Review: MAXHUB E2 Series
A solid IFP with an education focus.
Review:/ Christopher Holder
The education market is a huge one for IFPs (interactive flat panels). Many schools are yet to transition from interactive projection systems. There’s nothing wrong with projection but LCD is getting big enough and cheap enough to make IFPs a no-brainer. Maxhub has been operating in this competitive market for a few years now and has had some wins against far more entrenched players.
The E2 series supersedes the old L series with updated hardware and software, including an ARM Cortex A55-based CPU and Android 11 operating system.
Depending on which end of K12 spectrum you’re talking about, the education sector relies on whiteboarding and collaboration to varying degrees. Education panels don’t normally need an integral camera for UC — generally the camera in a hybrid classroom is pointing at the teacher from the back of the room.
The E2 series addresses these needs with excellent whiteboarding features and a great stylus experience, as well as super-simple screen sharing. More on this later.
Spark up the E2 Series IFP and the home screen boots up reassuringly quickly. The E2 product ships with a comprehensive remote control but this is, of course, a touch panel and you won’t need to resort to it — your fingers will do just fine… or one of the two stylus that are provided.
Many schools are joined at the hip with certain IFPs manufacturers and their eco systems. Which makes a lot of sense when it comes to training, maintenance and shared resources. Maxhub is coming in as a cleanskin competitor — not seeking to lock you into any one ecosystem in particular, but focussing on ease of use.
That said, Maxhub does have Bytello — its own suite of cloud-based apps and resources. Bytello Class is a subscription-based online platform for educators. I didn’t spend any time within Bytello Class but for those who don’t have existing allegiances to educational resources it looks to be a solid option.
The E2 user interface is uncluttered and utilitarian. For schools that rely on an IFP to provide rock-solid and super-straight-forward screen sharing, along with whiteboarding, some web surfing and the occasional movie presentation then the E2 is ideal — all the tools on the home screen are ready for use.
If you’re especially keen on any third-party apps then you can load those in on a USB stick or log into an app downloader like APK Pure. For more flexibility, there’s an OPS PC slot to run a parallel Windows machine, for example.
CENTRE OF ATTENTION
The E2 Series’ image quality provided by the 4K, high-contrast display, is first class (there are 65-, 75-, and 86-inch versions). Images, text and handwriting are rendered with sharpness and professional-grade colour accuracy. Maxhub understands that classes of kids can be staring at this screen for extended periods, and has worked hard at designing a non-fatiguing, low-glare display, that’s easy on the eyes.
Working with the multipoint infrared touchscreen is a pleasure. The air gap between the glass and the panel is minimal, such that parallax error isn’t an issue. The screen coating provides a pleasing level of friction whether you’re using the stylus or your finger.
Educators can spend hours a week using the whiteboard features and the writing comfort is a big consideration. I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Maxhub product is excellent in this regard.
The ins and outs are extensive: there are four USB-A and three HDMI ports, RS232, Network connections, audio out, S/PDIF multichannel audio out… even a VGA input. Thoughtfully, there’s a selection of ports at the front of the display, for easy ad hoc access — something state education departments are moving to mandate.
The front-mounted USB Type-C port (with 65W power pass through) will be especially welcome for teachers wanting to connect and power their laptop during lessons.
MATTER OF TRUST
The education market for AV gear has engrained loyalties and quite justifiably won’t go out on a limb for fly-by-night newcomers. Over the last couple of years, Maxhub has built a solid team in Australia and has some significant wins in the education market. Maxhub is not pitched in the primo end of the market and neither is it the cheapest. But it certainly may be the easiest to get to grips with, straight out of the box.