Boxlight ProColor Series 3 vs. BenQ Board RP Series

  • BenQ
  • 2021-07-19
Which one is the right choice for your classroom interactive display?

Boxlight and BenQ are both companies that have been selling education projectors for over a decade. Today, both brands offer projectors and interactive displays to schools and have products installed in thousands of classrooms in North America.  So how do their mainstream classroom interactive displays compare – and which one is right for your school?  Here are the key elements to review:

Display Brightness and Contrast

A bright display that is easy to read is a key feature in any classroom display.  IT managers have known for years that brighter displays with high contrast ratios are easier for students to read – especially from the back of the room.   The BenQ RP series is nearly 20% brighter than the ProColor Series 3, enabling the screen to be easy to read in a bright room.  

Specification

BenQ Board RP – 75”

Boxlight ProColor Series 3- 75”

Specification

Brightness

BenQ Board RP – 75”

450 nits

Boxlight ProColor Series 3- 75”

350 nits

Specification

Dynamic Contrast

BenQ Board RP – 75”

30,000:1

Boxlight ProColor Series 3- 75”

1100:1

Specification

Expected Life

BenQ Board RP – 75”

50,000 hours

Boxlight ProColor Series 3- 75”

50,000 hours

In-Person & Remote Whiteboard Functionality

Interactive displays are the perfect tool for hybrid classrooms.  The ability to run a Zoom or Team app directly from the display, as well as record and share lessons, enables these displays to be far more functional than a projector or interactive whiteboard.  So what are the functional whiteboard features you want to look for?

Touch Sensor: BenQ Fine IR vs. Boxlight IR

To better simulate the experience of using a real marker, the best interactive displays use highly sensitive IR touch systems that optically bond the sensor to the glass – enabling an instant response and a smoother, more intuitive writing experience.  The BenQ system is called “FineIR,” Promethean’s system is called Vellum, while the SMART version of this is called HyprTouch.  

The Boxlight ProColor Series 3 has standard IR touch similar to the earlier models of the BenQ boards.  

Whiteboard Object Recognition

Both BenQ and Boxlight boards each recognize 20 points of touch, offer palm erasers, and can recognize inputs from both pen and finger. The major difference between the two is the BenQ Board has a special “Paintbrush” mode that will recognize the width of a real paintbrush being used on the screen – enabling the panel to be used for calligraphy or writing variable-width non-Latin characters such as Kanji or Hebrew. This kind of flexibility is essential to communicating thoughts and ideas that a pen alone simply cannot.

In-Person vs Cloud Whiteboarding

Hybrid learning is essential to enable students in – and out of the classroom to have the same learning experience.  Both Boxlight and BenQ interactive displays are more than capable touch panels for in-person learning – and have the ability for cloud-based whiteboarding.

BenQ developed the world’s first dynamic cloud whiteboarding system in a classroom touch panel. With the teacher in the classroom, students can interact with the board in real-time via their device at home, making it easy for remote tutoring or coaching.  For example, the teacher can send a link or a QR code and broadcast directly from the board to a student's Chromebook or iPad logged into their home network.  The teacher can also allow the student to interact directly on the board with the device with a single tap on the whiteboard – say to allow the student to solve the math problem on the board.   Since the system is network agnostic, it enables unprecedented flexibility to both teachers and students that complement other classroom systems such as Zoom or Teams.  Powerful cloud whiteboarding features like this are why BenQ’s RP series is the world’s most awarded education touch display.  There are no additional licensing fees for this software.

Boxlight offers an application called MimioConnect that runs on the display to enable cloud whiteboarding.  Like the BenQ solution, remote students can view and interact with the display.  Depending on the storage needs of the school, the annual cost of this can range up to $299 per year for each display and should be factored into your Total Cost of Ownership calculation.

Classroom and Lesson Recording Functionality

The ability to record, store and replay lessons to students who are not in the classroom is a key element in improving student performance in hybrid classrooms.  Why?  If a student misses a day or two of Algebra 1 – it could take weeks or months to catch up to the rest of the class.  The best interactive displays have the right hardware, software, and networking architecture to make recording a lesson as simple as a two-finger tap.  So what should you look for to ensure your teachers can easily store and share their lessons?

How easy is it to record the lesson from the interactive display?

The best interactive displays make it simple to record any lesson – at any time – using any software running on the panel – and store that lesson anywhere on the school network or the cloud.  The BenQ RP interactive display enables instant recording directly on the board with a single two-finger tap.  This enables a teacher to record any lesson – from any software or application that is running on the board.  This means there are no extra applications that need to be loaded or run – making it easier for teachers to record their classes.

