One immediately surprising thing about the C3X Lumis’ presence is how little of it there is. Home cinema history would suggest that when you’re in a price range as stratospheric as 26 grand, you usually end up with something of a truly epic scale, back-breaking weight and all the aesthetic appeal of a 1960s block of flats. Yet the C3X Lumis is in the same size ballpark as vastly cheaper projectors such as Sony’s VPL-VW85 – in fact, it’s barely half the size of SIM2’s own LED debut, the MICO 50.
Despite the challenges of fitting the C3X Lumis’ three-chip DLP engine inside such a diminutive form, though, the projector is anything but ugly. In fact, its Giorgio Revoldini-designed chassis is really rather beautiful with its stunning high-gloss finish, tasteful curves and the wonderfully sports car-like way the lens sits proud above the rest of the bodywork.
It’s worth adding, too, that you can get the projector in different colours – my own personal favourite is the standard Gun-Metal one, but the white, black and red alternatives (in matt as well as gloss options) all make stunning design statements too.
Once I’d stopped stroking the C3X Lumis’ lovely form long enough to focus on its connections, I found a pretty standard set of jacks including two v1.3 HDMIs, a component video input, a D-Sub PC port, USB and RS-232 control ports, and an S-Video port. The most striking ‘high end’ connection touch is arguably the provision of three screw-attach 12V trigger outputs, so you can use the projector to fire up secondary equipment such as a motorised screen or aspect ratio adjustments.
The key to what makes the C3X Lumis truly remarkable, though, lies inside the sumptuous bodywork. And here things kick off with the discovery of three of Texas Instruments’ 0.95in DarkChip 4 DLP chipsets – enough in itself to explain a healthy portion of the £26k price tag. But also potentially key is the latest incarnation of SIM2’s ALPHAPATH light engine – especially since this new version of SIM2’s proprietary optical system features some eye-catching enhancements.
For instance, the engine now employs a new die-cast aluminium design intended to dramatically improve the light engine’s thermal management, with the result that SIM2 has been able to use a more powerful lamp. In fact, the C3X Lumis kicks out an astonishing 3,000 ANSI Lumens when it’s running at full tilt, making it the very definition of a home cinema ‘light cannon’. The new ALPHAPATH design also houses elements of SIM2’s latest dynamic black system, including a user-adjustable iris.
Next on the ALPHAPATH innovation front is a new tapered rod integrator (stop sniggering at the back), which converts the raw light energy from the lamp into a purer, more refined beam of light. This has come, so SIM2 claims, after its engineers analysed many, many ray-tracing simulations and found that the best pictures didn’t come from typical rectangular-rod designs, but from longer, tapered ones, since the tapered design boosts brightness uniformity and light transmission efficiency.