SIM2 M.150 3D 1080p LED Single Chip DLP Projector Review

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by The News Bot, Jun 13, 2012.


    1. The News Bot

      The News Bot
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      Reviewed by Stephen Withers, 13th June 2012. Sim2 has delivered on LED's early promise and in the M.150 they have produced a projector that delivers a reference performance in terms of both 2D and 3D. In fact, the various technological elements of the M.150 converge in such a spectacular fashion, that it emphatically reminds you despite all this talk of 4K, there's still plenty of life left in 1080p yet.
      Read the full review...
       
    2. tausifs

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      "...Whilst the M.150 doesn't use the Triple Flash technology (72Hz per eye) found on the Lumis 3D-S, it does project 24p 3D Blu-rays at 60Hz per eye which results in a 3D viewing experience that is free of both flicker and the aforementioned crosstalk."

      ... the downside being that 3D material will exhibit 3:2 pulldown judder, no ? If this is correct, then I think this needs to be emphasised.
       
    3. Dr Ed

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      As a Mico 60 user (the previous top LED projector available, obviously by Sim2 iteslf), I am curious to know if the 2D performance is improved again (you having reviewed the similar Mico50 last year). I assume not much difference given the same light source (al-be-it pushed harder) and same DLP chip and is the optical path the same ? I find the PSU "whine", from the Mico a pain, but then its my first projector, so can't comment on whether normal fan noise is more or less annoying. Certinaly on brighter scenes my mico steps up in pitch noticeably. What do you make of the sound levels empiracially on your unit tested as M150 here?

      cheers

      JacK
       
    4. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      Actually 3:2 pulldown only applies to film based material being shown at 30fps and doesn't apply to 24p content, so there is no judder being added. I watched hours of 3D content on the M.150 and all I saw were smooth flicker-free images.
       
      Last edited: Jun 13, 2012
    5. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      As I understand it there has been a lot of development on LED over the last two years and the M.150 is quite different from the MICO 50/60. In fairness the MICO 50 I reviewed was very good and would have received a Highly Recommended badge were it not for some video level issues. However I do feel that the M.150 is superior in terms of brightness, performance and accuracy. Sim2 have also improved the fans on the M.150 compared to their earlier LED projectors, so it is a bit quieter but still noisy compared to some other projectors. I noticed the PSU when first turning the M.150 on but after that I was unaware of it and I am quite sensitive to high pitched whines.
       
    6. tausifs

      tausifs
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      :smashin:
      Sorry , that doesn't make sense. Film-based material is 24p. How could 24p be pulled down into 60fps in a 1:1 manner ? It can't.

      I can believe it handled 2D 24p motion smoothly , but you must have been oblivious to the the judder with 3D material if the projector could only display 3D material at 60fps like you are claiming.
       
    7. Collusion

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      Did you have a change to measure the native contrast of this beast? I guess 5000:1 would be enough for me but there is very little info available on projectors with DarkChip 4 :rolleyes:
       
    8. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      My apologies I didn't explain myself very well, ordinarily you would be correct and 24fps would be converted into 60fps using 3:2 pulldown. However that is not what Sim2 are doing, they have taken a unique approach that unfortunately I am not able to disclose because it is proprietary. What I can say is that it really works and when watching 3D content, the images had no apparent judder or flicker.
       
      Last edited: Jun 13, 2012
    9. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      We don't tend to do contrast ratio measurements in our projector reviews because they are often misleading and very dependant on the equipment used and especially the environment.
       
    10. Collusion

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      I disagree.

      Exactly how could a measured (native) contrast ratio be misleading? Now the only reported contrast ratio lies within the listed key features provided by the manufacturer. They claim 100,000:1, which in my point of view as a reader is a bit misleading. Not to mention the projector gets a reference status at Contrast ratio/Dynamic Range, which in this particular case would be a whole different story compared to, let's say, a JVC DLA-X90 projector (another reference at contrast/dynamic range). Because of the different nature of these two projectors ( low ansi/high native and high ansi/low native) it would just be easier to provide measurement results.

