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Once the impact of the subtler colour palette and extra dynamism had sunk in, we also noticed how clean colours looked, with little if any sign of the common DLP failing of dot noise over rich colours.
Talking of dot noise, the M20’s colour wheel arrangement also helps it stay largely free of two other traditional DLP issues: dithering noise over moving skin tones, and the rainbow effect, whereby stripes of pure colour can flit around in your peripheral vision.
The M20’s black level response is also outstanding for its price point. The space backdrop to the opening space battle of Star Wars Episode III recorded in HD from Sky looks largely free of the tell-tale greyness that flattens the scene out on lesser projectors. Meanwhile, the black level depths are achieved ‘naturally’ enough to retain plenty of subtle shading detail in, say, the shots of all the huge space craft. In fact there’s plenty of detail of all types in the picture by 720p standards – so much so that it gets much closer to giving 1080p rivals a run for their HD money than we’d anticipated.
The only real issue we have with the M20’s pictures is the way fast-moving objects can seem to flicker and jump a touch – though this is also seen to some extent with much more expensive DLP units and doesn’t really amount to a great deal when set against all the things the projector gets right.
It’s also worth noting that you can make a right royal mess of pictures if you’re not careful with some of the setup options available to you. The gamma, lamp output and BrilliantColor presets in particular are fraught with danger – though ironically the best approach is not to be afraid of them and to just tinker around with them until things look about right.
Actually, ending that last paragraph with the words ‘about right’ is unfair. It really should have ended with ‘absolutely brilliant’. For when you get the M20 and its BrilliantColor system firing on all cylinders, the result is genuine movie magic that more than justifies the slightly premium price point.