Back in March we lapped up SIM2’s truly stellar Grand Cinema C3X Lumis three-chip DLP projector - arguably the single most enjoyable home cinema experience we’ve ever had. There was just one problem: if we even dreamed of owning one, we’d have to wake up and apologise to our bank managers.
For the single most unavoidable fact about the C3X Lumis was that it cost only a fiver under £26,000. That’s 26 thousand pounds, in case you thought we’d made a typo.
We’re not saying the C3X Lumis wasn’t worth its money, mind you. It’s so often the case that if you want the very best, you have to pay for it. It just causes us physical pain to know that unless we pack up a review unit we’ve got on loan, move home and change our names, phone numbers and locks, we’ll most likely never get a C3X Lumis permanently installed in our lives. Grr.
Cue - er, sort of - the C3X Lumis Uno. For with this new projection beast, SIM2 has managed to knock a whole seven grand off the C3X Lumis asking price.
This obviously still leaves it sitting pretty at £19k, so it can hardly be considered mainstream. But if you are lucky enough to be able to afford it, then the C3X Lumis Uno could well be a seriously tempting alternative way of emptying your bank account.
Obviously the main order of business with this review has to be tracking down what SIM2 has changed to knock £7k off the price of the original C3X Lumis. And happily, we can immediately report that none of the cost cutting appears to have taken place on an aesthetic level. For the C3X Lumis Uno is every bit as gorgeous to look at as its costlier sibling, thanks to its glossy finish, wonderful Ferrari-like sculpting and surprisingly petite size considering what a brutish amount of home cinema goodness it’s got crammed inside.
Connections are the same as those of the more expensive model too, meaning you get two v1.3 HDMIs, three 12V trigger ports, a D-Sub PC port, RS-232 and USB control jacks in recognition of this projector’s custom install focus, a component video input, plus, finally, composite and S-Video inputs for anyone who can bear to use a projector of this status with standard definition material.
It’s when we delve deeper into the Uno’s specifications that we finally get to the £7k-saving nitty gritty. For while the C3X Lumis quotes a storming DLP contrast ratio of 35,000:1, this figure drops rather dramatically to 9,000:1 with the Uno.
Before contrast lovers wring their hands in anguish, though, the situation with these contrast ratio differences might not be as clear cut as it first appears. For the main reason for the differences comes from the Uno not having the dynamic or manual iris adjustments sported by the original Lumis. Not being able to manipulate the projector’s light output 'on the hoof' with a dynamic iris will always severely dint a projector’s measured contrast ratio. But what’s really significant is a projector’s native (as in, with no dynamic contrast features) contrast ratio, and in this respect we suspect the Uno might not be nearly as drastically different in contrast terms to its full Lumis brother as the on-paper figures might suggest.