      Sure, certain conditions have to be met to get correct measurement results, especially for darker tones. In this case however, IMHO inadequate lighting conditions would render ALL measurements incorrect. I don't know how you could justify your measurement conditions to be adequate only for color measurements.

      Sure, to avoid misunderstandings it should be stated at every review that the measured contrast ratio means a difference between the lowest and the highest luminance level which the projector can render and not the actual (viewable) contrast which may be dramatically lower due to daylight or reflective walls.

      I may sound a bit harsh, but trust me, you're my number one site for well written and informative equipment reviews. There was a time you would not publish black level measurements of TVs, the explanations were the same, but that has changed ever since. How come projectors are a different story? You sure as hell are not getting a 0,009cd/m2 black level from a 15th gen Panasonic plasma at daylight :)
       
    11. tausifs

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      Well someone at Sim should be sacked if you, presumably as an unaffiliated individual, have been privy to this, if it is proprietary :rolleyes: .

      Or do you have something to declare?

      Perhaps these reviews should have a declaration of conflicts of interest ;)

      Seriously, though, I appreciate the efforts you guys go to in writing your reviews. :thumbsup:
       
    12. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      There's no conflict of interest, it's just that as part of the review process we are occasionally privy to information that is proprietary. It is understandable that companies don't want certain things made public and as a result we sometimes have to sign non-disclosure agreements. It doesn't affect the independence of the review and hopefully makes it more accurate and informative.
       
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    13. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      You raise some valid points and I completely agree with you about the misleading numbers quoted by manufacturers. When I said misleading, I meant that comparing measurements between different projectors can be problematic unless you know the exact conditions the measurements were taken under. The danger is that people start comparing results from different sites and everyone starts getting obsessed with numbers and forgetting the actual performance. That is why we take a more empirical approach in our reviews and that is why I made a point of specifically discussing the intra-frame contrast ratio of the M.150.

      I'm not suggesting that our measurement conditions are only adequate for colour measurements, I use a completely blacked home theatre for reviews so I'm certainly capable of taking accurate ANSI contrast ratio measurements. I should point out that we actually measure the greyscale, colour gamut, lumens etc. with the meter facing the lens, so as to eliminate any room effect.

      Fair enough and as I said I have a completely black room so I certainly can take meaningful measurements, especially related to ANSI contrast ratio. However as you point out, there are so many factors to consider - the projector, the room, the screen, the meter etc. - that you have to wonder just how useful a single number really is. This is especially true when comparing different projectors that might have been reviewed by different people.

      I appreciate your feedback, we obviously want our reviews to be as accurate and informative as possible and as such they are constantly evolving. As you mention we have changed the TV reviews to reflect reader demand for more black level measurements. On my next projector review, I'll add the on/off contrast ratio measured with the meter facing the lens and the ANSI contrast ratio measured with the meter facing the screen.
       
    14. Collusion

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      Thank you for the answer. Keep up the good work :thumbsup:
       
    15. Jeff

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      I agree, what is being sugested is impossible in my view. They may have some proprietary processing that helps but I can't see how it could be artefact free.
       
    16. Steve Withers

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      Well as always we recommend demoing a projector before buying it (even more so at this price point), so go and take a look.
       
    17. JustMike

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      Well, you have certainly succeeded in making my projector buying decision difficult!

      I was able to see an M.150 for a brief demo by a Sim2 representative, and I ruled it out of contention because the fans were too noisy for my ultra-quiet room. We also weren't able to see 3D because he didn't have the emitter available (since corrected).

      Now you're saying that they've improved the fans!

