Sagem MDP 2000-X £1100
30th Jun 2005 | 23:00
Can Sagem achieve success in the front projection world?
Sagem has proved it can do very nicely with a projector inside a rear-projection TV. But can it translate this to the front projection world?
The 2000-X is the blandest projector in this group. Its shape bears all the design imagination of a fan heater, while its yawnsville two-tone grey colour scheme might have come off the pages of Concrete magazine.
Connection includes a DVI jack enabled for HDCP protocols - guaranteeing Sky high definition signal compatibility. There are no component video inputs, but you can always use the provided PC D-Sub jack for your analogue HD and progressive scan needs via a suitable adaptor. S- and composite video jacks are also on hand, along with an RS232 terminal.
The chipset onboard is 4:3 rather than widescreen. At least the native DLP resolution of 1024 x 768 isn't bad. But we're suspicious about the 2000 ANSI Lumens claimed brightness. This figure isn't bad in itself - quite the opposite, in fact. But alarm bells start ringing when you put it in the context of the claimed 2000:1 contrast ratio. Usually where we've seen brightness ratings as high as or higher than contrast ones, the picture has strongly favoured PC sources over video ones...
The PC theme continues with an optional wi-fi kit for the 2000-X - but there are also a few cinema-friendly touches. These include a Movie preset mode; white peaking adjustment; saturation tweaks for the RGB picture elements; degamma options; and an eco mode for reducing brightness and fan noise while boosting contrast.
There's nothing to catch novices out in the 2000-X's onscreen menus, and the remote is easy to use. Setup is no great problem either, except for curious problems getting the projector to sit level on my test bench.
Sadly the 2000-X is an uninspiring performer. Problem one on a long list of woes is DLP's rainbow effect, with the telltale full colour bands appearing alltoo- readily over any bright picture parts.
The contrast range leaves much to be desired too, at least at the black end of the spectrum. Dark picture areas look flat and empty thanks to the grey that creeps in where black should be. And this is not helped by some fairly excessive light seepage from a grille positioned near the projector's lens.
Perhaps because of its contrast difficulties, the 2000-X's colours look much less vibrant than I'd expected them to considering the extravagant 2000 ANSI Lumens brightness claims.
It's not all bad news, however. Colours are at least naturally toned even if they could be richer. Also, fine detail levels are good - surprising, given that the 2000-X's use of a 4:3 chipset means most movies only use a fraction of the projector's maximum potential resolution. Finally noise such as grain, dot crawl and blocking is generally well suppressed.
As the first projector we've seen in the UK from Sagem, we guess we can just about forgive the 2000-X for its foibles. But that doesn't mean we intend to rush out and buy one!