From Slate to Screen
As the bring-your-own-device ethic filters into the classroom, the problem of connecting them to monitors and projectors to share it with the whole class becomes paramount. Sceptre’s X325BV 32-inch TV is not only inexpensive and can show HD material but connects with a wide variety of sources, including phones and tablets.
The black TV-monitor is only 3-inches thick and has a thin bezel around its 31.5-inch display panel. This should allow it to fit into just about any classroom décor. It comes with a stand that raises the display 2.5-inches above a table or shelf, but you’ll have to put it together yourself; happily, the box includes a screwdriver. At 23-pounds, it’s light enough to be unpacked, connected and installed by one person and hung on a wall.
The display itself is very bright and sharp and is great for showing graphics and presentations. It can display 1,920 by 1,080 resolution, has automatic contrast enhancement as well as two different video noise reduction techniques.
With a wide 176-degree viewing angle, the TV has a wide assortment of adjustments, including brightness, color temperature and clock timing. In addition to analog and digital tuners for bringing in broadcast TV content, the X325BV works with a cable box and has one of the best assortments of connections. In addition to three HDMI ports, the TV has Composite, VGA and Y-Pb-Pr connections. The TV can also lift images and audio – but not video – off of a memory key plugged into its USB port.
At the heart of the display's connectivity is its ability to use one of its HDMI ports as an input for a Mobile High Definition Link (MHL) device. That opens up dozens of Android tablets and phones for use with the monitor. It worked like a charm with an LG Nitro phone, connecting on the first try, but you’ll need to use the HDMI-3 input, supply your own MHL cable and power it with a USB adapter; generic cables cost about $10 each.
In addition, the TV can work directly with a Roku streaming player and I was able to put the output of a Nexus 7 onto the X325BV’s display with a SlimPort connector. It also works with a ChromeCast wireless adapter.
Audio is just as important as video and the X325BV has a pair of 10-watt speakers at the screen’s lower corners and the ability to drive a surround sound system. To enhance and customize sound, the Sceptre X325BV has a 7-band equalizer for adjusting different parts of the audio spectrum.
It comes with a large remote control that has a variety of functions, from selecting the source and aspect ratio to adjusting the volume and changing the channel. You can even use it to control a sound bar, like Sceptre’s $200 SB301523 bar. The remote it is powered by a pair of AAA batteries and has brightly colored buttons, but no backlighting for teaching in the dark.
The screen is a power miser that uses less than a watt of electricity when it’s turned off. When it is being used, the X325BV consumes 33 watts of power, and the screen can be set to turn itself off after 10 minutes of not having an active input. All told, it will cost less than $7 a year if used for 8-hours every school day.
While it’s perfect for teaching and collaborating with up to about 20 children, the X325BV’s 32-inch screen might be too small for a larger group, particularly if there are students that are more than 15- or 20-feet away from the display. Still, at $300, about half the cost of a 47-inch screen, it is a bargain that can help bring phones and tablets to bear on teaching.
+ Instant MHL and Roku connections
+ 3 HDMI inputs
+ Slim design
+ Low power use
+ Analog and digital tuners
- Too small for big classroom
- Doesn’t include MHL cable