Projector Reviews

Projectors Considered: Standard Classroom Projectors 2

Here’s the second batch of small install and portable projectors we refer to as the “Standard” Class of education projectors that are normally destined for K-12 school classrooms. These two consist of an Optoma, which is the brightest of the DLPs in this class, and a 3LCD Sony, that has the honor of claiming the least brightness (still a healthy 3,100 lumens). The previous page has the tables with all the links for these projectors as well links for the other projectors in this class. There is also a table on that page showing those previous winners of this class, which remain current models and should be considered fully competitive.

The education oriented projectors covered on this page are the Optoma W460, and the Sony VPL-EW435.

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

Optoma W460

Optoma W460

Overall, the Optoma W460 was the best performer of the DLPs in this class, even adjusting for price. 4,600 lumens claimed, WXGA resolution, plus solid feature set, and a very reasonable $849 list price before any education discounts, make for an overall good value. One disappointment though was lamp life – with only 2,500 at full power, 3,500 in Eco and 4,500 lumens in something called Educators Mode, that’s way below a lot of the competition, which includes three of the other models in this class, with lamp claims at full power of 4,000, 5,000, and 6,000 hours. So you can see the low 2,500 hour lamp life adds to the overall cost of operation.

Overall, it is definitely a solid performer worth some consideration.

On the “bright” side, this Optoma W460 has lumens to spare – 2,700+ lumens in its brightest mode with good color – Presentation, and very good brightness, puts it up there with the Epson PL990U for one of the two definitely brightest projectors of the six, compared here.

Even in its rather excellent color Cinema mode, the W460 projector still mustered almost 2,000 lumens.

When it comes to interfacing, again the W460 is near the top of its class, with a pair of HDMIs (one with MHL support for mobile devices), three USBs, analog computer input and output, and networking, with the usual RJ45 connector.

As you would expect, the W460 supports Crestron RoomView, and when integrated into a school, college or district network, provides a whole host of advanced networking capabilities including scheduling, push notifications, presenting over IP, and a whole additional list of abilities.

Overall, it is a very good projector, other than the well below average lamp life, which rains a bit on its value proposition. That may make the W460 a very good choice in environments where usage is on the low side, say, 8 hours a week, which would, in a typical school year, have a lamp last for about 8 years at 300 hours a year.

Sony VPL-EW435

Sony VPL-EW435

Sony VPL-EW435 Projector is a 3LCD design, claiming the least lumens – 3100, but with good color, it ends up in the middle of the pack. Its 4,000 hours at full power is better than average, although, in this day and age, not by much. Modes with very good or better color start at over 1,500 lumens.

There’s plenty of good sound for such a small projector, a 3 year parts and labor warranty, and a host of inputs and connectors including plenty of “legacy” ones, including S-video and composite video and plenty of audio inputs (and an audio out).  That also makes this a good low cost choice as a replacement for older “wide screen” projectors.

I go into more detail as to how this projector ended up taking the Value Award, on the Standard Projectors Winners page in this report. In the meantime, consider this to be a very good example of a lower cost, WXGA projector with full networking (Crestron RoomView capable) skills, and more.

Previous Winners in the Standard Projector Class

Best Value Standard:
NEC ME331W

Casio XJ-F210WN Projector

3LCD, WXGA, Networking, Lamp

Best Performance Standard:
Casio XJ-F210WN

nec-me331w

DLP, WXGA, Networking, LED/Laser