Posted on May 2, 2021 By Phil Jones
Standard K-12 classroom projectors are smaller projectors with features like advanced networking, collaboration and wireless capabilities, and PC-Free Presenting which are useful in an education environment. The primary function of a projector in a K-12 classroom environment is for providing a display solution for presentations and other course materials. Choosing the right projector for your K-12 classroom depends largely on the environment itself – lighting conditions, etc. – but also on specific needs for features.
Projectors Listed In This Section
EPSON BRIGHLINK 1485FI
EPSON POWERLITE U50
The Epson 1485Fi has been given a Special Interest Award because it takes interactivity and collaboration to a whole new level. With the capability of up to eight active users interacting on screen at the same time, it allows for an enhanced working experience even if those people are not in the same location. Through the Epson iProjection Software up to 50 local and remote users can connect with any compatible device as well, again making it a breeze to work together, no matter physical location. Given where the world is today, with more and more people working and attending classes remotely, this projector is an outstanding tool to help making collaboration as easy as possible.
The Epson Brightlink 1485Fi provides a native 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution. The projector is powered by a 3LCD interactive laser display that provides 5,000 lumens of color and white brightness along with a virtually maintenance-free 20,000-hour laser light source. There are no lamps on this projector. The 1485Fi is designed to be a reliable, bright, interactive display that supports easy reading, instruction, and communication. The 1485Fi projects up to a 100-inch, 16:9 image or up to a 120-inch super-wide, 16:6 image. In case you are wondering why Epson chose to offer a 16:6 aspect ratio, go and measure a standard width classroom blackboard or whiteboard, and your question will be answered. The 1485Fi offers up to 95 percent more interactive space than a 75″ flat panel.
Some of the most notable features of this projector are:
Miracast for Easy Device Connection – The 1485Fi’s built-in Miracast functionality allows for content to be displayed between Miracast devices such as phones and tablets. Miracast allows users to display their multimedia content wirelessly, including high-resolution pictures and high-definition (HD) video content, even if a Wi-Fi network is not available. This enables local attendees to share content from a compatible laptop screen with a conference room projector in real time.
The Epson 1485Fi is a great addition to Epson’s norm shattering line of white board projectors. Epson has built a projector that takes collaboration to a new level and though they could not have foreseen the current Covid effects on business and education, the 1485Fi is an even more valuable tool for today’s normal. In both schools and companies around the world limited on site staff and remote staff can collaborate more effectively and safely than ever before.
The Epson 1485Fi is a well thought out, intelligently featured projector that has proven itself ready to take on the challenge of collaborative learning in both the classroom and boardroom even in our current situation.
The PT-LRZ35U, with its use of discrete RGB LEDs, gives Panasonic a real advantage over its traditional competitors. We were so impressed with the improved picture performance and color quality of the PT-LRZ35U that we gave it a special interest award.
The Panasonic PT-LRZ35 Series is their first portable projector to use a discrete RGB LED light source. Panasonic designed this new light engine with the goal of producing superior color reproduction and enhanced picture quality, which is ideal for art or science classrooms and any application requiring precise color accuracy, such as corporate presentations or artistic renderings. The RGB LED DLP single-chip projector with WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) resolution and a rated brightness of 3,500 lumens offers a lot of performance and features for its current MSRP of $2999, but it can be found at multiple authorized sellers at $1699.
The PT-LRZ35U weighs just 14.77 pounds. It is 3D-ready with DLP® Link™ technology. The PT-LRZ35 offers an impressive estimated 20,000 hours of practically maintenance-free operation.
Panasonic also claims the PT-LRZ35U can deliver a dynamic contrast ratio of 30,000:1. It has a USB Type-A 2A output that can run USB-powered HDMI smart devices like Fire Sticks or Roku. The PT-LRZ35U has a manual vertical lens shift, 1.3x zoom lens, and dual HDMI inputs as well as a DIGITAL LINK/LAN (HDBaseT) input. The PT-LRZ35U is a WUXGA projector so it can accept 1,920 x 1,200 content via its HDMI inputs. The PT-LRZ35U also offers a decent amount of image zoom.
The picture quality of this projector really is amazing. Colors are vibrant without being oversaturated. The contrast and brightness are enough to allow the LRZ35U to be successfully deployed in a wide range of environments.
The Panasonic PT-LRZ35U checks almost all the feature boxes you would expect from a business class projector at its price point and adds a few that are not normally seen on this class of projector. Its excellent picture quality, size, and overall feature set are why we recommend you consider the LRZ35U for your business or home projector needs.
The LG HU85LS is a 4K DLP Laser Ultra-Short Throw Smart Projector with a suggested retail price of $5,999. While the HU85LA commands a premium price, it offers a lot of performance and features for its price. The LG HU85LS has a rated brightness of 2700 lumen, and its Laser light source will last up to 20,000 hours.
HU85LS is a 2716x1528x2 pixel shifter — using the larger DLP (0.66″ DMD) chip. This results in higher native contrast and a sharper image than most 4K UHD DLP projectors, which use the smaller 1920x1080px4 pixel shifting chip.
