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2013-2014 Award Winners: Last Year's Winners Still Available 1

Posted on May 8, 2014 by Art Feierman

We wish to thank Epson America for sponsoring this year's Best Classroom Projectors report.

These projectors are still available for school purchases in the early Summer of 2014, so we are highlighting them in this year's report.

Epson Brightlink 436Wi: Best in Classroom - Interactive Projector

Epson’s very short throw BrightLink 436Wi took top honors last year, and provides a lower cost alternative with longer throw to the new BrightLink 585 (and it’s siblings, the 575Wi and 595Wi).  Key strengths:  3LCD, very good color, very good sharpness, excellent warranty and educational discount program.  The throw is short enough that this projector will:  a) be typically mounted using a wall mount above the whiteboard/screen, and b) help in preventing presenters from dealing with the projector’s light in their eyes.  In that regard the Epson is not as good as their more expensive ultra-short throw projectors, but much better than most short, and standard throw projectors.

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Optoma TW610STi+: Best in Classroom, Runner-Up - Interactive Projector

Last year’s runner-up for interactive projector is considered a short throw projector.  As a result, the TW610STi will normally be ceiling mounted because it needs more distance from the screen.  Very good warranty.  Networking.  This DLP projector builds on the interactive feature set that TI (who makes the DLP chips themselves) offer to be incorporated into manufacturers’ projectors.  Consider this one a serious interactive projector for under $1000.  Color is very good in the less bright modes

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Mitsubishi WD390U-EST: Best in Classroom - Networking Projector

Last year’s most advanced networking projector, with advanced collaboration abilities was the Mitsubishi WD390U-EST.  This projector is no longer available because Mitsubishi quit the industry.

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Viewsonic PJD6383S: Best In Classroom - Standard Projector With Networking

This projector is older than this year’s winner (tie) of the same award.  The PJD6383S is XGA resolution, not the WXGA of the 6544W, this year’s winner.  The newer Viewsonic seems more capable for no noticeable difference in price.  Still, a solid, well equipped traditional “portable/small fixed install” projector.  Very good warranty and competitive pricing.

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Epson W16SK: Best In Classroom - 3D Projector

The Epson W16SK Stacked 3D projector system is the only turnkey passive 3D glasses solution for schools.  One can cobble together others, but they would tend to cost far more, require multiple company’s components, and likely be a support nightmare.  Not so the W16SK.  Although the pair of projectors and mount combined to cost about double what competing individual DLP projectors (with other than 3D, similar features), the long term savings due to inexpensive 3D glasses, due to loss, theft and breakage, pretty much guarantees that in the long run the W16SK will cost far less, and will require less attention.  As an added bonus, it’s going to be at least twice as bright as typical 3D DLP projectors, which solves a major problem (brightness) when talking 3D in the classroom.  It is unique solution that makes a lot of sense.  The W16SK is back for another year (or two).

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