Projector Reviews

Classroom Projector Report: Awards For Best School Projector-2

Best in Classroom - Interactive Projector Runner-Up Award: Hitachi iPJ-AW250N

This is the second year we’ve reviewed a Hitachi ultra-short throw projector, the Hitachi iPJ-AW250N (click for full review).  We really found this year’s interactive projector to be much improved over last year’s (non-interactive) model.

Tony had this to say in our communications:  “It has a strong feature set and the interactive tools were very extensive. Difficulty in setup and the fact that you would need to take more time to get up and running were the reasons to make it a runner-up.”

Understand, that these interactive projectors are normally mounted.  In the case of Tony’s comments, he’s saying that there are two issues.  The first is that it’s tougher than most to get right when using it as a portable, and that’s not likely, but the second – is that installing and getting the Hitachi mounted is also going to take more time.  This is only a minor issue, and that, only when first installing the projector.  It’s almost one of those “if that’s the biggest complaint you have…life must be good”.

He really felt the interactive functionality including the Starboard software was exceptionally good.

This Hitachi projector is a 3LCD model with WXGA resolution.  Lamp life is better than most (of the traditional lamp projectors) lasting up to 5000 hours in Eco-mode.

Best In Classroom Award

Best in Classroom Award (Non-Interactive Projector): BenQ LW61ST

I’m always more confident of an award given out, if I was the person who reviewed the projector.  Nothing like lots of hands on.  I’m pleased to tell you above our winner.  First, though, I want to point out a bonus feature:

There is an optional pen to add interactivity for this BenQ LW61ST (click for full review).

As to the rest of it.  This is a rather innovative projector from BenQ.  Start with the Laser light source, for low cost of operation and it looks really good.  This is a laser diode, not a hybrid Laser/LED such as Casio uses.  Although I knew it was a laser based unit coming in, as I was first setting it up, I just didn’t notice, and that’s a great thing.  My experience with laser projectors has been pico projectors. The picos screamed laser – had that shimmery look.  So, this is the first laser light source I’ve worked with that really looks very clean.

This is also one of the projectors in the group, with optional interactivity (which I did not work with), consider that a bonus.  Brightness was a respectable 1485 lumens, but this projector, at 3000 hours, will probably be about as bright as most of the 3000 lumen claiming projectors, when their conventional lamps hit those hours.

A Few of the BenQ LW61ST projector strengths

  • Very good color – extremely good for a DLP even in brightest modes
  • Long life Laser Diode light source (20,000 hours)
  • Networking
  • 3D ready – just add glasses (no Blu-ray 3D as is typical)
  • Microphone Input
  • Very short throw design
  • Excellent Input and output flexibility: Analog computer, HDMI, USB Display Link for presenting from PC via USB, plus networking, video, mic, audio out, and more
  • 3 Year Warranty standard
  • Plenty of audio – two 10 watt speakers, the champ in this report
  • A little quieter than most – typical of the noiser home theater projectors
  • Wireless networking (optional – uses a small dongle)
  • Eco-friendly – one aspect – automatically drops to 10% power consumption if there’s no source.