What is the difference between the smart board & the promethean?

The SMART Board and the Promethean ActivBoard are interactive whiteboards made by Canadian and British companies respectively. SMART markets their boards to several sectors, including business and government, but Promethean focuses on the education market. SMART Board users can have access to the SMART Exchange website, which has 50,000 classroom-ready resources. Promethean's equivalent, Promethean Planet, has nearly 28,000 resources.


You operate older Promethean boards by pen. However, the flagship board as of March 2011, the Promethean ActivBoard 500 Pro has pen and touch capability. This means that you can use pen and finger to operate the board. You operate older SMART Boards by pen and finger and the same is true of newer boards, such as the SMART Boardâ„¢ 800 Series.

Simultaneous Users

The Promethean ActivBoard 500 Pro has a multi-touch interface, which means that up to 4 users can operate the board at once, when engaged on a single task. The SMART Board 800 Series has multitouch experience, which means that a pair of users can write, use the mouse, manipulate and move objects and erase items. The SMART Board 800 Series also boasts freestyle interaction. This means that two users can work together and individually to complete actions, such as writing in digital ink or using fingers to move objects.


The SBX885, which is the largest member of the SMART Board 800 Series, is 78 and 1/2 inches wide, 51 and 1/8 inches high, and 6 and 1/2 inches in depth. The SBX885ix, an interactive whiteboard specifically for education, has the same dimensions. The Promethean ActivBoard 587 Pro is 87 inches wide and the ActivBoard 595 Pro is 95 inches wide.


The ActivBoard 500 Pro includes an 87 or 95-inch wide board and a choice of projector, either short throw or extreme short throw, with shallow projecting angles so you don't cast a shadow on your board as you work. The board can be fixed, adjustable or mobile. You get 4 ActivPens, 2 for teachers and 2 for students, as well as necessary cables. The SMART Board 885ix includes an integrated SMART UX60 projector. This is an ultra-short-throw WXGA (1280 by 800) projector, having a 16:10 aspect ratio. You also get an extended control panel and a modular pen tray, which automatically detects the selected tool modes.

Recommended Software

The recommended application software for the The ActivBoard 500 Pro is ActivInspire Professional Edition, which is downloadable. The recommended application software for the SMART Board is SMART Notebook, which is included. This allows you to capture your work as an editable screen shot. You can annotate and save screen shots into several applications.

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About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.