SIM2’s M.150 LED DLP projector is built like a tank—a black-on-glossyblack tank. I’ve reviewed several projectors in this price range that lack any pretense of style, and often lack even a nod toward build quality. Give SIM2 credit for making a black box that is solid and actually pleasing to look at. Inside, however, is far more interesting.
SIM2’s M.150 is a hefty, but elegantly designed, LED-based projector offering realistic color reproduction and excellent picture detail.
The M.150 uses three light-emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of the traditional UHP lamp. In addition to eliminating the need for a color wheel, the LEDs have a claimed lifespan of 30,000 hours. This is upwards of 10x what many UHP lamps can do. In essence, you can treat it more like a television, as it’s likely to last almost just as long.
The biggest benefit of using LEDs is some incredible color accuracy. Using SIM2’s Live Color Calibration software, installers can dial in perfectly accurate colors. There’s more to it than that, though, as I’ve seen plenty of projectors with accurate color. The image that LEDs help produce just looks a little more natural than displays that use color filters or dichroic mirrors. More than just accurate primary colors, the real strengths are the in-between colors. Subtle variations in skin tones, for example, are perhaps the most noticeable.
Close ups of faces reveal another of the M.150’s strengths: detail. Unlike LCD and LCOS, DLP-based projectors don’t suffer from motion blur. Add to that a huge glass lens, and you’ve got perfectly sharp detail at all times. So not only do you see every strand of facial hair, but thanks to the hyper accurate color, you can see the different shades of them as well.
The BBC’s Sherlock was a good test of the M.150s ability to reproduce subtle, muted tones. Many projectors can be ham-fisted in their reproduction of the deliberately chill palette used on this show. Here, the many subtle shades of blue, bluish-gray, and grays of London and environs were reproduced to perfection.
The M.150 was little less successful when it came to Showtime’s Game of Thrones. Scenes in the brightly lit Qarth or King’s Landing looked excellent in their warm tones. Black levels didn’t leave as much of an impression, however, in the many night scenes.
Moving to a better source like Hugo on 3D Bluray, the M.150 really wowed with some of the best detail I’ve ever seen in a projector, plus stunning visualization of the varied and vibrant colors in Scorsese’s ode to early movies. The 3D effect was quite pronounced, with no noticeable crosstalk. The shot where Sacha Baron Cohen leans into the camera was one of the first times I’ve had that “reach toward the thing coming out of the screen” feeling 3D is supposed to evoke, but rarely does at home.
From a strictly numbers point of view, the M.150 pumps out a reasonable amount of light. I measured 20.7 foot-lamberts on my 102-inch 1.0 gain Stewart screen. This is better than previous generations of LED projectors, though somewhat lower than the average new projector and much lower than most 3-chip DLPs. A flamethrower it is not. Quality over quantity? Black level, as I mentioned, isn’t great. I measured 0.009 ftL for a native contrast ratio of 2,300:1. Not great, but better than most DLP’s I’ve measured–likely another benefit of the big glass lens. In person, the image appears far punchier than these numbers suggest.
The fan noise is a little higher than I’d prefer, but I presume SIM2 expects the M.150 to be mounted in a soffit or in a separate room, which is too bad, because the case is almost too pretty to hide.
I came away from my time with the M.150 deeply impressed. There is something so realistic about the accurate colors, and somehow, even more so when those colors are created by the pure red, green, and blue of LEDs. The pristine naturalness of the image, coupled with the detail possible with the big glass lens, was extremely addicting.
Incredibly realistic color and excellent detail combine for a beautiful image.
Fan noise is a little loud and black levels are not exceptional.
• Single, 0.95-inch Darkchip
• 3-color LED Light Source
• Three lens options (1.5- 2.1:1, 2.1-3.9:1, 0.675:1)
• Motorized Lens shift (V +60%/-25%, H +/-8%)
• Live Color Calibration software (for installers)
• LED lifespan a claimed 30,000 hours