Technology

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Adrian Weckler: Best projectors to hone your company's presentations

Adrian Weckler

Published 13/04/2014|02:30

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INFOCUS IN112a
Epson EB 430
Sony VPL FHZ55

You need something that makes presentations viewable

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Not every firm needs the equivalent of Google Dublin's Foundry, the conference-cum-lecture theatre with cutting-edge audio-visual equipment (and engineers to run it). But to tick all the boxes of running an up-to-date, Vine-era operation, it's a good idea to have a decent projector on hand.

You don't need Savoy Cinema-scale reels. Nevertheless, you should have something that makes presentations viewable without having to pull blackout blinds over windows. Here are four business projectors worth looking at.

InFocus IN112a €350 Rating **** If your boss's idea of a projector session is a quarterly sales update meeting, there really isn't a lot of sense in pushing the boat out on a lamptastic, super-HD machine.

In this context, it's hard to beat InFocus's solid IN112a, a 3,000-lumens machine that delivers a fairly sharp image while weighing lightly on the corporate budget. While the manufacturer claims 'up to' 10,000 hours' lamp life, half that amount is a reasonable return for your money. It supports most of the conventional inputs and has a relatively impressive 15,000:1 contrast ratio.

Epson EB 430 €920 Rating: **** One of the challenges with any kind of projection is where to position the machine itself. A roof-mounted frame is well and good, but table-mounted projectors mean that no one can sit too close to the screen for fear of shadows. This is one reason that so-called short-throw projectors are popular.

Using wide-angle lamps, they allow high-definition images to be beamed from much closer to the screen.

They also tend to be slightly clearer, as there is less resolution lost over distance.

Epson's 3,000-lumens EB 430 is a good example of the genre, with a six-foot projection possible from just two feet away.

Sony VPL FHZ55 €5,500 Rating **** To some extent, projectors are like photocopiers. They end up requiring attention more often than you'd like. Aside from its impressive (4,000 lumens) brightness levels, one of the main advantages of Sony's FHZ55 is that it is relatively maintenance free. This is because it uses laser light instead of a traditional lamp. So it will go for around 20,000 hours before parts need replacing, compared to a standard 3,000 hours for similar projectors using conventional lamps.

Although there's a price premium for this lamplessness, it means you need less technical skill on standby: it just works.

Sony VW500 €12,300 Rating ***** If you really want to push the boat out, Sony's VW500 is one of the few portable projectors that hits a tech metric over and above the rest: 4K. The 'ultra high-definition' standard makes it the closest thing your company will get to a cinema projector, with twice the image resolution of existing so-called 'full' high-definition projectors.

Admittedly, there are very few cameras that currently shoot in 4K. However, it does have an upscaling facility for 1080p content. The main advantage here is the size: you can beam presentations from this projector on to a huge screen and still retain fine detail.

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