Projector Reviews

Classroom Projector Report: Best School Projectors for K-12 Education-6

Casio XJ-ST155

This is the second Casio in this year’s report.  The XJ-ST155 (click for full review) is an XGA, short throw projector with a healthy zoom lens, and an LED/Laser light source rated 20,000 hours.  This (and also the M145) use Casio’s 3rd generation light source.  Like all the other LED or hybrid light source projectors this one is reasonably bright, but not up to the conventional lamp based projectors.  Measuring around 1700 lumens, that’s plenty for a classroom, and remember, by the time most projectors with conventional lamps have 2000 hours on them, the Casio will mostly likely be brighter, at that point… This Casio measured the brightest of the LED or hybrid light source projectors we tested, though not by a great deal.   These new light sources, are consistently grossly overstated in brightness by their manufacturers.

Like many DLP projectors, this one is optionally interactive.  Do keep in mind, that as a general rule, those projectors created and sold as interactive projectors tend to be definitely more capable, than those offering what is usually basic interactivity, via an optional pen.

Casio’s Mobi-Show, relates to its wireless presenting capabilities, with support for Windows, and Mac, as well as iPhone/iPad/Android.

Definitely not a very portable projector, it weighs more than 15 pounds and is expected to be mounted in most classroom environments.  Tony noted particular that he found it a particularly easy projector to setup and use.

He also noted, that video was rather good for a “non-home theater projector”.

This Casio, like most of the DLP projectors in this report is 3D capable, and, as is typical, does not support 1080p Blu-ray 3D.  (there are optional work-arounds, for those that must be able to do Blu-ray 3D content.

Epson Brightlink 485wi Projector:

Epson’s Brightlink 485Wi (click for full review) is a fully interactive LCD projector.  This is actually the third generation interactive projector from Epson using this approximate form factor and this too builds on the original.  That’s a very good thing, as in the last two years the top of the line Epson interactives have both won our best in classroom award, however sharing it with another projector last year.  It is an ultra-short-throw projector it’s typically mounted on the wall right above your white board or screen or even just a plain wall the projector itself only needs to be inches the front only inches away from the screen itself.  This means no blinding the presenter when they’re actually writing on the board.  Resolution is WXGA as is typical of most of the projectors in this report.  The review itself gets into a fair amount of detail on some of the interactive features.

Epson’s lamp life is actually very, very good, though no match for the lamp rating of the Brightlink 435.  This 3100 lumen projector claims 4,000 hours in eco-mode and 3,000 hours in full power.  Realizing that finding the money for replacement lamps has been a chronic problem for many school districts fear not.  Epson has the solution.

Thanks to their education program, replacement lamps for schools are only $79.00 each!

Officially this Epson has a $2000ish street price, however education pricing is dramatically lower.  For last year’s model of the year before even with the bundle of software the pricing has typically been $1,500.00 or so, or less.  Large consortiums and state negotiations bring the prices well below that.  Color, as is typical of LCD projectors, is very good with vivid reds and bright yellows lacking the often mustardy yellow-green found in some DLP competition.  We were very pleased with color.

Another interesting touch, This Epson comes with two pens, as two people can actually work on the screen at the same time for collaboration.  That’s a very interesting feature we haven’t noticed on other interactive projectors.  Overall a top-tier interactive projector with little or no equal.

Introduced last year for the older Epson Brightlink 455wi, and and compatible with the Brightlink 485 is the table display, and intriguing “command and control” type of layout that may have real potential in some school environments, and may be particularly effective with K-8 and younger students?

Epson PowerLite 435 Projector

Some basics: The Epson PowerLite 435W (click for full review) is rated 3,000 lumens, it is a 3LCD projector with three panels.  Resolution is WXGA, (1280 by 800), which matches the current resolution of most of today’s laptop computers, and many desktops.  This happens to be a very short-throw projector.  For example, it can fill an 80‑inch image from just a few feet away.  Still, that’s not the same as ultra-short-throw projectors such as Epson’s own flagship Powerlight 485W which is also interactive.

Speaking of interactive, interactivity is an option for this projector.  Don’t need it now?  Not sure?  Add it later.

Brightness certainly is not an issue for this Epson especially considered that it’s rated 3,000 lumens both for white lumens, and color lumens!  Translated: LCD manufacturers and LCoS projector manufacturers, have complained for years that the old “white” standard for measuring brightness, doesn’t accurately reflect overall brightness differences between today’s different technologies.

As far as a classroom projector goes, Epson excels with one of the most important feature needs and that is a long life and very affordable lamp.  In ecomode the projector is good for, or rather claims, 6,000 hours for the lamp.  True, those hybrid LED/Laser projectors claim up to 20000 hours, but you pay a premium price, and none come close to being this bright.  When it comes to projectors that have filters, replacing or cleaning filters becomes very time consuming in a school district level purchase as there may be hundreds of projectors.  Not so with this Epson, it uses a filter but it only needs to be changed every 5,000 hours, that’s exceptional.  Finally I should note that this Epson Powerlight 435W has optional interactivity and also that there is an app available that will allow it to do presentations directly from iPhones and iPads in addition to all the other usual sources.  A free iPresentation App can be found in Apples App store.  All considered, this is a high performance projector for the classroom very capable very expandable, and considered for one of our top awards

The Epson should handle typical rooms with good audio. Its 16 watt speaker is one of the more powerful, found on the projectors considered for this report. This is a pretty feature laden projector with optional interactivity, which will pair very nicely with the Brightlink 435W’s Very Short Throw nature.