What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Fri, 23 Apr 2010, 8:00am

InFocus ScreenPlay SP8602

Tested at £2199
100100
5

This InFocus accounts for itself more than admirably

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For

  • Deep black levels
  • dynamic colour palette
  • clean and detailed
  • quiet

Against

  • Spend more, get better performance
  • no motorised set-up

It's been all quiet on the InFocus front of late after periods of terrific highs in recent memory.

The IN80 walked away with our Product of the Year gong back in 2008, but, after price rises for the products of that vintage, InFocus slipped out of view.

The £3000 SP8602 marks the company's return to the big screen. It's not the easiest on the eye – a big rectangle designed to be strapped to your ceiling. But, for £200 a pop, you can choose one of four other ‘skins': matt white, gloss black, walnut or a pre-primed customable casing.

All the necessary controls are atop the main unit in the form of touch-sensitive buttons. We didn't find ours particularly sensitive and preferred the pleasingly compact and cleanly designed remote control; tactile buttons and a side-mounted backlight complete a smart little unit.

Use the manual knobs
You'll need to use the manual knobs on the unit to get your picture (up to 300in) where you want it – not as smooth as the motorised controls elsewhere.

But if you're installing your projector, you need do this only once.

The SP8602 sticks to trusty DLP technology, with the latest DarkChip from Texas Instruments complete with BrilliantColor, and a claimed 30,000:1 contrast ratio.

A motion-smoothing mode is the most notable tweak at your disposal, though a slightly unreal side effect and hints of flicker meant we preferred to leave it off.

Dynamic, punchy pictures
Down to business, and we're impressed. With The Taking of Pelham 123, the ScreenPlay deals confidently with dark black levels, while brighter scenes are dynamic and punchy.

There's good detail recovery, smooth handling of motion and clean images with DVD, too. That big box helps keep the projector very quiet in operation.

It's pipped on pure performance by the best available, but considering the extra money left in your pocket, we're impressed.

This is the first projector in the new InFocus ScreenPlay range: we're looking forward to the rest.

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