The 2014-2015 Classroom Projector Report: The Best Projectors For Schools

We wish to thank Epson America for sponsoring this year’s Best Classroom Projectors report.


2014-2015-classroom-projector-report-logoOur Education Report this year – for the 2014-2015 school year, looks not only at projectors for the K-12 classroom and multi-purpose room, but also on projectors for higher education, both for those medium and large classrooms and auditoriums, that are significantly larger than the typical K-12 classroom.  There’s also need in Education for equipping teachers who travel from location to location, so we have a fresh crop of powerful LED “pocket” projectors

Each year we build this Education Report around 15 (or more) projectors that we have reviewed in the previous months, that are suitable for educators in one environment or another.   Our goal is to demonstrate a wide range of capabilities, to help decision makers understand the options, and choose wisely.  Those decision makers include IT and AV managers, Tech coordinators, teachers/professors, as well as people on the business side, such as buyers.  There are far more than 500 business and education projectors currently available.  It would be a herculean task for even a large publisher as at least 1/3 of those are particularly suitable for the education market.

I recommend our full Guide to The Education Projector Report – these are the topics covered:

  • What’s in This Year’s Report
    • Reviews Section – Links to the 17 Projectors we reviewed
    • About our Annual Best In Classroom Awards
  • Defining Expectations
    • District Level/State Level IT/AV/Tech Coordinator
    • School Level IT/AV/ Tech Coordinator
    • Teacher
    • Teacher – A driving force for technology in your school
    • Buyers:  School, District, State, Consortium
  • Understanding the physical classroom environment for projector selection
  • Special Features
  • Awards

Don’t think of the report covering only 18 projectors it’s more like 60+.  In today’s world many projectors have multiple “almost” identical projector siblings that are only minor variations.  We may have reviewed an WXGA resolution projector, but that manufacturer likely has an XGA and SVGA version, and perhaps even a WUXGA version.  They also might offer slightly different versions with and without networking, and in some cases even a brighter, and less bright version otherwise the same.  One projector may have as many as 11 siblings, but most non interactive projectors have families of 4 to 8 related, so these reviews may represent between 50 and 75 total projectors on the market.  That’s great, that schools can find the feature sets they need in the resolution they want, and so on.

This year we have a number of pocket projectors (5) but all have at least usable brightness, claiming from 350 to 1000 lumens.

Unfortunately this year we came up short on Interactive projectors.  Not by choice.  One of the last two projectors to arrive is a brand new interactive projector, but two others we reviewed that had some some serious interactivity, did so via optional add-ons.  The manufacturers of those two did not send us the interactive packages, so for the first time in four years, we won’t be having an award (or two) specific to interactive projectors, although one of our top award winners is an interactive projector, as well as being ultra short throw.

 

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This year’s report includes more larger high brightness projectors suitable for those huge university classrooms, as well as K-12 auditoriums, traditional small fixed install/portable projectors that work well in smaller classrooms, interactive projectors, some true portables, and this year, it just turns out that we have a few non-traditional projectors to also consider, basically the latest batch of “pocket” projectors, that are very suitable for mobile educators.

While generally such pocket projectors are compromises in certain areas such as sound, we are pleased that we were able to include small projectors that can run on battery, as there’s a real market for such projectors “in the field”, whether on field trips or in rural areas where continuous electricity isn’t always guaranteed.

What's Inside Our Education Projector Report?

This report does not contain individual projector reviews, rather it refers to and links to (on many pages) those suitable projector reviews completed since last year’s report, of projectors with feature sets that make them suitable for some education use or another (not always classroom).  Those overall reviews consider the projector not just from an educator’s viewpoint, but for business use, etc.  That is, they are general reviews.  It is in this report that we focus on how well those projectors do in education oriented environments.

On the next couple of pages, we provide links to those full reviews, and to the shorter overviews of each, contained in this report, and with more of an education slant.

Several award winners from last year, and one from even the year before, are still current education projectors still being purchased by many educational institutions.

We have included those winners in the last group of review links.

If they were good enough to win a top award last year, they  certainly would still be highly competitive this year.  We are pleased to report that a few of our top award winners last year, also managed to prove to be some of the top selling projectors into schools.  (source – Pacific Media Associates, who publishes regular reports on unit sales for our projector industry.)  More on that elsewhere.

One industry note:  In the fall of 2013 Mitsubishi decided to exit the projector business completely (and parts of their other display businesses).  Mitsubishi had won two of our Best In Classroom awards last year.   Since they are no longer available, we did not include any  Mitsubishi projectors in this year’s report.

We have provided an interactive spreadsheet of the projectors and their key specifications/features.  It’s a clickable document, as the format is way to big to fit into one of these online pages.  You can sort by almost every column, even two columns at once.

Another section of this report discusses addresses issues that impact beyond the individual classroom, such as operational costs and issues, from lamp and LED light sources, to filters, to networking and advanced networking including compatibility with automation schemes. such as Crestron.

Most of today’s projectors are 3D ready/capable projectors, that only need you to buy 3D glasses, and a couple are interactive projectors worthy of your consideration.  3D in the classroom still seems to be in the early adopter stage, or absent, from most schools, despite reports of being very effective for teaching.

List of Winners

Click here for the first page of this year’s winners.

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