Epson, but isn't far off.
Epson has a slight advantage in warranty (with the Home version), two years like the InFocus, but with an overnight replacement program for both years, while the Pro version is the same, but three years.
Two excellent projectors at different price points, but overall, the brightness and sharpness of the InFocus will have many finding it to be their preferred choice, despite that it is roughly double the price.
InFocus IN83 vs. JVC DLA-RS1x, and DLA-RS2
Certainly the RS2 is the best of the three in terms of black levels, and none of these three use a dynamic iris. I'd give the RS1x a slight advantage in black level performance, compared to the IN83.
After that, though, the IN83 shines - it's roughly 50% more lumens in best mode, compared to the RS1x, and double the lumens of the RS2, is a huge plus for many, especially those with large screens (over 110 inch diagonal), and it is easily double the lumens of the JVC's in brightnest mode, which really is a plus for those that watch with some ambient light - especially HDTV, SD-TV and sports in general.
The RS2 may still be the best of the best in picture quality, overall, but those lumens, and extra sharpness are major strengths of the InFocus IN83, that will please all but the most hard core black levels fanatics. Of course the RS1x is less expensive, while the JVC DLA-RS2 is roughly the same price as the InFocus IN83.
InFocus IN83 vs. Optoma HD81-LV
As mentioned above, both have similar placement flexibility limitations. The Optoma HD81-LV is sharp, although perhaps not quite as sharp as the InFocus. The real difference though is color handling and overall picture quality, where the InFocus IN83 has a definite advantage. The Optoma, of course, has more inputs (than any projector without an outboard processor), which might be a real plus for a few.
The Optoma HD-81LV is the brightest of all the under $10,000 1080p projectors, but the InFocus is not too far behind. Some folks will need, or appreciate the Optoma's advantage in this area, but most will find the InFocus IN83 to be more than sufficiently bright, and to be the better choice.
InFocus IN83 vs. Sony VPL-VW40 and Sony VPL-VW60
It's been a long time since I reviewed these two Sony projectors, which makes precise recommendations a bit tough. Both the VPL-VW40 and VW60 use dynamic irises, but, overall, I do believe that the IN83 is at least the equal to the VW40, and is at least very close to the VW60 in black level performance. Overall, though, I give the InFocus the advantage in producing the most natural image.
The big advantage of the Sony projectors are price, with the VW40 being far less expensive, and even the Sony VW60 costs less.
No question about sharpness, that advantage goes to the InFocus IN83. Brightness is a huge advantage for the InFocus as well. Placement issues notwithstanding, I favor the InFocus IN83 over either Sony, but your pocketbook may have you choosing one of the Sonys, especially the VW40, if the dollars are tight - all are first class projectors.
InFocus IN83 vs. the rest of the 1080p projectors
Sanyo PLV-Z2000, Panasonic PT-AE2000U, Viewsonic Pro8100, BenQ W5000. All are pretty good projectors, but none can match the InFocus IN83's combination of sharpness, brightness and natural looking image, not that several of them can't match the IN83 in at least one of those areas. All are less expensive, with only the Viewsonic being close in price. The IN83 is my clear choice over the Viewsonic Pro8100, unless the new firmware for the Viewsonic's iris (I'll be taking a second look next week, with the newer version), makes a huge improvement. Even though the Viewsonic is brighter than most, it still is no match for the IN83. None of the others can even get to half the lumens of the InFocus in best mode.
So, while each of these has strengths, other than placement flexibility, none can touch the IN83, overall.
Bottom line: IN83 compared to the competition.
Perfectionists - especially in terms of black levels may prefer the JVC's, and overall, only the JVC's can compete in terms of overall picture quality. Each of the others have some strengths, but the IN83's primary limitations compared to all the others is pretty much limited to its higher price, and placement limitations.
It's a shame the IN83 wasn't out and reviewed before our 1080p Projector Comparsion Report. It might very well have knocked out the JVC RS1x for the Runner-up Best in Class award. I'd still have to leave the RS2 as the Best, as it also has all that great color handling, and by far the best black levels of the field. Still, as I pointed out above, the extra horsepower of the IN83 would likely have many picking it over the JVC RS2.
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InFocus IN83 Home Theater Projector: Summary
This is the most impressive new home theater projector (compared to the competition) that InFocus has fielded in quite some time.
I am thoroughly enjoying all those lumens, painting a bright image on my Stewart Firehawk screen, but what really makes it work is the best in class color accuracy. It's not that one or two others don't come close, but the combination of the color handling and brightness, with the added bonus of an extremely sharp image, really make the IN83 stand out.
As I said, elsewhere, the only real weakness of the IN83 (other than placement flexibility) is the merely very good black level performance. In terms of everything else, it is first class, and its black levels are still better than most good 1080p projectors. Of course, for those few of us sensitive to the rainbow effect, we also have that to consider.
Other than a few minor points mentioned throughout the review, the IN83 is really good at everything, and the overall package is hard to beat.
The one thing I think InFocus could have done, and should in the next iteration, would be to add a dynamic iris to the manual one. That combination should have it easily holding its own in black level performance, with everything but the JVC RS2. Had they done it this time, with a first class implementation, I might well be calling the IN83 the best under $10,000 1080p projector around, and even if the JVC still managed a slight edge in black levels, all the other advantages of the InFocus IN83 would put it on top.
InFocus IN83 Projector: Bottom Line
It's this simple. I really love my JVC RS1, but, were it not for my slight sensitivity to the rainbow effect, and that I would have to abandon shelf mounting and make a mess that my wife would not be happy with, I most likely would be looking for a buyer to take my JVC so I could buy the IN83. Now that's saying a lot.
Congratulations to InFocus - they've nailed it this time! If your budget allows, you definitely need to place the InFocus IN83 on the shortest of your short lists.