Data projectors are a must for sales presentations, meetings and conferences. Like computers, data projectors come in a variety of price ranges and models, each with their own menu of features and capabilities. Choosing the data projector that’s best for you depends on how you intend to use it and your budget. Consider the following when shopping for data projectors.
Perhaps the most important feature of a data projector, brightness determines whether or not your audience will be able to see your projection. Brightness is measured in lumens, and for small presentations in fairly dark rooms (less than a dozen people), about 1,500 lumens will do. But the larger you make the screen, the more brightness you’ll need. You’ll also have to factor in overhead lights, windows and other lighting that competes with your data projector. A darkened room is ideal for presentations, but in most cases, you’ll have to allow some light for note taking. For rooms that get direct sunlight, go for 2,000 lumens. For auditoriums with the lights up, aim for even higher—2,500 lumens and up.
High resolution is necessary for applications where you need images and text to be highly readable. For simple graphics and PowerPoint Slides, SVGA is sufficient. For more advanced graphics and spreadsheets, go for XGA. Large images need XGA, and extremely detailed images, such as engineering drawings, SXGA is your best bet.
Like cell phones and computers, projectors are getting smaller every day. But there’s a tradeoff in terms of size and performance. Smaller projectors can pack in more features and performance, but you’ll pay more in the end. If you travel often, getting a lightweight portable data projector makes sense. But if you keep your projector in the conference room, you may as well save some cash and invest it towards a bigger model with better specs.
When buying a projector, you’ll also want it to be fairly user-friendly. Otherwise, you may have colleagues pestering you for help with the projector every few hours. Plus, struggling to get a data projector doesn’t do much in terms of instilling investor confidence during high stakes presentations.
Considering the price of replacement lamps, you’ll also want to look for a projector that has long lamp life. You may want to scope out the cost of a replacement lamp before you buy, too, just so you can get a good idea of total cost of ownership.
If you plan on using the projector in a small room, you may also want to look for a projector that operates fairly quietly.
Lastly, make sure that your projector is compatible with your office’s computers. DVI ports are the standard, but doublecheck to make sure that it’ll work with your computer, especially if you have a Mac.
Data projectors are as essential meetings and conferences as a computer monitor is to everyday productivity. Choose your data projector wisely and avoid technical difficulties down the road that dampen the overall experience of your presentation.