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Of course, it’s entirely possible that my growing feelings of admiration for the MICO 50’s design may have sprung from my deep adoration of its performance - if ever an AV product had the performance skills to actually inspire love in anyone lucky enough to own it, it’s the MICO 50.
It gets so many things so very, very right with its pictures that I actually found trying to break the image quality down into its constituent parts quite difficult. The picture seems so organic, well-rounded and natural that you just sink into it, without easily being able to separate out its various elements. Luckily I had the projector for a whole week, though, and hammered it to death in that time, so I was finally able to get some thoughts together beyond ‘holy s**t, it’s good’...
Let’s start with a surprise: the image’s brightness. The on-paper brightness figure quoted for the MICO 50 is a fairly uninspiring 800 ANSI Lumens. Yet its image positively exploded off my screen; so much so that for the first time in the year my new test room has been built, I found myself getting annoyed that the walls are painted white. You see, the image hit my screen with such ferocity that it bounced back onto the surrounding walls enough to reduce the impact of the projector’s fearsome black level response - at least where scenes contain a mix of bright and dark material. Hmm. I wonder if I could work in a room painted matt black, or if that would just drive me even more round the bend?...
I can only put the discrepancy between the MICO 50’s quoted brightness and the actual experience of watching it down to the LED light engine at the projector’s heart. And anyway, it just goes to show yet again that you should never make judgments based on manufacturers’ quoted specifications.
What makes the MICO 50’s brightness all the more remarkable is that it’s accomplished at exactly the same time as it produces some of the deepest black levels I’ve ever seen from a home projector. Unlike the brightness figure, the 100,000:1 contrast ratio claim doesn’t seem at all unrealistic, as the MICO 50 projector achieves depths of blackness - without sacrificing shadow detail and image depth - that humbles all rivals save Vivitek’s own three-LED H9080 and possibly the top models of JVC’s D-ILA range.