The business projectors category includes the latest technology in DLP, LCD, LCoS projectors. The category includes projectors from lightweight portables to projectors with 10,000+ lumens. The gallery is showing a wide range of projectors that have been reviewed in the past two years or so. Most business projectors are on the market for at least two years, many even longer. Yet with all the brands there are still hundreds of new models released each year.
Epson Powerlite W16SK Projector Review
Being the editor has its privileges, which in this case means I get to review the Epson W16SK 3D projector system. When it comes to business and education >>
BenQ LW61ST DLP Projector Review: For Business and Education
Visit our 2012 Classroom Projector Report, sponsored by: May 2012 - Art Feierman
There are mobile projectors and projectors mostly stationary, or mounted to wall or ceilings. A typical office projector for small presentation rooms, conference rooms and training rooms these days offers up 2000 to 3500 lumens with entry level performance and resolution, starting at $299. That said, those are or are you looking for a high-performance, high brightness business projector for your lecture hall, board room, hotel ballroom or auditorium, or even an interactive advertising display? A good business projector meets the criteria of the applications it will be used for, as well as the ambient lighting conditions of the room. Recently 1080p business projectors have started hitting the market in affordable price ranges.
XGA projectors, once the dominant business resolution no longer rule, with widescreen projectors being more in favor, and costing only slightly more. Quickly gaining marketshare in this sector are interactive projectors, including ultra short throw designs that sit only inches from the screen. The best of these command a real premium, with most costing $1000 to $2000. They have the advantage of being wall mounted, and can use a whiteboard rather than a screen There are three technologies used in business projectors:LCD projectors, DLP projectors and LCoS projectors. Pocket projectors - rather than the even smaller pico projectors, are now bright enough to be considered viable business projector solutions, with many now offering 500 lumens.
About Business Projectors
There are many brands out there, although not all build their own product, in fact many simply relabel their product from other original manufacturers or make very minor changes, and sell the products under their own names. Here is a short list of the top selling brands that actually design and build their projectors, it is not a complete list. Who is number one varies depending on the questions asked, although Epson currently claims the largest marketshare worldwide.These are some of the leaders:
- Barco Projectors – This is the “heavy metal” medium to huge venue projectors, mostly 8000 to 30,000 lumens. Purchased projection design, expanding their line downward somewhat in price
- Epson Projectors - LCD projectors only as they are the primary manufacturer of the 3LCD chips. Largest seller of projectors in the world
- Mitsubishi Projectors - A mix of LCD and DLP projectors, one of the larget lineups in the industry, announced in 10/2013 that they were exiting the projector and some other display industries
- Hitachi Projectors - LCD projectors primarily, one of the early leaders in ultrashort throw projectors and especially interactive ones. Especially strong serving education
- InFocus Projectors - Primarily DLP projectors, always a leader in lightest and brightest projectors (no pico projectors), a full line-up
- BenQ Projectors - All DLP projectors, have expanded their lineup to from entry level to larger venue projectors
- Sanyo Projectors – Sanyo projectors dissappeared when Sanyo was purchased by Matsushita, Panasonic’s parent.
- Panasonic Projectors - A major player with LCD and DLP projectors. They have shifted their focus away from entry level and very portable to medium and large venue projectors
- NEC Projectors - A mix of LCD and DLP Projectors, although starting with low cost, best known for their smaller and larger fixed install projectors
- Optoma Projectors - All DLP projectors, and a dominant player for pico projectors.
- Canon Projectors - A full lineup of LCD and LCoS projectors, but best known for very high resolution models, and superb color, also DICOM capable (good enough to project images of medical films (x-rays, MRI’s etc.)
- Sony Projectors - Primarily LCD and LCoS – they call their LCoS SXRD. Everything from portables to 4K cinema projectors, now offering 4K projectors with laser light engines
Business Projector Resolution
2013 was the year that new shifts in resolution and pricing saw major shifts. Entry level is from $299 to perhaps $599, but 1080p projectors started shipping for under $2000 (and even a lot less)!
Lowest resolution projectors today would be SVGA resolution (800×600) models can now be found for as little at $299, but most entry level projectors sell from between $399 and 699
Quicktip: Almost all computers out there are now at least XGA resolution, as are tablets most can work with tablets like the iPads from Apple, and also Android, so for clean, clear, crisp small text and graphics you should be looking to get a projector with XGA resolution or higher.
Lower resolution SVGA projectors comprise a small fraction of US projector sales, and the bulk of those are purchased by schools. In the last year or two, though, the cost of higher resolution projectors has come down enough that SVGA (other than schools), may finally fade away.
Your business would benefit from an entry level XGA resolution model or widescreen WXGA projector. If you have a budget of more than $900 a unit, it would be more beneficial to go with an entry level XGA, rather than a SVGA with higher brightness, (more lumens). If you have budget and need, you could consider the new crop of affordable 1080p projectors.
In fact, you may seriously want to consider a specialist – mostly A/V dealers whether local or online have sales people who are knowledgeable about what works best, thanks to strong backgrounds in the “projector, plasma display and LCD display” industry. They are far more likely to be able to speak intelligently, and get you where you need to be. Even if you don’t want to know the details, there’s a real advantage to buying from someone who knows the products and issues. BTW, onlineA/V resellers are generally known to charge about 5-7% more than the least expensive PC resellers, Spending an extra $50 to $100 is not a great price to pay, if it gets you into the right product, instead of one that is a poor choice for your specific needs.
Low Cost Business Projectors
Most weigh at least 5 or 6 pounds, and up to 9 pounds, except for the one to three pound pocket projectors which are now bright enough for projecting to small groups.
