Low-cost projectors may owe more than a small debt to the corporate boardroom, but thankfully that hasn't meant that every inexpensive projector looks like an ugly '70s Doctor Who prop. Infocus' IN74 DLP projector is a good example of how the style of really high-end projectors (and it's clear in real life that the Infocus ScreenPlay 777 is what the IN74 wants to look like) has moved down the price scale. The practical upshot of all of this is that you can in fact have a home theatre projector that doesn't just look like an ugly grey box. To stretch our Sci-Fi metaphor beyond its best straining limits, you almost expect a tiny Billie Piper to come clambering out of the bulb at any second. Perhaps if we watch for long enough, she will.
Ahem. The IN74 is all sleek black lines and pleasant curves, with a single "eye" dazzling light out of the front. Unlike the 777, the IN74 does have controls built into the top; a pair of circular focus/zoom controls at the front along with a set of menu controls built into the back top of the projector body.
The projector itself rests on a circular base that provides a great deal of physical stability while at the same time making it very easy to make minute adjustments to the angle of projection. This is less important if you're going to permanently mount the IN74, but if you're after a projector to drag out for movie night, there's nothing worse than fiddling around with tiny projector legs and keystone measurements because the picture's gone slightly wonky. The only other major downside to the black plastic casing of the IN74 is something that it shares with other dark implements of technology such as the Sony PSP -- it's an absolute magnet for fingerprints, which rather ruin the unit's otherwise sleek design.
Style hasn't been forgotten with the IN74's remote, which bears more than a passing resemblance to many Dell products. Perhaps that's just the blue backlighting, controlled from a switch at the back, however. It's otherwise an ordinary but mostly workable remote that worked well from all angles in our short test period.