GENERAL-PURPOSE: Epson recommends its new model 826W ($999) as a general-purpose projector suitable for classroom use. It offers an extended lamp life of up to 6,000 hours, 2,500 lumens, a built-in closed-captioning decoder, an internal 10-watt speaker, network connectivity for remote presentations (via wired LAN) and optional wireless connectivity.INEXPENSIVE: Epson’s SVGA PowerLite S6, selling for $549, offers 2,200 lumens, plug-and-play USB connectivity (in addition to composite, S-Video and VGA) and a lamp life of up to 4,000 hours.HIGH-DEFINITION: Epson’s 4,000-lumen model G5000 ($2,499) supports the 1,080i HDTV input signal; its lamp life varies from 2,000 (high-brightness mode) to 3,000 hours (low-brightness mode).
Epson’s BrightLink 450Wi is an intelligent projector that allows educators to turn any standard whiteboard or smooth wall into an interactive-learning area. This enables educators to easily integrate interactive capabilities and eliminates the need to purchase and install dedicated interactive whiteboards. The ultra-short-throw Epson BrightLink 450Wi interactive projector comes with two digital infrared pens and wall-mount hardware for easy installation.PROS: The BrightLink 450Wi has all the functionality of an interactive whiteboard without the cost or trouble of mounting an IWB. The projector can be permanently mounted as close as 2.8 inches to the wall. It is easy to set up, and the controls are well defined. Because of the USB plug-and-play, there is no need to use a VGA cable to project when using a Windows PC or Mac. The BrightLink 450Wi projects in native wide-screen aspect ratio as well as 4:3 aspect ratio. The built-in microphone input for voice amplification is good for narrating presentations.CONS: It would be nice if this projector included auto keystone adjustment, as found in other Epson projectors (users can adjust keystone manually). The built-in speakers may not amplify enough for all locations. Users must use the pen to manipulate objects, versus the finger-touch technology found in some IWBs.OVERALL EVALUATION: In addition to providing the functionality of an IWB, the BrightLink 450Wi projects an image larger than that of most IWBs. The variety of inputs and the clarity of the controls make the product an excellent choice for any school looking for an ultra-short-throw projector with interactive functionality.www.epson.com/brightlinkRetail price: less than $2,000—Joe Huber
The Epson PowerLite Presenter portable projector and DVD player combo includes two 10-watt speakers with virtual surround sound, microphone support, and built-in closed-captioning capabilities. WXGA resolution displays content from wide-screen notebooks, and the unit supports a host of input devices, such as a camcorder, a digital camera, and an iPod.PROS: The USB plug-and-play connectivity makes for easy setup and eliminates toggling between projector and display. The controls are easy to use and well defined. The PowerLite Presenter projects in native 16:10 (WXGA) aspect ratio as well as 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios and offers USB connectivity for viewing JPG images without a computer. The built-in microphone is a nice feature.CONS: Cannot be mounted on a stationary mount. The 10-watt speakers may not be powerful enough for all locations.OVERALL EVALUATION: The variety of inputs and the clarity of the controls make this projector an excellent choice for anyone looking for a mobile projector in the mid-price range. The HD projection at an aspect ratio of 16:10 makes wide-screen viewing a real pleasure. Every school needs a couple of mobile projectors, and this one is designed for mobility.www.epsonbrighterfutures.comPrice: $808 through the Brighter Futures program
Epson America’s Brighter Futures Graduation Program gives schools, districts, and universities a cost effective and environmentally friendly way to trade in older Epson projectors for recycling while earning discounts on newer, more state of the art replacement models. New Epson