The InFocus IN119HDx is a new low-cost 1080p projector for business and education. With a compact design, bright picture, and long estimated lamp life, the IN119HDx is a flexible projector that works well in conference rooms and classrooms. Its light weight of less than five pounds makes it portable, while a plethora of connection options means it also works well in fixed installations. And at only $549 retail, the IN119HDx is one of the least expensive 1080p projectors available anywhere.
Built for classroom and conference room use, the IN119HDx is designed to deliver a bright picture. The projector creates an image powerful enough to combat moderate ambient light. On startup, the projector displays a stylish blue InFocus splash screen; after a few seconds, the image kicks over to whichever source you have connected. The source search process can be a little slow, but the projector starts with the most commonly-used source (HDMI) and proceeds from there.
In bright rooms, you can use a small screen size to maintain image brightness and combat ambient light. However, smaller screen sizes exacerbate the projector's brightness uniformity issues, especially on a 100% white screen or similar content such as a text document or spreadsheet. Seen on a smaller screen, the top left corner is noticeably dimmer than the bottom right. This is less evident in video, photography, or Powerpoint slide shows, since color tends to interfere with one's perception of brightness.
Speaking of color. The IN119HDx's color accuracy is inversely proportional to its brightness at any given moment. In the projector's brightest modes, color appears dull, undersaturated, and murky. In the less-bright image modes, like Video, color has much more apparent saturation and looks more natural. If you are displaying content that demands color accuracy, make sure to use an appropriate image mode to do so.
Low cost. At $549, the IN119HDx is one of the least expensive 1080p projectors out there. And while it uses conventional lamps rather than a solid-state light source, the lamp has an estimated life of 6,000 hours in Eco mode and 10,000 hours in Eco Blanking mode. Eco mode only comes with a 14% lumen reduction, so it is a viable option in a whole lot of cases. Eco Blanking mode is an alternative to turning off the projector completely -- essentially a "hot standby" mode, not an actual viewing mode. It could be very useful in the classroom, where a teacher is presenting a certain set of material to different groups all day. A full startup and shutdown sequence might take five to ten minutes, while Eco Blanking takes seconds.
Native 1080p. High native resolution is beneficial whenever you need to display a lot of fine detail on the screen. Whether you're showing photographs, spreadsheets, or film and video, the added resolution of a native 1080p image will give you a sharper, more detailed image.
Bright picture. In conference rooms and classrooms, brightness is paramount. That's because projectors don't actually project black - they project light, and black is seen only in those places where they don't project light. So when there is already light in the room, the projector needs to put out even more light to create the same illusion of blackness. The IN119HDx creates a very bright image in its preset operating modes, with light output ranging from 2400 lumens to roughly 900 lumens in modes more tailored to video.
Fits in your existing mount. The engineers at InFocus gave the IN119HDx a throw ratio that is quite common. They did this so that the IN119HDx would be more likely to fit in existing ceiling mounts without a costly and time-consuming relocation of the mount. By using common geometry, the IN119HDx could simplify your upgrade procedure and cut down on costly labor and downtime.
Quick startup and shutdown. Oftentimes you'll need to give a presentation without having a lot of time for setup or teardown. In these instances, having a projector that starts up and shuts down quickly is a huge benefit. Not only does the IN119HDx start up quickly, it also has an option to start up as soon as it's plugged in. The fan runs at shutdown, but only briefly.
Good connectivity. When a projector is permanently installed, it is often connected to a number of different source devices. If the projector doesn't have enough ports onboard, organizations often resort to using an outboard switching device of some kind. With the IN119HDx, this problem should not be encountered often. It has two VGA ports, a VGA monitor passthrough, one HDMI port, S-Video, composite video, and a number of 1/8" audio jacks.
Light output. The brightest image mode on the IN119HDx is called Bright. On our test unit, Bright mode measured 2378 lumens out of a rated 3200 lumens. Bright mode has its white brightness boosted and a greenish tint to the image, but is appropriate when you need maximum white light output and need to combat ambient light in a room. Presentation mode, at 858 lumens, had a much more balanced image with a slight blue cast and higher contrast. Video mode produced 788 lumens and had a warm, pleasant color temperature more suited to film and video. If at any point you need less light output, you can use the "Lamp Low Power" setting to reduce brightness by 14% in any image mode.
Contrast. In a presentation setting, black level is much less important than it is in a home theater setting, since light output creates the impression of contrast. In the presence of ambient light, the IN119HDx does a good job of preserving the impression of contrast in any given frame, especially when bright highlights and dark shadows appear in the same image. Images that are mostly dark do not fare as well due to the projector's middling black level, but this performance is not unusual for an inexpensive DLP projector.
Color. It's no surprise that the IN119HDx is optimized for brightness. Since it is a business and education projector, there's no reason to calibrate the projector to 6500K or the Rec. 709 color space at the factory. However, the IN119HDx does include full RGB Gain/Bias adjustments as well as some control over color temperature, so home theater use is not out of the question.
Detail Clarity. Most content looks crisp and clear on the IN119HDx. The projector has high native resolution and does a good job of preserving fine detail in high-definition source material. Our test unit did display some fuzziness in the corners of the image when the center was in perfect focus and vice versa; putting the corners in perfect focus blurred the center of the image. This type of focus imperfection is not uncommon in inexpensive projectors.
