For example, we may have reviewed and are considering a particular WXGA resolution projector in this report, but that manufacturer likely also offers an XGA, SVGA and quite likely a WUXGA or 1080p model that is otherwise almost identical. They also might offer slightly different versions with and without networking, and in some cases, even a brighter, and less bright version otherwise the same model.
As an example, consider last year. One NEC projector – the NP-ME331W, is a WXGA projector with 3,300 lumens. But the ME series has 8 projectors – 4 are XGA, 4 are WXGA. They vary in some features, and in brightness. In other words, if the ME331W looks great to you, but you need an XGA because you are replacing a lower resolution 4:3 projector, then know that one of the other ME’s is probably the right one for you. If anything, that NEC series is unusual in that it only offers two resolutions, most offer four or five, so some have even larger families.
Ultra-short throw projectors, so far, are different than others, in that they typically have very small families. On occasion, it may be only a family of one. Or as in some cases, a manufacturer may have just one UST (ultra-short throw projector), and another similar one with interactivity added, for a series of two.
As a result, these fifteen projectors covered in this year’s Classroom Projectors Report represent more than 65 different models!
Often, schools can find the projector with the right feature set, and then choose the preferred resolution or level of networking.
It may well be that a school or system will buy several models in the same series. For example, some XGAs replacing older 4:3, some WXGAs, and perhaps a few WUXGA where higher resolution is needed, or perhaps a different WXGA with one or two differences, but in the same series.
Two years ago, we lacked enough serious interactive or UST projectors to have a category focused on them. Last year, and again this year, however, we have five projectors that are UST, or UST with interactivity, so it’s enough for us to look at the group and give out awards again. Perhaps next year we'll have 5 or more projectors that are fully interactive, so we can pick winners without considering those that lack interactivity. We shall see.
Note that almost any projector these days with MHL support or wireless capabilities to work with tablets and phones has at least minimal interactivity. So, when I talk about serious interactivity, I’m talking pens, maybe finger-touch controls and more, not just control from apps.
Overall, the benefits of interactive projectors, which are typically ultra or very short throw projectors in schools, is that they can be mounted to the wall above the screen, rather than the ceiling. They are also so close to the screen that the intense projector light doesn’t get in the speaker’s eyes, so they are better positioned to not blind the teacher or student standing up by the screen.
This normally creates a less expensive, simpler installation, compared to mounting more traditional standard and short throw projectors. The other benefit to this is that it does not cast too much of a shadow on the projection surface.
Remember, this year’s report also contains previous winners of the Interactive or UST Projector category, and, of course, everything links back to our full reviews.
Again, this year, we address the advantages and disadvantages of lamp versus LED, Laser, and also hybrid projectors (LED/Laser such as the Casio line).
All of the projectors covered here are available at the time of this publication according to their manufacturers, and none are expected to be discontinued before September 30th 2018. They should, therefore, all be available for schools to purchase in quantity for the upcoming K-12 school year. And, they should be around for the higher education purchasing season this coming Fall.
This year’s report includes plenty (five) high-brightness projectors suitable for those large university classrooms, and also in K-12 auditoriums and multi-purpose rooms.
There are six of the traditional small fixed install/portable projectors that work well in smaller classrooms.