The Ultimate Guide on Interactive Projector vs Interactive Smartboard: Which is better?

Smart board


There are different types of projectors which are comprehensively covered in this article. In case you wondering what, interactive projectors are, these are ultra-short throw projectors with a video projection technology where a video is displayed onto a surface turning objects into interactive displays.

On the other hand, we will define interactive smartboards in two parts.

What is a smartboard? This is just like a whiteboard only that it has ability to respond to touch. Anytime the pc is projected to a smartboard it links up and displays pc screen on the board. The board needs to be calibrated for it to respond to touch or a stylus pen.

An interactive smartboard is therefore a smartboard that allows interaction with projected objects.

How an interactive projector works.

Interactive projectors are an improved version of the standard projector, in that some sensors have been added to track motion and add them to an image. This allows a presenter to access both the pc screen on the same surface where changes are being made. Not to mention that various people can engage.

Which technologies are used in interactive projectors?

The use two distinct technologies;

Infrared technology.

This makes use of a special camera different from projection lens, to trace the motions of a unique pen. Infrared/detector light is sent out to the camera when the pen comes into contact with projection area and the motion is recorded.

Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology.

DLP interactive projectors discharge a unique print into the image projected. This print is undetectable to the eyes as it flashes with a lightening speed through the screen.

Benefits of using interactive projectors.

  • Environmentally friendly due to eradication of paperwork and printing.
  • Improved productivity, students can listen without trying to take notes and can get the notes sent to them online.
  • Professionals can make changes to their work before or during presentations to clients.
  • Creates teamwork, work can be divided into groups and done on the screen simultaneously bringing students or staff together as a team.
  • Quality presentations, smartboards allow them not only to switch through slides as was traditionally, but also add their thoughts to their work. Using images and any other they wish.

How does an interactive smartboard projector work?

Smartboard uses resistive technology, to mean there is a gap of air between sheets of resistive material in the smartboard. Once the board is pressed with a pen or finger, a contact point is marked and its coordinates match to the same spot on the screen.

Pressure on the board surface is enough for smartboard to perform functions of a special pen or mouse.

The user does not have to put a lot of pressure on the board for it to register contact, a moderately firm touch is sufficient.

Once a pen is removed from pen tray and color chosen, the pen tray notices the color selected and ink appears on the screen with that specific color. Pen tray senses everything that happens and responds accordingly removing eraser from the tray etc.

How strong is the smartboard surface?

Smartboard surface is made of a hard coat of polyester. Normal use can hardly cause any wear and tear to the surface, unless sharp instruments are used on the surface. In case of permanent markers staining the surface, special cleaning solvents can be used to clean the stains.

What kind of computer applications can be used with a smartboard?

These include;

  1. Point-and-click applications on a computer.
  2. Internet browsers
  3. Spreadsheets
  4. Interactive CD-ROMs
  5. Word processing programs.

What are some of the school favorable applications that can be used with a smartboard?

  1. Power-point.
  2. Hyper studio.
  3. Excel.
  4. Word.
  5. Internet explorer.
  6. Net-meeting.

How can a teacher use the interactive smartboard to engage a class grouped from 5-18yrs?

There are many projects/ideas that can be undertaken in a class ranging in that demographic, with the help of an interactive smartboard.

They include;

  • Class demonstrations.
  • Map reading.
  • Students could create slideshows.
  • Learning of computer skills and keyboard mastery.
  • Art classes.
  • Practice power-point presentations.
  • Connect other devices to smartboard and watch documentaries etc.

Pre-school students all the way to campuses can highly benefit from using interactive smartboard projectors. It goes a long way to making education fun and effective.

Benefits of using interactive smartboard projector.

Smart boards improve the way students grasp information.

Smart boards are constantly gaining popularity for their ability to meet the various learning styles of students by providing visual aids, such as charts, videos, diagrams etc.

Increases interactivity.

Smartboards give students a chance to engage on the screen, they can write, circle and highlight the contents of their lesson. Its more of a hearing and seeing type of learning where videos and pictures are available for better understanding.

Smartboards are simple to maintain.

They do not use mark pens which tend to stain so they have very low maintenance. Use of special pen and finger can hardly tamper with it.

They have access to knowledge databases.

Teachers can supplement to their lesson by gathering knowledge from other sources with the help of smartboards.

Students as well have access online resources to help with their projects.

Smart boards help to conserve the environment.

Use of smartboards has eliminated the need to print papers.

Teachers can share files to students via internet which reduces cost as well.



Differences between smartboard and interactive projector.


