Issue #113 July 11, 2006

PowerPoint Tip: What to look for in a travelling projector

I have been asked twice recently about what specifications or features I would consider when purchasing a projector to take with you to present to small to mid sized groups (2-100 people). Since this is likely of interest to more than the two people who asked, I thought I would share my response in case you are considering a similar purchase. There are three criteria I stress above others: 1) 4 lbs or less weight - you will notice & feel every ounce as you carry this equipment in airports or in buildings. Don't let anyone tell you that a 5.5 lb projector is just a little more than a 4 lb one - it is almost 38% heavier and your arm will tell you after only a few trips. 2) minimum of 2,000 lumens brightness - lumens is how they measure how bright a projector is and with at least 2,000 lumens, you will be able to present in almost all lighting situation without having to turn down any lights. This is important because as soon as you turn down the lights, people don't pay as much attention to your presentation. 3) native XGA resolution - this resolution matches the native resolution of most laptops built in the last 5 years and matching resolution will give you the best picture when projecting. Don't be convinced that a lower priced SVGA projector will properly project an XGA signal because it won't. For a projector with the above specifications, you should expect to pay in the area of $2,000 (US dollars). Some other criteria to keep in mind if you are looking at a number of projectors and all of the above are basically equal: a) look for one with a carrying case included; b) multiple inputs (RCA, SVHS, etc.) in addition to the computer input to give you more flexibility for displaying different video sources; c) zoom capability so you can make the image bigger without moving the projector back from the screen; d) keystone correction, either automatic or manual, so you can have a straight picture even when tilting up to project. A good reference site to compare specifications and see product reviews is http://www.projectorcentral.com. They have good information on every projector and you can see when the projector was first shipped and whether it is still active or has been discontinued (recently discontinued projectors can sometimes be the best bargains). If you are considering purchasing a portable presentation projector, I hope the above ideas help you select one that will enhance your presentations for years to come. If you want more information on presenting, along with tips on setting up your projector to present and how to solve five of the most common projection problems, check out "Guide to PowerPoint", now available at http://www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com/guidetoppt.htm .