Sim2 Domino 20H £4000
1st Mar 2005 | 00:00
Can Sim2 deliver another winner?
As the proud owner of arguably the most varied and fully realised projector range available in the UK, Sim2 clearly isn't short of confidence. And this confidence certainly doesn't seem misplaced. Many of its projectors epitomise what can be done if you refuse to compromise on performance or design.
Before we get stuck in, though, we need to clear up any confusion there is about the letter 'H'. There are actually two versions of the Sim2 Domino 20: the Domino 20, and the Domino 20H. That H really is very important, as it designates the version of the Domino 20 fitted with a digital HDMI jack. Admittedly, this adds £400 to the price tag of the Domino 20, but does ensure compatibility with both Sky's upcoming high-def broadcasts and digital outputs from HDMI/DVIequipped DVD players. Naturally, we've chosen to test the 20H model here, but you can rest assured that everything else about the Domino 20 is identical to its 20H brother.
Spoilt for choice
The Domino 20H is stunner to look at, with its gorgeously smooth exterior and fancy curves. What's more, it's available in a choice of two colours: Black Shadow or White Evolution.
Connectivity besides that all-important HDMI connection includes a set of component video inputs, an RS232 jack, the usual S-video/composite fallbacks, and a 15-pin PC connection - pretty much everything most people will want.
The Domino 20H employs Texas Instruments' Matterhorn DLP chipset - which is potentially a mixed blessing. There's no doubting the impressive contrast range this introduces; or the fact that it's built-in the movie-friendly 16:9 aspect ratio; or the fact that its 1,024 x 576 native resolution is ideal for direct mapping of a PAL TV or DVD source. However, there's also no denying that it won't display any sort of highdefinition material without first downscaling it...
During setup, the Domino 20H reveals just what a luxurious model it is, with state-of-the-art onscreen menus, motorised zoom and focus, and an optical lens shift arrangement.
There are also plenty of picture tweaks on hand - including a few that you're probably best steering clear of.
Predictably, the Domino 20H's pictures are really very good indeed. They give Kill Bill 2 a delightfully cinematic sheen: colourful, wonderfully smooth, and clean as a whistle.
In terms of colours, the various rather gaudy hues of Bill's home are a perfect demonstration of the Domino 20H's combination of vibrancy, solid saturations and, above all, subtlety of tone. The most minute of colour differentiations is effortlessly picked out, creating a picture that's much more involving and authentic than usual.
Six feet under
Naturally, this deftness of touch would be lost during dark scenes without very good contrast - which the Domino 20H has. The ability to at least get close to even the almost complete solid black on show during moments of the Bride's imprisonment inside a coffin adds to the sense of solidity and perspective that is so key to the Domino 20H's success.
The Domino 20H does a sterling job, too, of suppressing traditional DLP problems such as dotty noise over motion, green dot crawl over darkness, and even the rainbow effect.
Having raved about the 20H, though, we have to deliver a reality check. While it was once utterly state-of-the-art, the Domino 20H is now yet another projector in this mid-price group that falls prey - admittedly only slightly - to the tide of time.
Once again, it's a model using optics that first appeared in 2003. Those optics were astoundingly cuttingedge back then, and still deliver some serious glories now, but there's no denying that the very latest chipset from Texas Instruments, the HD2 - delivers even better results, particularly when it comes to fine detail and especially with high definition feeds.
And so, lovely though the Domino 20H's pictures are, we can't quite give them top marks when even better can be found elsewhere for less money.