Review: Teachers, Students Get Interactive with InFocus JTouch Plus

All-in-one teaching, collaboration and presentation tool lets teachers and students get hands-on with learning.

InFocus has been producing JTouch touchscreen displays in one form or another for several years. Previous models had whiteboard casting and a browser if the user purchased a LightCast key. This model — the JTouch Plus 75-inch 4K display with Android and Anti-Glare for Education — has LightCast built in, and it is the first in what InFocus calls the JTouch Plus line. It allows the user to annotate anywhere and customize the platform with Android applications or games.

Once the JTouch is turned on, the gorgeous 4K display reveals five large menu buttons along the bottom of the screen: Browser, Whiteboard, File Manager and Source (for casting), and one in the center called All Applications. From here, the user is just one tap away from creating content on a full-featured whiteboard, presenting videos and presentations, browsing the web, and sharing content from virtually any device with wireless casting.

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Student Testing Reveals Versatile Features

During testing, I invited several students to draw, write and take notes with the JTouch’s full-featured interactive whiteboard software. To our surprise, the device accepts up to 10 fingers or one of the provided styli. We quickly discovered that it takes one finger to draw, two fingers to move and three fingers to erase on the whiteboard.

One of my favorite features is the marquee. Simply tap the text icon on the whiteboard, and the words move left to right across the screen like a New York Stock Exchange ticker. A teacher could use this feature to remind students of a current task or an upcoming assignment.

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I tested video playback straight from a USB flash drive and experienced zero lag or stutter. I also plugged in multiple camcorders and playback was equally smooth. While the two 10-watt speakers are adequate at close range, I recommend connecting an external speaker system for whole-class use.

Display Has Plenty of Connections

The JTouch has bountiful input and output connectors. The four USB touch ports are for output. Touch data goes out to these ports to the receiving device. For example, connecting a Chromebox Mini with HDMI/USB and a PC as well with HDMI/USB allows the user to freely switch between these devices and still control both of them through touch without changing any cables.

JTouch Is App-Friendly

One unique aspect of the product is its ability to install third-party Android applications. While Google Play Store is the most common location to search and install Android applications, InFocus recommends searching for and downloading these applications on a PC or Mac, then copying the application’s APK (the package file format used by the Android operating system for distribution and installation of mobile apps) to a USB flash drive to be used with the JTouch. This process is commonly known as “sideloading” and refers to media file transfers to a mobile device via USB, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, or by writing to a memory card for insertion into the mobile device. In this case, sideloading means installing an application package in APK format onto the JTouch.

A great example of a third-party app not created by InFocus, but that comes installed in the panel itself for customer use is Magic Board. When the teacher saves a whiteboard file, a QR code pops up that students can simply scan to access the picture. The file is stored on the panel. The device, such as a phone that a student might use to scan the QR code, would need to be on the same local network. The file is downloaded off the panel over the local network to the student’s device.

It’s Big, But Easy to Install or Move

The mounting pattern is VESA 400 by 600 mm with M8 screws, so finding a third-party mounting solution should be easy. InFocus offers two accessories: one is a rolling display cart on wheels that lets teachers move the JTouch around the room or building and adjust its height. This is a great solution for schools wishing to share one device. For a more permanent installation, such as in a classroom or conference room, InFocus’s versatile wall mount allows users to make adjustments, such as side to side and tilt, even after the JTouch is mounted.

InFocus JTouch Plus

Processor: ARM Cortex-A53 at 1.4GHz
Installed Memory: 2GB RAM
Network: OPS Bay
Dimensions: 41.6 by 68.4 inches, 4.4 inches tall
Weight: 139 pounds

InFocus

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