There was a time when a whizz-bang presentation just consisted of a few overhead slides that may or may not have included colour. These days, that doesn’t come close to cutting the mustard. As the price of projectors has tumbled, their popularity has increased. Where once a basic one would have set you back £5,000, they start at less than half that now – although the LP 335 is at the top of the range for its class.
Gone too are the backbreaking monoliths that passed for portable projectors. The latest models, such as the InFocus LP 335, weigh in at under 5lbs. They are getting brighter too – the LP 335 is capable of an amazing 1,000 ansi lumens, more than twice the brightness available on portable projectors just a couple of years ago.
The resolution of the LP 335 is true-XGA, or, in Macintosh terms 1,024-x-768- pixel resolution. This means that when viewing PowerPoint presentations you get great detail and clear text. If you connect the LP 335 to a VCR for corporate videos – or a little extracurricular activity – the image is smooth and sharp.
One problem with data projectors has always been the noise they make. The brighter the light source, the hotter they get – and that means a big fan for cooling. I don’t know quite how InFocus has achieved it, but in our test we couldn’t hear the projector over the air conditioning.
The DLP technology behind the LP 335 is incredible. The light is bounced off a chip – not unlike a RAM chip – that is coated with thousands of microscopic mirrors. Each one is controlled by the video source, and can be turned on and off thousands of times per second. The light is then directed through a colour wheel and on to the lens. There was, however, one effect from this that was a little strange. If you were very close to the screen and moved your eyes from one corner to the other quickly, a strange rainbow effect from the spinning colour wheel became visible. But this isn’t a serious flaw, and the effect disappears when the screen is viewed from further back.
The best feature of the LP 335 is that it’s small. At just 2.5-inches thick and the size of a piece of A4 paper, it’s easily carryable – not luggable like older models. This makes it more likely to be used frequently, so a company will get its money’s worth – even if that means employees use it to watch the football at home.
The LP 335 is the smallest, brightest and sexiest projector I have seen. Unfortunately, the price puts it out of my reach as an executive toy, but businesses will get good use out of it. It’s not so heavy it’ll break your back, so it will be used much more than older, heavier machines.