Best in Class Special, Interest Award: InFocus X10
There's still something about DLP projectors (even though they've lost their black level advantage over the other technologies), in terms of overall picture, that still has many enthusiasts favoring this technology. In addition, as a group, the DLP projectors generally are considered a little sharper than 3LCD and LCoS projectors (though slight). These factors, for a significant number of buyers, are more important than the lack of placement flexibility.
The X10 from InFocus is their least expensive of four 1080p projectors in their lineup! It starts with a nice, sharp image, it offers average black level performance for an entry level projector, but has particularly good color, right out of the box. So good, in fact, that the only significant change needed is a dramatic reduction of the Contrast setting. The InFocus X10 also can claim extremely impressive shadow detail.
The X10 is the only projector in this group that is ISF certified. (that means it has extra modes available for an ISF certified calibrator to set up).
When it comes to brightness, the X10 is absolutely brilliant in "best" mode, in fact the brightest of the projectors in this category. That means movie only type folks can enjoy a large screen, a size, even two over 110" diagonal. If you need extra lumens for some viewing (sports/HDTV?), the InFocus again comes through. You'll need to engage their version of TI's Brilliant Color, but that will increase brightness by about 60%, and put it roughly comparable to the Sanyo, though not as bright as the Epson.
The limited placement flexibility is an issue, and costs the X10 significantly in this comparison. With a typical (of DLP projectors) 1.2:1 zoom, and no lens shift, this is a ceiling mount projector only- rear shelf mounting just won't work. There is another issue, though, as well, and that is the large amount of fixed lens shift. It requires the InFocus to typically be mounted about 18" above a 100" screen surface. This makes it tough to place in a room with an standard 8 foot high ceiling. (With a 110" screen, and the projector mounted six inches below the ceiling (about as close as one can get), the bottom of the screen would only be about 20 inches off the floor). With a 100" screen, that increases to about 2 feet, which for most, is as low as they would want to go.
Bottom line on the X10: An excellent projector, and particularly so, right out of the box. It's one of the brighter projectors - a plus, but offsetting this, is limited placement flexibility, which in this case, means the projector likely won't work in the rooms of the majority of potential buyers. Black levels definitely could be better, but even the best in this group is only slightly better. I really do like the sharp image, and the natural colors. The X10 performs great, except on those really dark scenes.