Product Review: InFocus LP755
InFocus Systems, Inc. is one of the leading manufacturers of LCD and DLP projectors. Yet the company is not known for high quality video products. Rather it has traditionally concentrated (very successfully) on the commercial "pie chart and spreadsheet" market. However, of late the company has begun to produce some noteworthy projectors that perform in video as well as they do in data. The LP755 is an outstanding example.
At 9.7 lbs, and with a solid comfortable handle integrated into the casework, the LP755 is intended for use in portable applications. It has a bright 1000 ANSI lumen rating, and is native XGA (1024 x 768) resolution. It is clearly a hybrid, designed for users who want both excellent data and video performance in a portable projector. Owners of the LP755 will be using it for business presentations during the week, and bringing it home for big screen excitement evenings and weekends.
The connection panel offers one each of a composite RCA, S-video, and standard 15-pin VGA port. There is also a second input to accommodate InFocus' proprietary Cable Wizard that enables connection of a second computer, as well as a mouse and audio signal from that computer. Finally there is a jack for an optional wired remote and an external speaker.
The control panel on the LP755 looks good and is intuitively laid out. However the tactile response leaves something to be desired. On our sample unit, buttons needed to be depressed firmly, and even then it sometimes took two or three depressions for the action to register. And the remote control lacked the range of the other three products in this review. During this test the projectors were set at a distance of 15 feet from the screen. The LP755 would not take a bounced signal from the screen at this distance; rather, the remote needed to be pointed at the unit itself. (And by the way, for those of you using a Sony DVP-S7700 DVD player, note that the IR frequency of the Sony's remote is close enough to the LP755 that commands from the Sony remote will scramble settings on the projector.)
Setting the projector up in table-top mode is easy. There is a single spring-tension foot under the front of the unit that extends with the press of a button. You can set the projected image to the desired height, release the button, and the projector remains in position. A manual leveling adjustment on the back of the unit compensates for any tilt in the image.
Observations and Comments
The InFocus LP755 has remarkable video processing logic onboard. It outperformed all three other projectors in the group in standard S-video. The playback of the montage of images in the Video Essentials DVD showed an excellent handling of motion artifacts. Dot crawl was non-existent, and the stadium pan scene was rock solid with not a hint of moiré pattern. In many respects, the LP755's internal image processing is superior to that in the DVDO iScan. In fact, when the DVDO is used to feed a 480p signal into the LP755's PC port, the resulting image is inferior to that available through S-video by itself. Thus, this is one of the few projectors that doesn't need outside help with NTSC.
The LP755 was the second brightest unit in this review, second only to the Mitsubishi. Brightness uniformity was average for an LCD projector, and there was no visible hotspotting.
The LP755 does not have the black level that is attainable with the Davis and Mitsubishi, although it was about on par with the Sony. Shadow detail was lacking in a manner consistent with most LCD products.
As with the Davis CinemaOne, the LP755 is limited in that it does not accept component video, nor is it HDTV compatible. So it doesn't have some of the features that the pure home theater enthusiast is looking for.
Fan noise on this unit is not objectionable. It is slightly more noticeable than the Sony or Mitsubishi, but quieter than the Davis.
If you need a dual-purpose product that delivers excellent performance for both portable business use as well as standard TV, satellite, and DVD video, the LP755 is worth a very close look. The S-video image from a good DVD player is an exciting and satisfying experience that will inspire the envy of friends and neighbors. And as of this writing, dealers at ProjectorCentral are quoting street prices of around $5,400. For what the LP755 delivers, that's a good value in today's market.
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