What you’ll find with entry level business projectors:
- Limited connectivity
- Typically DLP technology, although LCD projectors are typically only slightly more
- Not all offer HDMI connectivity
- Monitor out (to drive a computer monitor) is something many entry level projectors lack.
- Audio – typically a single audio input, or maybe two (one computer, one video), the exception again would be projectors designed for the school market, where you may get extra audio inputs, typically limited audio with one or two 2 watt speakers.
- Remote controls, some projectors will have credit card sized remotes, others will have “full sized”. Credit card sized remotes usually offer no, or very limited “remote mousing”. They are also typically limited to about a 20 foot range.
- No interactive projectors in the entry level ranges (yet).
Consider the technology while choosing an entry level business projector. Especially, if color accuracy is important, you will need more lumens on a DLP projector to overcome ambient lighting, than would be required of an LCD projector, Why? Color lumens vs. white lumens. Our Color Brightness video explains.
Mid-Price Performance Projectors - Moving up from Entry Level to The Sweet Spot of the Market
The hot segment for business projectors is the in the $700 – $1999 range. Resolutions run from XGA up to 1080p! (and higher resolution) projectors, providing between 2500 and 4000 lumens.. The standard today is about3000 lumens, but remember that a 20 or 30% increase in lumens helps, but really isn’t a dramatic increase in brightness.
In this day and age, you can now find a few business projectors up to WUXGA and 1080p for $2000 or less. Most business users don’t need that maximum resolution, though, and are satisfied with WXGA and SXGA+ (1400×1050), and UXGA (1600×1200).
Some examples of good business projectors at different price points, with some core features:
- Vivitek D537W: MSRP $999, 3200 lumens, 4.2 lbs., WXGA resolution
- Sony VPL-EX145: MSRP $1100, 3100 lumens, 7.3 lbs., XGA resolution
- ViewSonic PJD6383S: MSRP $809, 3000 lumens, 6.6 lbs., XGA resolution, short throw lens
- Optoma TX536: MSRP $649, 2800 lumens, 5.0 lbs., XGA resolution
- NEC NP215: MSRP $749, 2500 lumens, 5.5 lbs., XGA resolution
- Epson PowerLite 96W: MSRP $899, 2700 lumens, 7.2 lbs., WXGA resolutions
Moderately priced Business Projectors: $900 – $2000
- Viewsonic PJ559D: MSRP $1279, 2700 lumens, 6.0 lbs., XGA resolution
- Sharp PG-D45X3D: MSRP $2795, 3000 lumens, 3D, lens shift
- Mitsubishi WD390U-EST: MSRP $1999, Ultra short throw,Cloud networking projector
- Optoma TW610Sti+: MSRP $999, 3200 lumens, 6.9 lbs., WXGA resolution
- Epson W16SK: MSRP $1899, two stacked 3000 lumen projectors for passive 3D
- Hitachi CP-AW250N: Ultra short throw interactive projector, sits inches from screen.
Middle to High Performance Business Projectors
Priced typically from $2000 – to $4000+ Most of these weigh in over 10 lbs (but not all), they start at 4000 lumens but mostly ar 5000 lumens or more, and many offer interchangeable lenses. There are a huge variety interesting features found on some of these projectors that just don’t show up on less expensive projectors. These are definitely not portable projectors unless your idea of portable is perhaps 20 to 50 pounds.
Do you need the features – and the “horsepower”?
Key features found in many High Performance Projectors:
- 4000 lumens or more
- Interchangeable lenses
- Optical lens shift
- Multiple computer inputs
- HDMI or DVI (digital) inputs
- Power zoom and focus
- Advanced Wireless and wired networking
- Presenting over a network, notifications
- Dual or Quad lamps for 24/7 or maximum reliability
- Auto focus (rare)
Some widely differing examples of projectors in this group of Mid to High Performance projectors:
- Mitsubishi WL2650U: MSRP $4995, 3500 lumens, 10.4 lbs., WXGA resolution
- NEC NP2250: MSRP $3999, 4200 lumens, 16.1 lbs., XGA resolution
- Panasonic PT-F300NTU: MSRP $2399, 4000 lumens, 13.7 lbs., XGA resolution
- BenQ SP890: MSRP $3999, 4000 lumens, 15.9 lbs., 16:9 HD resolution
- Epson PowerLite Pro G5650WNL: MSRP $3599, 4500 lumens, WXGA resolution
High Performance Business Projectors
Most of these projectors sell for over $4000 (up to $100,000), offer at least 5000 lumens, most have interchangeable lenses, etc. Many offer dual lamp (or four) for redundancy and reliability. Almost all will have optical lens shift, which will also allow two projectors to be “stacked” together to virtually double the brightness. All of these higher performance projectors below offer interchangeable lenses, networking and more:
That should give you a good idea of what your investment dollars will buy, in terms of portability, power, and features. Our best advice – talk with a dealer who knows what they are talking about.
I like to use an analogy to buying a car. If you have $25K for a car, you don’t want to randomly have someone, who knows nothing about your needs, pick out your vehicle. Think about it – that $25K in a car – could mean:
- A two seat sports car
- A nice mid-sized sedan
- A pretty large pickup truck with large cab
- An SUV
- A mini-van
Now one of those is definitely going to work better for you than most of the others. While projectors may not vary as much, there are still significant differences and combinations of features, such as ultra short throw projectors, interactive ones, 3D capable ones, and those with networking and advanced networking projectors. A good sales consultant can spend 5 minutes asking you the “right questions” and guide you into a “better choice”. For those “sales adverse”, review sites like ours help you make your own choices. Good ones, we hope.