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Among the variety of equipment and accessories for study, presentations and information business, interactive whiteboards occupy a special place. Being essentially a large touch screen, and functioning in close conjunction with a projector and a control computer, such a device provides a lot of new opportunities for lecturers, coaches, and other information business specialists, and greatly facilitates their work. Today we will consider a short rating of interactive whiteboards of different types and manufacturers, which Expertology experts considered the best in their class. But first, let’s briefly go through the classifications and give you some tips on choosing this kind of device.

How to choose an interactive whiteboard

Interactive whiteboards differ quite significantly in terms of the principle of operation and the implemented technological solutions. The choice of a particular model is most often dictated by a combination of key technical characteristics. We will list them below, but first, a few general universal tips.

General recommendations

Before buying such a very expensive thing as an interactive whiteboard, you should do some preparatory work and take into account some recommendations.

Universal advice – study the information on the Internet about suitable models in advance. Pay attention to user reviews. Ask about the presence of representative offices of manufacturers in your city – this will determine how long you have to wait for a solution to the problem when a warranty case occurs. It all seems obvious, but so many people ignore this step and are in too much of a hurry to buy.

It is highly desirable to buy a complete set at once – a board + a projector. This will achieve maximum compatibility, and in some cases a board with a “non-native” projector is completely useless.

The delivery set must include a set of fasteners and fixtures, as well as installation instructions.

Choose a board with a matte finish. As an option – boards with anti-reflective coating, but matte is still preferable.

projection type

Interactive whiteboards also differ in the type of projection – direct or reverse. The straight line assumes the location of the proctor in front of the board, the reverse – behind. The first option is cheaper and easier in terms of mounting the board itself – you can simply hang it on the wall. The second option is good because the projector beam does not interfere with the lecturer, and he himself does not cast a shadow. But rear projection systems are much more expensive, and board installation requires the services of a highly specialized specialist.

Sensor type

Reading the position of the stylus or the lecturer’s finger(s) is the key to the very interactivity that makes such decisions meaningful. There are several ways to do this:

  1. Electromagnetic. Over the entire area of ​​the board canvas inside its structure there are grids of contact conductors. When touching the surface with the stylus, the touch point is determined instantly and accurately. Such boards are relatively inexpensive, solid, generally reliable and durable, and can be provided with an anti-vandal coating. On the other hand, such boards are susceptible to EMI and can only be operated with a stylus.
  2. resistive. The principle here is the same as for touch phones, which were before the advent of the era of capacitive screens. The location of the contact is determined by physical pressure. Here it is already possible to use not only the stylus, but just fingers. The main disadvantage is a small delay between the touch and the reaction of the system.
  3. Infrared. Sensors are located inside the perimeter, which determine the place of touch. It has almost all the advantages of resistive technology, plus it is not afraid of damage to the web, or rather, damage does not negatively affect functionality. Cons – mostly high price, sensitivity to interference.
  4. Optic. In the corners are miniature digital cameras at a certain angle to the canvas. Two cameras are enough, but four is better. You can work with the board with any opaque objects, but the positioning accuracy in this solution is worse than in any of the above.

There are other recognition and positioning technologies, such as laser or microdot, but they are much less common and mostly too expensive.

Data transfer

On this basis, active and passive boards are distinguished. Active ones are powered by the mains and connected directly to the computer. The second is completely independent. Passive interactive whiteboards have much less opportunities for using technologies, so there are quite a few types of them – microdot, magnetic and several others. Our rating contains only active boards.

The size

An extremely important parameter that determines which audience, as well as what kind of information material the board will be designed for directly in the work.

Actually, the size of the board can be measured by the lengths of the sides, but more often this parameter is determined by the diagonal, as in TVs or monitors. An additional parameter is the aspect ratio. The larger the diagonal, the more viewers will be able to fully perceive the information on the screen. Estimated calculations are as follows:

  1. from 2 to 10 spectators – at least 50 inches;
  2. 10 to 25 spectators – 60 to 90 inches;
  3. from 50 spectators – from 91 to 105 inches.

The data are given on the basis that the dimensions of the room are minimal. The larger the room, the larger the size of the board will be needed for the same number of spectators.

