After looking at one point as if it was poised to take over the projection world like it has the TV world, LED lighting has surprisingly slipped back into the projector shadows. Only a single brand is still significantly putting its shoulder to the home cinema LED projection wheel: Sim2, as evidenced in spectacular fashion today by the M.150.
This sudden slide in LED projector popularity initially seems odd given that the technology delivers some notable advantages over other illumination systems. For instance, LED lamp systems enjoy immense (30,000-hour plus) lifespans and more consistent brightness over a lamp’s life, as well as pretty much totally removing the single-chip DLP rainbow effect usually seen to some extent with single-chip DLP technology.
However, LED lighting does also come with its own set of problems. For instance, it’s tough to get as much brightness out of LED lights as you can from other lamp types, and LED lamps don’t react well to the quite extreme temperature changes you can get inside a powerful projector.
Getting around such issues effectively apparently doesn’t come cheap - the Sim2 M.150 will set you back a rather eye-watering £19,995.
The M.150 does, though, very quickly get down to the business of justifying its price even before you take its LED lighting into account. For while its bodywork might lack the stunning high-fashion curves of Sim2’s Lumis and Nero models, it’s still a very striking looker indeed thanks to its unusually high, ribbed sides and its glass finish. In some ways it looks like the unusually affordable Sim2 Crystal 35 DLP projector on steroids - though that’s where the comparisons with the actually slightly disappointing Crystal 35 end.
Another key element of the Sim2 M.150’s design is the enormous lens protruding unashamedly from the centre of the projector’s front panel. Even the most cursory of examinations reveals that this is a quite exquisite hunk of glass mounted in an uncompromisingly robust enclosure. In other words, it looks like precisely the sort of ‘business end’ to a projection engine that we’d hope to see on a £20k projector.
The control you have over this lens is outstanding too. You can optically adjust its focus, zoom and vertical or horizontal position via the remote with remarkable degrees of finesse. The range of focus and shifting available is also outstanding, making the projector outstandingly easy to adapt to almost any room environment.
As if all that wasn’t already enough, you can also get the Sim2 M.150 with a variety of lenses: the 1.5-2.1:1 ‘T1’ standard lens, the 2.1-3.9:1 T2 optional long-throw lens; and the 0.675:1 optional short throw lens.
The optical engine at the M.150’s heart is a full HD single-chip DLP affair, illuminated by red, green and blue LEDs. Intriguingly you can also call in an LED Overlap feature that runs two sets of LED lamps together to add cyan, yellow and magenta - though the main effect of this is to boost brightness for people lucky enough to be driving a screen much larger than the 90in model we used for our tests.