InFocus IN36

InFocus IN36

The slim InFocus IN36 is InFocus' latest entry into the business projector market. With a 3000 ANSI lumens brightness rating and a 1000:1 contrast ratio, it's clearly targeted at the professional market, as these specifications make it ideal for presentations. However, in practice we found a few image quality issues that detracted from the overall quality of this unit.

Our main test for business projectors is DisplayMate, which is a software package that runs the projector through a variety of charts and images, designed specifically to reveal any flaws in display devices. We connected the IN36 to a notebook and ran the software at the projector's native resolution of 1024x768.

We found a major problem with the colour balance. Business projectors are often calibrated with brightness as a top priority, allowing for a clear, steady image to remain even under less-than-ideal lighting conditions. However, this can also have a negative impact on colour representation, and this was clearly evident on the IN36. Using any of the default preset modes (such as Presentation and Film) the colours were horribly inaccurate. Yellows came out as a dark mustard and bright greens looked almost olive; all the colours were out of whack. We tried using the calibration options in the on-screen menu to fix this (it allows you to alter the levels of the major colours within the image) and had some minor success by lowering the level of green and increasing the level of red, but the colours remained inaccurate. If you're displaying lots of black and white charts, the IN36 might suit your needs, but the colour inaccuracy will be instantly obvious when showing more colourful material.

Contrast was also a problem, with our intensity ramps (charts that gradually go from black to white) losing definition between blocks in the lighter shades. However, adjusting the contrast lead to a noticeable improvement. Edges were generally crisp and clear with only minor blue haloing evident in high-contrast areas. In our real world tests, the PC desktop looked sharp and icons and text were well-rendered. There was minimal noise on our moire test patterns, although a slight rippling was evident when viewed from up close.

We also ran a quick movie test, using our Swordfish DVD, and the results were as expected. The contrast and colour issues found in Displaymate were more evident here, but motion was handled nicely. We wouldn't recommend using the IN36 for movie playback, but considering it's a business oriented model that isn't surprising.

Measuring 7x22x26cm and weighing 2.36kg, it's small for a business unit, making it great as an all-purpose model for boardroom and conference presentations. It can project an image up to 6.71m in size from a distance of 10.06m, which is more than adequate for most situations. It's quite attractive and the black and silver plastic chassis should be suitable for most business environments.

The menu is fairly intuitive and comes with a host of calibration options. Novice users will enjoy the preset configuration modes, but, as we've mentioned, its image quality suffers dramatically when using these. Thankfully, the array of colour, contrast, brightness, tracking, keystone and phase calibration controls mean you can do a reasonable job of correcting everything if you have a little patience. The included remote control makes the process simple; it has a minimalist design that contains only the essential buttons.

The IN36 comes with a variety of connectivity options, including DVI, D-Sub, S-Video and composite ports. There is a ventilation shaft on the side that helps expel heat, and while the IN36 does run a little hot, it wasn't enough to be noteworthy.

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