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InFocus ScreenPlay 4805 review

InFocus gives us lots of new technological goodies

Our Verdict

Worth considering if you want to set-up a good home cinema on a limited budget

InFocus dabbles in both high and low-end projectors. Its new three-chip DLP ScreenPlay 777 is aimed at semi-pro users and will set you back a cool £20,000. But read on, for it seems InFocus has poured a number of the 777's luxury features into a more reasonably priced alternative - the 4805.

Admittedly the styling is rudimentary but light leakage is well controlled and at 3.5kg it's practically bantamweight for a projector. The remote control is well designed with discreet backlit keys and the on-screen menu is clear.

We have come to expect only basic images from sub-£1,500 projectors - however, the 4805 boasts some decent credentials. For starters, it has a native 16:9 chip supported by progressive scan. One drawback of costcutting is that, despite its claimed HDTV compatibility, the resolution is only WVGA (854 x 480 pixels), therefore any picture above 480 lines is actually downscaled.

Being DLP, the contrast ratio is very high at 2,000:1 and although the lamp's brightness is limited to 750 Lumens, it's suitable for movies as long as your room is relatively free from ambient light. Sadly the fan makes this projector noisier than most.

The colour wheel has six segments and spins fast enough to reduce rainbow side-effects. There's a full complement of sophisticated image features including digital keystone correction, gamma adjustment and multiple colour settings.

The image size/throw ratio is less generous than some projectors, so it's not ideal for tiny rooms and the low brightness may create dull pictures on giant screens, too, so we'd suggest a screen measuring up to 90 inches wide in an average sized room. There are no lens offset features either, so the projector must be pointed dead-centre.

Inputs include S-Video, component video and a digital input suitable for PC users due to its unusual M1-DA input and supplied USB, DVI and VGA adaptors. However, it is also HDCP-compliant so any DVI-equipped DVD player can also be connected.

The picture quality is impressive, especially via DVI but also through the analogue ports. Contrast is much punchier than you'll find on LCD projectors at this price and progressive scan sources deliver fluid motion and well contained outlines.

Detail levels are inevitably softer than XGA-resolution projectors, but the range of grey shades it creates is admirable for the money and the quality compensates for any perceived lack of sharpness. Colour is muted compared to luxury DLP models, even Spider-Man 2 appears understated, but skin tone looks consistently realistic.

With its digital video connectivity, powerful contrast and minimal rainbow artefacts, the ScreenPlay 4805 is a bargain at this price.