Projector Reviews

Standard Projectors: K-12 Classroom

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.

EPSON BRIGHTLINK 1485FI

Epson_1485Fi_Beauty#3

Epson Brightlink 1485FI Specs

Specification Description
Price $3,390
Technology Solid State Laser Diod
Native Resolution 1920×1080
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 5000
Contrast 25000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio 1.35x digital zoom
Lens Shift No
Lamp Life 20,000
Weight 14.77 lbs

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.

Projector Overview

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:

  • Built for Collaboration – The Epson 1485Fi is built to be a platform for collaboration. As Epson has introduced new offerings in this class of products, they have expanded on the interactive capabilities of their projectors. For example, this projector provides a superior collaborative experience with up to eight points of touch which means a higher number of students and teachers can annotate together, making group work easier. With up to eight active users on screen at the same time, working together to create and expand ideas is even better.
  • Epson iProjection Software – Using compatible devices, up to 50 local and remote users can connect with Epson iProjection software. This software allows the meeting moderator to manage and display content from users both local and remote. If presenter status is assigned to a different attendee, the new presenter can choose to display content from up to 4 devices at one time, or freeze displayed content for comment or annotation which can be shared with all attendees.
  • Touch and Pen Enabled – A newer feature in this projector’s interactive whiteboard is that students and teachers have the option of using their fingers as well as Epson pens to create and mark up content. The 1485Fi allows finger touch, letting users interact with the screen using just a finger. Interacting with the display image through finger touch is more natural, and we think, more intuitive since we’ve been interacting with tablets and phones this way for over a decade.

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.

PANASONIC PT-LRZ35U

Panasonic-PT-LRZ35U-Featured-Image

Panasonic PT-LRZ35U Specs

Specification Description
Price $2999 MSRP $1699 ASP
Technology RGB LED DLP
Native Resolution 1920×1200
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 3500
Contrast 35000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio 1.3x manual zoom
Lens Shift Yes
Lamp Life 20,000
Weight 14.77 lbs

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.

Projector Overview

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.

Some of the most notable features of this projector are:

  • RGB LED DMD Light Engine — The PT-LRZ35U uses a RGB LED DMD light source. Discrete LEDs for each R/G/B channel reproduce an expanded color gamut with deep, uniform saturation. Panasonic claims up to 20,000 hours of life for the PT-LRZ35U’s filter-free light source. If the PT-LRZ35U was used 40 hours a week, 20,000 hours equates to over 9 ½ years of operation. Image quality should be more stable over time than it would be with lamp-based projectors.
  • Network Control — Embedded networking offers the ability to manage and control multiple projectors over your network via the built-in RJ45 jack. Features include scheduling of events, centralized reporting, and e-mail alerts for reactive and routine maintenance.
  • PJLink — PJLink is a unified standard that allows the operation and control of data projectors. It enables the connection of projectors manufactured by different vendors to communicate and provide recognition between the projector/display and the control equipment. PJLink-compliant equipment features a high level of interconnectivity across different models and manufacturers, enabling easy construction of environments that are mixed with different models and systems and easy replacement of systems that are already in place.
  • Mounting Flexibility — The PT-LRZ35U can be installed universally at any angle. Tilt-free, roll-free, and portrait installations are supported. The projector can be rotated freely (360°) to point up or down depending on the installation requirements.

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.

LG HU85LS

LG-HU85LS-lifesyle

LG HU85LS Specs

Specification Description
Price $5,999
Technology DLP (.66” DMD)
Native Resolution 2716x1528x2
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 2700
Contrast 2000000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio N/A
Lens Shift No
Lamp Life 20,000 hours
Weight 26 lbs
Warranty 2 year
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 2700

Projector Overview

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.

Some of the most notable features of this projector are:

  • Laser Light Engine LG rated its Laser light engine at 2700 lumens for 20,000 hours, which equates to years of worry-free operation. The HU85LS uses a 3-channel Laser light source where both red and blue primaries are generated by their own independent red and blue Lasers. A third blue Laser with a static phosphor creates green.This system eliminates the need for a sequential color wheel, which dramatically reduces the rainbow effect (color breakup). It also delivers a wider color gamut. Additionally, the projector offers three modes to adjust the brightness output of the laser light source.
  • 4K DLP The HU85LS utilizes the Texas Instruments larger.66” DMD chip (2,716 x1,528) to reproduce perceived 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) resolution. I use the term “perceived” because a 4K DLP chip does not actually have 8.3 million mirrors, so the projector utilizes pixel (mirror) shifting to deliver the perceived sharpness of native 4K. The response time of these micromirrors is so fast that each one can be quickly wiggled back and forth to form extral pixels on the screen.
    This approach works very well because it is very difficult to see a difference in resolution when comparing a 4K DLP projector to a native 4K LCD/LCoS model for a normal viewing distance.
    Since the HU85LS is a single-chip DLP projector, you will never have any convergence issues that could occur with a 3LCD projector, so the image will remain sharp throughout the life of the projector without periodical adjustment.
  • Smart TV Features The HU85LS utilizes the same ThinQ AI webOS that is found in LG’s current flat panel lineup. LG is way ahead of most manufacturers when it comes to building Smart projectors. LG simply has incorporated everything they have learned over the years building Smart TV elements into this projector. The HU85LS uses LG’s UI, which was developed over several years and is utilized in millions of LG TVs worldwide and is seamless, easy to navigate, and well laid out. It would take a dozen pages to cover all the Smart TV features found in the HU85LS. Here are just a few of them: Google Assistant, Voice Control, Built-in TV Tuner and Apps, and Wireless Connectivity and Media Playback.
  • HDR10 with Dynamic Tone Mapping While the HU85LS is focused on business/education applications, it is equipped with video processors similar to those utilized in LG’s 4K HDR TVs. One benefit of using such a powerful processor is the HU85LS can dynamically tone map HDR content. The HU85LS can dynamically measure HDR metadata, which further improves the projector’s HDR performance, enabling it to better utilize the HU85LS’s brightness capabilities based on the content being shown.
  • HDMI ARC Even though the LG HU85LS has a good built-in audio system, many users may still want to connect it to an AV Receiver in a conference room to take advantage of the high-quality sound available from many of the projector’s streaming apps. HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) supports multi-channel audio, including Dolby Atmos, but due to bandwidth limitations, it delivers a compressed audio signal, for example Dolby Digital Plus.

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.

ViewSonic M2

Viewsonic-M2-Lifestyle-2

VIEWSONIC M2 SPECS

Specification Description
Price $549.99
Technology DLP LED
Native Resolution 1920×1080
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 500
Contrast 3,000,000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio Fixed Lens
Lens Shift No
Lamp Life 30,000 hours (normal mode)
Weight 2.9 lbs
Warranty 3 year limited
Native Resolution 1920×1080
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 500
Contrast 3,000,000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio Fixed Lens

Projector Overview

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).

Some of the most notable features of this projector are:

  • LED Light Source The M2 relies on an LED RGBB light source designed to deliver 500 ANSI Lumens of brightness and reproduce 125% of the Rec.709 color gamut. ViewSonic states the projector can output “1,200 LED lumens” because it should look as bright as a 1200 lumens lamp-based projector. The light source also makes the projector essentially maintenance-free, and offers over 30,000 hours of use.
  • Harman Kardon Speakers — The M2 features dual 3-watt Harman Kardon speakers, capable of producing strong enough audio to fill a small conference or classroom as well as most living rooms. They don’t offer much in the way of deep bass, but mids and highs are impressively clear, and comparable to a small to mid-sized mobile Bluetooth speaker.
  • Smart Features — The ViewSonic M2 is a smart projector, so you can download popular streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube from the Aptoide app store. The ViewSonic M2 also supports voice control using either Alexa or Google Assistant. The remote control has a built-in microphone so you can use your voice to power the projector on and off, adjust volume, change sources, and even autofocus. The M2 is equipped with Wi-Fi (via dongle) as well, which makes it easy to move the projector from room to room while still accessing the unit’s internal apps and services.
  • Media Player — With the built-in media player, you can either download your content in a variety of formats directly to the internal storage and play directly from there or use an external hard drive or thumb drive with your content already stored. The M2 has 16GB of internal storage, and 10GB available for user storage. The media player supports the following document types: doc, docx, xls, slsx, ppt, pptx, and pdf. It also supports over 10 different types of multimedia formats.
  • Eye Protection — The M2’s “Eye Protection” setting is a safety feature designed to protect people (especially young kids) and pets who wander into the beam and look into the dazzling light emitted from the lens. This feature temporarily turns off the light source if a person or object gets too close; a distance of approximately 1 foot within 30 degrees of the center of the beam.

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.

ViewSonic LS625W

ViewSonic-LS625W

ViewSonic LS625W Specs

Specification Description
Price $1438.99
Technology DLP
Native Resolution 1280×800
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 3200
Contrast 100,000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio N/A
Lens Shift No
Lamp Life 20,000 Hours
Weight 13.7 lbs
Warranty 3 Years

Projector Overview

Projector Overview

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.