It is also worth considering that many models contain so-called non-interactive zones at the edges, which reduce the usable area.

Software

The technical features of an interactive whiteboard alone are not enough to make it a convenient multifunctional tool. It is the functionality that directly depends on the software. This point must also be clarified with the manufacturer or at the point of sale and compared with the future use of the board. For example, if the board is supposed to be used at school on an ongoing basis, it is necessary that the software contains the most complete or at least a standard set of software interactive tools: a ruler, a compass, a protractor, and so on.

Another important aspect regarding software is the presence of Russian localization. It must be complete, including instructions and updates. There can be an exception only if the board will be permanently used in an English class.

Rating of the best interactive whiteboards

Nomination

place

Name of product

price

Rating of the best interactive whiteboards

one

ActivPanel Touch 86″ 4K

653 900 ₽

2

SMART SBX885

200 000 ₽

3

Smart Board SB480IV4

147 000 ₽

four

Activboard Touch 88

99 900 ₽

ActivPanel Touch 86″ 4K

Rating: 4.9

ActivPanel Touch 86 4K

Let’s start the rating with the most expensive, but certainly excellent solution – the flagship of the Promethean ActivPanel line of interactive screens. Actually, it is worth clarifying that interactive screens are a kind of “special case” of interactive whiteboards – they are essentially large monitors with touch screens and do not require a projector or connection to a computer, since the necessary software is already contained in the firmware.

The panel dimensions in diagonal are 86 inches, and the resolution is very good even for such dimensions – 3840×2160 (4K) with a frequency of 60 Hertz. The aspect ratio is 16 to 9. The brightness level is 350 nits, the contrast is 4 thousand to 1. The LED backlight has a physical resource of about 50 thousand hours before the brightness decreases by half.

The panel is equipped with durable glass 4mm thick and a hardness index of 7 on the Mohs scale. A highly sensitive touch recognition system is integrated into the glass, which allows you to manipulate the image not only with styluses, but also with other objects or just with your fingers. Multitouch is supported with recognition of up to 20 touches simultaneously with an accuracy of 1 mm.

Directly integrated into the panel are two speakers with a power of 15W each. At the bottom there is a control panel with connectors for peripheral interfaces. Input ports: two USB, three HDMI, one Display port. For external control, Ethernet, RS-232C and USB ports are used. In operation, the panel consumes up to 350 watts of electricity.

Overall dimensions of the device – 2039x1236x115 mm, net weight – 78 Kg.

We emphasize some features of this model, which especially clearly distinguish it from the background of analogues. We mentioned above the touch recognition system built into the protective glass. We are talking about the innovative InGlass technology, which is significantly superior to infrared in a number of indicators, especially in the most important – positioning accuracy and recognition speed with instant display.

The panel is supplied with a specialized computer running Android OS with special software already installed. The system allows you to simultaneously transmit images of the screens of two gadgets at once. Thousands of useful programs available in the online store are compatible with the system.

In general, the possibilities of this model are almost limitless: creating and conducting lessons in an interactive format; connecting students from anywhere in the world; conducting tests and surveys; remote transfer of tasks and tracking the progress of their implementation; convenient work with wearable gadgets; Chatting with students work with cloud services and much more.

Advantages

  • a high resolution;

  • image quality;

  • accurate and fast touch recognition;

  • multitouch up to 20 simultaneous touches;

  • special computer included;

  • a wide range of applications in the online store.

Flaws

  • high price.

SMART SBX885

Rating: 4.8

SMART SBX885

The second interactive whiteboard in our ranking is the flagship of the eighth SMART Board series. This model is already much cheaper than the first one, but it is really one of the best in its class. Actually, this is no longer a “big monitor”, but really a board with a projector and a gesture recognition system.

The dimensions of the canvas are 188×117 cm (diagonal 87 inches) with an aspect ratio of 16:10. The projector is installed fixedly in the upper part, broadcasts an image with a resolution of up to 4000×4000. DViT optical technology is used to recognize gestures – 4 cameras are installed at the corners of the canvas. Double writing is supported.

DViT recognition technology allows several users to work with the board at the same time. You can use styluses, pens, any non-sharp objects or your own fingers. Multitouch allows you to modify, rotate, move and scale individual objects or the entire image. The surface of the board has a durable steel backing with a durable polyester coating and can be passively used with dry erase markers.

