Projectiondesign Action! Model Two £3500

30th Apr 2006 | 23:00

Projectiondesign Action! Model Two

There's plenty more than just style on offer here

TechRadar rating:

4.5 stars

For once the marketing boffs are telling the truth


<p>Picture quality</p><p>Stylish design</p><p>Connectivity</p>


<p>Very rare/minor traces of rainbow effect and motion tizzing</p>

Formed in 2001, ProjectionDesign might not have been around for long, but the quality of its products has already earned it a reputation many better-known AV companies would die for. Therefore, I'm more than a little excited to have my hands on the company's latest 'next-generation', HD-optimised model: the Action! Model Two.

As with all ProjectionDesign's home cinema offerings, it oozes style. It's also small for such an ambitious machine, standard components look massive by comparison.

Its small dimensions don't stop this PJ harbouring all the key connections du jour, including a DVI jack (with HDCP), component video jacks, a USB port, an S-video jack, a PC jack, a remote control jack, an RS-232 jack, and a LAN jack for system integration.

Inside the Model Two resides a 1280 x 720-resolution DLP chip - which combines with the inputs to win the projector full HD Ready status. This is, of course, no less than you'd expect of a £3,500 projector these days.

Other specifi cations of note include a claimed contrast ratio of more than 4000:1 (which ProjectionDesign states is much more 'fairly' measured than the fi gures offered by most rival machines), and a user-adjustable brightness output that varies between 500 and 1000 lumens.

The lens, meanwhile, comes from respected manufacturer Fujinon, while almost the whole of the DLP optical arrangement reeks of quality components and proprietary ProjectionDesign innovations. The chipset at the projector's heart, for instance, is Texas Instruments' HD2 , DarkChip3 affair - currently TI's highest quality offering until its 1080-line chips come onstream.

The operating noise associated with Projectors is reduced by the use of a fully de-coupled sub chassis, and the optical architecture of the Model Two is sealed to keep dust out, too. Elsewhere, a magnesium chassis acts as a heat sink to further reduce noise, whie all video processing is shoe-horned onto a single video board to reduce signal interference.

The Model Two is easy to set up. A foolproof zoom/focus arrangement combines with a manual vertical lens shift, optical zoom and vertical and horizontal keystone correction to make it adaptable to almost any living room situation.

Within the onscreen menus, tinkerers can fi ddle with a series of gamma presets (covering fi lm, video and PC sources), a white booster, red/green/blue offset and gain adjustments, and a Kelvin-based colour temperature adjustor.

Every single sample of the Model Two is individually calibrated when it comes off the production line, to ensure that each one can produce the 'D65' (optimum for video) white point.

My jaw dropped open within seconds of clapping eyes on what the Model Two can do - and ended up gaping wider with every passing moment.

Perhaps the most notable of the projector's many achievements is its black level ability. Provided you have the lamp running in Eco, and Film 1 gamma settings selected, dark parts of the picture are completely free of the slight greyness which can blight projectors costing way more than this one.

Even more impressively, dark areas are free from nearly all trace of green dot crawl artefacts, and display superb greyscale subtlety.

Colours across the entire spectrum, from the cartoonish delights of Ice Age to the dimly lit skin tones of Alien, look relentlessly authentic.

Lengthy HD viewing on the Model Two reveals outstanding fi ne detailing for the price point. Usually the pictures from any but the most high-end of DLP projectors look soft compared with a good-quality LCD rival, but the Model Two's texture resolution and sharpness is breathtaking. In fact, the picture seems devoid of video noise of almost every sort.

On the negative side, I could still make out occasional appearances of DLP's characteristic rainbow effect over extreme light/dark contrasts. And there's some negligible dot noise over skin tones during particularly fast horizontal camera pans.

ProjectionDesign likes to claim that with the Model Two it's delivered £5k to £6k's worth of projector for just £3,500 - a classic bit of 'marketing-speak', you might think. Yet, from what I've seen, they might just be telling the truth...

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