The projector’s chassis sits less than 8 inches from 120” screen, so it can be placed on a credenza or table in the front of the room. And you could easily make a case for utilizing a projector as a TV replacement, especially since projectors can produce a massive picture from a compact chassis, which makes them a great solution for a conference or other meeting rooms.
The LG HU85LS utilizes a 3-channel laser system along with a larger DLP chip. It is one of the higher priced ultra-short throw models. The HU85LS price is competitive with other premium Laser TVs that utilize a multi-channel laser light source, like the Samsung LSP7T. The HU85LS is brighter and retails for $500 less but it does not include an ALR screen. The HU85LS’s picture will be roughly 67% larger than a 77″ TV. The HU85LS is one of the only Laser TV models targeted at the business and education market.
Great picture, Smart features, and low maintenance makes the LG HU85LS a compelling alternative to a large flat panel TV, especially in a room where space is at a premium.
The ViewSonic M2 Smart 1080P LED projector with Harman Kardon Bluetooth speakers is a 500 ANSI Lumen (1200 LED lumen), full HD (1,920 x1,080), DLP LED-powered business and home media projector. It’s designed to be conveniently transported to multiple locations while still providing exceptional image quality and sound.
The M2 is a compact business and home media projector with built-in Smart TV interface, document viewer, and screen-mirroring capabilities. It is lamp-free, which means no need for expensive lamp replacements, more environmentally friendly manufacturing, and no need for a cooling-off period when shutting down the unit.
The M2 has a “shorter throw lens” that makes it convenient to use in small spaces such as offices, classrooms, or dorm rooms. It can project up to a 100” screen at just under 9 feet from the projection surface and has dual speakers that are capable of producing quality sound loud enough to fill a medium-sized room (classroom, living room, conference room).
The M2 is a value at its $549.99 street price. It is compact enough to take anywhere, and it is bright enough to be used in a room with some ambient light. With all of its features, the M2 is an excellent choice for someone who needs a projector suitable for a wide range of applications.
The LS625W measures 15.1″ x 5.8″ x 11.5″ (WxHxD) and weighs in at 13.7 pounds, which is fairly svelte. It is a short-throw projector, which means it can be placed relatively close to the screen—in this case, 2.6 to 3.7 feet. Thanks to its zoom lens, it can fill a screen measuring 70 to 100 inches diagonally.
The LS625W has a native resolution of WXGA (1280×800). Its internal video processor can scale video from PCs and Macintosh computers at resolutions from 640×480 to 1920×1200, giving you the flexibility to display a wide variety of content.
With its bright laser/phosphor light source that lasts up to 20,000 hours, short throw distance, and network-management capability, not to mention the whiteboard module, the LS625W seems ideally suited to an educational environment.
The projector’s WXGA resolution provides a widescreen 16:10 aspect ratio, which is sure to make it very popular for new installations. If you’re shopping for a new projector to install in a classroom, the LS625W is worth a close look.
The BenQ EW800ST won our Best in Classroom Smartest Projector Award last year.
The BenQ EW800ST is a DLP, WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution, short throw projector with smart capabilities. It is primarily positioned as a classroom projector, but is suitable for conference rooms and meeting rooms where its feature set would be useful. BenQ calls this an interactive projector, but it is not interactive in the same sense of other interactive projectors we’ve reviewed. Those types of projectors allow for annotation of presentations and lesson material with interactive pens or finger-touch technology. This does not have that, but it does have several smart capabilities that streamline efficiency and make it a solid choice for a classroom application.
Some of the most notable features of this projector are:
The EW800ST stood out as being a short throw projector, but unlike the majority of the short throw projectors, it can be wall mounted above the screen. Short throw projectors and ultra short throw projectors, have been gaining in popularity in schools.
The EW800ST is a WXGA projector that is well priced ($999 list) with 3,300 lumens claimed, and reasonably well endowed in terms of interfacing. It sports 1 HDMI, a computer interface, 3 USBs, and even an old analog computer input. It also has an audio output, and a serial port for command and control. Audio comes from a single 2-watt speaker that has respectable volume and should handle most regular K-12 classrooms. Audio is not a strength but there is an audio out, if needed, which can feed a powered speaker system or a PA system. Bluetooth is another option for audio.
BenQ offers a telescoping wall mount that will work with screens up to about 120” diagonal! 100” to 120” which should work in many classroom settings.
The BenQ has a few more worthy tricks up its sleeve. For one thing, it has advanced wired (LAN) networking, with Crestron RoomView support (which provides the “advanced” in advanced networking). The EW800ST also has wireless networking using a dongle, which is provided. The remote control has a laser pointer on it, and, unlike many competitors, it supports 3D. Finally, at full power, the lamp is rated a healthy 5,000 hours.
The EW800ST turns out to be an overall very competitive lower cost projector for the classroom, that comes with all that networking. The smarts, however, add an additional level of capabilities that can be taken advantage of in teaching environments.
