Mitsubishi WD380U-EST Projector
The Mitsubishi WD380U-EST (click for full review) is a true ultra-short-throw WXGA projector. This Mitsubishi is endowed with extensive networking capabilities, its Crestron Room View compatible, it’s pretty bright at 2,800 lumens, contrast is good at 3,000, as is typical for an ultra-short-throw projector the lens is fixed.
There is no lens shift. Lamp life is an impressive 6,000 hours in ecomode, 3,000 hours at full power. That’s good, with almost 3,000 lumens most school environment users will not need to run at full power thus keeping costs down.
Warranty is a solid three years parts and labor on the projector. The lamp comes with one year or 500 hours, that’s very traditional stuff. Mitsubishi does not offer a replacement or lunar program.
The Mitsubishi is 3D capable. It uses DLP link which is very common glasses are affordable at a low price. It also offers PC-free presentations. It can do Powerpoint presentations using a conversation directly from USB thumb drives. No you cannot just feed it a Powerpoint native presentation. There is a full color management system should you need very precise colors.
The Mitsubishi WD380U offers a number of color presets, and as expected the output varies noticeably. Presentation mode is the brightest, it’s a little heavy on greens; theater mode is the least bright or one of the least bright and its color is downright stunning. Ultimately you pick the mode you need for the job it’s got plenty to choose from.
Mike, when reviewing this Mitsubishi, was very impressed with the readability. It handled higher resolutions and it’s native without any trouble and without much softness added. Mike found theater mode to have very good color for handling videos and movies. The Mitsubishi WD380U-EST offers rather complete networking including presentation capability, reporting, network control and wireless capabilities available using an optional adapter. The projector can interface up to four network PCs simultaneously.
Overall consider the Mitsubishi WD380U to be a reasonably bright projector for today’s day and age, size and price. There’s no dust filter, which helps keep the costs of maintenance low. This Mitsubishi has sophisticated networking, and also very good color. If there’s a valid complaint about all ultra-short-throw projectors, it’s that getting them set up on a table and aligned exactly to the screen or whiteboard can be a bit of a chore. The good news, is that shouldn’t be a problem for the vast majority of users, as almost all of these projectors heading for schools will be wall mounted above the “screen”.
NEC U310W Projector
Nec's new U310W (click for full review) is an interactive projector, It's a ultra-short throw DLP with native resolution of 1280 x 800 which of course is WXGA. This is a really bright small projector claiming 3100 lm, more than enough for any classroom. It's also 3-D capable. Don't consider this projecter to be portable projector, as it weighs in at about 14 pounds. It is most likely to be mounted on the wall directly above your whiteboard or screen that you're using. Although it is Dd capable, you'll have to go out and get your glasses as they are not included in the price, which is typical. A quick, online search, shows the street price to be under $1300.
As with most projectors, expect special educational discounts for schools, school districts and even bigger discounts at the state/consortium level.
One extremely interesting feature and benefit of the use 310W, is its interactive software and pen that works with the iPad. You can also control the projector itsself from your iPad, or for that matter, a PC. The pen plugs into the iPad.
From a standpoint of cost of ownership, the NEC is a bit of a mixed bag. Lamp life is Barely average 2500 hours at full power 3000 in Eco, that's a lot lower than many of these projectors, never mind the LED light source models. Other than that, the lamp can be changed without unmounting the projector, a definite plus. While not inexpensive, this NEC projector is still hundreds of dollars less than some of the other premium interactive projectors considered here.