InFocus IN34 DLP Portable Projector – Overview
OK, I screwed up! For the second time in the last two years, I managed to forget to take a picture of a projector’s remote. No big deal in this case, as InFocus provides, perhaps the most basic remote possible, one with only six buttons. The remote itself is about medium sized – I would estimate between five and six inches long. At the very top, is the power switch.
Immediately below that are four buttons in a common diamond configuration, with the Menu button on the left, slightly above it, and in the middle is the up arrow, below that, the down arrow, and to the right, the Select (enter) button. Below them all, is the Source (select) button, that toggles you through the various inputs. BTW, InFocus labels the sources 1 through 4, but you can assign a particular source to each.
When you connect your computer through the Computer 1 input (DVI-M1), the provided cable splits and has a USB connector on the computer end as well as the video (HD15) connector for the video signal. The InFocus IN34 allows you to configure the projector for presentation control. Doing so will allow you to page forward and page back in presentation programs like Powerpoint to advance (or go back) a page in your presentation, saving you the trouble of buying a wireless mouse system.
The up and down arrow keys will move your presentation forward and backwards, respectively.
Overall, the standard (supplied) remote fits nicely in your hand. With only the six buttons, they are well spaced, and easy to use without having to shift your hand on the remote. The remote itself is not backlit, which would have been nice, however, it is a business projector designed to work in rooms with a decent amount of ambient light. If however, you need to run a video in a really dark room, a backlight on the remote would be nice.
InFocus uses a 2 arrow key navigation system (most projectors use four arrow keys). This, I find, requires a few more keystrokes to navigate around the menus. Where this is most noticeable is when you are in a sub-menu, and want to move back up one or two menu levels. In the menu you are in, you’ll need to use the up or down arrow keys to select “Previous” then hit the enter button which will move you up a level, if you have another level to move up, then again, you have to find the Previous and hit Enter again. With four arrow systems, hitting the left arrow normally takes you right up one level, etc. Overall, this is hardly a deal breaker, but I do wish InFocus would add those left and right arrow key functions.
InFocus IN34 Lens Throw, and Lens Shift
The IN34 lacks lens shift (a feature rarely found on a business projector weighing under 10 pounds). Without lens shift, to maintain a rectangular image, you have the keystone correction controls. Using keystone correction is like using compression technology (to handle a higher or lower resolution source), in that it will cause some degradation of the image quality. This will be seen on smaller type, mostly 14 points or less. Large type Powerpoint like presentations should show virtually no visible degradation at any normal viewing distance. As to positioning – lens throw, as noted on the first page of this IN34 review, to fill a 100″ 16:9 aspect ratio screen, the front of the projector can be as close as 12 feet 2 inches, or as far back as 15 feet one inch. You can easily calculate the distances for other screen sizes, from this information, or the table in the User guide, the Appendix in the Reference guide, or the lens throw chart on the InFocus website.
IN34 ScreenDoor Effect and Rainbow Effect
As an XGA DLP projector, the pixel visibility is very low, and the screendoor effect should not be an issue on normal viewing, be it data or graphics. The IN34, as a DLP projector, does rely on a color wheel, and as a result, like all sigle chip DLP projectors (that would be all under $10,000 DLP projectors), can produce the rainbow effect, which a very small percentage of the population can see. Rainbow effect is mostly visible on moving scenes such as videos, and most often when brighter objects move quickly across a dark background. As such, very few will ever see rainbows when viewing data. When it comes to video, the fact that this is a business projector allows InFocus to use a 2X (two times) speed color wheel, compared to the 4X and 5X wheels found on home theater projectors which are designed primarily for video viewing. I happen to to be “fortunate” to be slightly sensitive to the rainbow effect. I think that’s a good thing for a reviewer, because I can relate to others that can make it out. I never noticed the rainbow effect on data, unless I was doing things like shaking my head and blinking quickly- trying to spot it. On video sources, I had no trouble making it out, but for normal “business” video, it shouldn’t be an issue, unless you are one of those very few, most susceptible to it. In all these regards, the IN34 is typical of portable DLP projectors.
IN34 Projector - Audible Noise Levels
Certainly not the quiest projector around (LCD projectors tend to be a bit quieter overall), but with 35 db claimed in high lamp power mode, it is about average. In a presentation, you can hear the fan noise but the level is very reasonable, no having to “shout” over it.
InFocus IN34 Portable Projector Brightness
I measured performance in the three preset modes. Presentation, Film, and Video. Here are the results:
Presentation Mode – The IN34 measured in at 2838 lumens, actually exceeding the 2500 lumens InFocus claims. Now that is a rarity. Few projectors actually measure higher than factory claims. Epson has a reputation for almost consistantly doing that, but no one else comes to mind. As such, I am most impressed with the output of the IN34, and as I have said repeatedly, it is a very bright projector for it’s class – a five pound projector. The IN34 has plenty of lumens in Presentation mode for handling most small conference and meeting rooms on screens from 5 foot diagonal up to 100″ diagonal, with lots of lighting, and can, of course handle much larger screens, even 25 foot diagonals in a room that is mostly darkened. Most impressive!!!
Video and Film presets produce almost identical results, and both are significantly lower lumens than Presentation mode, as would be expected from a DLP projector. Video measured 948 lumens, and Film, 967 lumens. The important point here, is that this IN34 projector still cranks out about 1000 lumens in modes that will provide excellent color accuracy, when needed, and 1000 lumens is enough to handle a 5 or 6 foot diagonal screen with moderate room lighting (perhaps half of the florescent lights on in a conference room).
Color temperature for all modes was also fairly consistant, with Presentation mode around 7000K and the other two modes in the low to mid 6K range (suitable for movies).
Although I did not measure it, the InFocus spec sheet indicates that there is a “whisper” mode that reduces brightness by 20% (2000 lumens claimed).
Overall, I repeat, a really nice bright projector for one that weighs in at only 5.2 lbs.
INFocus IN34 Lamp Life, and Lamp Replacement
Hmmm! Not particularly impressive in this catagory. The IN34 claims a 2000 hour lamp life, which is the industry average.
Lamp replacement is typical, the Lamp door is underneath the projector, and unfortunately, like the vast majority of portable projectors, would require you to unmount the projector from a ceiling mount (should you be ceiling mounting the unit), to change the lamp.
OK, that covers general performance. Take a quick peak at the very, very short Warranty page, and then it’s time to summarize, and look at the pros and cons.
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