Three areas to consider before making your choice
If you are looking for an inexpensive lamp-free projector, you are probably considering the Casio line of hybrid laser projectors, especially for classrooms. With the price of classroom laser projectors dropping below $2000, many IT Directors and CIO’s are taking a closer look at both the Casio projectors, as well as popular alternative models. Since nearly all laser projectors have a 20,000-hour battery life, this article will look at ideal alternatives to the Casio based on the following criteria:
- DLP Technology vs. LCD
- Brightness & Color Accuracy
- Dust Protection & Maintenance
- Throw Ratio
- Trusted Brand
DLP vs. LCD Technology
The best alternatives to the Casio laser hybrid projectors use DLP technology. According to Futuresource, over the last decade, North American IT managers have chosen DLP as the preferred technology for classroom lasers and laser hybrid projectors over LCD on a 3:1 basis over projectors using LCD technology. Why? While LCD technology does well with classroom projectors using traditional lamps, DLP technology has been proven not to turn yellow over time, and with its single-chip design, produces sharp images with high contrast that makes the small text easy to read. Also, DLP technology has been proven that it can hold up over time with the heat and energy of lasers, as it is the leading technology in laser-powered digital cinema projectors used in movie theaters.
Brightness & Color Accuracy
The early Casio projector models are attractive due to their lower price points compared to other laser projectors but were limited in brightness. Today, the best alternatives offer affordable 4000 lumen laser engines using DLP technology. One significant advancement for DLP laser projectors using 100% lasers is the high color accuracy of these projectors. BenQ was the first brand to produce a mainstream color-accurate projectors based on feedback from experts like Chris Chinook, who advocated using established color space standards for projectors. Today, all BenQ projectors are referenced to the industry standard Rec. 709 to enable a buyer to ensure that each shade of red or green is exact.
For example, a 4000 lumen laser projector with 1080p resolution and best-in-class color accuracy is only $1500. Classroom models with lower resolution or short-throw lenses can be purchased at very attractive prices by schools, and districts like Spring ISD who did expensive color accuracy testing before choosing the 4000 lumen WXGA BenQ LW720 for their standard classroom projector.
Dust Protection & Maintenance
Traditional lamp-based projectors using LCD technology relied on paper filters to keep dust out of a protector. Failure to clean a projector filter could invalidate a warranty if a projector is damaged by overheating. One reason IT managers like Casio projectors use DLP technology is they eliminate the need to spend hours cleaning filters over the summer. The best options don’t use any messy dust filters, and have highly engineered designs to ensure dust doesn’t become a problem. When a laser beam hits a dust particle, it can vaporize into “molten goo” and land in a sensitive part of the projector. With over a decade of producing laser projectors, BenQ’s solution is to completely seal
|Light Source||Laser & LED||100% BlueCore Laser||100% Laser|
|Projector Technology||Texas Instruments DLP Chip||Texas Instruments DLP Chip||3 LCD panels|
|Brightness||3,500 ANSI Lumens||4,000 ANSI Lumens||3,500 ANSI Lumens|
|Throw Ratio / Zoom||1.32 – 1.93
|1.45 – 2.24
|1.5 – 1.8
|Lens Shift||n/a||Vertical: +12-14%||n/a|
|Dustproof||Dust resistant design||IP5X certified dust proof laser engine||Requires cleaning or changing the dust filter (5,000hrs)
*Hours of expected filter life specified are not guaranteed and do not constitute part of the product warranty
|Life Span & Warranty||20,000hrs life, 3y or 6,000hrs light source||20,000hrs life, 3y upgradeable 5y warranty||20,000hrs life, 5y or 10,000hrs light source|
|24/7 Operation||Projector must be turned off once every 24 hours||24/7 non-stop operation||n/a|
|Color Accuracy||Not specified.||Home theater grade 90% Rec.709 coverage||Not specified|
|Brand||Market leader in <4000 lumen laser projectors||Worldwide #1 Brand using DLP technology||Recently acquired projector business from Hitachi|
Throw Ratio & Lens Shift
If you are looking for an alternative to a Casio projector, chances are you probably already have a mount in place that you want to reuse without moving. The best alternatives have lens designs that match or exceed the Casio projectors which enable you to easily reuse the mount – saving hundreds of dollars in each room. Many IT managers also like lens shifts for more challenging installations where they can move the image without tilting the projector.
Trusted Brand to ensure support over the projector lifetime
Over the last ten years, many larger education brands have either exited the market or sold their projector operations to another company. Major brands such as 3M, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, InFocus, Sanyo, and Dell have either substantially reduced their models, or completely exited the classroom projector category. With laser projectors requiring more engineering and financial resources than traditional lamp projectors, the best Casio alternatives are the larger projector brands such as BenQ, who is the #1 brand of DLP projectors for education in the world and is committed to the education market in both projectors and interactive flat panels.
Comparison Table of top alternatives to Casio hybrid laser projector
Here is a breakdown of a popular Casio projector model, and two leading alternatives – one with DLP technology and a new offering using LCD technology.
Projectors have been on the market for a long time, and you can find more detailed answers to your questions on the BenQ Knowledge Center which has more detailed articles on common questions. You can also check out reviews of popular models on many websites including projector focused websites like Projectorreviews.com.
You can also use projector throw distance calculators to determine what the correct mounting distance is away from the screen – or figure out how big of a screen to buy for your mounting location. Most brands have their own, such as the BenQ Projector Calculator found here.