Getting the X2 started is a surprisingly quick task. The image appears in only 22 seconds, but it takes another 15 seconds for the projector to build to full brightness. The unit's 12-button control panel is oddly designed--it's missing a power button--and isn't intuitive. There's a separate on/off switch below, but you'll need to use the remote control for proper shutdown, then turn the fan off manually when the projector has cooled down. While we like the remote control's ability to navigate a PowerPoint show, make the screen go blank for quick notebook changes, and call up a variety of special effects, the unit lacks a laser pointer, an indispensable tool for giving presentations, so you'll have to juggle yet another tool. Changing the lamp takes a couple of minutes and involves snapping open a hatch, removing two bolts, and extracting the module by pulling on its power cable.
The CNET Labs' business projector tests show that performance is the X2's strong suit with 1,776 lumens of brightness, a phenomenal 97 percent uniformity, and a 516:1 contrast ratio, meaning that whites are white and blacks are black. Unfortunately, the projector's color balance isn't as satisfying, particularly its greens, which look a bit yellowish. The image was always rock solid without any flicker, ghosting, or streaking, but full-motion video appeared somewhat jumpy. The X2's exceptional ability to display sharp type makes for a good PowerPoint machine, but the focus is maddeningly uneven, with a soft spot in the upper-left corner. Be warned: this is one loud projector--loud enough to drown out normal conversations held next to the projector--but its low-power mode can quiet it a little. Although its output drops to 1,432 lumens in low-power mode, it still outshines the brightness of its competitors' full-power modes.
InFocus backs the projector with a two-year international warranty--a step down from Sharp's three-year policy. The lamp is covered for only 90 days or 500 hours of use, which is par for the course. The company's Web site is a treat for novice and expert presenters alike, with courses on making presentations, PowerPoint templates, glossaries, and projection calculators. There's also a series of how-to guides for different connections, FAQs, manuals, and software downloads. To get personal attention, you can call InFocus's free, toll-free hotline (available 24/7 for the life of the product), go to the company's online chat room, or use the site's e-mail link, but only if you register the machine.