Highly Recommended Award
Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.
InFocus has a long and established record of building great front projectors for work and home. Their new Work Big IN36 continues this line of quality products. Weighing only 5.2 pounds, the IN36 boasts 3000 ANSI lumens in a slick portable package ideal for mobile presentation, fixed use in a conference room, or installation in a medium/large classroom. With an MSRP of only $1399 and features to spare, it is an excellent value.
ANSI lumens: 3000
Contrast (full on/off): 1000:1
Light Engine: 1024x768, native 4:3, 0.7" DLP with a 4 segment 2x speed color wheel and 200W lamp.
Video Compatibility: 1080i, 720p, 576p, 576i, 480p, 480i. NTSC/PAL/SECAM.
Data Compatibility: Computer resolutions up to SXGA+ (1400x1050).
Connection Panel: One DVI-D input, one VGA input, monitor passthrough, composite video, S-Video, one serial control port (RJ45), one 1/8" audio input, one 1/8" audio output, and one Kensington locking hardpoint.
Lens and Throw Distance: 1.24:1 zoom/focus lens. Throws a 100" diagonal 4:3 image from 12'2" to 15'2", or a 60" diagonal 4:3 image from 7'4" to 9'1".
Lamp Life: 2000 hours.
Warranty: Two years.
The InFocus IN36 has sleek, black casework with silver trim. The projector measures 2.9" x 10.4" x 8.6" and weighs only 5.2 pounds, making it easily portable. On the bottom of the projector is the lamp replacement access door, which snaps into place. There is no dust filter. As such, the only regular maintenance required is the replacement of the lamp.
The projector's top surface features a silver InFocus logo, along with a lighted status and control panel. The status indicators have lighted icons for power, temperature, maintenance, and the lamp, rather than the usual LED lights. In addition to the menu controls, the control panel has buttons for auto image adjust, keystone adjustment, image presets, volume up and down, and source selection.
The IN36 has a good selection of ports, including DVI-D and VGA. Monitor passthrough and a Kensington lock point make it a light, bright contender in the education market. Composite and S-Video are included, as are 1/8" audio in and out. An RJ45 port offers a serial connection for control of the projector.
The IN36 has a fixed throw offset, as with most projectors this size. As such, the bottom of the projected image is always 14% of the image height above the lens centerline, assuming the projector is level. This slight upward throw angle makes it easier to use the IN36 on conference tables and in ceiling mounts.
The projector has a 1.24:1 manual zoom/focus lens. A 100" diagonal 4:3 image can be projected from 12'2" to 15'2", or a 60" diagonal 4:3 image can be shown from 7'4" to 9'1". This zoom range is pretty standard in portable projectors, and allows for an acceptable degree of placement flexibility.
Keystone correction on the IN36 is excellent. Applying keystone correction to text results in a smooth, evenly bolded appearance with very little distortion. Applying keystone to PowerPoint presentations or images is nearly undetectable. Since keystone correction on the IN36 is so clean, should you need to tilt the projector you can apply keystone without fear of compromising the image.
The menu system is nearly identical to that on other InFocus projectors, with a hierarchical system divided into two major sections, called Picture and Settings. The Picture menu includes adjustments for brightness, contrast, keystone correction, aspect ratio, preset image modes, and an Advanced menu with white peaking and overscan controls. In-depth color controls are also located in the Advanced menu, including color space, temperature, and six-axis color adjustment. The Settings menu holds adjustments for speaker volume and muting, source selection (including the preferred default source) and lamp power.
The IN36 has three pre-programmed picture modes as well as three user-programmable modes. Presentation Mode is the brightest, but has less contrast and subdued color when compared to other modes. Video and Film modes have better contrast and color performance, but lumen output suffers as a result. The three user programmable modes can be set to fit your presentation needs, and can be useful for rooms too bright for Film mode but where Presentation mode would be overwhelming.
The remote control is simple, with only six buttons. Four are devoted to menu control, one turns the power on and off, and the last one changes the source. This design has no learning curve to speak of, and is incredibly easy to use.
Fan noise is moderate, and lacks the high-pitched whine that usually causes distraction. However, the fan tends to cycle higher and lower during operation, which can call attention towards the projector and away from your presentation. Fan noise is much less distracting in low lamp mode, and is a good alternative when you do not need all of the IN36's 3000 lumens.
The IN36's lamp lasts 2000 hours, and a replacement lamp costs approximately $450. This means that the cost of operating the IN36, assuming a full 2000 hours per lamp, is $0.22 per hour. $450 per lamp is a higher than average replacement cost, as most replacement lamps for this class of projector cost anywhere from $300 to $400.
Despite its small size and light weight, the IN36 is a powerhouse. Our test unit measured a maximum of 2645 ANSI lumens in Presentation mode with the lamp on High, more than enough for most any conference room -- even with the lights on. Using low lamp mode decreases fan noise considerably and brings lumen output to 1860 ANSI, a drop of 30%.
Our test unit measured a brightness uniformity of 72%, with the dimmest portion of the image being the top left corner and the brightest segment being the bottom center. The difference in brightness is not dramatic enough to be distracting.
Edge to edge sharpness is about as good as it gets on the IN36. Every area of the image is sharp and clear, with no softness to be found. At the same time, the pixel structure is subtle and the image is easily viewed at 1.5x the screen width without undue visible pixelation.
With SVGA signals, the IN36 upscales admirably. Edges are clean and text is easily legible. Images do not appear to be affected negatively, either. With SXGA+ signals, which is the highest resolution that the IN36 accepts, scaling artifacts are kept to a minimum. While screens full of small text do get harder to read when compressed, other data like PowerPoint presentations and images are still clean.
While the IN36 is not a video projector by design, it is perfectly capable of displaying a pleasing video image. A small, bright projector can be useful for video game use, so our test unit was hooked up to an Xbox 360, where it performed well. Colors are bright and well-saturated, contrast is pleasant, and the 720p image was downscaled without much in the way of artifacts. Similar results were obtained from an HD DVD player outputting 1920x1080i. It is safe to say that, in a pinch, the IN36 can display video very well.
The InFocus IN36 is a mobile powerhouse; a small package with lumens to spare. A strong feature set including great connectivity and an easy to use interface make setup a breeze, and the projector has a shallow learning curve. With a $1399 price tag, the IN36 is an affordable choice for presenters on the go or businesses looking to add some punch to their meetings.
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our InFocus IN36 projector page.