It’s not for everyone, but if 80 lumens of light is enough to light up your small-group lesson, the Touchjet Pond projector should do just fine. At $600, it is a mighty mite that can create an interactive 80-inch image on a wall or whiteboard, just keep the lights off and the shades down. It has a full Android computer built-in, includes WiFi networking and can react to four touch inputs at once. It comes with a pair of interactive pens and a remote control.
The latest Epson BrightLink Pro projectors show the way for increasing class participation and interactivity. Both the BrightLink Pro 1450Ui and 1460Ui up the resolution to full HD capabilities from the previous model’s wide-XGA resolution while allowing PC-free presentations and instant connections with other projectors. The $3,000 1450Ui model will be available in January, puts out 3,800 lumens of light and can create a 100-inch display on a wall or whiteboard from close up. You’ll have to wait until February for the 1460Ui model, which adds Miracast and WiDi wireless video for cable-free connections. It also increases output to 4,400-lumens of light and will cost $3,300.
Either should fit well with Epson’s all-in-one Interactive Table cart. A big step forward for those who need to go from room to room with a projector, the table cart can project from full vertical to a horizontal table top as well as any angle in between. This not only allows a group of students to gather around the projection table and work together, but it can accommodate people in wheel chairs. It will sell for $2,800 without a projector.
While it’s probably not enough light for a full-size classroom, Vivitek’s Qumi Q3 Plus is perfect for small group teaching. At less than a pound and about the size of a paperback book the Q3 Plus uses LEDs to deliver 1,280 by 720 resolution and about 500 lumens. Inside, the projector has a Quad-Core processor that is running Android software and has a battery big enough for 2 hours of plug-free use. It is available in five colors for $500.
Think LED or laser projectors are the way to go to save on lamps? Think again because Hitachi’s CP-X25LWN can get 10,000 hours of use out of its lamp. Able to deliver 2,700 lumens of light, the CP-X25LWN’s lamp has a five-year warranty that covers it for 10,000 hours of use. That adds up to roughly ten years of five hours of use every school day. The projector itself delivers XGA resolution through a trio of LCD panels, has all the ports you’ll need as well as a 1.2X optical zoom lens. Happily, its air filter should last 10,000 hours as well, making maintenance a snap. The projector costs $839 and replacement lamps (with the filter included) are a reasonable $129.
Casio’s XJ F210WN projector starts with a solid-state illumination engine that instead of a measly 1,000 lumens of light, pumps out 3,500 lumens of brightness for lights-on, shades-up lessons. Its combination of LEDs and lasers means that you’ll never have to change a bulb again. The DLP-based projector features a wide 1.5X optical zoom lens and the XJ F210 can fill a 25-foot screen with wide-XGA 1,280 by 800 resolution images. It has a pair of HDMI inputs as well as 2GB of internal storage that should be good for a semester’s worth of teaching material. There's a wired LAN connection, but you’ll need to get the projector’s $100 802.11b/g adapter to use WiFi. The best part is that the XJ F210 is not only easy on electricity, using a maximum of about 200-watts, about half that of comparable traditional projectors, but is small and weighs just over 8-pounds. It costs $1,000.
Ahead of Google’s merging of Android and Chromebook platforms, Epson helps those schools that use Chromebooks every day with some slick software. As is the case with the iProjection apps for iOS and Android are not only free but the new Chromebook version lets you pick what you want to show the class and it’s sent to the projector. On the downside, it only works with several Epson WiFi enabled projectors.
EliteScreen’s Manual Grande's name says it all: Big screen without a motor to open and close it. The Manual Grande can be had in sizes of up to nearly 17-feet and is perfect for that large lecture hall or auditorium. With a 1.1 gain matte surface, the screen works well with just about any projector and has a wide black border. It comes with a 3-year school warranty.
While their imaging is far from 4K resolution, high resolution projectors can add detail to lessons compared with older projectors. BenQ's CH100 does it all without a traditional lamp. At $1,800, it’s on the high side, but the CH100 is powered by LEDs, so it will never need a new lamp. Only about the size of a small notebook, it can deliver 1,000 lumens of brightness. With the latest digital light processing chip, the CH100 can create a 7.5-foot image 6-feet from the screen.
BenQ raises the bar for small projectors with the $750 Colorific i500, which not only can wirelessly stream video but can be a Bluetooth speaker as well. Small and weighing just 3.3-pounds, the i500 is powered by LEDs so there’s no expensive lamp to change, although the projector delivers 1,280 by 800 resolution at only 500-lumens so turn the lights off. It can do something few projectors can: directly stream video from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and other services.
Epson’s BrightLink Pro family just got a lot bigger with the addition of the All-in-One Interactive Table. Basically an interactive short-throw projector aimed at a reflective tabletop, the Interactive Table lets teachers and students work the way they are most comfortable by changing the screen’s angle to the table. It can accommodate finger or pen input and everything is motorized for easy adjustments of the 50- by 67-inch work surface. Booth 3100.