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Small Wonders

The latest in educational projectors is a generation of LED powered devices that are not only smaller and lighter, but can simplify classroom set up and save on expenses. That’s because on top of using much less electricity, their lamps have been designed to last at least ten years of typical school use so you’ll probably never have to replace an expensive lamp again.

On the downside, they can’t compare on brightness with traditional classroom projectors, but still have their place in the classroom or small group learning. Here’re five of my favorites,

BenQ-Joybee-GP2-1Need to put something on your iPhone or iPod onto the classroom’s big screen but can’t figure out how to do it? In addition to connecting with a computer or DVD player, BenQ’s Joybee GP2 can put what’s on an iPhone or iPod onto a screen with up to 720p high definition resolution. The $700 micro-projector uses a tiny DLP imaging engine and LEDs, but puts out only 100 lumens of light, the lowest output of the five. It can be battery powered for doing things like projecting a movie on a field trip bus. It weighs 1.2 pounds.

ML500_Right_300dpiBy contrast, Optoma’s ML500 projector is much larger and weighs in at 2.5 pound, but is tiny compared to traditional projectors. It leads its class by being able to put 500 lumens of light on the screen, which should be more than enough for a small group lesson or a classroom with the blinds down. With 1,280 by 800 resolution, the ML500 can show HD programming from a computer or play all sorts of files directly from an SD card. The ML500 costs about $700.

LG-HX350T_2Of these five mini-projectors, LG’s HX350T is the most unique projector by being able to do things the others can’t. In addition to connecting with a computer or DVD player, it has a digital TV tuner built-in so that it can project episodes of Sesame Street or Discovery Channel documentaries. The TV signal can come from a cable connection or broadcast TV via an antenna, it doesn’t matter. At 300 lumens, the projector’s 1,024 by 768 resolution output is midway between the others in terms of brightness; it can show 1,024 by 768 resolution and costs $650.

1-acer_k11_2Despite its micro size and 1.3-pound weight, Acer’s K11 projector offers a lot for a little. It puts out 200 lumens in SVGA resolution so that it can fill a 6.7-foot screen with all sorts of lessons to small groups of students. The K11has a simple control panel as well as a built-in 1 watt speaker and can be connected to HDMI or VGA sources. It has automatic keystone correction for a quick classroom set up, but the best part about Acer’s K11 is its price tag, which can be as low as $300.

Qumi-Vivitek-highres (7)Unlike the others, Vivtek pushes microprojectors into the third dimension with its Qumi Q2, which supports the use of 3-D movies and programs. It supports 720p high definition resolution, pumps out 300 lumens of brightness and can play content directly from a USB memory key or SD card; it also has mini HDMI and composite video jacks for connecting with a computer. The projector comes with most of the cables you’ll need, a remote control and travel bag. All told, it’s the lightweight of the bunch with a weight of just over a pound and sells for $500.




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