InFocus IN1102 Ultraportable Projector
The versatile, 2.75-pound InFocus IN1102 ($1099 as of 8/7/09) is a superior choice for a double-duty, lamp-based projector that delivers bright, colorful images both in large conference rooms and in cozy living rooms. Its substantial light output of 2200 lumens makes it one of the two brightest models in our recent review of ultraportable projectors (along with the Optoma EW330). With that much power, the IN1102 can deliver a viewable screen in rooms with considerable ambient light, without losing image quality. Its native 1280 by 800 (WXGA) resolution and wide aspect ratio make it a perfect match for displaying images from WXGA laptops, as well as for showing widescreen DVDs and HDTV. But you'll want to use another source for sound, since this projector's 1.0-watt mono speaker is barely audible.
In our image-quality tests, the IN1102 emerged as the best overall performer among the group of seven ultraportable projectors (four lamp-based and three LED-based) we tested for our review. It won first place in our motion and video tests, and tied for first place in text and graphics. It also excelled at rendering sharp, legible text in all of the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents that we threw at it. In graphics tests it surpassed lower-scoring models in reproducing accurate shades of color, including blacker blacks and whiter whites. In DVD movie playback, it did a top-notch job displaying the high contrast, the muted colors, and the gritty details in a tunnel car chase in Quantum of Solace, and it accurately reproduced the garish, richly saturated hues in a cross-country road race in Speed Racer.
The IN1102 is the only model in this group that can connect to two computers at the same time, for projector sharing by two presenters. To accomplish this, the IN1102's connector panel includes both a standard VGA input and a mini-USB input that supports DisplayLink technology (a mini-USB cable is included). DisplayLink works by taking information from the computer's graphics processor, compressing it, and sending it over the USB connection. You can even use the DisplayLink cable connection by itself to operate the projector and leave the VGA cable behind, which reduces this model's 4.75-pound traveling weight by a few ounces. In our hands-on tests with its DisplayLink connection, the IN1102 did well in displaying text and graphics images, including PowerPoint slide shows, but its motion performance during DVD playback was a little choppy at times; sticking to the projector's VGA or other video input sources is best for presenting moving images.
The IN1102's color-coded connection inputs make it a breeze to set up in an office or a home-entertainment room. In addition to its two computer inputs, it has inputs for composite video, S-Video, and audio, but not for HDMI. Both of the lens adjustments (zoom and focus) are conveniently located on top of the projector, and three adjustable feet are on the bottom. The well-labeled control panel and remote are easy to use for accessing the on-screen display and performing image adjustments. Both the panel and the remote include a welcome hot-button that provides instant access to seven preset picture modes (optimized for "Presentation," "Video," "Bright," and so on), and the remote also provides page up/down control when you're using the DisplayLink connection. One unique setup goodie: The IN1102 is bundled with an extralong (nearly 10-foot) power cord, which gives you more projector placement flexibility than you have with the shorter (6-foot) cables accompanying most portable models--a minor consideration, but one that veteran road warriors will appreciate.
On the downside, the IN1102 costs more than the other 2-to-3-pound models we tried for our roundup (the Acer P3250, the Optoma EW330, and the ViewSonic PJ260D), it lacks HDMI support, and its replacement lamp doesn't come cheap ($325 for a 3000-hour bulb). But its two-year warranty (six months for the lamp) is better than that of the Acer and Optoma models, and considering its superior image quality and its general versatility as an all-purpose projector, the InFocus IN1102 is arguably worth the extra bucks.