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InFocus LP350 vs. PLUS U2-1130

Evan Powell, October 9, 2000
Review Contents

In May of this year, PLUS Corporation of America announced the U2-1130. At 5.7 lbs and 1300 ANSI lumens, it was the brightest projector yet in its weight class. It represented a notable performance breakthrough, although it was upstaged by the even more buzz-worthy release of PLUS's 2.9 mini-projectors (to be reviewed on this site soon).

One month later, InFocus Corporation responded with its own announcement of the LP350. The LP350, also rated at 1300 ANSI lumens, comes in a slightly larger 6.7 lb package. Both of these products commenced shipments in August. ProjectorCentral is pleased to bring you the first showdown, side-by-side comparison review of these two hot XGA products.

Product Overviews

The U2-1130 and the LP350 are similar in a number of respects. Both are single-chip DLP machines with 0.9" diagonal native XGA resolution (1,024 x 768, 4:3) chips. They are both rated at 1300 ANSI lumens. They both have manual zoom/focus lenses and digital keystone correction. And they are priced the same with MSRPs just under $7,000.

That's about where the similarities end. Notable differences include the following:

Lamps. The U2-1130 has a 150-watt UHP lamp with a life of 1,000 hours. Conversely, the LP350 has a 270-watt SHP lamp with a life of 2,000 hours. So keep in mind that the PLUS's smaller lamp will throw of noticeably less heat in a small conference room. However the U2-1130 will use twice as many lamps over its life as will the LP350. Users who plan to put a lot of hours on their units should price the lamps and factor lamp replacement costs into the cost of ownership.

Fan noise. Neither of these projectors is silent. On the other hand neither is excessively loud. However, relatively speaking, the LP350 fan is both quieter and lower in pitch than that of the U2-1130. Thus the LP350 is by a noticeable difference the more audibly unobtrusive of the two.

Carrying weight. The U2-1130 projector itself is spec'd at 5.7 lbs to the LP350's 6.7 lbs. However, nobody carries just the projector. Actual carrying weight figures should include, at minimum, the weight of the soft case, the power cord, the remote, and the signal cable. When these items are factored in, the total carrying weight of the U2-1130 is 7.8 lbs, and the LP350 is 10.0 lbs. even. The LP350 gains an extra 1.2 pounds due to the larger carrying case and the heavier custom signal cable. So there is a 2.2 lb difference in real traveling weight rather than the one pound difference that you find on the spec sheets.

Video signal compatibility. The LP350 is compatible with all standard NTSC, PAL, and SECAM formats as well as HDTV 1080i and 720p, whereas the U2-1130 is not HDTV compatible. Furthermore, the LP350 has DVI (digital video interface), while the U2-1130 does not. For those serious about getting the very best video quality possible, the DVI feature on the LP350 will be of particular interest.

Digital zoom and laser pointer. Some presenters want the ability to zoom in on a particular section of the projected image, and then pan from one section to another. If you are one of them, you will want the U2-1130 because the LP350 does not have this feature. The U2-1130 has it and it works quite well. Small details of text or financial data can be blown up to four times their standard size. Expansion of the image is smooth rather than in discrete steps, so you can expand the image to exactly the size you want it. Another presenter's feature on the PLUS unit is the laser pointer built into the remote control. The LP350 does not have this either.

SXGA Compression. If you want the ability to feed your projector an SXGA signal, you will need the PLUS U2-1130. It will accept and compress an SXGA signal whereas the LP350 won't take it.

On-board audio. The LP350 has one 2.5-watt speaker. The U2-1130 has a single 1-watt speaker. If you plan to use audio in small conference room presentations, the LP350 delivers more substantive sound for this purpose. If you plan to use these products in larger venues or for home theater, don't bother with the on-board audio on either of these products.

Warranty. InFocus offers a standard two-year warranty on the LP350 with overnight replacement during the first year. PLUS offers a three-year warranty on the U2-1130 with overnight loaner service during the first year.

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Performance Evaluation
Review Contents: Product Differences Performance Evaluation Light Control Final Observations
 

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