As we’d expected, the star of the HD100’s show is its black level response. In fact, the depth and richness of its reproduction of black during, say, the opening space battle of Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith on Sky HD, is for my money unmatched from any projector costing less than five figures.
What’s more, this seemingly immaculate black level is being achieved without any need of a dynamic iris system, so that it’s completely stable and unaffected by brightness ‘jumps’. It’s in this black level profundity and stability that the HD100’s main advantage over its closest rival, the Sony VW200, lies. For without its dynamic iris system in play the VW200’s black levels fall short of those of the HD100. Yet with the dynamic iris in play, you’re sometimes distracted by being able to see the VW200’s iris going about its opening and closing business.
The fact that the HD100’s intense black levels are achieved without a dynamic iris system also means that its pictures contain a dynamic range to die for, with pristine, bright whites sitting side by side with emphatically deep, believable blacks. Needless to say this works wonders with our Star Wars space battle. In fact, at times I realised my jaw had unexpectedly dropped open as I watched the scene unfold, so good was the picture quality – and it takes a lot to affect a hardened old reviewer like myself to such an extent.
Contributing still further to the magnificence of the HD100’s portrayal of The Revenge of the Sith is its impeccable motion handling. Space ships and debris zoom around the screen at extreme speeds, yet the HD100 shows everything with scarcely a hint of motion blur or the sort of fizzing noise that can afflict motion on rival single-chip DLP technology.
And there’s more. For the HD100 also excels at bringing out every last lovely HD pixel of any high definition source you care to throw at it. In fact, its HD pictures are among the sharpest and most detailed we’ve ever seen – even though they’re also devoid of the grainy flavour that can sometimes accompany high detailing.
Chuck into this already heady picture brew the fact that colours look superbly subtle in blend and natural in tone, and the fact that the Gennum processing enables the HD100 to do a better job than most of upscaling standard definition sources to its full HD resolution, and we’re fast running out of any area where we might level criticism at the HD100.
The only area where the HD100 perhaps loses out a touch to some of its high-spec rivals, including the Sony VW200 we keep mentioning, is with its colours. They’re just not quite as vibrant as they could be.
Our attempt at the end there to find something bad to say about the HD100’s performance really was just grasping at straws, to be honest. For the truth is that this projector is even better than the already outstanding HD1, and as such arguably rates as the best projector money can buy without stepping up to a three-chip DLP model.
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