The Boxlight ProColor does not come with any built-in recording software in the display itself.  Boxlight only offers the MimioStudio software that runs on either the teacher’s laptop or uses an additional computer installed in the OPS slot of the display.  This may add extra cost to the display if you want this functionality, and impact the total cost of ownership for the display.

Array Microphone

Teachers have known the most effective lessons combine both visual and audio information. So how well do the BenQ RP and Boxlight ProColor Series 3 interactive displays capture the teacher’s voice for lesson recording?

The BenQ RP series display comes with an 8-microphone array built-in capable of recording the teacher’s voice from 15 feet away. This system has advanced sound recognition software similar to a smartphone that cancels out background noise and “follows” the teacher as they move around the room.  This can be activated with a simple two-finger tap on the panel from any application.

The Boxlight ProColor series does not have a built-in microphone, requiring schools to purchase an additional microphone at extra cost that can use the audio input port of the display.  Here is one example of a similar quality portable array microphone for use in a classroom.

Teacher & Student Safety Features

A school should be more than a forum for learning; it should be designed with safety in mind. The same goes for the products and systems that help that school function. Fortunately, many of today’s leading display manufacturers design their boards with safety in mind. 

Glass Hardness and Anti-Microbial Coatings

Both Boxlight and BenQ’s screens feature heat-tempered hardened glass, and both are treated to reduce glare.  The BenQ display is the only one coated with an anti-microbial coating, which then is baked onto the glass. This model has been certified by Europe’s TUV against the five most common types of bacteria, including e. Coli, Salmonella, and pneumonia.  The BenQ display is also certified as classroom safe and toxin-free under Japan’s SIAA standard tests for potential risks such as long-term touch and oral toxicity.

Blue Light Protection

The BenQ interactive displays and all BenQ desktop monitors come standard with blue light filtering features built-in. The sensor on the BenQ’s display senses when a teacher or student approaches the display – will adjust the blue light automatically, minimizing the risk to students and teacher from excessive blue light exposure.  

LED-Flicker

This is a unique feature of the BenQ touch display; the flicker-free screen makes long-term use of the board much easier on one’s eyes. Unlike those with traditional incandescent or fluorescent backlights, LED-powered displays can have a nearly invisible flicker that can be harmful to the eyes. This was originally a problem with LED-powered gaming monitors, and so BenQ invented a flicker-free backlight that provides great color and brightness – without the harmful flicker. This technology also has been certified by TUV and is not listed as a feature on the Boxlight ProColor display specification sheet. 

Classroom Air Quality

Remember back to your days as a student. Recall any boring, stuffy days where you felt stuck indoors? It’s reasonable to conclude students today feel the same way now and then. Recent studies have even demonstrated that higher levels of CO2 in a room cause people to become drowsy and pay less attention. 

The BenQ RP interactive display comes with a built-in CO2 meter that alerts the teacher it’s time to open a window. BenQ even takes this approach a step further, and will also alert the teacher if levels of dust and particulate matter in the room are dangerously high. 

How easy is it to protect the display – and enable secure teacher login

For Teachers: Account Management and Logging-In

Boxlight and BenQ have two different approaches to how a teacher engages with the display in the classroom. 

The Boxlight ProColor display Android system will default to a home screen with seven icons – including the settings icon.  While this makes it consistent from one display to another – it exposes the settings to anyone who wants to change them – such as a student changing the network settings, or language settings to disrupt the classroom.  While you can personalize the panel using a dedicated PC, or teacher laptop – this requires extra cost and configuration by the IT department.

The BenQ RP series is different.  The generic settings are protected – but it is designed for a teacher to store their personal profile and customized settings to be stored in the cloud, meaning a teacher can log in to their personal “board space” from any connected display on campus. That means the same display will adapt to any teacher that is using it – including backgrounds, apps, and network connections.

To enable personalization, the teacher merely taps the BenQ board wirelessly with an NFC card, and it will reconfigure itself to his/her settings in just seconds.  Once they log out the next teacher can tap the panel and it will reconfigure itself for them.  The system is easy to use – and very secure since no passwords are typed into the screen.

For IT Administrators: Device Management

Both the Boxlight and BenQ boards have been designed with remote management in mind. BenQ’s solution is the Device Management Solution while Boxlight’s is called Networked Device Management System. Both DMS systems permit admins to push settings, updates, apps, and campus-wide messages to any or all boards in their network. 

