The Magnificent Seven: Finding the best projector for your classroom - Installation

The Magnificent Seven: Finding the best projector for your classroom

Looking for a new projector for your school classroom, but can't decide which one is best for you? Here's seven to help you make up your mind
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If forecasts are to be believed, the global projector market is to grow at a CAGR of 9.61 per cent between 2017 and 2021.

Whilst corporate sales remain strong, sales in the primary and secondary end of the education space (depending on who you speak with) are more strained – largely due to the lowering cost and growing availability of large displays and interactive whiteboards.

But the market is far from dead. In fact, according to one sales manager of a well known manufacturer we spoke with during Tech Exposed 2018 (he requested anonymity), he claimed projectors represent a greater value for money and provide a greater RoI

“Many people think projectors are an old technology and that big screens are a modern approach,” he explained. “That’s simply not the case. Interactive displays might look great and do many great things, but if you’re only using a handful of the features, is that value for money? In many situations, projectors can provide everything needed and more, plus will probably cost a lot less money.”

So, with the average classroom size in the UK around 27 students, we decided to ask some of the leading projector manufacturers to put forward their best model for the job and importantly, what sets it apart from their rivals.

In no particular order, here’s what they said...

Casio, XJ-V10X

Casio, XJ-V10X

1.

Brand: Casio

Model: XJ-V10X

Lamp or laser: Laser

and LED Hybrid

Type: Ceiling

Released: Spring 2016

Used in: Standard classrooms, for up to 35 people. 3,300 lumens is the ideal brightness for this environment.

Stand out features: The V10X’s 1.5x optical zoom makes it the perfect replacement projector, ensuring complete ease of installation for the end user. Casio’s five-year warranty gives total peace of mind, as does the lamp-free manufacturing as no bulbs have to be bought and replaced during the projector’s 20,000 hour lifetime, reducing costs considerably for IT Managers, especially those in education where budgets are often more restricted.

Perfect for: PowerPoint and document presentation

Why buy over a competitor? Casio offer a complete ‘install and forget’ solution, from the moment the projector is installed to the end of its lifetime. Its laser and LED light source is a more environmentally friendly option as the energy consumption is cut by up to 40 per cent. There are no lamps to exchange, so IT and support technicians don’t have to spend time maintaining projectors across multiple classrooms.

Price: Around £633

BenQ, LH770

BenQ, LH770

2.

Brand: BenQ

Model: LH770

Lamp or laser: Laser

Type: Ceiling

Released: Summer, 2018

Used in: Large higher education rooms e.g. seminar halls

Stand out features: with 5,000 ANSI Lumens and 1080p high resolution, BenQ’s LH770 projector is capable of projecting the best quality images. It features 95 per cent Rec.709 colour coverage, high precision lens and certified IP5X dust-proof mechanism to guarantee an ultra-high level of image quality while reducing maintenance costs. To meet the high demand for efficiency and convenience in an education environment, the laser projector can be paired up with optional wireless devices to display videos, documents or live camera sessions.

Why buy over a competitor? The LH770 boasts excellent installation flexibility with 360°, allowing projection onto ceilings, walls, floors or angled signage. It is also equipped with a big 1.5x zoom, which allows the projector to produce a 120” image from 3.7 to 5.7m. It’s also passed the dust chamber test standard JIS Class IP5X, ensuring long life with sealed laser modules and enclosed light engines to protect the DMD chip, colour wheel sensor and laser bank. It also comes with a five year warranty.

Price: £3,298

NEC, M333XS

NEC, M333XS

3.

Brand: NEC

Model: M333XS

Lamp or laser: Lamp

Type: Short-throw

Released: October 15, 2018

Used in: Mid-sized classrooms

Stand out features: The design for this short throw projector provides the teacher with a greater freedom to engage with their students while presenting to them. A vast number of input terminals boost connectivity and allows advanced interactive multimedia capabilities. The projector also allows you to connect and share with up to 40 different wireless devices using the NEC Image Express Utility (Windows and MAC) as well as Wireless Image Utility (iOS and Android) software, making lessons more collaborative.

Perfect for: Collaborative working

Why buy over a competitor? The interactive Multi-pen option and DisplayNote Presenter software turns this projector into the centrepiece of a modern interactive classroom. Various innovative ECO functions such as the Ambient Light Sensor help to significantly reduce power consumption. The filter-free design with a dust-protected DLP light engine also ensures consistent, long life performance even in dusty classroom environments.

