(When the crowd says) BOOM! Projectors

With the focal point of many teaching spaces being the projector screen, you’ll want to make sure you’re shining the best light on it. University Business rounds up the latest projectors for the higher education market

Sponsored by Casio

Shaky, washed-out images delivered from a big, noisy, overheating box of energy-sapping inefficiency have no place in the modern teaching environment. The projection professionals have been hard at work creating machines that shimmer with detail, pop with colour and use a fraction of the energy – as well as being more reliable, quieter and better looking. Whether you’re looking for a beefed-up beamer to illuminate a lecture hall or a svelte shiner to spice up a seminar, the projectors in this round-up have been hand-picked to show your institution’s teaching in its best light.

Optoma ZU1050


Deep blacks contrast with vivid colour in Optoma’s 10,000-lumens professional flagship. That’s thanks to combined technologies that use two-colour lasers with diode cooling. It promises to stay crisp for 20,000 hours, while the ZU1050’s dustproof optics and heavy-duty build mean maintenance is kept to a bare minimum. As well as lecture theatre applications, the Optoma is also a good option for live information or moving graphic wall displays as multiple projectors can be sequenced to stitch together synchronised images seamlessly.

Special power: Ability to run in series to create huge live walls

Light source Two-colour laser

Resolution 1920×1200 (WUXGA)

Brightness 10,000 lumens

Contrast 2,000,000:1

Dimensions 484 x 509 x 181mm



There’s probably a special Danish word for the enervating burr of a projector fan whirring away throughout your seminar. If there is, NEC is trying to take it out of the dictionary with the powerful, yet near-silent P605UL. That silence is then free to be broken by a built-in 20W speaker, while visuals are taken care of by the 6,000 lumens lamp and an upscaling engine which NEC says can boost the resolution to 4K (or improve lower resolution images to the native WUXGA). The P605UL also has flexible tilt settings and can handle up to 16 wireless feeds.

Special power: Quieter than the ticking of a watch

Light source Laser/phosphor

Resolution 1920×1200 (WUXGA)

Brightness 6,000 lumens

Contrast 600,000:1

Dimensions 480 x 407 x 142.5mm

Christie LWU650-APS



The APS series projectors shy away from showy specs and fancily monikered technologies. Instead, Christie’s major selling point is price without (much) compromise. That is to say the LWU650-APS is a dependable workhorse – though it’s no slouch in the specs department with up to 6,500 lumens brightness, 3,000,000:1 contrast ratio and WUXGA resolution. There’s also a 16W speaker. For those worried whether the adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is going to haunt their purchasing decision, there’s also a five-year, 10,000-hour warranty.

Special power: Function over fanciness cuts on jargon and price

Light source Solid-state laser

Resolution 1920×1200 (WUXGA)

Brightness 6,500 lumens

Contrast 3,000,000:1

Dimensions 506 x 138 x 424mm

Casio XJ-S400


Created specifically for educators and with features designed to maximise collaboration in class, the Casio XJ-S400WN-UJ is built for group work. The XJ-S400 is both an outstanding projector and a forward-thinking piece of classroom equipment.

The built-in one-click-connect feature allows up to 40 devices such as PCs, Macs or tablet computers to connect wirelessly to the projector at the touch of a button. If that all sounds a bit chaotic, a moderator app gives the teacher total administrative control to display up to four selected devices with the rest of the class, again at the touch of a button.

Casio has also used its LampFree hybrid light source technology, which eliminates mercury and reduces maintenance and running costs. The series comes in four models offering up to 1.7x zoom, 4,000 lumens and 20,000-hour operating time.

Multi-device support

Casio set out to design a projector that would be easy and quick for users to pair their computer wirelessly with, as well as a device which would actively engage students, encouraging the rapid exchange of ideas.

With the rise of bring-your-own device lesson formats in higher education, it was essential for Casio to design a projector that supports a variety of devices. One-click connect enables instant pairing of devices and with a projector start-up time of just five seconds, lessons can get going straight away. Frictionless sharing of
content encourages collaboration, boosts student engagement and creates a more participatory classroom dynamic in which students are encouraged to share ideas and compare work.

In addition, being equipped with WXGA resolution means the XJ-S400WN-UJ is compatible with the XGA standard of today’s universities as well as future-proofed for the WXGA standard of the next generation of projectors.

Like the rest of the Casio range, the XJ-S400WN-UJ features Casio’s signature laser and LED light source which lasts 20,000 hours, around 10 times as long as conventional projector lamps. The more efficient light source requires up to 40% less power than conventional projectors, while producing a stunning 4,000 lumens, saving on electricity costs and boosting eco-credentials. With no lamps to replace and no filters to clean, Casio projectors are low maintenance and built to last.

Special power: Instantly connect multiple devices for BYOD jams

Brightness: 4000 lumens

Light source: Laser and LED Hybrid

Zoom: 1.7x manual zoom

One-click connect feature

Projector Auto-OFF feature

WXGA resolution

Dimensions: 357 x 124 x 337mm

Time to full brightness: 5 seconds

Life expectancy: 20,000 hours

Power consumption: 125W (eco mode on)

Digital Projection M-Vision Laser 21000


The most powerful projector in this round-up, the M-Vision Laser 21000 wears its headline feature on its name badge: a blinding brightness of 21,000 lumens. Feeding the beam being fired out of its interchangeable lenses is a dual-laser configuration and dual-image processing (useful for 3D – and the M-Vision can sync with active 3D specs). Refinements include edge processing and seven-point colour correction. But this projector is not about justifying the price with refinements – it’s about faultless and reliable big-room performance.

Special power: Cinema-class imaging

Light source Two-colour laser

Resolution 1920×1200 (WUXGA)

Brightness 21,000 lumens

Contrast 10,000:1

Dimensions 748 x 530 x 248mm

BenQ LU785


Small but mighty, the BenQ LU785 blends a familiar spec for this class of projector (6K lumens, 20,000-hour operation, industry-standard dustproofing) with a dinky design (only the Casio is smaller in this round-up), wireless connectivity and a large lens housing for easy dusting. There’s good news for IT services, too: the team can access the projector remotely for quick troubleshooting, and connected wireless devices are isolated from the external connection, meaning it’s less likely to be used by cybercriminals. Plus, it’ll look nice in the prospectus.

Special power: Good looks and plenty of spec in a small package

Light source Laser

Resolution 1920×1200 (WUXGA)

Brightness 6,000 lumens

Contrast 3,000,000:1

Dimensions 360 x 164 x 453mm

Sony VPL-FHZ75


If it’s brains you want in your projector, Sony’s latest offering for higher education includes ‘intelligent setting’. The relentless march of AI? Hardly – but the four presets do go beyond adjusting the colour temperature and frame rate, including a quiet ‘museum’ mode and a bright ‘classroom’ mode, both of which could be employed in a teaching scenario without having to train staff to navigate the menu system. The VPL-FHZ75 has a retooled LCD panel which gives a contrast ratio of infinity:1, and if your institution is already using Bravia professional screens, the VPL series should integrate without fuss.

Special power: One-button presets save settings confusion

Light source Laser

Resolution 1920×1200 (WUXGA)

Brightness 6,500 lumens

Contrast infinity:1

Dimensions 460 x 169 x 515mm

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