To control the device, a special extended panel is used, with which you can easily switch between different devices – laptops, document cameras, optical drives and other multimedia devices.

The system can be easily integrated into the general infrastructure of the institution through connection to the local network and remote control. The package comes with specialized SMART Notebook software with an activation key.

Overall dimensions of the board – 199x130x17 mm, in the package – 224x144x11 mm, weight in the package – 41 kg. The package includes the board itself with a projector, an extended control panel, a mounting kit with screws; a set of markers; 5m USB cable; instruction. The device is compatible with Windows and Mac OS operating systems.

The manufacturer’s warranty for this model is 12 months.

Advantages

  • ease of installation and use;

  • speed and accuracy of gesture recognition;

  • the speed of work in general;

  • software suite;

  • high resolution, high quality image;

  • multitouch – simultaneous use by several people.

Flaws

  • fixed connection of whiteboard and projector.

Smart Board SB480IV4

Rating: 4.7

Smart Board SB480IV4

Another Smart interactive whiteboard in our rating formally has slightly less functionality than the previous solution, but is not devoid of some qualities that characterize it on the good side.

The SB480IV4 is a complete interactive kit that includes the whiteboard itself, a short throw projector with a remote control and a set of accessories. The SMART V30 projector displays XGA (1024×768) resolution and 4:3 aspect ratio; supports HDTV via HDMI 1.4 input. The projector also has a built-in 5-watt speaker.

This solution uses the same optical DViT gesture recognition technology as in the previous model, but not so perfect – only two cameras are used. This allows no more than two people to use the board at the same time.

Board canvas size – 157×117 (77 inches). Image brightness under optimal ambient lighting conditions reaches 3000 lm, contrast – up to 2900 to 1. Lamp life in standard operation mode is 6500 hours, in economy mode – up to 8000. The set of interfaces includes: two 15-pin Mini D-Sub x 2 sockets; one composite RCA input; one 9-pin RS-232 D-Sub interface, one 15-pin D-Sub computer input, standard stereo Mini Jack audio input and output.

The system is just as simple and straightforward to install and operate, has almost the same functionality as the previous solution in terms of using applications, drawing, writing, integration into the general infrastructure of the institution. The surface of the board is the same as the model above – a metal base with a durable polyester coating that is resistant to abrasion.

The system comes with: whiteboard, tray, fixing kit with screws, marker, 5m USB cable, projector, bracket, remote control with battery, 4.5m power cable, trim kit, bracket, installation and connection instructions .

Advantages

  • high quality short throw projector;

  • high-quality, bright and contrast image;

  • fairly effective gesture recognition;

  • simultaneous use by two operators;

  • ease of installation, operation and integration into other systems.

Flaws

  • no obvious flaws were found.

Activboard Touch 88

Rating: 4.6

Activboard Touch 88

Our rating is completed by another representative of the Promethean product lines. Even with a number of reservations, this model cannot be considered the “younger sister” of the above-described top-end Touch 86 “4K solution, since the principle here is completely different, but in general the model is high-quality and functional, but it costs disproportionately cheaper.

So, this is a “classic” board, for which you will need a projector. The canvas size is 190×119 cm (88 inches) with an aspect ratio of 16:10. The touch recognition principle is infrared (up to 6 simultaneous touches are supported). Dual writing technology is supported. The device software is compatible with Windows and Mac OS operating systems.

Features of this model: support for up to six users at the same time; writing, drawing objects with a choice of line thickness, any manipulations; a set of electronic “versions” of educational devices – a ruler, a protractor, etc.; handwriting recognition; video recording of what is happening on the screen; a set of ready-made templates; support for various student testing systems.

Package includes: whiteboard, 5m USB cable, wall mount kit, stand brackets, two styluses, instructions.

Overall dimensions of the board without packaging – 2006x1292x40 mm, in the package – 2148x1422x100. Packed weight – 30 kg.

This model has a 12 month manufacturing warranty.

Advantages

  • high sensitivity to touch;

  • multitouch up to 6 simultaneous touches;

  • abrasion-resistant coating, durable base;

  • functional software.

Flaws

  • you need to select a suitable projector separately.