Projector Reviews

Projectors Considered: Interactive Classroom Projectors 2

This is the second batch of interactive projectors considered.  The projectors are listed in alphabetical order.

We wish to thank Epson America for sponsoring this year’s Best Classroom Projectors report.

Hitachi CP-TW2503

The CP-TW2503 is a classic interactive projector from one of the major players in the education market.  Generally I think of Hitachi as a company that focuses its projector more on Education than everything else.

The basics are:  WXGA resolution (1280×800), 3LCD panel design, and 2700 lumens claimed.  It can be placed table top or wall mounted, or it can be mounted above a table and project onto it (a horizontal surface).  That allows for types of gather round the table interactivity, which is usually a hit, in a classroom.  There’s a built in media player, and lots of USB (3), one for the PC free media player, but USB can also be used for USB Display, or remote mousing.   Presentations can also be delivered over the network.  The speaker is 16 watts, about as hefty as projectors offer.  Better still there’s a microphone input as well.

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When it comes to actual performance let me start with sharpness, which was very good.  There’s no tougher challenge than having sharpness across the entire “screen surface” than with an ultra short projector design.  That Hitachi has nailed it this year is particularly noteworthy because some two years ago, the last Hitachi interactive projector we reviewed, was notably soft when it came to good focus.  Kudos to Hitachi for seriously upping their game!  Interestingly I believe this is the first ultrashort throw projector we’ve tested that has power focus.

In actual performance, Ron found that the Hitachi exceeded it’s 2700 lumen claim in two modes (we note that measuring brightness of any ultra-short throw projector is less precise than with most projectors).    The brightest – Photo, was, not surprisingly heavy on green, but not as bad as some (notably DLP designs).   Ron reported that simple adjustments improved that a good bit, costing only 5% of brightness.  The bulk of the “best modes” those with inherently good color, produce between 2000 and 2300 lumens, just about typical for today’s best ultra-short throw projectors.  Overall, this Hitachi does a great job on both brightness and color.

This Hitachi comes with two interactive pens (supports up to 4 at once), but Hitachi also offers an optional figure touch module which we did not get a chance to review.  The CP2503 has built in wired LAN networking including Crestron RoomView compatibility.  Wireless networking is accomplished by inserting an affordable, but optional wireless module.  That is a practice many manufacturers have gone to for wireless capabilities.   There are apps for iOS and android to work with the wireless module.

Pricing is definitely competitive, very similar, for example to Epson’s 585Wi (the one without the finger touch ability).  One downside, lamp life rated 2500/4000 hours (full/eco) which is lower than the others in this report.  Overall, though, again, a classic ultrashort throw interactive projector that is especially well endowed.