Posted on May 20, 2007 Art Feierman
For this batch of business projector reviews, that I am just starting, I wanted one to be a “classic” $1000 lightweight portable, either LCD or DLP, with native XGA (1024×768) resolutions. The DLP powered InFocus IN34 certainly fits that description. Small, light and nicely bright. How’s that for a good start? While certainly, it’s not the smallest portable around, it’s pretty light, at only 5.2 pounds. Size wise it’s under 3″ tall, and has a footprint 10.4″ x 8.6″ the size of standard (US) letterhead.
It’s 2500 lumens make it suitable for at least 90% of presenters out there. And is suitable for ceiling mounting in conference rooms. The IN34 has no trouble filling a 100″ screen with moderate room lighting, and do it looking good. Combine that with a 2 year warranty, and perhaps the best and easiest manuals around, and the IN34 is a serious contender, especially with a street price typically under $1000.
The IN34 comes with a lightweight soft shoulder case, a basic remote control, computer cable, powercord, manual on CD-ROM, and a quick “User” setup guide. Oh, and of course, a lens cap, with a tether, so you don’t loose it. InFocus also offers a slightly less expensive version, the IN32, rated at 2000 lumens, and the IN34EP, a version aimed at the education marketplace. The IN34 looks to be one of the best projectors that are lightweight and under $1000. Overall, the IN34 is a projector with a good value proposition.
Looking at the InFocus IN34 from the front, you will see the manual zoom lens, with its 1.2:1 zoom ratio. A 1.2:1 zoom means minimal flexibility in distance placement of 20%. Zoom ratios of 1.2:1 up to 1.3:1 are most common, although a few projectors in the IN34’s general size, may offer more – say up to 1.5:1, which starts getting you into some real placement flexibility. To focus the IN34, just turn the focus ring on the lens. To zoom in and out, there is a partially recessed lever on the right side of the projector (when looking from the front). To fill a 100″ diagonal 4:3 aspect ratio screen, the front of the projector can be as close as 12 feet 2 inches, and as far back as 15 feet, 1 inch.
Also located on the front, on the other side from the lens, and next to the InFocus name, is the front Infra-Red sensor for the remote. (There is also a rear IR sensor, and one on the side of the projector).
Moving to the top of the IN34, in the very front center is a bar that releases the front drop down foot, for adjusting the projector’s angle. Moving straight back from there are four indicator lights and then, an extensive control panel. The indicator lights are: Power, Standby, Replace Lamp, and Service (required).
The IN34’s control panel is pretty extensive. This is in part due to InFocus preferring to keep its remote controls simple, so they provide more direct access buttons on the projector itself. Of course everything is accessable through the menus, whether you are using the remote or the control panel.
From the left, the power button, Auto Image locks on to a computer signal to provide the best image. The Presets button lets you toggle through a number of different presets for different applications and environments (more in the Menus section on the General Performance page). Next come the vertical keystone adjustment buttons.
In the center, are four buttons, the Menu, Up and Down arrow buttons for navigating the menus, and Select (enter) button. To the right of that grouping are volumen up and down, and I should note, that the InFocus IN34 has a 3 watt speaker – a little more powerful than typically found on small, low cost projectors, and this will be a plus for some, including K-12 education, where this projector might easily find itself mounted in classrooms, where sound is widely used on videos and multimedia.
Lastly, on the right side, is the Source button to toggle between the various inputs.
Moving to the back of the projector, the InFocus IN34 is particularly well endowed in terms of inputs. On the left is the InFocus M1 DVI connector (computer 1), which can accept analog or digital computer, and next to it is computer 2, a a standard HD15 connector for the usual analog computer signal. I searched high and low, trying to find out if either of these will accept a component video input, but could not find it anywhere in the manual, user guide (quick setup) or brochure. A search of the InFocus website did find the info, however. A component video signal can be input through computer two with an HD15 to component video cable (not provided).
Next are two video inputs, an RCA jack for composite video (NTSC/PAL/SECAM) and an S-video input. Further to the right is a serial connector (for computer control of the projector), a monitor out for those using a desktop computer rather than a laptop, and a stereo mini jack for audio input, and another, for audio output. Lastly are the power cord receptacle, and the rear infra-red sensor.
Basically, that’s more input capability than the average $999 priced projector, two computer inputs including DVI (digital, compatible with HDMI, but unlike HDMI, DVI cables do not also carry audio).
Good enough. Let’s consider the actual image quality of the InFocus IN34 DLP projector.
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