When you are shopping for a new portable business projector it’s good to know what the latest benchmarks are for specifications such as brightness, resolution, weight, and price. Knowing what the standards are today will help you evaluate the overall value of the products you are considering. Here’s a handy ‘cheat sheet’ with what we believe are today’s portable projector benchmarks.
Brightness – 2000 ANSI lumens
Two years ago 1000 lumens would have been the benchmark for brightness in portable projection. Today, we have reached a 2000 lumen standard. Essentially, that means that manufacturers try to meet that specification as a minimum when designing their products. There are still numerous products available at less than 2000 lumens, but most manufacturers will try and hit that mark with forthcoming product releases.
Note: If you are shopping for a home theater projector, the benchmark is much lower (around 1000 lumens) since black levels are more crucial, and the projectors are often kept in a more controlled environment.
Resolution – XGA (1024×768)
With new laptop computers exceeding native XGA (1024×768) resolutions, the XGA benchmark is arguably the most important of the few specifications we mention here. You can still find great deals in SVGA (800×600) products, but SVGA is rapidly becoming obsolete. Avoid SVGA if you are looking for a projector with longevity, or if you are ever hoping to use your projector for high-definition home theater.
SXGA+ (1400×1050) products are now available under the $5,000 mark, and might be a good investment for those to whom detail and definition are crucial. Just a few months ago there were very few SXGA+ products available under $10,000 list price.
Portability – 4 to 7 pounds
Portable projectors seem to have found their groove at around four to seven pounds. This has been the standard for several years now, and consumers seem to have become comfortable carrying this size equipment from location to location. There are now dozens of options in this weight class, some reaching brightness levels as high as 3500 lumens. There are several projectors available that are actually lighter than 4 pounds, but those may cost slightly more for their svelteness.
Price – Under $2,000
The price for a product that meets all of our criteria above (2000 lumens, XGA resolution, and between 4-7 lbs.) should cost you less than $2,000. In fact, there are now selections from Hitachi that have street prices of under $1,000.
Feature sets will be the price differentiator within the category. If you are looking for remote mouse control (to control mouse using projector remote), zip drives (for presenting without a laptop), wireless data transmission, or DVI (Digital Visual Interface); these will cost you more than would a basic video projector.