At first glance, you might imagine that SIM2’s HT380 doesn’t necessarily offer the best value out there. After all, this full-HD projector sports exactly the same resolution as the far cheaper InFocus IN82, and uses much the same single-chip DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology.
Lighting the path
However – and as we’ve constantly pointed out – resolution is only half the battle in the final quality of an image. The 380’s edge lies in its lamp and lens assembly, in the skill of its video processing and the sheer accuracy of its ‘light path’.
All of which means that despite packing no more pixels than cheaper alternatives, it’s miles better than all of them.
So, what makes the difference under the bonnet? High-quality, ultra-accurate optics start the ball rolling: you can focus this projector to a much crisper edge than many rivals, and its lens affords none of the distortion sometimes found in cheaper kit.
However, the biggest advance is its adoption of the full BrilliantColor system, the latest technology to emerge from DLP originators Texas Instruments.
Three-chip colour, one chip
BrilliantColor attempts to introduce the colour realism and light output of vastly more expensive and complex three-chip DLP projectors to a cheaper, single-chip design.
To achieve this edge, the HT380 packs both a powerful new video processor and an all-new colour wheel with six, rather than three, colour segments: three primary colours (red, green and blue) and three secondaries (cyan, magenta and yellow).
This, together with a new ‘Unishape’ lamp, allows this SIM2 to generate far more potential colour hues than older DLP projectors, giving it greater realism.
These two advances, together with the lack of a need for a dark green colour filter, as often found in earlier DLP kit, means the SIM2 can put far more light on to the screen than its older siblings.
More light equals more enjoyment
Once wired and fired – the SIM2 has only one HDMI, which we’d call mean in the modern market, although at least it’s compatible with 1080p at 24fps – there’s no disputing this projector’s undoubted class. The picture has massive depth and vitality, insight and contrast.
The added light output means that even after you’ve properly calibrated the image (backing off on brightness to deliver proper black levels, for example), you’re left with an image that positively punches its way from the screen.
With a sparkling hi-def disc transfer like Blood Diamond, the results are simply breathtaking in their impact and cinematic involvement.
Combine this obvious ability with first-rate image scaling – the projector is still enjoyable with standard-def content, if not quite as fabulous to behold – and the HT380’s obvious style, and you’ve a winning package. It ain’t cheap, but that’s often true of the best things in life.