Projector Reviews

Classroom Projector Report: Best School Projectors for K-12 Education-9

Panasonic VX-400NTU Projector

The verdict is still out on the Panasonic VX-400NTU.  The first one we received, I don’t believe survived the shipping properly.  Brightness performance was far below expectations (and the box was very beat up – dropped a few too many times I think).  A second one is inbound as this report goes live.  We are looking at a projector claiming 4000 lumens, but measured under 2500.  I expect we’ll find that it is defective, or the lamp is, and the next one will hopefully do more than 3000 lumens, perhaps 3500+. It should prove to be the 2nd brightest projector in this report?  We shall see.

This is an affordable XGA resolution projector with advanced networking built in.  It is an LCD projector, with the color benefits associated with same.  On the other hand, one of the drags about LCD projectors is changing out or cleaning a filter.  Not a problem here.  There is one, but it changes every 6000 hours, which is longer than the 5000 lamp life.  Simply stated, no extra trips, just replace the filter when the lamp needs replacing.  Makes sense, and means that in most classrooms, this projector won’t need any attention for years, even if it’s used quite a bit.  (25 hours a week 36 weeks a year (school) = 900 hours, so even with that usage, over 5 years!  See, who really needs LED light sources? There is an advanced lamp management system, including 2 Eco modes.

Like the other LCD projectors this is 2D only.   A 10 watt speaker should handle sound easily for a classroom.  The projector brightness can be set to automatically adjust to room lighting conditions, something Panasonic keeps refining, but has been doing for years, and years.

A widescreen version is also available, as well as models without the networking.

ViewSonic PLED-W500 Projector

Our last “Pocket” projector, the ViewSonic PLED-W500 (click for full review) one also claims 500 lumens, and has an LED light source. Pricing is very good for a Pocket projector with WXGA resolution, with most online dealers well below $700.  Like almost all projectors these days, it has an HDMI port.  But, also like most of the 3D capable DLP projectors (non home) these days, not Blu-ray 3D compatible.  Once again, we have a small projector with onboard 1 gig of memory for its media player.

The media player supports Microsoft office, jp, etc…and can run PC free presentations from its SD card slot or USB.

At 2.6 pounds it’s the middle weight of the 3 Picos, but all are within 3 ounces weight of each other.  But, wait, this projector has no extra power brick like the Acer.

A 2 watt speaker handles the sound.  Not exactly big time for a classroom, but this projector has an audio output, so that any audio can be fed to a larger audio system when needed.

A 1.4:1 zoom lens adorns this Viewsonic PLED-W500 projector.  That’s more zoom range than many projectors in this report, which should make for easy setup.


Overview Conclusions

Below is a quick look at:

Sixteen projectors with most projectors represented in more than one category:

Interactive projectors: 5

Short and Ultra short throws (which includes interactive projectors): 8

DLP Projectors (all single chip): 11

LCD Projectors (all 3LCD): 4

LCoS Projectors: 1

Widescreen Projectors WXGA: 11
Widescreen Projectors HD above WXGA: 1
XGA projectors: 4

3D ready projectors: 9

Digital equipped (HDMI or DVI with HDCP): 16

Over 10 pounds: 6
5-10 pounds: 7
Under 5 pounds: 3

Networking (LAN) hardwired: 13
Networking (wireless): 3 (plus 2 optional)

Projectors brighter than 3500 lumens: 2
Projectors less than 2000 lumens: 3