InFocus Play Big IN72 Projector Review – Overview

The InFocus IN72 seems to be selling at or close to $1299, whereas the primary competitors, are all around $899 to just over $1100. That said, the Big Play IN72 looks to be the best of class. We are pleased to bestow our Hot Product Award to the InFocus IN72!

The IN72 offers great color balance and image quality out of the box without needing calibration, possibly the best black levels of all the entry level projectors. Optoma’s H27, based on my memory from last year’s review, may be as good, however we will pick a winner in the forthcoming 4 projector comparison in June.

Of course, the InFocus gets the styling award, without a doubt the best looking, as all the others are very box like. This may help some of you who have to deal with significant others, who are concerned about the physical looks of the equipment. The IN72 is a great plug and play projector. Whether you choose to place it on a table or shelf, or ulitmately ceiling mount it, once you’ve got it plugged in, there’s little to do but turn it on and enjoy it. Menus are easy to navigate, and understandable, and the small remote lets you reach the most commonly used functions without having to navigate the menus. The projector about average in brightness, and can support screens (assuming a fully darkened room) to 110″ diagonal or even a size or two larger, but I would say most comfortable with screens 92″ to 110″.

Pros

  • Excellent color dynamics
  • Accurate colors out of the box
  • Great black levels and very good shadow detail
  • Reasonably quiet
  • 3000 hour lamp, in full power mode
  • Styling
  • Input selection includes 2 digital inputs
  • Excellent backlit remote control (with flashlight!)
  • Pedestal works great instead of separate adjustable feet
  • Solid construction
  • Ease of use

Cons

  • One year warranty
  • Manual is only provided on CD

Typical Performance

  • Brightness
  • Range of zoom lens (1.2:1)
  • Audible noise levels
  • Sharpness
  • Menus
  • Documentation (manual on CD)
  • Price/Performance – The IN72′s higher price is offset by superior performance

The Competition

As indicated throughout the review, we see the primary competition to be the Optoma H27 (due for replacement in the fall), the new BenQ W100, and the Epson Home 20. All four will be compared in a review published mid June ’06.

In addition, some might consider the All-In-One projectors from Optoma (MovieTime DV10) and Epson (MovieMate 25) both reviewed, and containing speakers and DVD players, but the performance of the IN72 definitely exceeds both of these. We recommend All-in-one home entertainment projectors for those frequently setting them up and taking them down, or moving them from room to room, etc.

For those with more budget to spend, a few hundred more will move you up in resolution to thePanasonic PT-AE900uSanyo PLV-Z4 and BenQ PE7700. All are 720p resolution, and of the three, only the BenQ is also a DLP based projector.

The Sanyo in best mode won’t be as bright, and also in best mode the Panasonic and BenQ should be similar in brightness (the BenQ should have a slight edge). Check out our Four Projector Comparison (under $2000) for more on these, or read the individual reviews. Their prices have been falling mostly due to rebates, free lamps or screens, but as noted are still likely to be at least $300 more than the IN72 after you net out the value of those specials.

So, in conclusion here, if you are not looking to spend $1500 (today’s stree prices), the InFocus IN72 looks to be the best overall projector available for your home entertainment solution. The IN72 delivers a bright image, with great black levels and shadow detail. It’s good looking, easy to use, and delivers the extra performance that it’s slightly higher than the competition, to make it a very good value for the money spent.

Kudos to InFocus for a more than worthy successor to the old Screenplay 4805. As long as they keep the prices in line, relative to the competition, they have a great product that should sell extremely well. More importantly, I expect it will handily exceed the expectations of most people who buy the Play Big IN72.

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