The Epson PowerLite U50 is a 3LCD, WUXGA (1920 x 1200) resolution projector with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. This Epson is well suited for bright classrooms and conference rooms, thanks to its high lumen output and 3LCD technology. Unlike its DLP competition, the U50 has as many color lumens as it does white ones, making colors pop even in the face of ambient light. Whether you are looking for a projector for business or education environments, this Epson is certainly one to consider.
The Epson PowerLite U50 is an excellent choice for multiple applications. In the education space, it is well suited for K-12 classrooms, conference rooms, and even small to medium-sized auditoriums or multi-purpose rooms. The speaker is loud enough to fill K-12 classrooms and conference rooms, but you’d want an external speaker system for those larger gathering spaces. It could even be used in smaller lecture halls and large university classrooms with a speaker system.
In the business space, the U50 has everything you need to take your presentations to the next level. With excellent color in multiple modes, including some of the brighter modes, you can rest assured that your presentations will look great, even in the face of some serious ambient light. This projector is well suited for conference rooms, boardrooms, training spaces, and trade show booths.
The NEC MC372X is a small footprint, XGA (1,024 x 768) 3LCD projector with a 1.2x zoom lens and rated brightness of 3,700 ANSI lumens. And, while the MC372X is only an XGA projector, it can accept [email protected] content via its HDMI inputs. It also has USB 2.0A input and a LAN port for network control and asset management. The NEC MC372X’s replaceable lamp is rated for up to 15,000 hours in ECO mode.
The MC372X utilizes a 3LCD instead of the single DLP chip found in many projectors in its class, this should result in richer bright colors. Normally 3LCD projectors can deliver higher native contrast than DLP models as well. The MC372X has a rated dynamic contrast of 16,000:1.
For those looking for an affordable classroom projector, NEC offers two different series which are the MC series and the ME series. There are two models in the MC series, the MC372X and the MC382W which we reviewed last year.
Some of the most notable features include:
The NEC-MC372X is the least expensive projector offered by NEC. At a street price of $509 it offers good performance and lots of features. It is part of the NEC MC series of projectors which are some of the brightest projectors in its class and they offer the longest rated bulb life. Even though it is NEC’s entry level projector, you can wirelessly project from a laptop or mobile device and MC372X offers both vertical and horizontal keystone correction. Overall, this projector is a great choice for a classroom setting at a great price.
The NEC MC382W won our Best in Classroom Price Performance Award last year. This projector had excellent color performance, a good feature set, and a super affordable price for K-12 classrooms.
It is really hard not to be impressed with the MC382W. It started out as a $999 projector with some pretty good performance for the dollar. But NEC seems to have gotten aggressive dropping the price to $599. While this lamp based projector can’t compete with the $2,499 Christie laser projector for pure performance, it crushes the competition for value, based on its $599 price. That, it should be noted, is before any additional education program benefits from NEC’s Star Student program for schools.
The MC382W is a standard throw projector sporting 3LCD technology. It comes with wired networking built in an a wireless option (part: NP05LM1), but not HDBaseT. As these will tend to install in K-12 classrooms, the long distance (100 meters – over CAT6 cable) capabilities of HDMI over HDBaseT typically are not needed (and if they were, there are plenty of 3rd party add-ons for HDBaseT).
Some of the most notable features include:
If there’s one limitation, it’s the 1.20:1 zoom lens. That’s a pretty basic amount of zoom, so for most installations in a K-12 classroom there will only be about 1.5 to 2 feet of placement range for a typical screen. As long as classrooms are fairly capable in terms of where you can install – as most are with drop ceilings, no problem.
Add it all up, and this is a rather exceptional performer considering the roughly $500 to $550 street price, brightness, advanced networking (including Crestron support) and knowing that it will cost even less for schools – even in single quantities, never mind school or district wide implementations.
It may not be the top performer in our K-12 class this year, but it is an impressive performer, for what is normally barely above an entry level price! That’s what we call having great Price/Performance, so that’s the award it was given last year.
The Optoma EH330UST is a 3,600 lumen projector with DLP technology for business and education applications. This ultra-short throw projector can project a beautiful 100” image from just inches away. The EH330UST has a native resolution of 1080p (1920 x 1080), and a maximum resolution of WUXGA (1920 x 1200).
The Optoma EH330UST has an ultra short throw design, which is highly desirable for classroom environments where wall-mounted installation is prominent. The projector has HDCast Pro for screen mirroring Android, Windows, Mac, and both Android and iOS Mobile Devices, as well as PC-Free presenting of photos and documents.
Some notable features include:
The Optoma EH330UST offers both standard wired RJ-45 for networking in addition to other networking features. It has compatibility with control software such as Crestron RoomView, Extron XTP, AMX, and PJ Link. The projector also has wireless capabilities via an optional wireless module, and is compatible with Android, Mac, and Android and iOS mobile devices. Its PC-Free media player works well too, with support for Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
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