Posted on May 25, 2013 By Art Feierman
For this award, the goal was to find the best classroom projector with the best 3D capabilities. There were 9 3D ready projectors considered this year, but our winner stood out among the rest.
Read below to find out why.
This Epson W16SK is the first stacked projector system we’ve reviewed. It’s not the only system out there,but it seems to be the first really geared for doing 3D reasonably affordably in schools. The W16SK in reality, consists of two Epson Powerlite W16 projectors. The come in the box together, each with part of the stacking hardware attached. It takes a very reasonable 20 minutes or less to unbox, combine, and adjust the two projectors together.
The huge benefit in the classroom of the W16SK projector setup, is that it uses low cost passive 3D glasses (like those at your local cineplex). True, you start out paying for two, not one 3000 lumen projector, but you only have to run both at the same time when doing 3D. It’s simple to power up (or off) just one projector. It’s the two different polarizing filters that attach to the front of the two projectors that makes the 3D easy.
3D brightness is always an issue, at home, in the theaters and definitely in the classroom where full lighting control is pretty rare. In the case of Epson’s W16SK, no worries, each 3000 lumen projector handles 3D for one eye. You are going to end up with 3D over twice as bright as a typical active glasses using projector that measures 3000 lumens. It’s the risk of losing expensive active glasses, and the fact that most people find passive glasses systems easier to view, that really make the W16SK projector “shine.!
Considering that about 2/3 of the projectors in this report are 3D capable, we could have gotten into which projectors are slightly better than others when doing 3D, but the existence of the Epson W16SK made long term cost the key deciding factor. True, if a 3D projector is needed with class sizes that are extremely small – perhaps a dozen people or less, then systems requiring active glasses could be price competitive, if there aren’t any significant losses over the years to breakage or “lost” glasses. Long term, this Epson could save thousands over active systems.
As I considered 3D capable projectors, I came to realize that the percentage of 3D environments (based on current glasses pricing), where a passive setup like this EpsonW16SK will not be a huge long term money saver should be rare. And on top of that, if you run just one W16 at a time for 2D, a single W16 is more energy efficient than most of the projectors in this report. Excellent color, good feature set, perhaps the most affordable 3D yet. Really, it was an easy choice. I’m glad though that I decided not to pick a runner-up among the rest. Choosing just one other would have been a real challenge.
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