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How to Buy the Best Portable Computer Projectors for Your Company Meetings and Home Theater

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It’s hard enough to get your employees to really pay attention during company meetings and status groups as it is.  Long meetings and “death by power point” presentations can really kill the morale of a business or company.  That’s why it is important to have the best equipment possible when you’re trying to keep your employees engaged with important meetings. 

Or maybe, you have a big presentation to corporate or your boss.  You don’t want to take the risk of using your current 80’s-era projector burning out a bulb or not working entirely, do you?  You need to make sure that you have all the right equipment to really kill the presentation and win that account or show the boss that you and/or your team are serious about the business and information you’re presenting.

This article is mainly aimed at education and business presentation needs for small businesses, organizations and educational facility staffs.  However, most of the content you read can also be applied if you are looking for a projector for an awesome home theater system or if you are an avid gamer and want to feel as though you are actually in the environment of your game.

Computer Projector Terms You Need to Know

Pixel:  Pixel is actually a shortened version of the term picture element.  Projectors display graphics by dividing the image that it is projecting into thousands of parts called pixels.  Therefore, the higher the pixel display your computer, television or projector can handle than the sharper the images will be.

Projector Lamps

Projector Lamp:  Projector lamps transfer a multimedia image from the source onto the screen by focusing onto reflective surfaces or liquid crystals.  Lamp brightness is measured in lumens.  (Read more below)

Resolution:  Resolution is directly related to pixels.  Resolution is the number of pixels that are displayed on a monitor or projection system capability.

How To Buy a Computer Projector: 9 Things to Look For

 

Digital Light Processing:

 DLP Projectors are projected onto a series of small mirrors, each being one pixel of the projected image.  DLP projectors produce image with deep contrast-ration and can last a long time.  However, the projector lamp runs real hot and if you want to get the full lifespan out of these projectors you have to follow the correct cool down procedures when powering down.

Liquid Crystal Display:
LCD projectors defined

LCD Projectors power their images via tiny crystals that glow red, blue or green when contacted by an electrical charge.  These projectors produce high-detail images.  These types of projectors are best used in short bursts rather than long conferences.  This may be your best choice in the portable computer projector area.

Liquid Crystal over Silicon: 

LCoS Projectors produce image by shooting light at reflective surfaces, just like that of the DLP projectors.  Then, liquid crystals determine how the light is reflected and projected.  These are usually heavier and bulkier than the two previous discussed projectors.  High-quality with natural feels is the highlight of the type of image that this projector displays.

FAVI Entertainment LED-3 Mini Projector (Black)
Amazon Price: $340.43 $217.87 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 15, 2014)

Image Resolution:

 Higher resolutions mean a more detailed image.  It can get confusing, though, because you’ll see image resolution depicted in both numbers and letters.  Here’s a quick rundown:

  • VGA (640 x 480) Poor resolution and really antiquated technology.  Not good for large
    Image resolutions list defined
    screens.
  • SVGA (800 x 600) Good for small screens and low-cost consumer electronic models.
  • XGA (1024 x 800) Good resolution for computer display and televisions.
  • WXGA (1200 x 800) Pretty good for a standard-definition home theatre system and image displays for presentations.  Widescreen format.
  • SXGA (1280 x 1024) Boom!  We’re getting into real high-quality here with resolutions good for high-definition television and detailed image projection.
  • UXGA (1600 x 1200)  The best of the best in image resolution and projection.  This display will give you images and video that is above the capability of most Blu-ray and other high end video sources. 

 

FAVI RioHD-LED-2 Mini Projector
Amazon Price: $199.99 $199.22 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 15, 2014)

Brightness: 

This is more important than you might think.  Projectors measure their brightness levels in lumens.  Brightness capability really determines the quality of images that are projected with an environment that is very bright, i.e. a room with the lights on.  So, for many business presentations you’ll want a projector with high lumen measurement.  The best lumen count for business and education presentations will be between 2,000 and 3,000 lumens.  Many projectors will allow you to adjust the brightness level via a menu screen.

Contrast Ratio:
Contrast Ratio example

This measures the difference (contrast) between the brightest white and the darkest black.  Projectors with higher contrast ratios produce more defined pictures. 

Projectors Lamps:

Projectors will use either LED lamps or incandescent bulbs.  Some incandescents have life-spans of up to 2,000 hours while the really good ones can last up to 60,000 hours.  Important to remember when buying a computer projector is that the better the bulb the longer it will last but it will also be more expensive to replace.  Measure need, use and budget.

Projector Maintenance and Care Factors:

Most computer projectors have automatic cool-down setting and this is very important to extend the life of the projector lamp and the device itself.  If the model you buy doesn’t have a built in cool-down mode then ensure that you run the cool-down fan for an adequate amount time to allow the device to cool down.  After use of your computer projector always wipe down the exterior and the lens with a lint free cloth that has been dampened (not wet!) with isopropyl alcohol to one part water.

Audio Compatibility:

You can have the best video quality computer projector in the world but if you don’t have matching audio specs to go along with those images then your presentation and entertainment can call flat.  Connecting your projector with high-quality audio speakers placed around the room will make your movies, games or business and education presentations really blast off!

Sony BDV-E3100 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System with Built-In Wi-Fi
Amazon Price: $299.99 Too low to display Buy Now
(price as of Mar 15, 2014)

Conclusion

A good and reliable computer projector is a vital tool for business people and educators who are in need of making quality presentations and be as professional as possible.  Nothing says quality and expertise by combining great product and topic knowledge with a great presentation. 

Projectors also add a great feel to your home theatre systems and gaming environments. 

Whichever you’re looking to do (or maybe all of the above) make sure you know what you’re buying and what your needs are before hitting that “buy now” button!

Optoma H180X 720p 3000 Lumen Full 3D DLP Home Theater Projector with HDMI
Amazon Price: $999.00 Too low to display Buy Now
(price as of Mar 15, 2014)

Idea for a Budget Home Theater

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Comments

Mar 23, 2014 4:12pm
slimjim270

@Ken Muise -

The biggest headache I had with portable projectors was the bulb being blown during transit and not having a replacement. A real buzz kill when you have a 1/2 dozen individuals in the audience having to look over your shoulder to your PC during a presentation.

Great article on a variety of issues to consider when buying a portable projector.

-Jim
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