When picking a projector for the classroom, image quality is an important factor to consider but, to guarantee the best investment, a longer running life and other features should be on the school’s checklist too.
Traditional lamp-based projectors using Digital Light Processing (DLP) have become the industry standard, benefitting from good colour accuracy and brightness as well as their compactness and relative cheapness. But new LED projectors do away with the lamp light source in favour of longer-lasting light-emitting diodes, often in combination with laser technology. These last a lot longer than their DLP counterparts, and by the time the light source needs changing, it’ll probably be time for a new system altogether (they’re often nicknamed “fit and forget” devices in the AV industry). This means they’re much more economic and ecological to run, and you also don’t need to worry about the bulb failing halfway through a lesson! As you’d expect, though, those benefits do mean the LED projectors come with a slightly higher initial price tag.
So which solution represents the best investment for the classroom? We’ve taken a mix of three LED and traditional Digital Light Processing (DLP) projectors, all with the same brightness of 3000 ANSI Lumens, and done a few sums to see which is the winner in the long run. First, the contenders…
1. Casio XJ-M150 LED projector. This “lamp-free” projector from Casio can run for a whopping 20,000 hours (that’s the equivalent of leaving it on continuously for more than two school years!). It also features Intelligent Brightness Control for automatically adapting to how light or dark the classroom is. Price: £1,026 inc VAT.
2. NEC M300X DLP projector. The NEC has a predicted lamp life of 5000 hours (6000 in Eco mode) and features a scheduled switch-off function for reducing unnecessary power usage, plus a Carbon Savings Meter to monitor how much carbon dioxide you’re using. Price: £718.80 inc VAT. Additional lamps: £200.
3. BenQ MX660P DLP projector. The BenQ’s low cost makes it ideal for schools on a tight budget and it can run for an estimated 3500 hours (5000 in Eco mode) without the lamp needing changing. Price: £454.80 inc VAT. Additional lamps: £95.
Between the NEC and the BenQ, it works out around £274 cheaper to buy the BenQ projector with two replacement lamps (giving approximately 7000 hours of normal use) than it is to buy the NEC projector and one replacement lamp (giving the same 7000 hours of use). So the BenQ wins on cost out of the two DLP projectors. But is the extra expenditure and effort of replacing lamps worth it?
While the Casio XJ-M150 has the highest price tag, the others simply can’t match it in terms of length of life before needing replacement lamps. Even running in lower-brightness Eco mode, the BenQ MX660P would need its lamp replacing four times as often as the Casio. Considering the other classroom-friendly features on offer, such as quick powering up and shutting down to save lesson time, we have to declare the Casio XJ-M150 the ideal choice when upgrading projectors.
For more information on projectors, give us a call on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com.