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InFocus X9 - Competitors

Posted on November 18, 2008 by Art Feierman
This section will consider how the InFocus X9 home theater projector stacks up against its primary competition. Below you will find brief one-on-one comparisons, with the usual commentary and opinions.

InFocus X9 vs. Panasonic PT-AX200U

The PT-AX200U, although it was first shipped a year ago, is pretty much the same projector as the older PT-AX100U from the year before. The improvements were almost exclusively relating to new features for better gaming.

That said, the PT-AX200U is the best selling 720p projector on the market. One reason, which is also an advantage over the X9, is that, as a typical 3LCD projector, it has far more placement flexibility, thanks to a 2:1 zoom lens, and adjustable lens shift, and the ability to be shelf mounted, as well as ceiling mounted.

Both the X9, and the Panasonic are extremely bright home theater projectors. In overall brightness, the X9 has more muscle in "best" (Movie) mode, by a significant margin, but the two projectors are similar at their brightest - around 2000 lumens, with the Panasonic having just a slight advantage.

The InFocus X9 projector comes with a two year warranty, while the Panasonic has only a one year warranty. (Note, at times, Panasonic has run a mail-in "rebate" for a 2nd year warranty.)

Both projectors have very good color, out of the box, but the X9 has a slight advantage. The Panasonic has a lot more image control, and can be calibrated to produce slightly better color than the X9. When it comes to black levels, I'll definitely give the advantage to the Panasonic, but the InFocus X9 does a little better job on shadow detail.

In terms of price, at this time, the X9 is officially $100 more than the PT-AX200U following the recent Panasonic price move from $1299 to $999. It would not be surprising if shortly after this is written, the InFocus came down $100 to establish pricing parity.


InFocus X9 vs. Optoma HD71

This comparison is very straight forward. The Optoma is every bit as bright as the InFocus. Out of the box it measures even brighter, but Optoma's out of the box color accuracy is really not very good. Calibrating it to good color, drops it down to about 1000 lumens, almost exactly the X9's brightness in Movie Mode with Brilliant Color on, as we recommend it be used.

For the brightest output, the X9 cranks out 2000 lumens, and the HD71 can beat it by about 400 lumens, but the picture quality of the HD71 is definitely not as good. Taming the HD71 to a good bright mode, that is very watchable drops it down into the mid 1600 lumen range. For comparable picture quality in brightest mode, I'd say the X9 can put out perhaps a couple hundred extra lumens than the PT-AX200U. Remember though, if you need every last lumen, and are willing to sacrifice a bit of picture quality to survive bad lighting, the Panny can put out more than the X9.

The HD71, really needs "tweaking". It's not a plug and play projector in that regard. On the other hand, as I've said, you can buy an X9 and watch it "as is" and have a much better picture than an HD71 that hasn't been calibrated.

The street pricing on these two projectors seems, at the moment, to be comparable. I'm finding the X9 to be pretty consistant, but prices for the HD71 seem to vary by about $300. In other words, you can find an HD71 for less, but the big name, highly reputable online projector specialists do price the two about the same.

Ultimately, for enthusiasts, you can get a better picture out of the HD71, but for someone who just wants a nice little projector they don't have to fuss with, the X9 should sound more appealing.

InFocus X9 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z60

DLP against LCD once again, with the Sanyo holding all the cards when it comes to placement flexibility. Both have very sharp and crisp images. The Sanyo wins the black level competition with ease.

Once again, though, the big appeal of the InFocus X9, will be brightness. It is extremely bright, and, well, the Sanyo is extremely NOT bright. No comparison here.

The Sanyo PLV-Z60 has a really strong following among enthusiasts and purists, the exact crowd the X9 is not aimed at.

The PLV-Z60 is a great low cost projector for a serious home theater person, while the X9 will find its support from those less critical, or those willing to trade image for far more brightness and ease of use.

Sanyo does beat out the X9 in warranty, with three years vs. two.

People won't have any problem choosing between these two, as they are about as different as two competing projectors can be, in terms of strengths and weaknesses.

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