Having spent years building a formidable reputation at the high end of the projector market place, Sim2 now feels confident enough to try and break the sub-£2,000 scene with the Domino 10 (D10) - a relative snip at £1,600. But exactly how many compromises has Sim2 had to make to achieve such a price?
The D10 certainly lacks the design chic of Sim2's other projectors, with its matte black finish looking a touch dour despite some funky curves.
Connectivity is solid enough for the money, though, including DVI and HDMI digital inputs, a component port, a PC port, plus USB and RS 232 ports to aid integration into an AV system.
Darkchip off the old block
Inside the D10 resides a Texas Instruments DarkChip 2 DMD system delivering a claimed contrast ratio of >2,000:1 and a native resolution of 1280 x 768. Which is fine, except that it's hard not to recall that InFocus now offers a DarkChip3 projector, the IN78, for just £1,500, while Planar does a DarkChip2 projector for just £1,100.
Handy features include various gamma presets, colour space adjustment, colour temperature adjustment in Kelvins, adjustable overscan, and, impressively, the full hardware (RGBCYM colour wheel) and software implementation of TI's BrilliantColor engine for richer, more natural colour tones..
It occurs to us, while investigating the D10's features, that its onscreen menus are remarkably similar to those of the Planar PD7010. Come to think of it, the rear panel layout is identical, too. Clearly these projectors share some common heritage. But do the similarities extend to the projectors' performances?
Actually, the D10 improves over the PD7010 in two key ways: greater greyscale subtlety in dark areas, and richer, more natural colours. And so during the epic space battle that opens Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith (on Sky HD), the inky blackness of space looks slightly more natural, shadows contain slightly more subtle detail, laser fire looks more vibrant, and skin tones look more natural.
We suspect the main reason for this is the D10's BrilliantColor implementation, something which the Planar model does not have.
In other ways the D10 is every bit as good as the impressive Planar. All the amazing subtle textures and detailing of R2-D2's exterior are rendered with aplomb, the rainbow effect is well suppressed, motion is largely free of DLP's once-common dithering noise, and black levels can achieve truly cinematic depths.
With the D10 Sim2 has certainly kept its uncompromising reputation intact. It really is a superb projector. The only question mark is whether the D10 is sufficiently better than the Planar PD7010 to justify its extra £500? We'd have liked it to be £100 or so cheaper. But rest assured that if you can find £1,600, the D10 won't let you down.