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Portable Projectors Make All the Bright Moves

Smaller, lighter, brighter — now with higher resolution

The Casio XJ-A141 Green Slim DLP model currently in use in the National Atomic Testing Museum.

Projectors have become increasingly smaller in size and more lightweight, moving from the portable to the ultra-portable. How are these improved technologies being used in government applications today?

Schools, particularly high schools, have made increasing use of portable projectors over recent years. Since the classroom sizes are relatively small compared with university lecture halls, there is no need for the range, resolution and brightness that is needed in large lecture halls.

The typical brightness that is required from projectors intended for classrooms is between 2,500 and 4,000 ANSI lumens. This makes portable projectors the ideal choice for classroom instruction. They not only save on space, they are also more than capable of performing the required functions.

SVGA (800 x 600 pixels) resolution is gradually becoming phased out as obsolete technology, but the middle-of-the-range XGA (1,024 x 768) or WXGA (1,280 x 768) resolution is sufficient for classrooms. The high-resolution WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) isn’t regarded as a necessity for schools, unless there is a specialist project or subject that requires high resolution.


The Birdville Independent School District, based in Haltom City, Texas and serves several cities in the Fort Worth area, is a public school district with approximately 24,000 students spread out in 33 facilities. The district’s initial purchase of 500 Casio projectors has been installed for everyday classroom instruction, in conference rooms, and in auditoriums—with plans to replace all 2,000 projectors with Casio units.

“Casio LampFree projectors have been adopted as the preferred projection solution by many schools,” said Joseph Gillio, director of product marketing for Casio America.

The portable XJ-A140 is being used in most of the classrooms, while the XJ-M255 has been purchased for conference rooms. Auditoriums don’t use portable projectors, rather making use of Casio XJ-ST155 short throw models that have been mounted on ceiling brackets.

The LampFree, mercury-free XJ-A140 is part of Casio’s Green Slim range and uses a hybrid light engine that combines a laser, a fluorescent element, and LED technology. This provides 20,000 hours of light and has 2,500 ANSI lumens of brightness with XGA resolution.

Although weighing 5 lbs, this portable projector has a 2x zoom lens and is capable of projecting up to a range of 18.48 ft. Making it even more environmentally friendly, the XJ-A140 has three power consumption settings. “Eco off” operates at 270 Watts, “Eco Level 1” operates at 190 Watts and “Eco Level 2” operates at 130 Watts. There is one HDMI digital input port and the video input is a mini D-sub 15-pin connector.

“Casio LampFree projectors are not only reliable and have long life; they are also Trade Agreement Act (TAA) compliant,” said Gillio.

Panasonic PT-LW271U projector

Panasonic’s PT-LW271U is a lightweight and portable projector with 1,280 x 800-pixel resolution that features 2,700 lumens of brightness and a 4,000:1 contrast ratio. In addition to a 10,000-hour maximum lamp replacement cycle, its Intelligent Lamp Control System automatically adjusts the lamp output in accordance with the brightness of the projected image, effectively reducing power consumption of the unit by up to 70 percent.

The PT-LW271U weighs a bit more than five pounds and has an HDMI input terminal, two sets of computer (RGB) input terminals, a wired LAN terminal and a serial RS-232C terminal for external control. The projector’s “Wall Color Setting” mode corrects the color schemes of the projected image when projecting on non-white surfaces to prevent color irregularities.

In New York State, the Rye Neck Public School District in Mamaroneck—consisting of four schools—has chosen InFocus to supply the district’s portable projectors.

The InFocus IN3138HD used at Rye Neck public school district.

“InFocus found Rye Neck to reflect a trend we’ve seen with many schools and other government entities; a shift toward high-definition projection,” said Kyle Henderson, a media relations official with InFocus. “As more people become accustomed to 1080p resolution on their TVs at home, they expect the same level of image detail when projecting away from home.”

The Rye Neck Public School District uses approximately 65 of InFocus’ IN3138HD projectors in its classrooms.


The InFocus IN3138HD has full high-definition resolution WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) with 4,000 lumens of brightness, or 3,500 lumens when operating in Eco mode. There are a number of available inputs, including HDMI, VGA and DisplayPort. At 6.9 lbs, the IN3138HD is considered to be portable but still has 3D capabilities from signals such as Blu-ray, cable boxes, dish services and PC-based 3D content. The lamp used in this projector gives between 3,000 and 4,000 hours of operation time, depending on the mode used.









Sanyo: See Panasonic



The Canon RealIS WUX10 Mark II is a WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) resolution projector using LCOS technology, targeted at corporate, educational, scientific and specialized customers. This widescreen projector features Canon’s Photo Mode setting, which lets you make precise adjustments to the projector’s color temperature and color level. Other features of this projector include an HDMI input for projection of high-quality digital images and uncompressed 1080p video, as well as a built-in network connection for remote network operation.

In California, the Clovis Unified School District is currently using BenQ’s MX711 projector. The public school district consists of 32 elementary schools, five intermediate schools and five high schools, as well as an adult school and six alternative education campuses. The BenQ MX711 portable projector has a brightness of 3,200 ANSI lumens and XGA resolution. Using DLP technology with a throw range of 6.5 ft., the MX711 can be operated wirelessly or via a cable through a LAN or analog connector. The MX711 projector has a weight of 6 lbs. and comes standard with a soft cover carry case.

