InFocus IN126STa Projector Review – Performance

INFOCUS IN126STa PROJECTOR: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise, Audio, Issues

Brightness

Picture Mode                                               White  Brightness*
Bright2965 lumens
Presentation2123 lumens
Video1645 lumens
User2154 lumens
White Board1623 lumens
Blackboard1861 lumens
Beige Wall1698

* Normally a projector’s light output is measured with a 100% white test image.  For most projectors this provides a fair comparison of the brightness.  However, several years ago some manufactures of single chip DLP projectors (mainly business and education class projectors) starting adding a clear segment in the color wheel used in certain of their projectors.  This has the effect of significantly increasing the light output for white, since the white light from the projector’s lamps simply passes thru the clear segment.

Also this white light can be mixed with the red, blue and green light, that is filtered thru the other segments of the color wheel, to boost the brightness for lighter shades of the non-white colors.  However, when any heavily saturated colors need to be displayed they will appear dark, or even very dark, as compared to the whites and lighter shades.

Some industry members created a second measure for brightness called “Color Brightness” where the brightness of fully saturated red, blue and green are measured then their brightness values are added to together.  With 3-chip projectors (all 3LCD, LCoS and many high end DLP projectors) the color brightness will equal the white brightness.  This is also true for single chip DLP projectors that do not use a clear segment in their color wheel.

The IN126STa uses a clear segment in its color wheel and when operating in its brightest picture mode, called “Bright”, I measured the color brightness to be only about 30% as bright as the white brightness value shown in the table above.  Thus, while this is a (approx.) 3000 lumen projector when white lumens are used as the basis for the brightness rating, it would be only offer about 1000 lumens when color brightness is used as the basis.

For the Video Picture Quality discussed in the previous section of this review, I used the “User” Picture Mode and among the adjustments made,  I reduced the “White Intensity” adjustment to its minimum value as this reduces the level of white light being used to produce the projected image.  This, along with a very small reduction in the Contrast setting that was made to prevent clipping of near white levels, reduced the brightness to 820 white lumens for this picture mode.

Note:   The InFocus IN126STa has the default setting for White Intensity at the maximum for the brightest preset picture modes, but at a mid-level setting as the default for the best out-of-the-box preset picture modes.  With these reduced settings less white light is being used, but further improvements in picture accuracy can be achieved by reducing the White Intensity setting to its minimum value.

Using a clear segment to provide boosted white levels, can be useful for some business or classroom applications where maximum brightness is needed to overcome room lighting while having accurate colors are not essential.  The alternative of reducing or eliminating the use of the white light on single chip DLP projectors will produce a more accurate picture, but at the penalty of less brightness for whites and lighter shades.

For more information on the topic see our video on Color Brightness – HERE.

Contrast

As noted in the previous section of this review, the IN126STa has excellent contrast for this class of business/education projector.  As with other projectors we have reviewed, the manufacturer’s specified contrast ratio frequently has little connection to the real world contrast performance of the projector.

Like many other business/classroom projectors, the IN126STa has a feature that when turned on will dim the lamp when dark or black images are being displayed.  However, this dimming does not happen fast enough to be of any real would use when projecting videos and even for presentations/still images it doesn’t improve the displayed images.  Rather it’s more of a power saving feature that perhaps will also extend the life of the lamp.

When this feature is present on a projector the manufacturer will usually calculate the contrast ratio by measuring the maximum brightness for a full white image then measure minimum light output when displaying a full black image with the lamp dimming activated.

For a more real world assessment of the contrast ratio of the IN126STa, I turned off the lamp dimming and measured the contrast ratio in Bright Picture Mode where the result was a very respectable ~ 2500:1.  This is 5 to 10 times better than what is typical for 3LCD business/education projectors and even 2 times higher what I recently measured for a LCoS based business projector.  Among DLP based business/education projectors, this  is a better than average result.

Audible Noise

We do not measure the audible noise levels produced by the projectors being reviewed.  The InFocus IN126STa is specified to produce a noise level of 32 dB in high lamp mode and 30 dB in Eco mode.  These values are a reasonably low for this class of projector.  While the noise level, especially with the lamp operating in high mode, is certainly very audible in a quiet room, but is not loud enough prove distracting when this projector is being used in the intended business or classroom environment.  I would note that the high lamp mode produces a noise level comparable to some home theater projectors, when such projectors are operating in their normal/high lamp mode.  Changing to the “Eco” mode resulted in a noticeable decrease in noise level, but still audible in a quite room.

Audio Performance

The IN126STa has a single, 2-watt built-in speaker that can only play loud enough for use in a small conference room or classroom and the sound quality is rather ‘thin’ due to the lack of any bass.  It’s OK for voice narrations, but less than ideal for playback of video tracks that include music.   This is no worse than what some portable and pico business and education projectors offer in the way of performance from build-in speaker(s).  However it’s not up to the performance of the best business/education models, in this price range.  This InFocus projector provides an audio output port that can be used to connect to an external audio system for installations where higher quality audio is needed.

Issues

I noted the following issues/limitations with the IN126STa that was reviewed.

  1. The IN126STa only has a single IR receiver for the remote control signal and it is mounted on the front of the projector.  Since this is a short throw projector it will be positioned at the front of the room, near the screen and the IR signal from the remote control will normally be arriving from the rear of the projector.  It appears that InFocus relies on the IR signal being reflected off of the screen and back to the IR receiver on the front of the projector.  In my use of the projector and its remote control, I found this arrangement was not very effective as the on-screen display often did not respond to inputs on the remote without a 2nd or 3rd try.
  2. The second issue I noted was the on-screen menus change the selected item to the color blue as you use the remote to navigate thru the menus.  However, on many of the menus it was difficult to discern which item was being highlighted in blue vs. the normal grey color for the displayed text.
  3. The third issue is the color balance/grey scale adjustments are not available when the HDMI input is being used.  This takes away the opportunity to properly calibrate the color temperature and grey scale of the projector when a HDMI connection is being used.  I found these adjustments (RGB gain and offset) are available when an analog computer RGB (VGA) connection was used, but not HDMI.
  4. The final issue was observed a couple of times when connecting a laptop PC to the IN126STa via a HDMI connection.  On these occasions projector did not want to correctly sync up automatically to the incoming signal and as a result displayed a distorted image on the screen.  I tried two different HDMI cables and observed the same issue.

I would note that perhaps some of the above issues or limitations could potentially be addressed by InFocus through future firmware updates to the IN126STa.

Current dealer prices for InFocus IN126STa

SellerState taxPriceDescription
Projector People 
Projector People
FL 779.00Free Shipping! In Stock Now! 30 day no-hassle guarantee and FREE lifetime tech support from projector experts. We are an authorized dealer.
Projector SuperStore 
Projector SuperStore
AZ 779.00The InFocus IN126STa short throw projector combines short throw, widescreen resolution, high brightness, networking, optional interactivity and low cost ? making it perfect for the classroom, office or other tight space.
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