Input lag. Using the Leo Bodnar input lag tester, we measured the IN119HDx at 33 milliseconds of input lag on a 60fps 1080p input signal. This works out to 2 frames of lag, which is more than quick enough for most gaming use.
Light output. The IN119HDx's brightness is the projector's major benefit, but our test sample fell short of its rated maximum output. Rated at 3200 lumens, our test unit measured about 2378 lumens in Bright mode, or 75% of the rated output of the projector. That's not to say that 2,400 lumens is bad, exactly, nor is it insufficient for a lot of ambient light use. But it's also not 3,200 lumens.
Complicated menu system. Basic adjustments are found on the first page of the menu. For anything more complicated, you have to go into the "Advanced" section, then pick one of several subcategories, then change the setting you want. For example, lamp power is found in Advanced > Setup > Lamp > Lamp Low Power.
Brightness uniformity. On a full white screen, the dimmest corner of the IN119HDx's image measured only 60% as bright as its brightest corner. This is enough of a differential that people may be able to spot it, especially on smaller screens and those with a single uniform background color.
Rainbow effect. A 2x-speed color wheel means that the IN119HDx is susceptible to rainbows, just like other 2x-speed DLP projectors. This can pose a problem for some viewers, especially when watching film or video content or whenever one's eyes move quickly across the entire screen.
BrilliantColor. BrilliantColor is a technology that can boost the brightness of white light, supposedly without affecting the appearance of colored light. This can be useful in presentation applications when maximum white brightness is desired, as it allows projectors to create very bright images. Text documents and spreadsheets benefit especially from this treatment. On the other hand, while colored light might meter out the same, it appears different to your eyes due to the increased brightness of white. As a result, reds look brown, saturation looks low, and color fidelity overall takes a hit.
On the IN119HDx, color light output in Bright mode was less than 10% of white light output. In Presentation mode, it was 20%. Video mode measured 21%, or 39% with White Brightness set to 0. In general, a larger disparity between white brightness and color brightness indicates a less balanced image. When color brightness measures roughly 80% or higher compared to white brightness, the image appears balanced. Unfortunately we could not find a mode on the IN119HDx where color brightness was anywhere near white brightness, so it's difficult to recommend the projector for film and video applications.
The InFocus IN119HDx's closest competitor is probably the Optoma HD141X. At $599, the HD141X is another low-cost 1080p projector rated at 3,000 lumens and 20,000:1 contrast. However, that's where the similarities end.
Intended application. You can tell a lot about a projector by looking at its features. In this case, the IN119HDx has many more connections available -- two VGA ports, monitor passthrough, composite, s-video, and RS232.The HD141X, on the other hand, has a 12V trigger and two HDMI ports to the IN119HDx's one. From this, we learn that the IN119HDx is intended for classroom or meeting room use, where it might be connected to a wide variety of devices, either permanently or not. The HD141X, on the other hand, is built for home theater, where the connector of choice is HDMI and projectors are permanently installed. The IN119HDx also has a longer zoom lens in a ratio that is very typical of classroom projectors. As InFocus describes it, this is intended to match the throw distances of the projectors that might already be installed, allowing a projector swap without moving the ceiling mount. The HD141X has a shorter zoom range, typical of low-cost home theater.
Clearly, the IN119HDx is built for presentation use in business and education, and the HD141X is built for home theater. But some folks see "1080p" on a projector and can't help but wonder how it would look in a home theater.
Picture quality. The hallmark of the HD141X is a bright, vibrant, detailed image with well-saturated colors and a natural appearance. In Bright mode, it measured 3,048 lumens to the IN119HDx's 2,378 lumens, a difference of 22%. This will be visible, though not dramatic, with a pure white test image. The HD141X's Cinema mode produced just shy of 1,100 lumens, versus 788 on the IN119HDx, for an even larger difference of 29% with white light. Furthermore, the HD141X produces color that is just as bright as white in Cinema mode, while the IN119HDx's color measures only 21% in Video mode, so the HD141X will appear even brighter with color-rich content than it does with a white test pattern. The HD141X is a better projector for film and video, but it also has a better image for presentations in bright ambient light due to higher light output and superior color balance.
Cost of ownership. The IN119HDx boasts low cost of ownership thanks to long lamp life in Eco mode of 6,000 hours. The HD141X is rated to last the exact same 6,000 hours. Replacement lamps are similarly priced for both projectors; replacements for the IN119HDx cost $199, while those for the HD141X cost $179. Both projectors come with a one-year warranty. In other words, they cost about the same.
At $549, the InFocus IN119HDx is one of the lowest priced 1080p projectors available. And it certainly has something to offer - it brings high resolution, standardized lensing, excellent connectivity, and fast startup and shutdown to the table at a bargain price. However, as with anything, that low price does come with some compromises. In this case, you lose out on maximum light output, brightness uniformity, and overall image balance.
When your organization needs to outfit a lot of rooms on a tight budget and native HD is absolutely required, the IN119HDx is certainly worth a look. It includes features, connections, and throw ratio commonly used in business and education. However, when it comes to image quality, one should be aware of the stiff competition in this area, especially from the Optoma HD141X.
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