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Review: Epson BrightLink 697ui Interactive Projector

(Image credit: Epson)

http://bit.ly/BrightLink697Ui Retail Price: $3,299.00; Brighter Futures Educational Pricing—$2,499.00

Epson describes its BrightLink 697Ui ultra short-throw interactive display as “the ultimate academic collaboration tool,” and it’s nothing short of amazing. It boasts a full high-definition image of up to 100 inches diagonal from as close as 10 inches away from the screen. It is a powerhouse with great projection and many collaborative and interactive features. The native resolution on the 697Ui is 1920x1200 (Full HD) WUXGA widescreen, and the color brightness is a whopping 4400 lumens. When installed on a wall painted with “idea paint” (dry-erase marker paint), the display’s true interactivity came to life. The 697Ui comes with a one-year subscription to the SMART Learning Suite of interactive tools, including SMART Notebook. The 697Ui allows for wireless projecting from any device (including iOS, Android, Chromebooks, and Windows-based computers and tablets) as well as content sharing back to these devices. It also offers built-in PC-free whiteboard tools for interactive collaboration in the classroom and with offsite participants.

QUALITY AND EFFECTIVENESS

The 697Ui is easy to install on a variety of surfaces and simple to calibrate for instant interactivity. Even with classroom lights on, it presents a bright and engaging image.

EASE OF USE

Everything from the onscreen setup to setting up the license for the SMART Learning Suite and navigating the PC-free whiteboard mode is easy to follow and user-friendly. Our teachers really liked the spotlight and reveal tools which allowed them to present using virtual versions of a sliding paper on an old transparency projector. The PC-free annotation tools can also be used with document cameras and DVD-players that are connected to the display to bring those tools to life with more engaging learning opportunities.

CREATIVE USE OF TECHNOLOGY

We first used the 697Ui in a gym during a band concert to project a video on a wall behind the band. Because the projector could be placed within 10 inches from the wall, it was easy to place it behind the band and project a huge picture on the wall.

In one of our libraries, a librarian used the 697Ui for interactive presentations of books she projected and read aloud to classes. She could use her finger or the supplied stylus to turn each page virtually and circle main characters, and she could also highlight key vocabulary words with the interactive highlighter.

SUITABILITY FOR USE IN A SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT

Because of the ease of setup and installation and the fact that Epson supplies all of the necessary mounts and mounting tools, this projector is perfect for use in any school or classroom. With the 697Ui, schools don’t have to buy both an interactive whiteboard and a projector in addition to software for creating interactive presentations. This projector is an amazing collaboration tool—within the classroom and for connecting with other classrooms.

OVERALL RATING:

I give this projector a five-star rating. When purchased using Epson’s Brighter Futures Education program, the 697Ui offers so many learning resources for the money that it would be hard to decide to go with anything else.

TOP FEATURES

• The Full HD projection at 4400 lumens is outstanding in any room setting.

• The interactive capabilities and PC-free tools work with any device — or even without a device.

• The collaborative aspect of sharing to and from any device wirelessly is a must for engaging today’s classrooms.