Having spent many happy ‘aspirational’ hours in recent times with Sim2 projectors that kicked arse but which would never remotely be within reach of our humble bank accounts, it’s fair to say we’re pretty stoked about the Italian projector maestro’s Crystal 35 model.
For despite boasting the Sim2 name, the Crystal 35 costs just £4,500. Including VAT. And no, we haven’t missed out a zero.
What we’re looking at, in other words, is Sim2’s current ‘lure’ to try and get relatively normal folk engaged with its brand. But what we’re also looking at, presumably, is a compromise - a projector that must have had all sorts of corners cut and features removed to get it down to such a (relatively!) affordable price point. So it will be very interesting indeed to see if Sim2 can retain its competitive edge when stooping so much lower than normal.
Certainly Sim2’s emphasis on design has remained intact with the Crystal 35. For while its basic shape lacks the curvaceous elegance of Sim2’s Lumis range, designer Giorgio Revoldini has nonetheless created a highly stylish affair thanks to the application of a crystal glass finish over its top and front edges; some attractive lines of ‘fins’ down its sides and over a small portion of its front; and an unusual but very fetching backlit circle highlight in the centre of the top panel.
You can also get the projector in two colour options: gloss white, or the gloss black version we tested. Either look great, with your choice likely depending on whether you’re installing one into a dedicated home cinema room - in which case black makes more sense - or using one in a more ‘casual’ or multi-purpose environment, where the white one may suit your decor more.
Usually the idea of using a Sim2 projector in anything other than a serious home cinema installation would be nothing short of criminal. As we’re going to discover, though, the Crystal 35 is anything but a typical projector proposition by the standards of either Sim2 or its rivals at the more affordable end of the market. So much so that a relatively casual application could well be its main raison d’etre.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Going back to the design, the ‘fins’ in the bodywork are designed to offer improved thermal dispersion. And somehow we expect the Crystal 35 is going to need as much help disposing of heat as it can, given that the brightness from its 280W lamp is quoted at 2,500 ANSI Lumens!
This really is an exceptionally high figure for a serious AV projector that doesn’t cost silly money. Sure, there are some very affordable education/business projectors that pump out similarly huge amounts of light, but that’s like saying a tractor’s got as powerful an engine as a Porsche. The point is that the Crystal 35 combines its ‘lamp horsepower’ with a DLP-based optical system that’s been refined to get the most out of video sources. This ‘refinement’ includes Sim2’s ‘Advanced Lamp Technology’, whereby the lamp is controlled by a two-pulse system: one dark pulse to enhance contrast, and one bright pulse to improve brightness.