Not much larger than a laptop PC, the Sanyo PLC-XU78 weighs less than seven pounds and has 1,024 x 748 (XGA) resolution. The unit comes with a 1:1.2 zoom lens and it features a brightness of 3,000 lumens.

Sanyo uses technology in the PLC-XU78 to improve the appearance of moving images by applying 3-2 and 2-2 pulldown techniques, which can effectively double the resolution of images from DVD playback. The projector also features “Blackboard Mode,” which adjusts white balance and gamma correction automatically to project clear image without a screen—even on blackboards and green boards. (Editor’s note: Sanyo has been a division of Panasonic since 2009, so contact Panasonic for product information.)

The 1000-lumen NEC L102W is a small and lightweight WXGA mobile projector with built-in features for enterprise presentations. Its solid-state LED light source is mercury-free, and the remote control allows for one-touch source changes and complete menu control for projector settings. The L102W has a filter-free design and offers a 1GB internal memory with SD input to expand storage up to 32GB, which lets you leave the laptop at home and easily present from a flash drive.

The NEC L102W’s Office Viewer feature enables users to store common Microsoft Office file formats on the L102W, including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as Adobe PDF documents. Built-in technologies include closed captioning and wall color correction for projection on non-white surfaces. Weighing a bit more than three pounds, the L102W is easily portable.


The National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas, which has Casio’s XJ-A141 Green Slim DLP portable projectors currently installed, opened in 2005 and focuses on the history of atomic weapons testing in the American Southwest. The NATM has recently been designated by Congress as a National museum and it is a Smithsonian Institution affiliated facility.

“We have eight [Casio XJ-A141 projectors] currently in use in the museum,” said Karen Green, senior curator and director of exhibits at the NATM. “Three are part of our opening three-screen intro; two run our large theater; one shows an Atomic Age movie; one is used to show underground testing on a very large screen; and, one is used in our Silo Theater.”

The introductory video is played on three screens simultaneously.

Like other new Casio projectors, the XJ-A141 features the company’s LampFree technology and mercury-free hybrid light engine.

“The Casio bulb doesn’t need to be replaced,” Green said, “It lasts the life of the projector. We have had most of our projectors—which run seven days a week, nine hours or more a day—last at least two years and two are heading for three years.”

The projector has a resolution of XGA and delivers a brightness of 2,500 ANSI lumens. The 5-lbs. projector will make a 100-inch diagonal image from a projection distance of 18.48 ft.

“I would not go back to our old projectors,” Green said.

ViewSonic Pro9000 projector

The ViewSonic Pro9000 is a full HD (1,920 x 1,080-pixel) laser LED hybrid projector targeted at applications where resolution is critical. The projector is equipped with TI DarkChip3 technology to deliver realistic colors, with 1,600 ANSI lumens and 100,000:1 ultra-high contrast for sharp image quality.

Built with the ViewSonic’s hybrid light engine, the Pro9000 is a lamp-free projector that can operate 20,000 hours of light life, with filter-less design making it virtually zero maintenance. The projector comes standard with dual HDMI ports for connecting to 1080p devices, audio out for attaching external stereo speakers and RS232 for centralized remote control capability.


According to Eric Uaje, associate product manager for projectors at Epson America, the U. S. Special Operations Command has a long standing relationship with Epson to use the company’s PowerLite 1771W projector. The PowerLite 1771W weighs 3.7 lbs. and comes with a carrying case that provides extra protection and storage during transport. The brightness for both white and color video projection is 3,000 ANSI lumens.

The PowerLite 1771W is a solid-state projector that has no moving parts, using three transmissive LCD panels to control the light. The unit is compatible with Windows and Apple Mac, and has an HDMI input and USB connectivity to play from USB memory.

With XGA resolution and brightness of 3,200 lumens, the Sony VPL-DX146 is targeted at enterprise applications, including mobile and installed use. The VPL-DX146 includes features such as wireless presentation from PCs and tablet/smartphone devices, PC-less presentation with USB Media Viewer, and slimmed-down cable connection using USB Display.

Lightweight and small, the Sony VPL-DX146 weighs less than six pounds and does not require cool-down after use. The projector also has auto keystone to reduce adjustment time of keystone distortion and extended lamp life of up to approximately 7,000 hours.

Optoma ML750 “pico” projector

Delivering an impressive 700 ANSI lumens and 10,000:1 contrast ratio, with sharp focus and high color accuracy, the Optoma ML750 is a pocket-sized projector that’s easy to carry.

Often called a “pico projector,” the Optoma ML750 weighs less than one pound and fits in the palm of a hand. The ML750 has built-in media player and Office viewer for completely PC-free presentations, as well as HDMI and MHL connectivity for direct-from-mobile-device presentations.

The Optoma ML750 uses an LED light source rated to last more than 20,000 hours. It comes with a wireless remote control for convenient operation during presentations.

Portable projectors are in use over a wide range of government departments from local to federal and in applications ranging from training to security. Universities also make extensive use of portable projectors, especially for classrooms in older buildings that have minimal audiovisual features and need occasional projection for a lesson.

Technology is becoming increasingly mobile and projectors haven’t been left behind. They are lighter, slimmer, and more portable than ever – while still incorporating the latest technological advances. Wireless technology has made operating projectors simpler and even computers are no longer a necessary component of presentations if a thumb drive, USB or smartphone can be used instead. It is entirely possible that permanent projectors will eventually become redundant as portable projectors become as capable as they are of the highest quality projections, while still being small enough to easily transport.