Whatever else Italian projector company Sim2 may be, it's certainly not cheap. To date its ethos has been to deliver the best results possible at any price.

So we approached the Domino D10 with mixed feelings. There's genuine excitement at the prospect of a projector for people who are new to Sim2's products, but we're also concerned about how much of the brand's traditional quality has been sacrificed to hit the low price.

The D10's dull, matt black looks only serve to heighten our concerns, since they lack almost all semblance of the high gloss chic that marks out every other Sim2 model.

Alarm bells continue to ring with the discovery that the D10 uses a Texas Instruments Dark Chip2 DLP system inside. Nothing wrong with that except that it's now been superseded by Dark Chip3 (found on the lower priced InFocus IN78), which offers better response times and contrast performance.

Thankfully, the lightbox is armed with a full application of Texas Instruments' BrilliantColor system.

Designed to produce richer and more authentic colour tones from DLP technology, BrilliantColor can sometimes be found in a software-only form containing just the processing side of things.

But the full version that's installed also employs a colour wheel with extra yellow, cyan and magenta sections alongside the customary red, green and blue.

Not surprisingly for the money, the D10 favours a normal HD Ready 1,280 x 768 pixel count rather than full HD. But the vast majority of its direct competition does pretty much the same thing.

One fly in the D10's specification ointment is its unimpressive claimed contrast ratio of 2,000:1. We'd certainly expect to see a higher figure here if Sim2 had gone for a Dark Chip 3 array; for instance, the InFocus IN78 comes in at 3,500:1. But we're not so worried about comparisons with the sky-high figures quoted by some rival LCD brands, as these only achieve their figures by reducing brightness output during dark scenes, which the D10 does not need to do.

Connections on the unit are good for such an affordable projector, and include 1080p-capable DVI and HDMI sockets, a component video input, a D-Sub jack for PCs, and both USB and RS232 ports for system integration.

The layout and configuration of these connections precisely matches those of Planar's PD7010 projector (another Dark Chip2 affair), suggesting some shared manufacturing heritage somewhere.Since that model costs £500 less, we can only hope the shared heritage doesn't go too far.

In fact, the similarities with the PD7010 merely grow as we explore the D10's onscreen menus, since they feature an almost identical layout and style.

Again, this is no bad thing in some ways, as the menus are pleasingly straightforward.

The D10's remote is superior to anything Planar has done, however, and for our money, the Sim2 is also slightly easier to set up.

Probably this projector's single most impressive feature, and one which sets it above the Planar PD7010, is its colour response.

The BrilliantColor system ensures that the D10 reproduces terrifically vivid, solid and, above all, natural colour saturations that are outstanding on a sub-£2k projector.

Also outpunching budget rivals is the subtlety of the lightbox's greyscaling, leading to some superbly detailed and three-dimensional dark scenes.

Of course, all the subtle shadow detailing in the world wouldn't amount to much if the projector didn't also have an inherently good black level response, so it's a relief that the D10 certainly appears to outperform its modest 2,000:1 contrast claim.

Add to this heady brew some impressive sharpness for a non-full HD projector, good fine detail resolution, and best of all surprisingly little sign of those traditional DLP artefacts of dithering noise over moving objects and the rainbow effect, and you really have got some seriously classy results by entry-level standards.

Recent price cuts by Planar and InFocus, plus a few remarkably affordable models from Optoma, all make the D10 look merely good rather than great value.