Epson BrightLink 710Ui Interactive Projector Review – Special Features 2

Epson Brightlink Interactive Projector Review – Special Features 2: PC Free Annotation, DuoLink, Brighter Futures Education Pricing, Warranty

PC-Free Annotation

The BrightLink 710Ui has PC-Free Annotation, of which there are two modes: Built-in Annotation and Built-In Whiteboard. Built-in Annotation is a cool feature that brings up a toolbar to allow you to draw, write, and otherwise scribble all over the projected image. This is useful for bringing students’ attention to a particular area of the projected image, or correcting a student’s writing piece in front of the class. I seem to remember my screenwriting teacher in college using this technique, much to our embarrassment. I could see this being useful in a variety of subjects – English, Math, Science, and the Arts.

Built-In Whiteboard is also rather interesting. This is a feature that allows teachers to project white or black onto their screen surface and use it as a whiteboard or blackboard. This seems to be the way things are heading in education, so we may find that dry erase markers become obsolete in the next ten years or so. Bad news for those companies, good news for teachers who often need to purchase their own supplies and get reimbursed later (if at all). I think it’s cool that this feature exists, as it allows the projector to be used all the time rather than only when there is interactive content or images available, and makes it so the screen can function as a regular whiteboard.

Speaking of screens and regular whiteboards, I think it is worth mentioning here that interactive projectors such as the Epson BrightLink 710Ui will require a different sort of screen. Since pens and fingertips will necessitate a bit of pressure on the screen’s surface, one cannot simply use a regular projection screen, as the action will stretch the screen and render it ugly and soon to be useless. Epson has special screens available that have a hard surface for this exact purpose, and education pricing for them at that. Alternatively, the projector can be paired with a smooth white wall or a regular, “dumb” whiteboard, transforming it into an interactive workspace. What you choose will simply depend on budget, space, and whether or not you already have a whiteboard installed.



DuoLink is a cool feature that is most appropriate for lecture halls or large university classrooms to expand the screen size beyond the 100” for interactivity the BrightLink 710Ui (and others like it) allow. Two BrightLink projectors can be linked up using the DuoLink feature by mounting the projectors side by side to create a seamless interactive image spanning the width of two screens. That means you can link two BrightLink interactive projectors to draw across both images. Pretty cool tech. One caveat – the projectors must be of the same model, so no mixing and matching here. The DuoLink feature is limited to two projectors – hence the “Duo” in the name – so you can’t use a third or fourth projector to create a giant screen.

Epson’s DuoLink does not use Edge Blending, so you will see a seam where the two projected images meet (Edge Blending is a technique that blends the seam so you can’t tell where the two images overlap). This is not likely to matter in the higher education environment, as the seam will not affect performance. K-12 setups are not likely to use this feature, as it would be overkill in many, if not all, K-12 classrooms. That it does not use Edge Blending makes the setup of DuoLink much easier, less time consuming, and nicer on the budget for installation.



Brighter Futures Education Pricing

I do love a good education program, especially in the case of projectors where school districts and universities will be buying in bulk. At the $3,499 list price, schools could be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on projectors (depending on the amount of classrooms receiving the interactive projector). Epson’s Brighter Futures program cuts the cost of the Epson BrightLink 710Ui by $800, bringing the price to a sweet $2,699. The discounts don’t stop at the projector itself – Epson offers extensive discounts on replacement parts and projector accessories as well.

That includes things you probably didn’t even think about needing to replace, such as the pen tips on the interactive pens, which will cost a mere $10. If you need to run your signal over HDBaseT – Epson has an HDBaseT transmitter for $349. Need a hard surface to project on? Epson has a 100” diagonal white board that also allows for dry-erase markers to be used, for $629 ($50 off). A full list of the Brighter Futures education program can be found here, with details on the pricing of all other projectors and products in the program and warranty info on each.



Warranty

Epson’s warranty is one of the best around. In the case of the Epson 710Ui, that’s a 3-year limited warranty with three years of Epson’s Extra Care Road Service. In the event of failure, this warranty covers a replacement projector, to be shipped anywhere in the United States, free of charge. I just recently used this warranty for my Epson home theater projector, and it was an easy experience. The representative I spoke to was pleasant and asked a few questions about fixes I had tried for the projector, and since none of them had worked, they sent me a new one and it arrived within two business days. This means that, in the event of the projector breaking, teachers will not have to reroute their lessons for long and will be back on track within a matter of days. Count that as a definite plus.

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