Projector Reviews

Guide to the Classroom Projector Report for K-12 Education

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This is Projector Reviews third year of producing our K-12 Education Projector Report – this time for the 2012-2013 school year. Many of the concepts we discuss remain unchanged from previous years.  There are definite shifts in what types of projectors we looked at this year including more “pocket” projectors, more interactive projectors more ultra-short throw projectors, and more LED and or Laser light sources.

Topics Covered in this Projector Guide

  • What’s in this Report
    • Reviews section – 16 projectors this year
    • Awards
    • 60+ additional classroom suitable projectors considered (but not reviewed)
  • Defining your expectations:
    • Are you a district level AV or IT manager, tech coordinator?
    • A school level AV/IT manager or network administrator?
    • A teacher?
    • A driver of technology at your school?
  • Understanding the physical classroom environment in selecting the proper projector equipment

Once again, many will find my writing style to be long on explanations. We expect this report will be read by a lot of folks at different technological levels, and with different responsibilities. I can almost hear some groans of “that’s so obvious” from time to time, from those with lots of experience, we appreciate your understanding so we don’t leave high and dry on the explanations, any less projector knowledgeable folks.

What's In This Report

Please check out the Special Features page. That’s where we talk about the features that you may want to be considering, and others you definitely will. Hopefully we’ll be able to provide a helpful insight or two.

The first, and largest part of this Classroom Projector Report considers the 16 projectors we’ve reviewed for K-12 schools. All but two have been reviewed since the beginning of this year.  To the best of our knowledge, all are still available for schools to purchase for installation or accumulation this summer (2012).

This year most of the projectors were reviewed by Tony and Mike. Myself, I was finishing our Home Theater Projector Report, and only managed one review – a BenQ projector with a hybrid light source.

The Overview page is the first page of this report. It further touches on some of the points covered in this Guide to the Classoom Projector Report document. It also discusses awards, but, the two key aspects of the Overview page are the links to the reviews themselves (and to the specs pages) for each of the reviewed education projectors, and what should be a very helpful section with multiple paragraphs, a short summary – Highlights – of each of the fifteen reviewed projectors! Use those short summaries (and our sortable spreadsheet), to narrow down your choices a bit.  Remember, they are summaries, and do not contain near as much information as the individual projector reviews.

You will find these individual projector summaries to vary a lot.  Not enough space to touch on all the important points, so, typically, I spent a couple of paragraphs on each, discussing some features on some, other features (or benefits) on different projectors.

Basically when you finish that section, you hopefully will have a pretty good understanding about the abilities of each projector (although not a lot of fine detail), and have learned a lot of additional information that may affect your decision process while you are at it.

Winners of Our Projector Awards

The awards are specific only to the Reviewed projectors. No awards are given out to the projectors on the section that considers dozens of projectors, most of which are related to the review projectors.  Let me clarify.  We might review one projector (let’s say it’s 2500 lumens, XGA, and lacks networking), and include it on the primary projector spreadsheet. On the larger spreadsheet, that projector’s siblings are likely found.

Best In Classroom, Best In Classroom – Runner-up, and Special Interest awards.

Some projectors will also pick up our “standard” award: the Hot Product award.

This year, in the course of selecting the winners, and with an intent to maintain some decent perspective, pricing is based on estimated “street price” from authorized dealers. We say authorized, because once in a while you may see what seems to be a price ridiculously lower than everywhere else, from a non-authorized dealer. Remember – “let the buyer beware”. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. We use MAP or street prices because MSRPs can be all over the place. Two projectors can each be selling for $999, but one might have an MSRP of $1099, and the other $1999… That makes list (MSRP) prices rather useless.

Prices discussed here are the usual quantity one variety.  For districts, state level purchasing, and the even larger Consortiums, many manufacturers have lower prices (often quantity based), and also quite often, longer warranties.

Most of these companies have special education programs offering such discounts and warranties. When the manufacturer does, they usually even have a fancy name for the Education program.  A couple of examples:  Epson Brighter Futures program, and Sony has a program called Extra Credit (nice play on words).