Education Projectors Considered: Standard Classroom Projectors 3

This page has our last two “standard” projectors – an NEC – the M363W and a Viewsonic, the PJD-7835HD .  We have fewer in this category than last year, because we have split out the smaller LED projectors into their own category.

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


NEC M363W

First of all, don’t let the NEC M363W’s list price scare you away.  While it was officially $1599 when we reviewed it six months ago, street price has always been far lower, and is currently $959!  Better yet, NEC has a published education program which appears to provide an extra 10% discount to dealers for educational purchases.

I would have to describe this NEC projector as feature loaded, a premium model in its class.  I say that for things like the 1.7:1 zoom ratio lens – which is more placement flexibility than than almost all of the competition.  Geometric (corner) correction complements keystone correction.

The M363W is a single chip DLP projector with WXGA (1280×800) resolution, that claims 3600 white lumens.  That works out to it being plenty bright for any K-12 classroom, and all but the largest university classrooms.  The 20 watt audio is about as big as you will find in a sub $1000 projector (and many far more expensive ones), and will certainly fill any smaller classroom.

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What impressed Mike the most when reviewing was the color capabilities.  He reported that even brightest mode which beat the 3500 lumen claim, was reasonably good, and Presentation mode, with 3200 lumens even better.  The NEC produced relatively great color near maximum brightness, whereas many DLP projectors lose 30-50% of their brightness before color becomes excellent.

There’s advanced LAN capability, wireless too. And there’s two HDMI inputs, (one with MHL for working with streaming sticks, etc.), and a host of others including USB, with USB Display supported.  Multiple audio inputs are complemented with a stereo audio out.  Analog computer, of course, and a monitor out.  Wireless – as is the case on many of today’s newest projectors is optional via a plug in module.  With the module, you can work with Android and Apple tablets, etc.  There’s a USB image viewer, but no support for Microsoft Office docs.

M363W Presentation mode
NEC M363W in Presentation mode, outputting 3200 lumens

 

This is another one of the projectors that does have a microphone input.

The M363W is also far lower cost than most DICOM Sim capable projectors – those with enough contrast and detail to be used/approved for for displaying scientific scans (MRI, X-rays, CAT-scans, etc.,) for medical teaching.

Lamp life is good not great with 3500 hours at full power, but stretches to a very impressive 8000 hours in a smart Eco mode.

VIEWSONIC PJD-7835HD

The PJD-7835HD is a very capable single chip DLP projector with an official $899 price tag, but sells on the street, most typically for $699, so schools should really consider $699 the high price.

What separates the PJD-7835HD from many of its competitors in this report, and from most of the competition out there in the school market, is that it is a full 1080p resolution.  Not every district, of course is ready to spend the extra couple hundred dollars or more for that resolution.

For those needing/wanting 1080p (Viewsonic as, of course, similar and lower cost XGA and WXGA versions), here’s what you get:

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Color is particularly good in most modes.  And, the projector is downright bright – 3500 white lumens.  As a typical DLP it doesn’t have an equal amount of color lumens, but this is a projector that still cranks out a lot of lumens with good color in all but the brightest mode.  Plenty of juice for a K-12 classroom, and enough for small and medium sized university classrooms.  The PJD7835HD supports 3D, and in part thanks to it’s HDMI ports being HDMI 1.4, it it will work with standard Blu-ray 3D content.

Missing is networking.  If you need wired networking, you will have to look elsewhere.  Fair enough, as pricing of this projector is comparable to lower resolution projectors that do have networking.  That’a a typical trade-off at a price point.

Being able to hide a streaming stick inside the projector is a clever, and practical idea. Unfortunately having a streaming stick hanging out the back of a ceiling mounted classroom projector, is begging for trouble, resulting in financial loss for the schools.  For that reason I really like their PortAll with it’s HDMI and room for that streaming stick, hidden behind a door, is a nice touch.

It is also a rare projector in this price range with a legit cable cover, which is nice to have in a ceiling install.

This Viewsonic, I should note, has a composite video jack.  They are still viable for those classrooms that still use VCRs (which apparently is still quite a lot.)

Audio is very good for a projector.  It’s certainly better geared for voice than symphony, but not bad, and powerful enough for the largest K-12 classrooms.

As usual, Viewsonic provides one of the strongest warranties – 3 years parts and labor, and it offers a first year express exchange (you can buy additional years).  Just don’t forget to register the projectors to be eligible for the Express program.

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