Projector proves a sharp investment

Projector proves a sharp investment

If you say it fast enough, $10,000 can almost sound like a reasonable amount of money. For most consumers, however, that kind of cash represents a substantial investment in a piece of home theatre equipment. Whatever the toy, it had better be worth it.

Fortunately, InFocus is a company with a strong pedigree in projector design and manufacture, and while you may struggle to justify the price, you can't deny the quality of the ScreenPlay 7210. Barring the insanely good ScreenPlay 777, this is InFocus' top-of-the-line consumer-oriented projector.

The 7210 boasts a high-definition (HD) resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and this, when coupled with high-quality video scaling electronics from Faroudja, provides an onscreen image that's pin sharp.

Since broadcasters seem content to leave us languishing with antiquated analogue broadcast systems or a distinctly Lo-Fi digital system with too many channels stuffed into limited bandwidth, it seems we'll have to wait for Blu-ray or HD-DVD to appear before we can sample the delights of HD.

Nevertheless, with one of these nestled away in the lounge or home theatre room, you will at least be ready when they do. Just as well then that standard DVDs look utterly superb.

I calibrated the 7210 using the Digital Video Essentials DVD but, to be honest, other than a minor tweak to get contrast and brightness right for my liking, the factory default settings were completely in order. There are plenty of options for tweaking should you so choose and it's all made easy thanks to the InFocus menu/remote.

Dark scenes, such as those found in The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, are a good way of finding out how well a display processes shadow detail. While a projector's black level is somewhat dependent on the lighting conditions of the room, the 7210 showed off plenty of fine details in areas where lesser projectors produce nothing but darkness.

Flesh tones were completely natural and avoided the tanned look some displays like to produce, no matter how much you tweak things. There was never a sign of false contouring and there's plenty of power on hand to produce a rich and bright image. A five-speed, seven-segment colour wheel spins at a rate high enough to almost eliminate the rainbow effect; it's still noticeable but is one of the best I've seen and shouldn't bother the majority of people.

Build quality is excellent, although there are a couple of minor ergonomic issues.

Firstly, there's no lens shift option, a feature that is becoming more and more common with many manufacturers. It allows a user to make fine adjustments to image positioning without having to physically manhandle the projector, which wouldn't be such an issue if InFocus had added a means of doing that. Sadly, the single adjustable foot at the rear and single adjustable leg at the front allow for only minor alterations, and in a table-top installation it's a real pain to manoeuvre.

Still, in a more permanent installation this issue all but disappears and, given the image quality and otherwise excellent features, we'd have no hesitation in recommending this machine to anyone who appreciates an excellent projected image.

Local information

The product is distributed by Ingram Micro and Image Design Technology (IDT).

RRP: $10,880

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