Presentation Technology Round Up

By Heather Baldwin

Microsoft unveiled its Office 2003 suite, which includes a new version of PowerPoint as well as revamped editions of Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, InfoPath and Publisher. New PowerPoint features include an updated PowerPoint Viewer that can be downloaded for free, tighter integration with Windows Media 9 software, tablet PC support, a research task pane and a package-for-CD function. Depending on which version of Office 2003 you want, pricing is between $279 and $329. Just need PowerPoint? It sells alone for $229.

Casio has entered the projector market with two new portable projectors, the XJ-350 and the XJ-450. The XJ-350 puts outs 2200 ANSI lumens of brightness and uses a new optical system built around Casio’s proprietary Inverse Meniscus Condenser (IMC) lens, which reduces the size of the lens by 30%. The XJ-350 also includes a new wide-angle zoom lens that provides 2x optical zoom capabilities, which let users project images from as close to the screen as 32 inches. The similar but brighter XJ-450 puts out 2800 ANSI lumens and includes a phase differential sensor system for automatic vertical and horizontal keystone correction, as well as auto focus. The XJ-350 sells for $3,999; the XJ-450 sells for $4,999.

Epson introduced two new 6.4-pound portable multimedia projectors with 2000 ANSI lumens and 500:1 contrast ratios. The PowerLite 54c and PowerLite 74c include a new blackboard mode that lets users project bright, readable images on dark surfaces, such as a chalkboard. The projectors sell for $1,699 (PowerLite 54c) and $2,399 (PowerLite 74c).

Dell has dropped the price bar even lower on portable projectors with its new $899 Dell 220MP projector, a 4.7-pound, native SVGA projector that puts out 1200 ANSI lumens. Features include at 1700:1 contrast ratio, a 1.2x manual zoom lens and a built-in 2-watt speaker.

PLUS Vision Corp. of America rolled out the U5 series of projectors, a line of products aimed at offering high-end features in lower-priced models. The first two models are the U5-111 and the U5-112, both 1600-lumen SVGA projectors weighing 4 pounds. Two XGA models will roll out in December. The primary difference between the U5-111 and the U5-112 are the lenses – the 111 has a short focus lens and the 112 uses a 1:1.2 manual zoom lens. Other U5 series features include password security protection, auto setup, digital zoom, digital keystone correction and a presentation time that can be set for 10 to 60 minutes, in 10-minute increments, that displays the remaining time for the presentation on screen.

Dukane’s newest projector, the ImagePro 8049B, is an SVGA unit that weighs six pounds and puts out 1,700 ANSI lumens of brightness. The projector includes two computer and three video inputs and Dukane’s five-year limited warranty. The ImagePro 8049B sells fro $2,995.