Some of the most notable features of this projector are:

  • DLP — DLP (Digital Light Processing) imaging technology uses laser/phosphor illumination. In this type of system, some of the light from an array of blue lasers excites a yellow phosphor wheel, whose yellow light combines with the rest of the blue lasers’ light to produce white light. The resulting white light then passes through a color-filter wheel with segments of different colors. Each color is directed to the DLP imaging chip in turn, which forms the image for that color and reflects it through the main lens and onto the screen. The images for each color alternate so quickly that the human eye blends them into a full-color image.
  • Laser/Phosphor Light Engine —Thanks to its laser/phosphor light engine, the LS625W achieves a peak brightness of 3200 ANSI lumens, which is plenty bright enough to stand up to classroom lights. ViewSonic claims a staggering dynamic contrast ratio of 3,000,000:1, which is achieved by dynamically modulating the laser power.
  • Onboard Speakers — For classrooms without a separate sound system, the LS625W includes two built-in speakers, each powered by a 10W amp. That’s pretty hefty for onboard speakers, which should be plenty audible to all the students in a typical primary or secondary classroom, but it’s likely not enough to fill a university lecture hall without help.
  • Digital WhiteboardAnother classroom-specific feature is the projector’s compatibility with ViewSonic’s PJ-VTOUCH-10S interactive whiteboard module! This module turns the screen into an electronic whiteboard with a camera attached to the projector and a laser sensor that detects movement near the screen. The bundled annotation software enables up to 10 users to write and draw on projected images, including office files and web pages, using their fingers or included infrared styluses. Teachers can also record their annotation steps, then save and share them with students.

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.

BENQ EW800ST

BenQ-EW800ST

BENQ EW800ST Specs

Specification Description
Price $999
Resolution WXGA (1280×1920)
Technology DLP
Brightness 3,300 Lumens
Brightest Mode Measured 4,445 Lumens
Light Engine Lamp
Light Engine Lifespan 5,000 Hours / 10,000 Hours
Longevity Approx. 20 Hrs/Wk in 180 Day School Year = 6.94 - 13.88 Years Before Lamp Change
Weight 6 lbs
Warranty 3 Years Parts and Labor

The BenQ EW800ST won our Best in Classroom Smartest Projector Award last year. 

Projector Overview

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: 

  • Personal Cloud Storage – The BenQ EW800ST allows teachers to access their class material via Personal Cloud Storage, using their BenQ AMS account. This allows them to manage their lessons for both online and face to face classes in one convenient place. 
  • BenQ Smart Control App – By downloading the BenQ Smart Control App to their smart device, teachers can use their phone or tablet to control the projector from anywhere. 
  • Wi-Fi + Bluetooth (Dongle Included) – The BenQ EW800ST projector supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, via a wireless dongle (WDR02U). The dongle is installed by unscrewing the rectangular box at the back and sliding that off to reveal the Wi-Fi dongle’s input.

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.

EPSON POWERLITE U50

Epson-PowerLite-U50_Front

EPSON POWERLITE U50 SPECS

Specification Description
Price $1,149
Resolution WUXGA (1920×1200)
Technology 3LCD
Claimed Lumens 3,700 Lumens
Brightest Mode Measured N/A
Light Engine Lamp
Light Engine Lifespan 10,000 Hours / 17,000 Hours
Longevity Approx. 20 Hrs/Wk in 180 Day School Year = 13.88 - 23.61 Years Before Lamp Change
Weight 6.83 lbs
Warranty 2 Years Parts and Labor, 90-Days on Lamp

Projector Overview

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.

Some of the most notable features of this projector are:

  • Advanced Networking –The Epson PowerLite U50 has advanced networking features, such as:
    • Network Email Alerts – You can set up the projector to send you an e-mail alert over the network if there is a problem with the projector via the Menu.
    • Simple Network Management Protocol – Network administrators can install SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) software on network computers so they can monitor projectors.
    • Network Control via Web Browser – Once you have connected your projector to your network, you can select projector settings and control projection using a compatible web browser. This lets you access the projector remotely. (Microsoft Internet Explorer 11.0 or later, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, and Safari on networks that do not use a proxy server for connection.)
    • Compatible with Command and Control Software – Crestron Connected, AMX, PJ Link.
  • Easy Maintenance — The Epson PowerLite U50 has extra low maintenance, rivaling solid-state projectors for both light engine and filter lifespan. A typical laser or LED projector boasts up to 20,000 hours on their light engine lifespan and for their filters.
  • Wireless Sharing — The Epson PowerLite U50 through using wireless sharing with Epson iProjection App, teachers and students can connect up to 50 devices simultaneously (Chromebook, iOS, Android, Mac and PC screens) and display content from up to four devices at one time. It has advanced networking features such as compatibility with Crestron, AMX, PJLink, etc., and has easy maintenance, with a 10,000 hour air filter.

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.

NEC MC372X

NEC-MC372X

NEC MC372X SPECS

Specification Description
Price $509
Resolution XGA (1024×768)
Technology 3LCD
Claimed Lumens 3,700 Lumens
Brightest Mode Measured 3,802 Lumens
Light Engine Lamp
Light Engine Lifespan 10,000 Hours / 15,000 Hours
Longevity Approx. 20 Hrs/Wk in 180 Day School Year = 13.88 - 20.83 Years Before Lamp Change
Weight 7.1 lbs

Projector Overview

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: 

  • Keystone Correction Tools – The MC372X offers both vertical and horizontal adjustment while many units in its price point only offered vertical adjustment. The MC372X not only offers traditional vertical and horizontal keystone correction, it also offers PINCUSHION and CORNERSTONE adjustments. The CORNERSTONE adjustment allows for precise adjustment of the 4 corners of the image. You can simply drag the corner to where it needs to be. The PINCUSHION adjust can be utilize if the image has some visible bowing at top/bottom or left/right.
  • Network-Based Projection — There are many classroom and meeting room situations where it would be beneficial to project multiple images on a single screen. The MC372X, like many NEC business/education projectors, is compatible with their MultiPresenter application software.This free software is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android and gives the user the ability to display what is on their device’s screen (computer, smart phone, tablet) on the MC372X via wired or wireless LAN network. Not only can you display images, PDFs, and webpages, you can even mirror the camera of your mobile device. The mobile app includes a marker so you can annotate the image or document being projected as well as a pointer.
  • USB Image Viewer and Digital Image Zoom – The MC372X also allows for PC free presentations. You can project images stored on a USB memory stick inserted into the USB-A port located at the rear of the MC372X. The images need to be either JPEG or PNG. By selecting the USB-A input the images can be accessed directly from a simple menu. You can also project them continuously as a slideshow. This allows for presentations without the need to connect the projector to a PC.

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. 

NEC MC382W

NEC-MC382W

NEC MC382W SPECS

Specification Description
Price $999
Resolution WXGA (1280×800)
Technology LCD
Claimed Lumens 3,800 Lumens
Brightest Mode Measured 3,525 Lumens
Light Engine Lamp
Light Engine Lifespan 10,000 Hours
Longevity Approx. 20 Hrs/Wk in 180 Day School Year = 13.88 Years
Weight 7.1 lbs

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.

Projector Overview

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:

  • Screen Mirroring – a Great Classroom feature. NEC does a particularly good job with its MultiPresenter capability that allows up to 16 computers (requires the wireless module) to be screen mirrored. With the wired networking, you can still connect up to 16, but you can’t mirror multiple screens.
  • 4K Content — another interesting feature is support for 4K input, despite this being only an WXGA projector. NEC also promises future upgrades to its 4K handling. Let’s count this as a “nice extra,” but one few IT/AV coordinators have on their list as a capability they must have in their projector selections.
  • PC-Free Presenting – the NEC NP-MC382W has an on-board media player that allows for the playback of files via a USB flash drive, if those files are saved in jpeg format. I have all of my presentation slides, website screenshots, infographics, and x-ray samples saved to a flash drive as jpegs, so I was able to quickly view my files via the USB input on the back of the projector, and the media player.

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.

OPTOMA EH330UST

Optoma EH330UST short throw projector

OPTOMA EH330UST Specs

Specification Description
Price $1599
Resolution 1080p (1920×1080)
Technology DLP
Claimed Lumens 3,600 Lumens
Brightest Mode Measured 2,770 Lumens
Light Engine Lamp
Light Engine Lifespan 4,000 Hours
Longevity Approx. 20 Hrs/Wk in 180 Day School Year = 5.55 Years
Weight 8.7 lbs
Warranty 3 Years Parts and Labor

Projector Overview

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: 

  • Wireless Capabilities — The Optoma EH330UST features support for HDCast Pro, a wireless module that is not included with the projector. It can be found for about $80 online from various retailers.
  • Advanced Networking — In addition to the usual wired RJ-45 LAN input, this Optoma has support for Crestron RoomView and PJLink. Both of these programs allow for the command and control of multiple projectors at a time, which is particularly useful for schools and offices that have many projectors in their fleet.
  • PC-Free Document and Image Viewer – One of the most important features on the Optoma EH330UST. Using a USB drive (flash drive or external hard drive), you can project jpeg images and other documents. The projector is compatible with Microsoft Office, so you can easily project Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations without the need for a computer.

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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