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SIM2 Grand Cinema MICO 50 LED DLP Projector review

John Archer

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SIM2 Grand Cinema MICO 50 LED DLP Projector
  • SIM2 Grand Cinema MICO 50 LED DLP Projector
  • SIM2 Grand Cinema MICO 50 LED DLP Projector
  • SIM2 Grand Cinema MICO 50 LED DLP Projector
  • SIM2 Grand Cinema MICO 50 LED DLP Projector
  • SIM2 Grand Cinema MICO 50 LED DLP Projector
  • SIM2 Grand Cinema MICO 50 LED DLP Projector
  • SIM2 Grand Cinema MICO 50 LED DLP Projector

Summary

Our Score:

10

LED looks like it could well become the de facto lighting system for LCD TVs. There just seems to be no arguing with its combination of enhanced performance and extra ecological benefits. And now LED is also making a very strong case for itself in the projection world too. At the low end of the scale LED lamps have made a whole new product category of ‘pocket’ projectors possible. But it’s at the high end where things have really got exciting, as evidenced first by Vivitek’s outstanding H9080FD, and now by Sim2’s jaw-droppingly good MICO 50.

At the heart of the MICO 50 sits a 0.95in, 1080p DarkChip4 Texas Instruments single-chip DMD - a chipset you might well find in any any number of good quality DLP projectors. But it’s what feeds this chipset with its light that matters, namely three Luminus Phatlight (love that name) PT120 LEDs - one each for the red, green and blue colour elements.

Having three separate light sources crucially removes the need for the colour wheel system generally needed in single-chip DLP projectors. This means that the MICO 50 shouldn’t suffer with the dreaded, colour wheel-created ‘rainbow effect’, where stripes of pure red, green and blue can be seen over bright picture elements, or in your peripheral vision.

In fact, Sim2 reckons the effect of the switching-LED lighting is roughly equal to a 7x colour wheel spinning seven times faster - or a 49x colour wheel, if you will! As a result other colour wheel problems, like colour smear and blur, should also vanish without a trace.

Using LED lighting in the MICO 50 has a number of other major benefits too. First, as we’ve noted before, LED lighting produces a wider colour gamut than ordinary projection bulbs, making for more intense yet also accurate colourscapes. Next, the ability of LED lamps to be pulsed extremely rapidly means they can achieve an active colour cycle of 20x per frame of image content, eliminating sequential colour artefacts, and boosting contrast, colour and greyscale accuracy - all without damaging the lamps’ overall lifespan or image quality.

The MICO 50’s LEDs are driven by an 8-bits-per-channel high speed current driver which can balance the three LED modules’ light intensity courtesy of a sensor positioned within the light engine. The driver can deactivate the 30A current to each LED in under one microsecond. Even faster than I can polish off a Dairy Milk, in other words. And that’s saying something.

Another big LED advantage evidenced by the MICO 50 concerns that lamp lifespan we mentioned earlier. For LED lamps last far longer than normal projection lamps. In fact, according to Luminus, the LEDs in the MICO 50 should last for a truly remarkable 100,000 hours. Sim2 more conservatively pitches the lamp life figure at around 30,000 hours. But compare either of these figures with the 2000-4000 hours of a standard projection bulb, and you can see why it’s such an important feature. For some users it might actually be fair to say that the lamps in the MICO 50 will last for the lifetime of the projector, making it a maintenance-free option.

mkaibear

February 3, 2010, 3:14 pm

John - do they allow you to give the projectors back after you've drooled all over them? ;)

mobies

February 3, 2010, 5:06 pm

Do the lcd light sources make any difference to the refresh rate?


I think colour wheels limit some DLPs to around 80hz.


Does the lack of one mean it can obtain a high enough refresh rate to be used with lcd shutter glasses for 3d?


The refresh rate doesnt seem to be listed in most projector spec sheets currently.

Chocoa

February 3, 2010, 5:27 pm

Glad to see SIM have finally designed a case that does not look like a slug on steroids!


Also wonder why they see to be commuted ( stuck?) with single chip DLP technology? - I appreciate that 3LEDs and 3 DPL chips would be a hard to handle concept to put into production . But aren't we taking about a high end manufacturer here?





Still outside my pay scale 'she' tells,at least 3 fold :) so I wont miss the Eds Choice Monica LOL

gazbarber

February 3, 2010, 10:44 pm

Why would you want 3 chip? I thought that was a solution to remove rainbow, but introduced convergence issues similar to an LCD projector.


How long till we get a model that had a White LED too to take care of the extra bright scenes?





The LED's change at the eqiv of 47 or so colour wheel, but how fast can the mirrors move? seing how that determines the intra contrast (AFAIK).

Chocoa

February 4, 2010, 4:36 am

@ gazbarber


I am not saying you (SIM)do need three chips. My point was that SIM has stuck with one chip even when most other high end makers have moved to three... their moves I guess being for the very reason you make. Though convergence is simplistically a factor of the quality of the optics used and hence unit price. - A SIM trademark ;)





So far as SIM goes I was thinking along the lines of physics.. each colour is a different wavelength and therefore would benefit from differing optical treatment to achieve ultimate focus/sharpness/depth, what ever.. After all, SIM do charge a helluva premium more than most for their kit, so why not push the boat er 'added value' out even further?





As for white LED's, how would you separate the colours to achieve a composite image on screen of a digital 'RGB' signal from one white LED with only one DPL chip?- If you have one white led then you need a colour wheel again don't you? Thus defeating the object of fast LED switching? If it was just to enhance the luminosity then surely you would just get a washed out image dominated by the extra white light killing the contrast.

gazbarber

February 4, 2010, 8:09 pm

Sorry Chocoa but sim Make 3 chip DLP projectors (C3X series? http://www.sim2.co.uk/home/us/..., they just don't need to make one here as there is no wheel therefore no need for a prism to combine the colours.





To consider convergence to be a non issue is neive IMO, as its more than just a lens issue with a 3 chiper as you seem to suggest.





The white LED would be in addition to the other 3 on a single chip arrangement and could be pulsed and timed with mirror tilts/pivots just as it does for any other colour, it would simply increase the brighness as used by some LCD TV manufacturers to increase the colour gaurmet and overall brighness, e.g. assume the red LED is a rich red (255 if 8bit)but you want to show a bright pink or faded red, this is more difficult without the white as the mirrors are away from the lens more than they are on it to produce the pink ... but then you loose brightness as the amount of colour given is reduce as your trying to produce a less intense colour from an intense one while also attempting to keep the brightness (if that makes any sense).





The dlp algorthms would take care of the washed out issue just as they can currently with a colour wheel with a white segment, although granted a brighter set of RGB LED's would be easier to work with, but there is a lot of white as well as black in most movies... so i think for many reasons a white LED could have an advantage if used correctly.

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