The only catch with such an uncompromising design approach is that it makes iMasque screens extremely heavy to build and manoeuvre – but then that will likely be a problem for an unfortunate installer to deal with rather than the end user!
One final feature worth noting about the iMasque screens is that they can carry RS-232 and LAN ports, so they can be integrated into full home entertainment control systems.
The features, flexibility and build quality of our iMasque screen have already done much to justify the £8,600 starting price, in our opinion. But it also delivers the goods with its performance.
The first thing that struck us was just how much more natural colours looked from a variety of different projectors than they do on our standard, much cheaper Vutec projection screen. There’s both more subtlety and more dynamic range in the iMasque’s colours, making the picture look notably more expressive and ‘real’. This is especially true with a really high-end projector like the SIM2 C3X Lumis, where the screen makes great use of the extra brightness it’s presented with from the projector.
To explain this a little more fully, the finish of our Nivo Black screen is so flawless, tonally neutral and also perfectly judged in terms of its gain properties that it’s able to use the SIM2’s extra brightness to deliver more vibrancy and detail insight, rather than just splurging the extra light all around in an uncontrolled fashion, like cheap projectors tend to.
As suggested earlier, though, while the iMasque is certainly at its best with high-end projectors, it also delivers notably better results from good mid-range projectors like Sony’s HW20 and Epson’s TW5500. Its impact is least pronounced with budget projectors, but it still delivers an improvement over the cheaper screens we’ve tested, especially when it comes to colour toning.
As well as its immaculately judged handling of luminance and colour, the iMasque does a superbly effective job with black level response, even using its white (as opposed to grey alternative) screen. Plus it shows up absolutely no sign of visible screen material texture, and crucially its masking keeps unwanted ‘wasteful’ light reflections to an absolute minimum. The screen material also proves uncannily good at helping HD pictures look sharp and detailed, and suffers with neither hotspotting nor reduced vibrancy if viewed from an angle.
Really, the only area where the iMasque could be improved is with the blackness of its masking material; it looks a touch grey at the moment, and could perhaps soak up a touch more light too, to make its border-defining impact on the picture even stronger than it already is.
This issue really won’t affect projectors with good native contrast performances, though – and most of the sort of premium projectors likely to be partnered with a screen at the iMasque’s level of the market will have a good native contrast.
The iMasque is quite simply a superb projection screen option for a serious home cinema enthusiast, combining excellent features, superb build quality, and terrific picture qualities – all for a price that isn’t out of the way at all for such an uncompromising and thoughtful product.