Projector Reviews

2015-2016 Award Winners: Standard Classroom Projectors 2


Last Year's Winners: Epson PowerLite 99W: Best in Classroom - Standard Projector (w/networking)

2014-2015_classroom_best-with-networkingLet me say that a year ago after discussing that crop of projectors with Ron, who reviewed the 99W, I concluded that “the force was strong in this family” of projectors.  This year we did not review any Epson projectors in this class of standard projectors, strange considering Epson has more models of projectors suitable for the classroom than anyone else. The big question might be, could we have found another Epson that really is better in a school environment than the Powerlite 99W? Good question.   I’ve updated here some of what I wrote last year, in giving it the Performance award (with networking)

The short version, is that this is a classic small, portable or fixed install WXGA resolution projector that is truly loaded with features desired in the classroom Wireless is optional ($99) provides media player capabilities and there are iOS and Android apps to provide control and basic interactivity.

Epson’s free Moderator software allows a teacher to present the displays from any 4 students’ computers at one time, out of up to 50 networked computers in that classroom.

There are 3000, both color and white lumens as this is a 3LCD projector  More to the point, close enough to 3000 lumen with very good color.  Standard K-12 classrooms are easily handled.  The 99W can even play in the larger higher education classrooms and perform admirably, at least in part thanks to a 16 watt speaker, and even a microphone input!

Long term operational costs are minimal.  Epson’s extended warranty for education (3 years parts labor, three year rapid replacement program, and long life lamps – in this case 5000 / 6000 hours (full/eco) are close to the best, and their replacement lamp costs are the lowest – only $99 for education.   The networking is Crestron RoomView compatible, or Epson’s own EasyMP software can provide command and control for up to 1024 projectors.

This may be “last year’s model, but it is almost certainly still the strongest entry available at its price point, which is in the low $700’s before Epson’s hefty Brighter Futures discounts for schools.

As I concluded last year:  “The Powerlite 99W is basically a poster child for pretty much what most school IT/AV coordinators are looking for for large school and district wide deployments.”

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Last Year's Winners: ViewSonic PJD6544W: Best in Classroom - Standard Projector (w/Networking)

2014-2015_classroom_best-with-networkingLike Epson, ViewSonic is back again with an award winner in this year’s report, in fact, we rated these two projectors a tie.  The PJD6544W is a DLP projector claiming 3500 lumens.  Unlike the other projector to share this award, the ViewSonic offers 3D, and not just “PC” 3D, but Blu-ray 3D as well.  That’s good to know if your classroom has 3D in its future.  At an official $839 price you might think the PJD6544W is on the expensive side, but ViewSonic treats schools well with promotions discounts, and extra warranties.

The PJD6544W is WXGA (1280×800 resolution), which is where most classrooms want to be at this time.  Equipped with the optional wireless, you can use Viewsonic’s apps with iOS and Android devices to do typical tablet style interactivity, essentially drawing and annotating on the screen.  Although not as flexible or quick as using pens, this provides some serious interactive abilities, including some video support! And there’s a built in media player.

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Wired networking is standard, with advanced features thanks to Crestron RoomView and AMX compatibility, making this projector suitable for mass installations tied to a large network.  Wired capabilities include projecting for (out of a maximum of 8) projector’s screens simultaneously in four quadrants.

This was the best of the networking DLP projectors last year, and still a bit more expensive than the Viewsonic we awarded this year.

As I previously stated, those projectors who won last year are still top contenders this year.  And the Viewsonic PJD6544W  is certainly one of those.