Posted on April 11, 2013 Art Feierman
Epson’s back for another year with a new interactive projector with a very short throw design. Less expensive than the still current 485wi, Tony reviewed last year, it isn’t as ultra short throw as the 485wi, which sits only inches from the screen, but this still qualifies as an ultra-short throw (similar to the Mitsubishi WD390U’s lens throw, which we also called ultra short throw).
The Brightlink 436Wi projector can fill an 80″ diagonal screen (about as large as you will find in most classrooms, from only 32 inches away from the screen. This is a projector that would typically be mounted using a wall mount above the screen. There are plenty of such wall mounts out there, with telecoping poles to allow precise placement. Wall mounting should normally be a lower cost solution than mounting further back, and don’t forget the real benefit of ultra short throw projectors: They allow the presenter to stand close to the screen without getting blinded by the light.
The Brightlink 436Wi offers a sharp image for a short throw projector, 3000 lumens, and WXGA resolution. Lamp life is excellent at 4000/6000 hours (full power/eco-mode), although we’re seeing projectors claiming even more this year.
At just over nine pounds it’s a bit heavy as a portable, but lighter (and with a sharper image) than the mirror based ultra-short throw projectors. Street pricing is under $1500, and lower still though Epson’s Brighter Futures educational pricing program (ask your Epson authorized dealer).
Each year Tony handles most of the interactive projector reviews. This year he did all that offer up a pen for annotation. Note that more and more projectors are offering some level of interactivity. Afterall, even page up/page down control of a powerpoint presentation is an interactive function (although having that feature is way too basic these days for us to consider a projector interactive just because it has some basic remote mousing).
Most interactive projectors rely on a “Pen” that you can write electronically on a white board or screen. The only interactive projector in our roundup that he didn’t do was that “cloud” Mitsubishi WD390U, which relies on iOS or Android devices for interactivity.
Overall, Tony was most impressed, and considered the Brightlink 436Wi, to be the best of the interactive projectors this year, earning it our Best In Classroom Interactive projector.
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