Not many projectors deliver top-notch video and audio at a brightness level that handles the image washout of well-lit rooms. But the InFocus IN3114 is one that does. Rated at 3,500 ANSI lumens and listing for $1,499, this projector is well suited for mid-sized classrooms and conference rooms when ambient light is an issue. Its native 1024x768 DLP light engine accepts data up to 1440x900 and video from 480i to 1080i. All in all, this bright, 7 lb. projector delivers a lot of bang for the buck.
Brightness and Uniformity: In its Bright preset mode with BrilliantColor on, our test unit put 3,070 ANSI lumens on the screen which is a little less than its 3,500-lumen rating. Presentation and Video modes delivered 1,655 and 1,535 lumens, respectively while Eco mode reduced brightness by 18% in all preset modes. That's not bad when you consider that Eco mode extends lamp life from 3,000 to 4,000 hours and lowers fan noise in the process. The 1.2:1 zoom lens at full telephoto only dropped brightness by 9%, so you're not giving up much picture quality if you have to place the projector farther from the screen. Uniformity was a very respectable 87% with the bottom half of the image a little brighter than the top.
Image Sharpness: Images are in focus from edge-to-edge and sharpness is excellent in the corners as well. Data inputs from my Mac as high as 1344x1008 were seamlessly scaled and showed no artifacts or fuzziness.
Image Size and Position: Image diagonals from 24" to 244" can be projected from distances of 4' to 33', respectively. At about 6' from the screen, the center of the lens is 6" below the bottom of the image, so getting an image of appropriate height for a moderate-size room should be possible without using much of the available ±30° keystone correction. The projector can be elevated by dropping and locking the single front foot, and if horizontal leveling is needed, the right rear foot can be adjusted.
Menus and Remote: The on-screen menus are easy to understand, but they tend to be layered deeply. For example, the Basic Picture menu has 12 different settings while the Advanced Picture menu has 23, and the Setup menu presents you with a dizzying array of 39 choices. Fortunately, most of these are one-time selections, and the menus are easy to navigate with the remote control. The remote itself only has 17 buttons and is laid out clearly and cleanly with very memorable icons. The only function that's a bit frustrating is the unidirectional Preset selection button because if you miss the preset you're after, you must cycle through the six other presets to get back to the one you want.
Connections: The IN3114 has three input connectors for data images (two VGA and one HDMI) and three for video sources (composite video, s-video, and component video via one of the VGA connectors). Since some DVD players will connect via the HDMI connector, HDCP security is provided. There is also a USB port for memory sticks with picture files which are displayed in a slide show format. Two audio input mini-jacks are complemented by a single audio output should external amplification be needed.
For network connection there's an RJ-45 connector, and a D-sub 9-pin connector is provided for remote sensing and control. Monitor loop through is also available in the connector cluster. For security, a Kensington lock assembly is built in.
Preset modes: Preset modes include three selections that change color emphasis to compensate for non-standard projection surfaces such as blackboards and painted walls, and there are four others titled Bright, Presentation, Video, and User with each having its own color and brightness levels.
One very impressive feature of the IN3114 is the accuracy with which saturation, hue, contrast, and brightness are preset in the Movie mode. Just plug in a DVD player, sit back, and enjoy your movie without changing a thing . . . it's that good. The seven preset modes vary the image brightness as described earlier, and Bright mode tends toward green while Presentation has a slight blue tint. Note that image adjustments for saturation and hue in a preset can only be made when connecting composite, s-video, and component video sources. This means that if you connect a video source via the HDMI input, you'll have to go to the User preset to vary saturation and hue if you don't like the look of the Movie preset mode.
Fan noise: Fan noise is modest, but the IN3114 has the mid-frequency noise component typical of color wheel DLP projectors. Lots of air is being moved out the right side of the projector, but the front right surface of case still gets very warm to the touch.
Lamp Life: The IN3114's 280-watt lamp is located beneath the projector's top cover, so it's easier to replace if the unit is ceiling-mounted. In normal mode, lamp life is rated at 3,000 hours, but Eco mode can stretch that to 4,000 hours if you can tolerate an 18% brightness reduction. The current price of the replacement lamp is $299.