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The MICO 40’s slight lack of raw brightness does, of course, impose some limitations on you. You really need to watch it in a properly darkened room, for instance, and it hasn’t got the power to drive a screen larger than 200in across. But precious few people can accommodate screens larger than 150in, while anyone who spends £11k on a projector and then watches it in a non-darkened room wants their head examining.
Last but by no means least among the MICO 40’s pretty extraordinary set of picture talents, is its phenomenal sharpness. We’d expected there to have been a bit of ‘give’ in this area relative to the MICO 50 on account of the cheaper model’s reduced brightness. But actually the MICO 40 looks equally outstanding, at least during bright scenes, rendering HD sources with almost forensic precision.
This means the projector can be a little unforgiving of weak sources, but you won’t care about that one bit when you find your eyes eating up the spectacular detailing now found on a growing number of Blu-ray discs, HD console games and even (sometimes) Sky HD broadcasts.
If you’re wondering at this point just why you should even think about buying the five-grand-dearer MICO 50 instead of the MICO 40, it’s certainly a valid question. However, there are a few significant differences, most notably that the MICO 50 uses DarkChip 4 chipsets to produce a claimed 100,000:1 contrast ratio versus the 50,000:1 claimed for the MICO 40’s DarkChip 3 system. The MICO 50 also has a little more flexibility when it comes to setting the image’s brightness/contrast balance.
The net result of all this is that the MICO 50’s pictures look slightly punchier, and more significantly contain more subtle shadow detail in dark areas.
For us, though, the step down in quality with the MICO 40 isn’t as large as the £5k price difference would lead you to expect.
In fact, provided you can place it in the darkened room it deserves, the only real flaw we can find with the MICO 40 is that it runs with a slight buzzing noise. It’s not entirely clear what the source of this noise is; the fans are actually very quiet, not least because the projector carries a liquid cooling system. But the buzzing is certainly there, and may need to be worked around with some careful placement of the projector relative to your seating position. Still, this shouldn’t be a problem given that there are two different lens options available for the MICO 40: the short throw T1 (1.5-2.1:1) and long throw T2 (2.1-4.0:1).
Although SIM2 hasn’t let us down with any of its projectors recently, we still had our doubts about the MICO 40. From reading the spec sheet, we just didn’t think it would have enough brightness to hit the heights required of its £11k price tag. In reality, though, it’s a projector of exquisite quality that really does represent excellent value for money despite costing 11 grand, and as such might just be our favourite SIM2 projector yet...