The AIG HD Projector Project #3 - The SIM2 Domino 80E Evolution

      Date posted: April 8, 2009

SIM2 Domino D80E-1SIM2 D80E Evolution 1080p HDTV Projector

Sugg. Retail: $13,350CAD $11,999USD

We’ve reviewed several SIM2  projectors over the years, and they have always excelled in their optics, with better lenses than most, and a near-perfect picture right out of the box, the HT300 E-Link being a prime example, making the utmost of 720p. Here we have the company’s version of a near-budget 1080p model, the D30  being the real entry model in the Domino Series. Here’s what their online brochure has to say about this Evolution  product:

“The Evolution enhancement of the D80E makes great use of a sophisticated technology originally developed for use in SIM2’s Grand Cinema Series’ models, namely Unishape lamp technology. When used in conjunction with BrilliantColor color enhancement, the millisecond-precision of the dynamic Unishape lamp system takes the performance of D80E to an altogether higher level. With a wider, more vivid color palette on offer, along with improved contrast and increased lighting output.”

“This Full HD specification home theater projector utilizes Texas Instruments’ DarkChip3 0.95″ 1080p DLP (1920 x 1080 pixel resolution) chipset in its design, this is integrated into SIM2’s patented ALPHAPATH light engine to deliver outstanding high definition images on-screen. The D80E also enables standard definition sources to be reproduced at 1080p resolution, thanks to sophisticated 10-bit video processing electronics.”

“The DOMINO D80E is compatible with all video standards (including 1080p@24fps) and offers a wide choice of both analog and digital source inputs, including HDCP compliant HDMI, making it eminently suitable for use with today’s HD devices.”

The basic specs are, 1920×1080p; 4500: 1 contrast ratio, aspect ratios of 16:9, 4:3, and 5:4; 4000 hour lamp life; projection screen size: 50 to 300″; DLP darkchip3. Inputs are 1 composite, 1 S-video, 1 RGB D-sub 15-pin, and 1 HDMI. Anyone wanting to feed several HDMI signals will need a a high quality HDMI switcher like the Kimbermodel we’ll be reviewing soon.

I found the D80E quite easy to set up with our VuTec pull-up screen, the SIM2 sample in the white colour, which worked fine our in our room, mounted just behind the couch over my right shoulder on a large Syntony bass trap, stabilized with the Antec cooling plate recently reviewed here. Once you get used to the scroll-through characteristics of the standard Domino remote, it’s snap to set up for Focus and other basic parameters. Keystone is automatically taken care of naturally in our system, that is, by slightly offsetting the angle of the screen to the projector angle, which is hardly noticeable to the viewer, and also reduces light scatter on the white left side wall.

Domino D80E-rear

Sources were my classic Pioneer Elite DV-AX10 DVD player into component input and S-video, a Samsumg BDH-1500  Blu-ray player into the HDMI in with the Crystal cable reviewed nearby, and my ExpressVu receiver into both HDMI and Component inputs by swapping cables; too bad I didn’t yet have the Kimber HDMI switchbox!

These allowed me to have a good look through this projector over the Christmas Holidays of 08′ and into early 09′. I very much liked what I saw on my 92″ screen. Colour was very accurate, and naturally hued, and required no adjustment. Contrast did need a bit of tweaking for our quite dark room, and tuned up quite nicely. A run through the Digital Video Essentials DVD showed very accurate greyscale performance, colour, and really excellent blacks, typical of DLP’s best performance. Looking at the more recent FPD Benchmark Software Blu-ray test disc revealed the same characteristics cranked up to 1080p, plus a few other things.

One was some “judder” in the lateral pan sequences. Though not often visible on normal HD program material (and often masked by network anomalies from the broadcasts), this artifact did become more visible with Blu-ray sources that were otherwise seen very cleanly. I wouldn’t say that this effect was any more noticeable than its film counterpart, but there it was, a noticeable blurring of scenes as they moved. But since this effect usually happens when there is already motion blur in the source (if it originated on film), it will not be all that distracting to most viewers.

I watched lots of sports on the D80E, as well as a few movies, and was generally very impressed with its overall performance, especially the vivid, accurately hued, and very natural picture. Brightness and contrast were near perfect, or easily able to be made so. The D80E  will operate well in a wide variety of light conditions. And it completely lacks what I call that “pasty” effect of the picture being slightly smeared, with objects almost overlapping in somewhat monochromatic colour, once typical of cheaper 720p types.

Here the palette is preserved, and viewing is like looking through a window with the best sources. That’s just about the highest compliment I can give to an HDTV projector.

 Andrew Marshall

Domin D80E

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One Response to “The AIG HD Projector Project #3 - The SIM2 Domino 80E Evolution”

  1. Payam Taaghol c-gb Says:

    2.5 years ago I purchased a Sim2 Domino 80E for about £6000 or $10K USD. It was all fine until one day 2 months ago the picture completely went into long lines all out of sync and unwatchable. I sent it to SIM2 service centre via my dealer for repair. They could not find the fault for 4 weeks. Once they did, it was so expensive to fix that they did not dare tell me. The dealer forced them to do it under warranty but SIM2 Italy would refuse to supply board as the warranty period had expired 6 months before. So the service centre of SIM2 in the UK could not bring themselves to leave me stranded. They went for the cheap option of finding the component that went wrong as oppose to changing the board. I got it back with a new bulb (it was due for a change) and £750 bill. Took it out of the box and there was a screw retelling inside the projector. Turned it on anyway and in 3-5 minutes had a message of “fan failure”. Back I have gone to the dealer again. I can tell you that for this kind of money you do not expect this kind of reliability and service. The high end AV dealer (leading UK high end retailer) that I purchased it from 2.5 years ago stopped dealing with them because of unreliability. Watch out if you want to buy a SIM product. I would go for the reliable JVC range instead. Much better value and reliable!

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