The Hitachi FX-79E1 is one of the two interactive whiteboards in Hitachi's StarBoard product lineup. It has a 79-inch display, weighs 49 pounds and stands 51 inches tall.

This Hitachi electronic whiteboard has a low-reflection writing surface that is sturdy enough to withstand classroom abuse. It has a steel writing surface and a high-density polyester core. With no integrated electronics on the whiteboard's surface, it does not stop working even when covered with dents, dings and scratches. The FX-79E1 connects to a PC and other peripheral devices via USB. While it works with Windows and Mac computers, it does not support Linux operating systems. The writing area of the whiteboard is bordered on either side by a row of 15 buttons that serve as shortcuts to frequently used tools.

The FX-79E1's digitizing technology detects pen, touch and gestural inputs across the surface of the whiteboard, and it tracks inputs at a speed of 66 points per second. Thanks to this infrared tracking system, the pen used with this model lacks electronics and needs no batteries. You can use dry-erase markers with the whiteboard itself, so it can double as a traditional whiteboard in a pinch. Its 79-inch surface has a 4:3 aspect ratio. If you prefer interactive whiteboards with widescreen aspect ratios, then this is a good whiteboard to consider. This electronic whiteboard supports finger and pen inputs. Two people can also work on it with pens simultaneously. In addition, the Hitachi FX-79E1 supports special hover gestures, such as two-finger erase, two-hand zoom and scrolling with a fist.

While the Hitachi FX-79E1 has solid hardware, it is its flexible and intuitive software that makes it a true smart whiteboard. The whiteboard's software allows you to import and annotate Microsoft Office files, PDFs and multimedia files. It also permits the customization of its toolbar by accommodating external files and applications as well as up to four search engines. The board also has a robust suite of networking features that allow you direct access to a central server and the internet, as well as remote web conferencing sites.

Hitachi does not bundle a projector with the FX-79E1. While this means you can use the whiteboard with the projector you already have, it also raises compatibility issues. An even more striking omission is the lack of a built-in speaker. Without a pair of stereo speakers, you have to rely on external speakers to work with multimedia content on the whiteboard.

The Hitachi FX-79E1 is an electronic whiteboard with a responsive and durable writing surface as well as a rich and open software. Without a bundled projector and integrated speaker, the FX-79E1 needs additional hardware to work.

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