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InFocus LP335 vs. Epson PowerLite 710c

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At this moment, the two most popular ultra-portable projectors in the XGA resolution class are the InFocus LP335 (MSRP: $5,999), and the Epson PowerLite 710c (MSRP: $7,999). Since they are both popular a lot of people are asking which is the best product and which is the best value? So here we will take a close look at both of them to see how they stack up.

The Similarities

First, let's consider what they have in common. The LP335 and the 710c are both native XGA resolution machines rated at 1000 ANSI lumens. Both have manual zoom lenses (the Epson's zoom ratio is 1.2:1, and the InFocus is 1.25:1). In addition, they each have one data input, one S-video, one composite video jack, digital keystone correction, and a single 1-watt audio speaker. Both are driven by a 120-watt UHP lamp.

Physically, the Epson is a bit larger in size and weight. At 5.8 lbs, it is a pound heavier than the InFocus which weighs in at 4.8 lbs. And the Epson's dimensions are 10.5" x 2.8" x 8.4" (W x H x L) or 247 cubic inches, whereas the InFocus is 8.7" x 2.5" x 9.75", or 212 cubic inches. In the large scheme of things, both qualify as compact lightweight units that are designed for frequent mobile presentation use.

From a distance, these two products look about the same. They both deliver good clean data images at the same brightness level, and they are both capable of producing very good video images as well. So are there any differences? Yes, and they are significant.

The Differences

The feature and function differences between these two projectors are as follows:

1. Light engine. These two products are very different under the hood. The Epson 710c is a 3-panel LCD system, whereas the InFocus LP335 is a one-chip DLP. That means there are qualitative differences in image quality (more on this later).

2. Electronic features. For the extra money you will pay for the Epson, you'd expect to get additional features. And you do. The Epson comes with an assortment of on-board presentation tools that enable the presenter to highlight, underline, and circle particular areas of the image during a presentation. It has picture-in-picture and digital zoom/pan. The LP335 does not offer these features. And although these products are both native XGA (1,024 x 768), the Epson is able to accept SXGA (1,280 x 1024) and UXGA (1,600 x 1,200) signals and display them in compressed form. The InFocus cannot do this.

3. Lamp life. The 710c will deliver 2,000 hours of viewing time on each lamp, whereas the LP335 will deliver only 1,000 hours. As replacement lamps can run around $400, this may be a significant cost factor for those who plan to put a lot of hours on their projector.

4. HDTV compatibility. According to the manufacturer's specifications the InFocus LP335 is compatible with the HDTV 1080i format and the Epson 710c is not. However, these two manufacturers have a difference of opinion on what qualifies as "HDTV compatible." In reality, no XGA resolution projector can display a 1080i signal in its native high-definition format since the display device needs to be able to produce 1080 discrete lines of signal information to do this. An XGA-resolution machine only has 768 lines. Therefore a digital XGA projector will usually render the 1080i signal in 540 progressive lines. The result is a picture that looks better than standard definition TV, and not as good as true HDTV.

Both the LP335 and the Epson 710c will display a 1080i signal in 540p. It is legitimate to claim HDTV compatibility based upon this, but Epson refrains from doing so. So the difference is not in the physical capability of the projectors, but in how the manufacturers choose to represent the products.

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LCD Versus DLP
Review Contents: Similarities and Differences LCD Versus DLP Video, Value and Price

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