Projector Reviews

Classroom Projector Report: Best K12 School Projectors for Education – Performance-2

Mike, Tony, and I all have different light meters.  We know that Mike’s meter generates the least bright numbers, that’s followed by Tony’s. We’ve measured the light meters against each other.  For purposes of this chart, and your other comparisons of measured brightness, we are Increasing Mike’s measured lumens by 11% (rounded) in order to have “apples” to “apples” brightness comparisons. For the BenQ that I reviewed, I’ve made the necessary adjustment for my meter, in the review as well, so that number will match the ones in this chart.  Only Mike’s numbers will be different in the chart, compared to the individual reviews.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

K12 Projectors for Education Claimed Lumens Brightest mode Measured Lumens
Acer S5201M 3000 2655
Acer K330 500 474
BenQ LX61ST 2000 1485
Canon WUX4000 4000 4204
Casio XJ-M145 2500 1116
Casio XJ-ST155 3000 1693
Epson BrightLink 485Wi 3100 3354
Epson PowerLite 435W 3000 2639
Hitachi iPJ-AW250N 2500 2184
Mitsubishi WD380U-EST 2800 2849
NEC U310W 3100 2664
Optoma ML500 500 450
Optoma TW610STi 3100 2896
Optoma ZX210ST 2000 1663
Panasonic VX-400NTU*
Viewsonic PLED-W500 500 477
*Awaiting new projector – the one we reviewed had a faulty lamp**Projectors that use an LED light source are in bold

Last year, the brightest claimed projector in our review was a Sanyo claiming 5500 lumens.  This year – there is no Sanyo.  That’s right, there is no Sanyo anymore.  Sanyo was purchased a couple+ years ago by Matsushita (Panasonic).  Home theater projectors disappeared first from Sanyo, but at this point, the Sanyo name is simply disappearing completely from the projector marketplace.

Fear not, competition (which drives innovation and pricing) remains stronger than ever.  More and more Taiwanese / Chinese  (mostly) companies have stepped up, and launched larger, and larger projector lines these past few years. Consider that companies like Acer, Vivitek, Casio, all have large projector lineups, yet none of these players was even thought of for projectors until 2-3 years ago.  And there are plenty more.

DLP vs LCD Projectors and Color Lumens

This section is, again, updated repeat from the previous year’s report. The purpose is to discuss the concept whether two projectors with different technology – LCD and single chip DLP, measuring the same number of lumens, are really truly equally as bright, or perform equally in terms of color. This is for those curious, definitely not critical reading for buying a projector.

Over two years ago, the 3LCD Group, a trade organization for the LCD manufacturers and projector manufacturers that build LCD projectors, started talking up the creation of a new standard, essentially “Color Lumens.”  They tell me that this standard is on the way.  The two largest sellers of LCD projectors in the US, now both are quoting Color Lumens, and White Lumens separately (on their data sheets, etc.)

Basically we’ve all been measuring projectors by measuring white, with the common reference being ANSI Lumens, which measures white.. The 3LCD folks point is that differently designed projectors all producing, say 2000 lumens of white, may perform dramatically different when it comes to color, and some would more faithfully

There are valid points there, and some practical trade-offs to discuss.

The 3LCD folks’ argument is aimed squarely at the single chip DLP projectors, or at least virtually all of the ones that are not built for home theater. The short version – well, as short as I write, is that single chip business and education DLP projectors use a spinning color wheel, and in almost all cases, they have Red,Green,Blue, and Clear (which we will call white, since white light is what passes through it), some have additional segments, such as yellow, but the underlying issue relates to that clear slice. I’ll use the same example as was in last year’s report: