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Interactive Projector vs. Smart Board

Interactive Projector vs. Smart Board

There is virtually no monopoly in the tech world because there is always an alternative to any technology but the choice is all yours.

In the media display technology world, one of the close alternatives is projectors and smartboards.

The two technologies make presentations and teaching easier and funner among other benefits. But the decision about which is the best option between the two is another challenge for various institutions.

In order to help with this, we have put together comparisons between the two technologies based on their features and specifications.

Before any further information, let’s discuss these two technologies.

What is an interactive projector?

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An interactive projector generally belongs to the class of ultra-short-throw projectors. You can display your projection against a whiteboard or a projection screen like a standard projector.

But, unlike the standard projector, an interactive projector enables you to discuss with your projection. This action is possible with the aid of special sensors.

The mounted projector serves as a source of displayed images while the whiteboard is the blank screen for display. The projector can be mounted on the wall or ceiling.

When choosing an Interactive projector for yourself, you should know that we have two types. These are: DLP Interactive projector and Infrared Interactive projector.

The interaction with the projector screen of an interactive projector is made possible by a quick special pattern cast on the projected image by the projector. This pattern is so fast that it cannot be detected by the human eyes but only picked with the aid of the interactive pen.

If the interactive pen during use detects this pattern, it receives and transmits the data back to the projector. The projector receives the movement pattern and reflects it back to the screen.

The infrared Interactive projectors, on the other hand, use a special camera that is different from the projection lens to follow the movements of the special pen.

When this pen makes contact with the projection screen, infrared light is emitted to the camera, and this action is recorded. Some newer models of this projector allow interaction by touch rather than using a special pen.

The interactive projector can be used by businesses that present information or use screens in the office. Its uses cut across every field that does interactive presentations like business, schools, conferences, etc.

What is a SmartBoard?

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A smartboard is like a big-screen television that has a touch screen display. This is the combination of a computer, display, and whiteboard technology combined in one device.

This device is also known as an interactive display. It comprises the display screen and most times a remote control.

This technology unlike the interactive projector doesn’t need a special pen for writing. It is responsive to finger touch or palm touch.

Stylus pens are provided for some smartboards. With the stylus pen, you can easily use the SmartBoard for writing, drawing and making different patterns and shapes digitally.

Not only can you write out explanations, these writings, drawings or shapes can be saved in various formats for future use. This is a very high advantage of the SmartBoard over the Interactive projector.

Another big feature of using this technology is that of its PC-free annotation, i.e. It doesn’t rely on the input of either laptops or tablets.

When information from an external source is required, it has connection inputs like USB.

Interactive Projector vs. SmartBoard

The interactive projector vs. SmartBoard comparisons are based on their features and specifications.

Property & Specification Interactive Projector SmartBoard
Affordability ✔️  
Screen size ✔️  
Warranty ✔️  
PC- free annotation   ✔️
Touch technology   ✔️
Sound   ✔️
Image quality   ✔️
Maintenance   ✔️


Though both technologies are quite expensive when compared to other display technologies. The cost of getting a smartboard is a bit higher than an interactive projector.

Most times, you can even get an interactive projector for half the price of a smartboard. That is to tell you how expensive a smartboard can be.

But remember that interactive projectors still have maintenance expenses which can be in the form of replacement lamps.

Screen size

a boy writing on an interactive whiteboard in the classroom

These two technologies both have large screens, but even with the smart board’s big screen, it cannot compete with the interactive projector.

Interactive projectors screen can be as wide as 300 inches depending on how it is mounted and the size of the projection screen. But the screen size of most smartboard ranges from 60 – 100 inches.


If you want to consider warranty in your choice of any of these technologies, interactive projectors have a longer warranty period than that of a smartboard. The warranty period ranges between 7-10 years.

PC- free annotation

Smartboards don’t require connection to other devices for presentations as they can be used like a whiteboard to write text, draw patterns or images etc. But they still offer connection ports for external sources when needed.

An interactive projector on the other hand relies on a computer or other external sources for display. There are models that offer wireless connections to improve convenience but they are more expensive.

Touch technology

two classmates using smart board for their project

Touch technology for an interactive projector is single, i.e. it has a single touch. Touch control is achieved through the use of a special pen.

The only problem can be in situations where the pen gets lost, which means you need to have a spare at hand.

But the smartboard has a dual touch technology and can be controlled with the aid of a special pen or the finger touch. It is responsive to finger touch and can also be used with a stylus pen.


When it comes to sound quality, the smartboard has an upper hand. You might need to place a budget on a good sound system as the built-in 14-16W stereo systems for interactive projectors are not always loud.

Also, the noise from the interactive projector’s cooling fan might be an issue.

The smartboard package of 2 x 14 W speakers provides better quality than that of the projector.

Image quality

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The general disadvantage of most interactive projectors is their poor image quality. Projected images are faded in ambient lightning and these dull images can result in eye strain.

There are models that allow screen brightness adjustments, so this is helpful in minimizing eye strain.

On the other hand, a SmartBoard gives a bright, colorful, and HD image that will not diminish over time like the interactive projector.


Lamps used in interactive projectors tend to burn out and there is a need for replacements. Regular replacement can be costly which is a disadvantage.

Smartboards require little or no maintenance as there is no need for lamp replacements which make them easier and affordable to maintain. The only problem is that any damage no matter how little can sometimes result in buying a new smartboard.


The two image display technologies have some similarities like the touch technology, built-in sound system. They also have some differences like the wide price difference.

No one is far better than the other. The choice between the two depends on expense and personal preference.

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