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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Business Projectors: Part 3

By David Orella
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Business Projectors

This is our final installment of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Business Projectors three-parter. Now that you know The Good and The Bad, it’s time for our discussion of The Ugly. By the end of this page (assuming you read the two previous pages), you will know what you need to look for, and what you need to watch out for, when buying a projector or fleet of projectors for your business applications.

The Ugly

Just like Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, you can’t achieve the top of the pyramid with a good experience if you have issues at the bottom that are…ugly. What issues do I consider showstoppers? The type that make me avoid a conference room or, simply put, can ruin a meeting, workshop or anything in between. I would recommend avoiding the following issues:

Projectors That Double as a Space Heater – Too Much Heat Output

For how many rooms I avoid due to excessively hot projectors, I hear very little about this aspect. Smaller rooms such as a team room or huddle room can be ruined by a projector which outputs too much heat. To avoid this issue, opting for a laser, LED or even LCD projector can make all the difference in keeping the room usable for extended periods of times.

Optional Helicopter Landing Pad – Operational Volume (dB)

This is an often-disclosed aspect of projectors, but needs to be looked at in comparison. If you are like me, 20db and 40db may seem similar until compared to other projectors or put into context. For example, a 20db projector would be nearly silent, where a 40db projector may drown out whispers or quiet conversation during a meeting.

For additional context, most projectors that go into conference rooms/huddle spaces, tend to be in the 33-39 Db range at full power. It is worth verifying that your choice does as well. If not, you can use variables like size of room and distance from projector as mitigating factors but need to plan accordingly. That, or make sure end users are aware of how to use eco mode or equivalent quiet modes if available.

Needing Yet Another Dongle - Lacking all Desired Inputs

Making sure that the projector comes with inputs that match with the computers your organization distributes can easily be overlooked, but is a nightmare when encountered. HDMI is the starting point but there is no need to stop there. A lot of business projectors will also have the old school VGA inputs, so if your computer doesn’t have an HDMI port, this may be an aspect to consider.

Not Considering Equivalent Visibility or Comparable Standards

I won’t define this here as we at Projector have already done so in depth via This Article. What I will do is simplify the idea and stress the impact of not taking it into account. Essentially, you want to ensure that the font on the projector screen is equivalently capable of being read as compared to one’s computer screen. More tactically, if you can read 11-point type on a 21-inch display from 28 inches, then for any sized room and seating distance, you want that same level of legibility (or as close to it as possible).

If you are sitting 4 times the 28 inches away (112 inches or 9.3 feet), then your display should be 4 times the height and have a width of a 21 inch – 84-inch diagonal. In larger rooms, that calls for some pretty big displays as the seating distance is conference rooms can be up to 20’ which is far more that the 9-foot example provided above. Gone are the days of 26+ sized font and exclusively PowerPoint. Users want to collaborate over google docs, sheets, Jira and a plethora of tools that require smaller font. A projector is of no use if no one can read it or if you must zoom in to 200% and crop out half the screen in doing so. To keep it easy, reference the table below for best practices.

Display Size for Equivalent Visibility

The Bottom Line

Price and technical capabilities will always be the primary driving forces for a purchase. However, in my experience, the attributes discussed above are really what is noticed and thought about when deciding which conference room projector to book and which to avoid.

While by no means was The Good, The Bad and The Ugly all-encompassing, I do hope it has been helpful and can potentially arm you with what you need to improve the user experience on the other side of the wall. As always, if you’ve got questions, feel free to message us on Facebook, or comment on our posts! We’re here to help.

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