Looking for new ways to spice up your slide shows? A new breed of projectors lets you bring a little Avatar to the boardroom by adding 3-D content to presentations. We tested the following four models. Here are the results.
Our top pick, Acer's 15.9-pound projector, which has a 50,000:1 contrast ratio, is the only one of the group that automatically converts 2-D videos and still images to 3-D. During our test, we converted videos, an Excel pie chart, and a PowerPoint slide into 3-D by clicking a menu setting. The resulting images looked crisp and colorful and popped off the screen. The included pair of 1.8-ounce glasses, which lasts 60 hours fully charged, was the most comfortable of the bunch. One gripe: The projector's remote does not have a button for switching easily to 3-D mode.
COST: $2,000, plus $69 a pair for extra glasses
With a high 30,000:1 contrast ratio, this 33-pound JVC model projected the most lifelike images during our test, including a scientific drawing and a 3-D version of the animated movie Rio. You can adjust image focus and positioning using the included remote, which, unlike the Acer's, also has a handy button for switching to 3-D mode. On the downside, the projector does not come with the required 3-D glasses, which weigh 1.9 ounces and last 50 hours on a full charge.
COST: $7,495, plus $179 a pair for glasses and $79 for an emitter that connects them to the projector
The only "short-throw" model we tested, this 16.7-pound projector sits next to a screen, making it ideal for smaller rooms. Still images and videos looked crisp and clear in 3-D despite the projector's relatively low 3,000:1 contrast ratio. As with the other models here, you will need a special app, such as Stereoscopic Player, to project 3-D images from a laptop. The projector comes with a remote that has a button for switching to 3-D mode. It does not come with the required 2.8-ounce glasses, which last 70 hours fully charged.
COST: $1,699, plus $99 a pair for extra glasses
We were unimpressed with this lightweight, 2.6-pound projector, which has a 6,000:1 contrast ratio. A 3-D science image looked crisp and bright during our test, but 3-D movies were a bit blurry and dim. The included remote does not have a dedicated button for switching to 3-D mode, but it does include a red laser pointer and buttons for adjusting the size and position of images. The projector comes with a pair of glasses that weighs 2 ounces and lasts 50 hours fully charged.
COST: $659, plus $99 a pair for extra glasses
Before you buy: 3-D projectors come with, at most, one pair of 3-D glasses, so you will have to purchase extra pairs for groups. You can find 3-D content for your presentations on a variety of websites, including 3DImages.com.