There is a significant functional difference between the two.  The Boxlight DMS only works with Boxlight displays, and the free version offers only basic functions such as the ability to turn a display on or off, group devices, and see what apps are running on the display.  For additional functions such as pushing a new app to all displays, sending messages to a single or group display (such as an emergency alert), and the ability to remotely uninstall an unauthorized app – a premium subscription is required. 

The BenQ’s DMS enables advanced functions without any existing licensing costs such as the ability to push or remove apps, send text, video, or graphic messages to any display, and modify the settings remotely.  In addition, the BenQ DMS can support a larger number of devices.  This software can control any model of BenQ interactive displays, BenQ projectors, and BenQ wireless presentation systems such as InstaShow, but it will also control popular legacy projectors like Sony, Epson, Hitachi, and NEC.   This means with BenQ your department can remotely control more equipment from one screen and without having to budget for costly software licenses. 

In addition, to reduce the extra work of managing a special database for these displays, school IT admins will like the fact that BenQ’s account management system also integrates with Active Directory. 

 

BenQ RP Series

Boxlight ProColor Series 3

 

Touch Sensor

BenQ RP Series

Optically Bonded Fine IR sensor

Boxlight ProColor Series 3

Standard IR

 

Whiteboard Object Recognition

BenQ RP Series

Finger, Pen, Palm Eraser, Paintbrush mode

Boxlight ProColor Series 3

Finger, Pen, Palm Eraser,

 

Cloud Whiteboarding

BenQ RP Series

Included

Boxlight ProColor Series 3

Requires MimioConnect up to $299 per year per display

 

Screen Recording

BenQ RP Series

Instantly record from any application with a two-finger tap

Boxlight ProColor Series 3

No built-in recording. Requires PC based software or separate Oktopus subscription for recording

 

Integrated Microphone

BenQ RP Series

Array microphone with 8 microphones and 15-foot range

Boxlight ProColor Series 3

None

 

Anti-Microbial Glass

BenQ RP Series

Certified for 5 different bacteria types and SIAA Toxin-Free

Boxlight ProColor Series 3

None

 

Teacher & Student Eye Protection

BenQ RP Series

Certified Low Blue Light mode with proximity sensor

Certified Flicker-Free

Boxlight ProColor Series 3

None

 

Air Quality Sensor

BenQ RP Series

CO2

Dust

Particulate (e.g. smoke)

Boxlight ProColor Series 3

None

 

Account Management for personalization

BenQ RP Series

Secure login via NFC or QR Code

Any display on-campus network

Boxlight ProColor Series 3

Type in password on screen

Local display only

 

Active Directory Integration

BenQ RP Series

Yes

Boxlight ProColor Series 3

No

 

Central Device Management Software

BenQ RP Series

Included

Supports BenQ Interactive Displays, Wireless presentation systems, BenQ projectors, and legacy projectors from Epson, NEC, Casio, Hitachi, and others

Boxlight ProColor Series 3

Supports Boxlight Interactive displays only

 

Some features require a paid subscription

So which interactive board is better for me – BenQ or Boxlight?

While both models share similar features such as wireless screen mirroring, screen messaging applications, and centralized management software, understanding the key differences will help you decide which brand of interactive touch display will be right for your classroom. 

It’s important to do research and consult important stakeholders before deciding which board your school district should adopt. As we’ve mentioned, both displays are high-resolution, IR-based touchscreens manufactured by trusted brands. But there are some major advantages that BenQ brings to the table that can make a difference to a school that might want more flexibility in its curriculum. When deciding on your chosen solution, consider the following differences:

  • The BenQ display has advanced IR sensors that are optically bonded to the glass and recognizes any object applied to the screen surface, whether it be a fingertip, stylus, or even a paintbrush
  • The BenQ has more advanced classroom safety features, including anti-microbial glass, automatic blue light filters, and a flicker-free screen that helps protect the user’s vision.
  • The BenQ RP boards feature an advanced array microphone system that can capture student questions and can follow a teacher’s voice from as far as 15 feet away. The Boxlight requires an external microphone.
  • BenQ’s Tap ‘N Teach NFC technology enables instant, wireless, secure teacher login – and even integrates with Active Directory! With a single tap, an enrolled teacher can transform any board on campus into their board in under 10 seconds.
  • BenQ DMS allows school IT admins to manage BenQ displays, projectors, and even equipment from displays from legacy brands including Epson, NEC, Hitachi, and Casio
  • BenQ panels are designed and tested to run a wide variety of classroom education curriculum including Smart Notebook, ActiveInspire, Google Classroom, Microsoft Whiteboard, and dozens of other curriculum software platforms (including Mimeo) to enable teachers to switch learning.
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