Price: £723 (excl VAT)

Optoma, EH330UST

Optoma, EH330UST

4.

Brand: Optoma

Model: EH330UST

Lamp or laser: Lamp

Type: Ultra short-throw (UST)

Released: July, 2018

Used in: Small to medium sized classrooms (circa 30-40 pupils)

Stand out features:

At 3,600 lumens, it’s ideal for classrooms with ambient light but is efficient with the expected lamp life in eco mode of 15,000 hours. It can project a 100 inch image from just over half a metre away. Having the projector installed so close to the screen avoids any shadows being cast across the image from the teacher. Teachers can use the projector’s built-in media player to present Excel, Word, PDF or JPEG files straight from a USB stick. This saves the hassle of lugging a laptop.

With full support for Crestron, Extron, AMX, PJ-Link and Telnet LAN commands, it can be controlled remotely across a network. It also has a powerful 16W built-in speaker.

Perfect for: Presenting detailed content in bright classrooms.

Why buy over a competitor?

It’s smaller, lighter and runs quieter than almost all other UST projectors on the market. It also comes with both a wall mount and a five-year on-site warranty.

Price: £1299 (inc VAT) 

Panasonic, PT-TW351R

Panasonic, PT-TW351R

5.

Brand: Panasonic

Model: PT-TW351R

Lamp or laser: Laser

Type: Short-throw

Released: October 2016

Used in: Can be used in lecture theatres and classrooms

Stand out features: The projector performs equally as well in brightly-lit rooms as dark ones with its daylight view technology. It measures the surrounding illumination with a built-in light sensor and corrects the image in real-time. The model has interactive functionality meaning it can be used as part of a whiteboard and allows two users able to write simultaneously to make classes and presentations more effective. However, there is no need to buy a specific interactive whiteboard as the PT-TW351R allows you to write directly on the projected image.

Perfect for: The projector allows the presenter to stand right in front of the screen without casting a shadow on the presentation content, making them ideal for use in education.

Why buy over a competitor? It’s easy to setup and install. Four corner keystone correction enables angled projection with you just needing to designate four points as the corner of the projected image and then this function easily carries out the rest.

Price: £800

ViewSonic, PS700W

ViewSonic, PS700W

6.

Brand: ViewSonic

Model: PS700W

Lamp or laser: Lamp

Type: UST

Released: February

Used in: The PS700W is currently used throughout the education system in classrooms of all sizes. Its 0.23 UST ratio gives it the capability to project a crisp 87-inch image from as little as 9.1cm away from a screen or surface – ensuring even the smallest classroom environments (including those located in inner cities) can benefit from modern AV technology.

Stand out features: The ViewSonic PS700W has several key features to help effective delivery of the curriculum. These include two embedded 10W cube speakers, an on-screen presentation timer so teachers can ensure classroom activities run on schedule and the ability to wirelessly stream content onto the display – allowing teachers to easily integrate multimedia content into their lesson plans. The PS700W also has a brightness level of 3,300 lumens to ensure every student has a positive viewing experience – even in brightly lit classrooms.

Perfect for: Any educational institution – especially those with restrictive classroom space.

Why buy over a competitor? The ultra-short throw ratio of the PS700W is one of the lowest available in this price-performance range, meaning that teachers no longer have to worry about avoiding the projection beam or excess shadowing.

Price: Around £835

Digital Projection, The E-Vision Laser 5000

Digital Projection, The E-Vision Laser 5000

7.

Brand: Digital Projection

Model: The E-Vision Laser 5000

Lamp or laser: Laser

Type: Versatile

Released: Jan 2018

Used in: Small classrooms with a fair amount of ambient light, and a flexible layout meaning the projector can be moved around as required

Stand out features: As well as being low maintenance and having a five year warranty, it is super versatile, and weighs only around 10kg, meaning it can quickly and easily be deployed to different locations. It also has a super-flexible fixed 1.15-1.90:1 lens allowing it to be used in most size classrooms. HDMI, HDBaseT and VGA inputs mean it will accept the majority of popular connections and it supports all the major room automation technologies allowing it to be seamlessly integrated into a smart classroom. Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) connection allows content from smartphones, tablets and other portable consumer electronics devices to be mirrored.

The E-Vision laser also boasts advanced features such as 3D capability and DICOM simulation making it future proof and more capable than many other projectors in this class.

Why buy over a competitor? Five year/20,000 hour warranty gives peace of mind from a dependable and quiet solution from a compact, low-cost package.

Price: POA

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