Optoma EH320USTi Ultra-Short Throw Projector Review

Optoma describes the EH320USTi as:

“Optoma’s 1080p ultra short throw interactive projector, the EH320USTi, is perfect for businesses, schools and colleges. It is bright (4,000 lumens) and uses a new generation of TouchBeam finger-touch interactive technology, enabling several people to work simultaneously on the screen without using a pen. The throw ratio of 0.25:1 means that it can project a 100” image from just 55cm away. And having the projector installed so close to the screen avoids any shadows being cast across the screen from the presenter(s).”

“It provides a complete package for engaging learning with many new features, including two HDMI inputs, powered USB port, powerful 16W built-in speaker, improved lamp life, compact chassis and a completely new mounting system for a fast and simple set-up.”

Optoma bills the EH320USTi as the industry’s first 1080p Ultra Short Throw projector.  Ultra short throw projectors are becoming more popular as white board projectors for use in the classroom or conference room.  Also stylus pens and finger touch sensors are becoming more common on the higher-end ultra short projectors.  The EH320USTi includes a pair of passive interactive pens, whose position on the white board is tracked by the projector’s built-in camera along with the included IR laser touch module.  This setup, using the touch module supplying the IR light source along with the projector’s IR camera, is used to determine the position of the pen or the presenter’s finger position on the white board.  Unlike the active pens found with most other interactive projectors, the pens supplied with the EH320USTi are truly passive (just a piece of molded plastic) so the sensing of the pen’s position or the position of a finger on the white board use the same technology.

With a price of $1799 the EH320USTi is very competitive, in terms of both features and price, for this class of interactive projector. The EH320USTi is Optoma’s top model in this series of ultra short throw models.  Optoma also offers the lower priced model EH320UST (for $200 – $250 less – street price),  which is essentially the same projector without the interactive features.

Overview

The Optoma EH320USTi is an ultra short throw classroom or business interactive projector that will normally be wall or ceiling mounted just above the top and only a few inches in front of the projection screen/white board/white wall (the ideal location will vary by screen/image size). The MSRP is $1799 and that’s very competitively priced for the features it offers.

This Optoma projector is designed for use with screen sizes from 80 inches up to 100 inches diagonal (16 x 9 format) and for that maximum 100 inch screen size, the projector has an approx. 22 inch throw distance.  That’s the distance from the projector’s lens to the white board/screen while the front of the projector would only be about 13 inches from the white board.  It projects an image that is both bright, with spec’ed 4000 lumens, and sharp, with its full 108p native resolution (i.e., 1920 x 1080).   Note that most competing ultra short throw classroom and business projectors have 1280 x 800 resolution with a 16 x 10 aspect ratio while this Optoma has a higher 1920 x 1080 resolution with a standard HDTV 16 x 9 aspect ratio.  It is able to project an image with reasonably good focus over the entire image and that can be difficult to accomplish  in a ultra short throw projector.

With a suggested retail price of $1799, it would be a very cost effective choice for a school or business needing an interactive electronic white board projector.

The projector can be controlled via the provided IR remote and/or controlled and managed via a networked PC equipped with the Crestron RoomView (TM) software or via an AMX control system.   The EH320USTi offers good performance for projecting presentations either from a connected (e.g., HDMI) PC, or with the addition of the optional wireless adapter (model WHD200), with wireless connections from PCs and mobile devices.

The EH320USTi offers a variety of inputs including two HDMI inputs, a VGA (analog PC) input, and a microphone input allowing a presenter to use the projector’s built-in speaker when making presentations.

The EH320USTi is provided with two interactive pens and a touch sensor module.  The projector has a built-in camera/sensor that senses the location of the pens and finger tips relative to the projected image.

The EH320USTi offers a comprehensive selection of display (i.e., picture) modes for use with a few different projection surfaces and applications.   When projecting onto a white screen or a white board the Movie and sRGB display modes offered the most accurate out-of-the-box colors.  The most accurate color could be obtained using the “User” display mode with some rather simple user adjustments to the projector’s available picture controls.  The brightest display mode measured very near to the specified 4000 lumens (i.e.., white lumens), but with poor color accuracy.  The most accurate display mode produced substantially lower brightness.

The available display modes includes a DICOM Simulation preset mode that is intended for medical school training and medical imaging presentations.  This is used to provide a clearer picture of X-ray images (see details in the Special Features section).

We wish to thank Epson America for sponsoring this year’s Best Classroom Projectors report, in which this projector is considered.

Highlights

  • Has higher native 1080p (i.e., 1920 x 1080) resolution, as compared to the lower 1280 x 800 resolution found in most ultra short throw classroom and business projectors
  • Offers a bright image with 4000 rated lumens, in its brightest mode
  • Very sharp image provides excellent text readability for business/classroom presentations
  • 3D support (Blu-ray 3D compatible) with optional 3D active glasses
  • Factory pre-set Display (picture) Modes offered with fair color accuracy and a User Display mode that can be adjusted for better picture quality
  • DICOM Simulation mode supports medical training applications
  • Wired networking built-in and optional wireless networking.  Can be controlled and managed from networked PC
  • Supports an electronic White Board using the supplied two interactive pens and finger touch with the included interactive touch module

You May Also Like

News and Comments