The Optoma ZW300UST is a business/education installation projector claiming 3,200 lumens, with WXGA resolution, DLP technology, and a laser light engine. This is a solid-state engine with a rated lamp life of 20,000 hours. In most cases that’ll serve you for several years of continuous use before having to get that light engine replaced, saving time and money. Who doesn’t love that? But, unless you have a digital signage type application, you'll likely be using the projector far less than that. For most applications, the projector will be obsolete long before you get near 20,000 hours. For example, if used in a conference room or classroom, figure 10 years minimum!
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.
Laser Solid-State Light Engine
WXGA (1280 x 800) Resolution
Phenomenal Color Accuracy
10-Watt Mono Speaker
20,000 Hour Rated Lamp Life
PC-Free USB Media Player supports video and audio file playback, as well as shared images and presentations
Connectivity – computers, smartphones, tablets, 3D Bluray/DVD players, camcorders, Apple TV and streaming sticks can all be connected, though some may require additional accessories
HDMI MHL port supports HDMI dongles such as the Optoma HDCast Pro, Chromecast, FireTV and more