You can't call the Infocus Screenplay 5000 an attractive projector, because, put quite simply, it isn't. It's a rectangular plastic box that sits on a single protruding leg at the front, with a wealth of connectivity options at the back. Then again, very few projectors really specifically go for pleasant aesthetics anyway, so it's not as though Infocus is alone in this market of drab-looking projectors. If you're likely to permanently mount the projector anyway, this all becomes rather moot. On the plus side, all the controls on the body of the projector itself are backlit, making adjustments in-movie quite simple, although the remote we were supplied with lacked such niceties.
The pedestrian style of the 5000 extend to its remote, which fits the word functional perfectly. It's yet another grey slab of plastic that quickly covers all the basic functions you're likely to need quickly. As with most projectors, you're only likely to need the remote for when things need tweaking, so the drab design isn't a drawback in any real sense.
For those of you lusting after exact technical specifications: The Screenplay 5000 boasts three 16:9 Aspect poly-silicon active matrix LCD display chips, a native 720p resolution and a contrast ratio of 1200:1. For those of you scratching your heads and wondering what all that jargon actually means, we'll simplify -- at this price range, and for this quality of projected image, this is a very good projector indeed, and it's capable of displaying HD quality images, giving it a solid quantity of future-proofing to boot.
If there's one thing we'd caution prospective projector purchasers about with the Screenplay 5000, it'd be the fact that it's not much of a hand-holding device, even with the admittedly neat auto-keystoning in place. While plenty of projectors in this mid to lower end space come with readily identifiable image presets with names like "Theatre" or "Sports", the Screenplay 5000 leaves all the preset identification up to the user, with the choice of three presets -- unimaginatively named User 1, 2 and 3 -- that you've got to set up yourself. If you're an image whiz, you'll undoubtedly love the flexibility this offers, but if you've got little understanding or patience to fiddle around with colour temperatures, brightness and contrast settings, you may find it more than a little overwhelming at first.
From a connectivity standpoint, if you've got a video source, then the Screenplay 5000 will take it, up to HD quality video standard. The list of connectors includes the usual suspects such as composite, S-Video, component and DVI, as well as HDMI via an adaptor through the projector's DVI input. The Screenplay 5000 includes inbuilt speakers -- you'll become immediately aware of this when it chimes up the first time you power up the projector -- but anyone using the unit for anything but dull corporate presentations will undoubtedly want to have a much better sound system somewhere nearby.
Images from the Screenplay 5000 were exceptional for a unit at this price range, even when using the cheapest possible display option -- namely an off-white wall. For a projector with a brightness ratio of only 1100 ANSI Lumens, we were also pleasantly surprised with how well it performed in fairly bright conditions.
The Screenplay 5000's keystoning includes an option for it to automatically adjust the vertical aspect on the fly, which is quite handy when you're setting the unit up, especially if it's going to be a projector that'll be pulled out for intermittent movie watching, but there is a minor catch. The sensor for the projector is fairly sensitive, and we found that walking around the room sometimes made it adjust on the fly due to slight movements at its surface. This never degraded the visual appearance, but it does briefly pop up the keystoning display, which can be distracting in the middle of your favourite film.
InFocus has a good name in the higher-end projector space, and it's great to see the company offering a moderate to low price projector with this feature set. The home projector market is really picking up pace these days, and certainly the Screenplay 5000 isn't your only choice at this price range, but it's certainly a unit worth your consideration.