      I had all but decided on the VW1000, so let me ask you this directly: how do you think these two projectors compare on the following metrics:
      • Brightness when calibrated (assume low lamp in the Sony)
      • 3D crosstalk
      • 3D perceived brightness (assume high lamp on the Sony)
      • Fan noise (assume low lamp on the Sony)
      • Black level and dark scene detail
      • Overall 2D image quality
      • Overall 3D image quality

      The VW1000, when I have seen it, has been exceedingly quiet in low lamp, and I had hoped for the same results from the M.150. I wonder how the updated fans will compre.

      The 1000 also seemed to throw a very nice 2D and 3D image. I believe that it throws 900 calibrated lumens in low lamp, according to a number of reports, so it should be right on par with the M.150 in this regard. Of course, the M.150 is able to modulate its LED brightness in 256 steps on a per-frame basis, so this creates what is essentially a lightning-fast dynamic iris.

      Thanks to my particular screen size and gain, that's plenty of light and should be very adequate even with lamp aging on the Sony.

      On the other hand, the Sony has been found to be dimmer in 3D mode than in 2D (talking about raw output from the lens here). Perhaps they are using a very large blanking interval to prevent crosstalk? So, it's possible that with 900 calibrated lumens and short blanking, the M.150 could hold its own against the Sony on brightness. What do you say?

      My dream would be to compare these two side by side on my actual screen. Sadly, I don't think that can be arranged. :(
       
    18. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      Obviously this is from memory rather than side-by-side comparison but in answer to your questions Mike:

      After calibration, and with the VW1000 in Low lamp mode, I would say the brightness of the two is very similar.

      I would also say that both were excellent in 3D with no crosstalk.

      The VW1000 had a brighter 3D image with a new bulb in high lamp mode but it would be interesting to see how the two projectors compared after a few hundred hours. In my experience with other projectors, the 3D performance can suffer as the bulb ages.

      I think even with the new fans in the M.150, the VW1000 is definitely quieter.

      In terms of black levels and dark scene detail I think that the M.150 has the edge.

      In terms of overall 2D performance I would again say that the M.150 has the edge.

      In 3D I'm inclined to say that with a new bulb the VW1000 might have the edge but as you point out, the shorter blanking and more consistent LED light source could give the M.150 the advantage over the longer term. That's what I love about an LED projector, once you've set it up and calibrated it, the image remains consistent for the whole of its (considerable) life. Whereas with UHP bulbs, you are always dealing with their gradual (and in some cases not-so-gradual) reduction in brightness and inevitably having to replace them.

      Both are superb projectors and there's is very little between them, which doesn't make your decision any easier Mike. I'd really like to test them side-by-side but given the size of the VW1000 and the weight of the M.150, I'm not sure my projector stand could handle it!
       
    19. JustMike

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      Thanks very much. One follow-up: what is it about the M.150's 2D performance that you think gives it the edge?

      They are definitely close competitors. The Sony has a more flexible lens (particularly in terms of vertical shift), which is a big plus for me. But, the instant-on and worry free LED light source is sure nice.
       
    20. Steve Withers

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      It's hard to define why I preferred the M.150 in 2D but I try and explain it in the review when I talk about the image accuracy, the intra-frame dynamic range, the shadow detail and the motion handling. Some if it relates to DLP, some to LED and some to the LCC software but when combined it does make for a fantastic 2D image.

      I totally agree that the more flexible lens and the lens memory are definite pluses of the VW1000.
       
    21. JustMike

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      Appreciate your thoughts!
       
    22. AD Roser

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      In fact it is not impossible. 24p material is always displayed out at 48hz. In the M150 & Nero we process the signal through an FPGA then through a frame rate multiplier up to 96hz then to 120hz which is a 5 x 24, hence no need for 2-3 pull down.

      Regards

      Alan
      SIM2 UK
       
    23. JustMike

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      Hello Alan!

      For 3D, is the M.150 still doing 120 (e.g. LRLRL RLRLR LRLRL RLRLR), or do you have to switch to 96 in order to get an even division (LRLR LRLR LRLR LRLR)?
       

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