In the world of ultraportable projectors, InFocus was king. For years its amazing 2-pound LP120 model had been setting the benchmark for devices in this category. But this venerable model had been usurped by new generations of projectors with slightly more heft but much greater luminosity. Finally, InFocus has introduced the Work Big IN10, its new standard bearer in the tiny projector market, and perhaps the most ironically named member of the company’s Work Big product line.
Pared Down Design and Features
At a weight of 2.4 pounds, the IN10 is a bit heavier than the LP120, but it’s quite a bit brighter—nearly 1,800 ANSI lumens versus 1,100 on the older model. This is still somewhat lower than the 2,000-lumen mark that is now popular among business projectors, but the IN10 should have no trouble making an impression in most environments.
Of course, ultraportable projectors get that way by shedding all but the most useful features, and the IN10 may represent the epitome of that approach. For example, there is no monitor-out connector for use with a desktop display. Nor are there any other connectors beyond those most needed by the majority of presenters: just four input ports—computer, composite video, S-Video, and audio. In fact, the computer connector does triple duty by also handling a USB control line and component video (the latter requires an optional cable).
But the real simplicity of the system reveals itself in the remote control, which has only six buttons for power, input source and navigation of slide shows and the projector’s menu. Gone is the confusing array of rarely used buttons such as digital zoom. The only feature that we miss is a laser pointer.
One of the best qualities of the IN10 is its 120-Watt lamp. The company claims it will last 4,000 hours at full power, which is twice as long as most other projectors. Of course, at $419 for a replacement bulb, it’s nearly twice as expensive, too. We also liked the 1.3X optical zoom lens and the generous 10-foot AC cable, both of which give you some much needed flexibility regarding projector placement.
In our lab tests, the IN10 gave a moderate if not mediocre level of performance. We measured the brightness at 1,658 lumens, which is just 8 percent below the claimed value, and within the industry standard of hyperbole. In our checkerboard test the contrast ratio came in at an unspectacular 410:1. Brightness uniformity, corner to center, was a better-than-average 72 percent. The cooldown time was fairly slow, at 61 seconds.
The IN10 did better in our subjective tests. Its images were quite sharp, but we did notice slight blue comet tails in the upper right. The projector did amazingly well in its ability to resolve very dark and very light grays. We were somewhat disappointed, however, in our video playback tests. Granted, we did not have a suitable component video cable available, but our tests with an S-Video cable showed a slightly higher level of jaggies than we have seen with other models. Also, the IN10’s cooling fan was surprisingly noisy for such a small projector. And, unlike most other projectors, this model lacks a low-power mode that could quiet the fan.
The InFocus Work Big IN10 is a solid ultraportable projector at a reasonable price. However, it is facing some tough competition in the featherweight end of the projector market. The Dell M209X is only slightly heavier yet significantly brighter and $200 cheaper. Also, the widescreen Optoma EP1691 is not only well suited to today’s wide-aspect-ratio laptops (and HDTV), but like the Dell model it is significantly brighter and more affordable. Even InFocus itself has launched some potent competitors: The recently announced IN1100 weighs 2.8 pounds and beams out 2,100 ANSI lumens at a price just $100 higher than that of the IN10. And while all this competition may be unfortunate for the IN10, it is the best news yet for ultraportable projector buyers.