Interactive Smartboard Interactive Projector
Mainly has manual calibration. Mainly has automatic calibration.
Have smaller screens. Have wide screens.
Needs a whiteboard set up. Does not need a whiteboard set-up.
Longer warranty periods Shorter warranty periods.
A pc is compulsory for use. A pc is not compulsory to use them.
Better sound quality Lower sound quality.


Similarities between interactive smartboards and interactive projectors.

  • Both are used for the purpose of enhancing engagement and interactive-ness

Cost analysis of an average interactive projector.

Different companies price their projectors differently.

For example, below are some cheap projectors and their varying cost. The list combines both interactive and normal projectors.

And then, here we have some of the most expensive projectors. The list combines both interactive and normal projectors.

As you can see from the products above, the prices are very diverge. Some are very cheap and have limited features, while others are super expensive but with premium features.

The cost of a smartboard advanced model such as 55-inch smart kapp-IQ is around $4,000, larger models cost around $5,000 or more. Extra charges come from special smart pens, wall mounts etc.

It is important to note that interactive projectors have additional costs of lamp replacements and maintenance and this makes them more expensive in the long run though initially smartboards cost more.

Does a smartboard need a projector?

In case you are wondering whether its possible to use a smartboard without a projector, the answer is yes!!

The only precaution is that you have to use high quality dry erase markers or high odor dry-erase markers. These are unlikely to discolor the smart board.

Its also necessary to install smart board software to the pc to retain the notes you take on the whiteboard and use interactive features of the whiteboard without a projector.

There are few steps to do this;

  1. Link your pc to smart board and install necessary software updates.
  2. Click smartboard icon from your pc and choose control panel.
  • Click radio button for “Non-Projected (whiteboard mode),” then click “ok “to allow smartboard to operate without a projector.
  1. Open the notebook software on your computer.
  2. Write on smartboard with dry-erase markers then erase with standard erase when done with notes.

Places where both interactive projectors and smartboard are commonly used.

Classrooms and lecture halls.

Education has greatly been transformed by new technologies as projectors and these institutions are the greatest market for projectors currently.

 Conference rooms and auditoriums

Professionals in offices have their work much easier now since they can do their presentations without while engaging clients and interacting with their work.

 Places of worship

Churches for example project hymn books and sermons to their audience to keep them engaged.


Use of a projector for gaming gives large enough screen and modern models have high resolution power and great picture quality. This is as a result of high lumen count and 4K capabilities.

Home theatres

Home entertainments are so much fun and easier to own since regardless of how big or small of space you have for home theatre, the variations in projectors suit all your needs at affordable prices.

What is an interactive projector?

This comprises of a projector that can be mounted on the wall or any flat surface, and a whiteboard on which display is done. Those mounted on a wall are mainly ultra-short throw projectors while long throw projectors need a spacious room. A more comprehensive article can be found HERE if you want a detailed analysis of interactive projectors, their features, cost analysis, and benefits.

How do smartboards compare to a smart tv?

  • It is exciting how easy it is to access your computer on a smartboard and engage with applications, internet, write and draw, etc. smart TVs lack an interactive touch screen, one has to interact with a computer when its linked to a smart tv unlike the case of a smartboard.
  • A smart tv is cheaper than a smartboard and does not need a computer to operate though advanced models can connect to one. Smart boards on other hand are expensive and have additional costs of a pc and accessories such as smart pens.

Functions of a smartboard.

The basic functions of a whiteboard include preparation and calibration stage.

In preparation,

start by turning on projector and pc with the help of a manual to locate buttons correctly.

Confirm that lectern pc is visible on the main projector screen, and smart board is turned on.

In calibration,

If the screen is not in sync with touch, press the button indicated on manual guide to re-calibrate the board. Correct the alignments by touching the Centre of the targets.

Wrap up.

Did you know that laser projectors are the future of projectors?

This is due to their ability to emit and retain brighter light in comparison to any other projector.

They consume less power and do not emit noise like short ultra-throw projectors do while cooling fans.


Frequently asked questions.

  • What are the features of a legacy cinema innovation LCI-98 1080P HD Home Theatre Projector?


This latest and advanced projector model has following features;

  • Free 3D glasses
  • M
  • multi- input support as USB, SD, HDMI, AV, VGA.
  • 1080 3D and 3D compatible.
  • Has 45,000:1 contrast ratio.

 What is the average price of a legacy projector?

This projector ranges from $ 5000 or more in most online shops.

  • Which technology is used in legacy projectors?

DLP technology is used for its ability to display clarity and quality.

Tiny mirrors are used to reflect colors of light projecting digital images.

Answered: Will A Projector’s Power Consumption and Wattage Increase My Electricity Bill?