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The ultracompact 4800 should be fairly unobtrusive, cloaked in a light-gray finish and weighing a mere 6.8 pounds. You can tuck it away on the ceiling in a permanent installation or move it around; InFocus threw in a carrying case.
The small remote lacks backlighting, so it'll be more difficult to use in a dark home theater. However, the control does offer the convenience of direct access to all video inputs and preset picture modes--a plus we always appreciate.
Since its DLP chip has only 800x600 pixels of resolution, the 4800 won't provide as sharp an image as the more expensive, higher-resolution projectors will. It can display signals from high-definition sources but not every pixel of their detail.
Like most projectors, the 4800 lacks consumer extras such as PIP/POP windows. Its feature set instead focuses on picture adjustment. Film, Presentation, and three user-configurable selections make up the five picture modes. The three color-temperature settings are Cool, Warm, and Warmest; we ended up using Warmest because it came closest to the standard color temperature. Along with the Native aspect ratio, the 4800 offers 4:3 for normal TV and 16:9 for anamorphic DVDs and HDTV sources.
This projector's connectivity is extremely limited. Video inputs are restricted to one composite, one S-Video, and one multitalented VGA-style hookup, the last of which accepts signals from both computers and (via the included breakout adapter) component sources, such as DVD players and HDTV receivers. Unfortunately, it's still an RGB input at heart, so it gives you no control over color and tint for progressive-scan DVD. As a result, this jack is best reserved for an HDTV set-top box with an RGB output, whose color and tint should be correct. Use only the S-Video input with DVD. The 4800 does not have a DVI connection.
Aside from affordability, the 4800's main strength is picture quantity; its large image won't satisfy video purists. Prior to calibration, the projector measured 5,500K near the bottom of the grayscale and 5,650K near the top (6,500K is ideal). Even though the 4800 offers limited control over the grayscale, we were able to significantly improve its accuracy. Postcalibration readings were 6,450K on the bottom end and 6,800K at the top.
For our viewing tests, we used the S-Video input for DVD playback and the VGA in for HDTV sources. The 4800's processing tended to introduce some video noise, but effective 3:2 pull-down detection did help remove artifacts from film-based material, such as DVD movies.
Unfortunately, both the color decoding and the color wheel's red and green were inaccurate, so we couldn't set Tint correctly using SMPTE color bars and a blue filter. Black-level performance was not great; black looked more like dark gray. But you have to expect that shortcoming from the 800x600 4:3 DLP chip, which also contributed to the 4800's slightly anemic color saturation. These issues were apparent in chapter 31 of Charlotte Gray, in which the lavender fields were distinctly too blue.
We watched DVD and D-Theater HD material with the calibrated projector and a Da-Lite High Contrast Da-Mat gray projection surface. Specifically designed to aid DLP black-level performance, the screen is 96 inches wide and has a 16:9 aspect ratio. The aforementioned color problems aside, Charlotte Gray looked reasonably good from about 17 feet away. Ideally, we would have sat 14 to 15 feet from the display, but low-level noise and other artifacts were too prominent at that distance. An effect similar to false contouring created clear gradations between light and dark areas.
We played the 1080i D-VHS version of X-Men on our JVC HM-DH3000U, and the movie looked pretty good on the 4800. Some of the darker scenes are good black-level torture tests for fixed-pixel displays. Wolverine's bar fight early in the film came out better than we'd expected from an 800x600 one-chip DLP projector. Nevertheless, blacks were still dark gray, and color saturation was relatively weak even after we had set color as accurately as possible.