Aside from its WXGA (1,280 by 800) resolution and its 3,000-lumen brightness rating, the ProjectoWrite6 WX30N offers the same basic design as the XGA (1,024 by 768), 3,200-lumen Boxlight ProjectoWrite6 X32N that I recently reviewed. Like its near twin, it’s an interactive projector that stands out from the crowd, with most of its differences from the norm counting as advantages.
Unlike most interactive models today, both of the Boxlight projectors use LCDs rather than DLP chips. As with any LCD projector, including the Editors’ Choice Epson BrightLink 436Wi Interactive WXGA 3LCD Projector, that gives them two immediate advantages over the DLP-based competition, and one disadvantage.
First, they’re guaranteed not to show the red, green, and blue flashes of rainbow artifacts that DLP projectors can show. Second, they have the same color brightness as white brightness, which isn’t always true for DLP projectors. That matters because a significant difference between the two measurements can affect both the brightness and color quality of color images. (For more on color brightness, see Color Brightness: What It Is, and Why You Should Care.) The disadvantage of being LCD-based is that neither projector offers 3D support, which is all but standard on most recent DLP models.
The WX30N also shares the same advantages and disadvantages as the X32N for interactivity. One clear advantage is that the interactive feature doesn’t require connecting to a computer by USB cable. Instead, the projector comes with a wireless dongle, about the size of a USB memory key, to plug into the PC’s USB port. This doesn’t make much of a difference for permanent installation using a single computer. However, if several people need to use the projector with a variety of PCs, it’s a little more convenient to plug in a USB dongle as needed than to deal with an extra cable.
Another key feature that the WX30N shares with its near twin is its standard throw. Most interactive projectors offer either a short throw or ultra-short throw. For a 78-inch wide (roughly 92-inch diagonal) WXGA image, for example, I measured the short-throw BrightLink 436Wi at 37 inches from the screen and the ultra-short throw Editors’ Choice Hitachi BZ-1 at 13 inches. The standard-throw WX30N needed 107 inches.
The issue for a standard-throw projector is that the farther the projector is from the screen, the harder it is to avoid shadows when you’re standing near the screen. That includes shadows over the part of the image you want to interact with.
The good news is that although this makes it harder to use the interactive feature, it doesn’t make it impossible. After a little trial and error, I was able to adjust my position to interact with the image reliably. You can also get an optional extendable wand ($49 list), so you can stand a little to the side and minimize the shadows. Even so, you may have to step out of the way occasionally to let everyone in your audience see the full image.
As is common for interactive LCD projectors, the WX30N depends on infrared technology for interactivity. One advantage for the technology is that it uses thinner pens than the ones that most DLP interactive projectors come with. That makes them more comfortable to use, which will be particularly welcome in a classroom with younger students with small hands.
One disadvantage of the technology is that it won’t work with a screen that’s hanging freely from the top. The pen has to touch the screen, which means the screen needs a hard backing. Another potential disadvantage is that you have to go through a calibration step when you set up the projector. However, there are only four points to touch on screen, which makes calibration easy. Very much on the plus side, the WX30N lets you use two pens at once.
Setup and Basics
At 3.8 by 12.8 by 10.2 inches and seven pounds eight ounces, the WX30N is small and light enough to carry with you if you need to. However projectors in this size and weight class are more likely to wind up permanently installed or mounted on a cart for room-to-room portability. The 3,000-lumen rating is fairly typical for a projector aimed at a small to mid-size conference room or classroom.
Setting up the projector is standard fare, with a manual focus and zoom. Image inputs include the usual VGA, HDMI, and composite video ports as well as an S-Video port, a USB A port for reading files directly from a USB memory key, and a mini-USB B port for direct USB display.
There’s also a LAN port for sending images and audio, as well as for controlling the projector, over a network, and you can get an optional Wi-Fi dongle ($99 list) that will let you send images from PCs, Macs, and both iOS and Android phones and tablets, with apps available for recent OSs of each. In addition to all these choices, a 1.5GB internal memory lets you store images you can show without any external device.
Image Quality and Other Issues
The WX30N’s data image quality is just a touch short of excellent. The projector offered fully saturated, vibrant color in all modes on our standard suite of DisplayMate tests. It also delivered good color balance, with suitably neutral grays at all levels from black to white in most modes. The one minor exception was the brightest mode, where it showed just a hint of yellow in the brightest shades.
It also did a good job with detail, as demonstrated by keeping both black on white and white on black text crisp and readable at sizes as small as 6.8 points. The one potential issue I saw was obvious dynamic moire with an analog (VGA) connection in some screens designed to bring that problem out. Unless you use patterned fills instead of solid blocks of colors in your images, you’ll probably never see this issue, but if you run into it, and find it bothersome, you can get rid of it completely by using a digital (HDMI) connection.
Video quality is watchable, but far from impressive. The projector did a good job with shadow detail (details based on shading in dark areas), and I didn’t see any motion artifacts or posterization. However I noticed some distractingly obvious noise in unbroken areas (like an expanse of night sky), and the colors were generally washed out, as expected for a low contrast ratio.
As with many projectors, the audio in the WX30N isn’t very useful. The 10-watt mono speaker delivers good sound quality, but with barely enough volume for a small conference room. If you want stereo or enough volume to fill a larger room, plan on using an external sound system.
If you need a projector for extensive interactive use, you’ll probably be better off with a short-throw or ultra-short throw model. However, if you don’t need the interactive feature very often, and what you mostly want is a standard WXGA projector, the Boxlight ProjectoWrite6 WX30N offers excellent data image quality, suitable brightness for a small to mid-size room, plus interactivity when you need it. If your interactive sessions are strictly occasional, the combination can be just right.
|Native Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Video Inputs||Component, Composite, HDMI, S-Video|
|Computer Interfaces||Analog VGA, HDMI, USB|
|Rated Contrast Ratio||3000|
|Rated Brightness||3000 ANSI lumens|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc