InFocus ScreenPlay 7210 review

September 29, 2005

NBC720p front and rear projection displays are here to stay, regardless of what you might hear from those touting the virtues of 1080p; did black and white televisions suddenly disappear from store shelves when color sets were introduced? Of course not. Along those same lines standard definition sets have sold quite nicely since the introduction of HDTV’s nearly eight years ago. So given the propensity of consumers looking for that “last years model” when it comes to bargain shopping, I think its safe to say that 720p displays aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

The SP 7210 from InFocus boasts some impressive specifications for a projector selling for as little as $5500.00, a few of those features include:

• 720p+ DarkChip3 DLP technology from Texas Instruments and the Faroudja DCDi 2310 de-interlacer.
• Seven-segment color wheel, calibrated to the D65 color mastering standard.
• 1100 video-optimized lumens and a 2800:1 contrast ratio.
• Eight selectable video sources including Component Video, DVI and S-Video.

As some of you might know I own an InFocus 7205, which means I was able to use my current ceiling-mount location for the 7210, making setup with the 7210 a snap. I just bolted the 7210 in place where my 7205 was previously mounted and focused the projector to my screen. After some quick fine tuning of the contrast and brightness I was on my way and I immediately noticed that jaw dropping red performance I’d seen with the Marantz VP-12S4.

One thing I really like about InFocus projectors is how easy they are to setup, the old “looks great out of the box” cliché gets overused a lot in my line of work, but with the ScreenPlay line it’s no exaggeration. This isn’t to say your inner tweaker can’t be satisfied, to the contrary there are plenty of controls and settings to try out, but the novice or first time projector owner can rest easy knowing they’ll have a great looking image with just a little preparation beforehand.

Video Performance:

Later that evening I caught some of the Muddy Waters tribute on INHD and was quite honestly blown away, not only at Buddy Guy’s performance but at the black level reproduction from the 7210. I was already feeling a little anxiety about having to send the unit back to InFocus and the lamp wasn’t even up to full temperature yet. Buddy Guy’s guitar with its white polka dots on a jet black background served as an impressive illustration for the 7210’s contrast capabilities, and all this with less than 20 minutes of set-up time.


Another thing that was really impressive about the 7210 was how easy text was to read, specifically the on-screen guide from my Motorola cable box. While the 7205 and 7210 both have the same resolution even my girlfriend noticed how much sharper the on-screen text was, this is obviously attributable to the higher contrast ratio. I again found myself in that slightly odd state of “just watching” because it was in high definition, a syndrome I’m sure most if not all first time HDTV owners know all to well, but this was by no means the first HD display we’ve auditioned and that spoke volumes as to how much we enjoyed the 7210.

Another interesting thing I noticed about the 7210 (and one I’m less prepared to explain) is that even standard definition looked noticeably better than on my 7205, again most likely due to the improved contrast ratio versus my 7205. In the interest of brevity I won’t go into everything we watched that night, but suffice to say we were grumbling about having to box the 7210 up and ship it off. Speaking of sending the unit back, this alone brought out another interesting discovery.

When we got our 7205 back in place and tuned up, we both noticed what I can only describe as a slight haze. Ok I must have done something wrong I thought to myself, no problem I’ll just mentally check off all the process’s involved in projector installation one by one until I found out where the “problem” was coming from. This was ultimately wishful thinking on my part.

As it turns out I hadn’t missed a thing, the 7205 was installed, focused and calibrated exactly as it had been before the 7210 made its disruptive entry into our home, all that had changed is we had just seen something noticeably better. Now to clarify I’m not talking about anything alarmingly wrong here, just the sensation that something wasn’t quite right, but once I’d ruled that out all we were really looking at was a great projector that simply didn’t look quite as good as the one we had auditioned less than an hour previously.

Summary:

Hey, anyone in the market for a used InFocus 7205? Just kidding. To sum up: even in this newfound 1080p hysteria that’s infecting the home theater world, 720p projectors are still quite capable of providing gorgeous images, and if your willing to wait for 1080p projectors to fall to mere mortal price points, I can wholeheartedly recommended the InFocus ScreenPlay 7210. You won’t be disappointed.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Projector Reviews, Reviews


Comments

  • Ben Hobbs

    I’d be interested to see a shootout between the 7210 and some of the newer LCD projectors taht are coming out. I generally like the DLP picture but the LCD’s are often less than 1/2 the price for similar features/resolution.

    I was involved in a home cinema installation featuring a Sanyo Z4 recently and was blown away by the quality for the cost (US $1500), it looked really, really good. I think that with the next iteration of LCD’s from Sanyo and Panasonic (I’m hoping there is one) the gap between DLP and LCD PQ will be even smaller.

  • Ben Hobbs

    I’d be interested to see a shootout between the 7210 and some of the newer LCD projectors taht are coming out. I generally like the DLP picture but the LCD’s are often less than 1/2 the price for similar features/resolution.

    I was involved in a home cinema installation featuring a Sanyo Z4 recently and was blown away by the quality for the cost (US $1500), it looked really, really good. I think that with the next iteration of LCD’s from Sanyo and Panasonic (I’m hoping there is one) the gap between DLP and LCD PQ will be even smaller.