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Gone are the days when projectors meant for office use were big and heavy, and required a lot of maintenance. Today, projectors are small, simple to use and easy to maintain—all this without compromising on the features and performance. Built-in document and presentation viewers, Wi-Fi connectivity and screen-mirroring features that work well with smartphones are becoming common. With efficient LED lamps, brightness levels are better as well.
We review some of the office projectors available in the market, across various price points.
The MH740’s DLP lens projects at a full high-definition resolution (1,920x1,080 pixels), is 3D capable and packs in 4,000 lumens. The Eco Blank mode can be used to project a single colour on the screen or wall, good at times when everyone is taking a break from a meeting, or when the projector is not in use—this lowers power consumption by 70%. The LAN control feature means the projector can be controlled remotely for regular maintenance tasks, software updates and settings.
The PA1000-GL is light enough to carry with you to a meeting—it weighs 1.2 kg, and is 230mm wide, 170mm long and 44mm high. The LED lens has a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels, and is rated at 1,000 lumens. It has a number of features: integrated document viewers are useful to access files off a USB drive, the wireless Screen Share feature works with iOS and Android devices, and the HDMI port is MHL compatible as well, for wired smartphone connectivity.
The EB-1975W has two built-in wireless streaming technologies, Intel WiDi and Miracast, making it convenient for accessing content from laptops, without having to deal with wires. The iProjection app (free for iOS and Android) makes it easier to share content that may be stored in the smartphone or tablet. The Faroudja DCDi image-improvement feature improves sharpness and smoothens fast-motion scenes. This 3LCD projector has a native resolution of 1,280x800 pixels and 5,000 lumens power.
At 360g, the Dell M115HD is a good option if you need a portable projector that you can carry with you in a small bag—it is 105.3mm wide, 104mm long and 36.5mm high. The LED lens has a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels. There is 1 GB internal storage as well, for storing documents, and this negates the need for carrying USB drives for meetings. The M115HD also has a USB port and a memory card slot to access files.
Ricoh PJ WX4141NI
Conventional projectors need to be at least 4-5ft from the wall to get a big projection size. The Ricoh PJ WX4141NI is an ultra short-throw projector which can be placed right up against the wall and can still reproduce big projection size because of its different design and the placement of the lens near the top of the device (it is at the front in most projectors). It has a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels and a bright 3,300 lumens capability.
If higher picture resolution is of paramount importance, then opt for PJD7820HD. The DLP projector is full high definition (1,920x1,080 pixels) and 3D capable. The lens is rated at 3,000 lumens and works well with a variety of content, including documents, videos and movies.
The V300WG DLP projector has 1,280x800 pixel resolution, and can take content from a variety of inputs—HDMI, component video and S-video. The 3,000 lumens power is good enough for big conference rooms. This projector offers a bit of future-proofing on a budget—with 3D capabilities that could be useful for scientific and design applications, as well as for educational institutions.
This is a value-for-money deal. The 800x600 pixel resolution is good enough for viewing documents. The ports are on the side panel, making it easy to access them if the S315 is installed in a tight space. There is a composite and S-video input each, and two VGA ports for connecting laptops and PCs. The DLP lens is rated at 3,200 lumens, and is powerful enough for small and medium-sized conference rooms, even with a bit of indoor lighting.
Office projectors are not the same as home projectors
A projector displays in either the 4:3 aspect ratio, or the wider 16:9 aspect ratio. Documents look better in the 4:3 ratio. Ideally, for offices, where discussions mostly revolve around documents and spreadsheets, 4:3 is better, so that the text and documents don’t look stretched. At home, the 16:9 ratio works better because movies and HD TV require wide-screen ratios.
The brightness level (measured in lumens) is an indicator of how bright the projected image will be. Unlike projectors meant for homes, office projectors usually do not have to handle dynamic movie and video content, and hence the black levels don’t need to be very deep. Adequate brightness, compensating for some ambient light (as people scribble on their notepads during the meeting) is needed—anything upwards of 1,500 lumens is good enough for presentations and spreadsheets.
What you need to look for is the clarity of the white colour—this can only be assessed by the naked eye, and not by any number on the specification sheet.
Connectivity is critical. A HDMI port is a must, to connect the laptop. With smartphones and tablets used widely in offices, options such as MHL, Miracast and Wi-Fi streaming can be extremely useful too. Unlike home projectors, office projectors don’t need the highest resolution, or the best colour reproduction.
*Prices may vary