The SMART Board MX Series is the most popular interactive screen currently being installed in UK schools. The MX275, with its 75″ screen, is the most widely purchased SMART Board from Classroom365.
- Choice of 55″, 65″, 75″ and 86″ SMART interactive whiteboard.
- SMART’S iQ bespoke Operating System is based on Android 11.
- Comprehensive 5-year warranty.
- Live Whiteboard and whole class collaboration tools, including 2-way annotation.
Although the SMART MX Series is the market leader, the cheaper GX Series from SMART Technologies is gaining popularity fast, competing with the cheaper whiteboards from Iiyama and BenQ but offering the unique SMART experience many schools love.
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The Key Features of the SMART Board MX Series
SMART Board MX - Do You Need a Price?
The SMART MX Series have the following specifications for the 65″ and above sizes. Interestingly, the smaller 55″ uses a different and cheaper panel compared to the larger screens, which doesn’t have the same brightness (it is lower) and has unbonded glass, meaning it is slightly less responsive than the higher specification screens which are common to both the GX and MX series. It has weaker speakers, too, meaning it should only be used for offices and smaller spaces such as inclusion or small group rooms.
A 55″ interactive screen is too small for a classroom and modern learning environment. Classroom365’s opinion is that the cost saving is not worth it.
The MX265, MX275 and MX286 models, recommended for classrooms, all have the following characteristics:
- 4K Ultra HD Screen (3840 x 2160) resolution.
- 2 x 20W Integrated speakers.
- An integrated 6-microphone array with echo-cancelling capabilities.
- 2 x Battery-less SMART Board pens are included.
- 8Gb RAM, 3Gb Storage and automatic updates.
- SMART Board software with Notebook is included in the purchase price. The subscription to the complete SMART Learning Suite is not and must be purchased separately.
What are the Differences Between the SMART MX Series and the GX Series?
Many differences exist between the MX Series and the cheaper SMART Board GX. Whether the price difference is worth it for your school is a decision you have to make. Installation costs will be the same (with Classroom365), and both have the same speaker quality, so deciding whether to purchase a sound bar is up to the school’s preference.
A sound bar or speakers offers classrooms a better and more immersive audio experience. However, it is by no means necessary for the latest interactive whiteboards. On a modern interactive whiteboard, look for 20W, which is our advice for audio output. Older models, such as the SMART Board E70, in our opinion, didn’t have loud enough speakers. Our sound bar of choice currently is the Roth III Sub Zero, available to schools for around £120 excluding VAT.
The key advantages of the MX Series of SMART Board include the following:
- SMART Remote Management for the length of the warranty. The GX and MX have 5-year warranties, but Remote Management is optional for the GX models.
- Bespoke Android OS and an app library with many more curriculum resources from the SMART Exchange. The GX Series uses a more generic Android operating system that doesn’t have the custom SMART application library available.
- Personalisation for users so that a custom home screen can be created.
- A more advanced touch screen with HyPr Touch™. More sensitive and responsive to touch.
- Additional convenience buttons, including a source button, make it easy to swap between different inputs if you teach with a visualiser or SMART Document Camera in the classroom.
- Widgets, add-ons and interactive features. In our experience, we work with schools whose teachers embrace everything the SMART software suite provides (and cannot live without) and other schools who want a reliable interactive whiteboard that they are familiar with and can use the software basics: interactivity and SMART Notebook.
- A 6-way microphone is built in for video conferencing. This is an additional purchase for the GX SMART Board.
Depending on your school, the main benefit would be the extra teaching resources available with the custom SMART operating system. For example, the SMART collaboration tools are not included in the GX Series. The SMART MX Boards, for example, have 2-way annotation, polling and voting apps available. The Learning Suite and Notebook Plus are not included – Notebook Basic version is included.
Review of the SMART Board MX275
The SMART Board MX275, with a 75″ screen, is also available with a 65 or 86 inch screen and is a superior product to the GX Series with all the extra features described above. It is the best option for schools that want the complete SMART experience for their learning environment. Their comparable alternative is the Clevertouch range of interactive screens that also use a bespoke operating system and custom software library of apps. All of the Clevertouch and SMART range are great products.
It is disappointing that the SMART Learning Suite, including Notebook Plus and Lumio, is no longer included in the price. This must be purchased as an additional subscription. The SMART Board MX price is what is essential, and it is a more expensive option. Schools must weigh up if the extra features justify the additional expense.
For some impartial advice and prices, please get in touch.
Mark Friend, BSc (Hons), is a Company Director at Classroom365 and has worked in technology for nearly 30 years. His IT career started with Rothschild Bank in Sydney, Australia, before working as a Global VPN Project Manager for the British Council. Mark has 20 years of experience in the UK education sector, helping schools integrate the latest tech into their curriculum and ICT vision.