Wireless Interactive Projector
August 26, 2010
The Dell S300wi Wireless Interactive Projector advertises its key feature in its name: It is interactive. Its interactivity lets you turn any surface into what amounts to an interactive whiteboard without needing anything but the S300wi and the included interactive pen. The projector also offers a short throw, which makes the interactivity more useable by minimizing the shadows you'll cast when you're standing in front of the screen.
One leading edge feature Dell left out of the name is that the projector is 3D-ready. Beyond that, it offers WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution, a 2200 lumen rating, a WiFi connection option, and a compact size suitable for either mounting permanently or keeping on a cart for room to room portability. If you need a data projector with interactive capability, whether in a business or educational context, the S300wi delivers everything you need at the bargain price of $1,499.
It's Interactive. Interactivity is the S300wi's major attraction and the only argument for spending about a third more for it than for a comparable projector that isn't interactive. The S300wi uses interactive technology developed by TI, which is based on the projector superimposing a grid on the image. The grid is invisible to the human eye, but the pen can see it, so the projector knows exactly which pixels the pen is pointing at.
As you would expect with any interactive feature, you can use the pen both as a mouse and as a drawing tool to let you write notes or annotate existing documents. For software, Dell includes eInstruction INTERWRITEWORKSPACE. This is geared towards educational use, but it works just as well as an interactive annotation program for business.
No Calibration. Because the S300wi knows where the pen is pointing relative to the pixels in the image itself, rather than relative to the screen, it has the advantage of eliminating the need to calibrate the image to the screen. Move the projector, point the pen to the same place in the image, and the projector will know that you're pointing at the same pixels. Some competing products don't have this advantage.
In addition, because the pen only needs to point at the screen, much like a laser pointer, rather than touch it directly, you can stand at one side of the screen and interact with something on the other side simply by pointing to it. You can also step back and interact from some distance. Dell says you can use the pen from as much as 30 feet away, although I found the connection unreliable from more than about 15 feet.