Posted on June 20, 2017 By Nikki Kahl
The ZW300UST is 12.3 pounds and can be table-top, wall or ceiling mounted. Wall mounting is most likely your best bet, as it’s less expensive typically than ceiling mounting in a conference room or classroom, (and if no drop ceiling in the room, a much simpler install). I would consider this projector to be mid-sized, for a UST, and not very heavy. If necessary, the projector could potentially be passed around classrooms or conference rooms, but it wouldn’t be considered a true “portable” projector. More likely, in that case, it would be put on a cart, with other gear (as is often typical for K-12).
Optoma’s UST line consists of just two projectors – the ZW300UST (reviewing here) and the ZW300USTi. Both are WXGA resolution, with the same technology and light engine, weight and overall feature set, with the ZW300USTi having interactive capabilities. If you’re looking for an interactive projector, consider the Optoma ZW300USTi. Though there are only two projectors in this line, that’s not to say that Optoma won’t expand the line, with projectors of different resolution or brightness.
This projector has an MSRP of $3,399 (the ZW300USTi is $400 more). The 3,200 claim is more than enough for handling quite a lot of ambient light, and – spoiler alert – this one measured over claim. In our 2017-2018 Best Education Projectors Report (published less than two weeks ago), the Optoma ZW300UST won the 2017-2018 Best In Classroom: Ultra Short Throw or Interactive Projector Award – Best Value, and the Hot Product Award. This is one of the two projectors that I worked with before the report but couldn’t finish writing up in time. As a result, I passed my results and opinions of the ZW300UST on to Art so he could make the call on awards.
As mentioned in the above paragraph, the MSRP of the Optoma ZW300UST is $3,399 – but I found it online from a number of authorized dealers for $1,799, which I’ll take as the minimum advertised price (MAP). That’s a huge difference! For this projector, $1,799 is a steal of a deal. A solid feature set, phenomenal color in best modes, and a great price all make this projector an excellent value proposition for educators and business people.
The ZW300UST has all the necessary inputs and connectors for business and education applications. Two HDMI inputs, a VGA In and Monitor Out, two types of Audio Ins and Outs, Wired LAN, and more. Its 10-watt mono speaker was better than I expected, and will be loud enough for mid-sized conference rooms and classrooms.
This projector as WXGA resolution (1280 x 800), which is essentially the 16:10 version of 720p. That is to say, it has more pixels than 720p HD – that’s 1280 x 720. I naturally prefer projectors that are the higher resolution 1080p HD or WUXGA, , but I found that I was not bothered by the WXGA resolution (the image is very crisp), and at one point I even had to double check to see if the projector was, in fact, WUXGA. It’s not, but it had me fooled for a minute. WXGA, of course, saves schools and businesses still rather significant money compared to those full HD resolutions, and that’s important to most buyers, if there isn’t an application calling for higher resolution.
That said, WXGA is great for conference rooms and classrooms, providing a good image for those in the front row to the back. Speaking of those closest to the screen, they’re likely the only ones who really would be able to differentiate between WXGA and higher resolutions.
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