At nearly two years old, the InFocus IN76 is positively geriatric by modern consumer electronics’ standards – but it’s still worth a good look.
That’s partially because this well-sorted DLP projector was so intrinsically ‘right’ when it first debuted back in early 2006, but it’s also because during its lifespan, its UK distributors have continually cut its price to keep it competitive. Now, at £1000, it’s almost half what it used to cost. Bargain.
Of course, for that money you’re not going to get the very latest specification. For example, the IN76 is ‘only’ an HD-Ready projector, with 1280x720 resolution, but you shouldn’t let that put you off. For one thing, this projector only costs a grand, and you’ll struggle to find a Full HD alternative for anything like that cash. And for another, it’s still compatible with 1080p and 24fps content - its video scaling simply dealing with the incoming signal and reworking it to match the resolution of the DLP panel.
Pretty fly, for a projector
A big part of the IN76’s appeal is its liveability. First, it’s good-looking - in a market where most affordable projectors resemble fan heaters, that’s an issue worth noting.
Second, it’s easy to set-up, thanks to clear on-screen graphics and a backlit remote handset, and it’s especially well-suited to the role of an ‘occasional-use’ projector (in other words, something you only pull out of the cupboard for marathon gaming sessions, event movies or the big match).
That integral plinth mounted under the projector is the reason why; it makes the design stable and easy to accurately align with your projector screen. The fairly large casing is useful here, too, because it means the InFocus can do away with the hordes of slots and vents that help smaller projectors to cool themselves properly. It still has air-cooling outlets, of course, but they’re neatly concealed on the sides of the body.
Why is that an issue? Because it makes the projector both quieter than most rivals, and less prone to irritating light leakage. If you’re going to have it sitting in front of you on the coffee table, that’s a big benefit.
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Rich and crisp pictures
Of course, that wouldn’t count for much if the InFocus didn’t also have a decent picture, but it does. If you’re the type to obsess about pixel counts, you might worry that it’s going to look sharp enough. But you needn’t stress - if all you’ve seen before is a poorly set-up pub projector, you’ll be thrilled by the IN76’s dense colours, rich contrast levels and crisp definition.
Of course, feeding it hi-def shows it in its best light – the edge-to-edge punch of the picture is particularly impressive, as is the stability with fast motion. Lower-definition signals can still look good, too – for one thing, remember that 720x576 DVD images need a lot less scaling to fit this projector’s resolution than they do with a Full HD alternative.
If we were being picky, very fast motion could be a little smoother, and there’s some rainbow effect on show that other designs would mask – but fundamentally, this is a bright, punchy picture that looks great.