Boxlight combines projector, interactive whiteboard in one
- By John Breeden II
- Jan 31, 2013
Depending on where you work in the public sector, you probably have experience with presentation tools. Whether it’s a session on budgeting, training or military matters, or a higher education class, there are two main ways to display information directly to a lot of people at the same time. The first is to use an LCD or DLP projector. The second is to use an interactive whiteboard.
Both have their advantages and flaws, and both are fairly expensive investments for a single piece of technology. That’s why we were pleased to discover the ProjectoWrite3 WX30N from Boxlight, a device that combines both of those presentation powerhouses into one unit.
The ProjectoWrite3 is a projector first, which is no surprise given that Boxlight units have earned some of the highest scores for quality in GCN Lab tests over the years. The Projectowrite3 will join that long list. It’s a 7.3-pound unit with a native resolution of 1280 by 800 (WXGA). All of our testing was conducted at that resolution, where images really look best. It’s interesting to note that this is a widescreen resolution, so the projector can seamlessly sync with most laptop displays and an increasing number of desktop displays, and without distorting images.
The ProjectoWrite3 is rated to 3,000 lumens, but of course we test using more real-world usage, meaning we set projectors 10 feet from a screen, and then use the minimum size for the screen at that distance, which typically creates a display five or six feet across. In that test, the projector was able to produce a respectable 950 lumens at the very center of the screen, as measured by a Lutron LX-101 light meter. That means images will look good in almost every lighting condition short of direct sunlight streaming into the room.
And the ProjectoWrite3 dropped off to only 910 lumens at the corners of the image, a difference the naked eye wouldn’t notice. The colors too were accurate, with true reds, greens and blues.
Among the nice little extras is the ability to manage all of your ProjectoWrite3 units over a LAN, which is good if you have them installed in conference rooms and people forget to do little things, like turn them off when they are no longer in use. Another extra is that the unit we tested only took 10 seconds to turn itself off after use, one of the shortest cool-downs we’ve experienced. Somehow that is all the bulb needs.
But the biggest extra on the ProjectoWrite3 is also its most touted feature, the fact that it can become an interactive whiteboard. We’ve seen this technology before when we reviewed Boxlight’s OutWrite 1.4 gadget, which attaches to any projector and can turn it into a whiteboard, but having it natively in place with a high-quality projector works much better. For starters, there is almost no setup other than registering the pointing devices with the main unit. Second, the ProjectoWrite3 is versatile, able to project onto a whiteboard, a blackboard or a green surface easily and accurately simply by changing one setting.
There are two control devices that come with the projector. The first is a standard pen type device. The second looks more like a 22-inch long magic wand. Both work the same way. You can “draw” on the screen using either the pen or the wand. All of the features of a standard whiteboard are there, including changing the color of the lines, erasing mistakes and working with a variety of brushes. You can also easily hook up the ProjectoWrite3 to any computer to gain access to the complete desktop environment. Then you can use programs like Google Earth, with the pen or the wand acting as your mouse as you manipulate the screen.
Everything you draw with the ProjectoWrite3 can be saved, so presentations are retained if needed. Or, you could use the ProjectoWrite3 as part of a teleconference combined with Skype or other chat programs, for attendees who can’t be in the same room as the presenter.
With a suggested retail price of $1,698, the ProjectoWrite3 is still a big investment, but far cheaper than a whiteboard system and a high-end projector would cost if purchased separately. And you only need to allot space for the projector itself, which could be mounted out of the way in a conference room, or given a rolling home on a cart. So the ProjectoWrite3 makes a lot of sense, would fit into any presentation-hungry office, and really adds some zing to the standard PowerPoint snoozefest.
John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.