SIM2's C3X Projector Review - An Overview
3/09/2006 - Art Feierman
What a treat! It's great to be able to review a true high end projector like Sim2's C3X. There is one downside however. After working with the C3X for more than a week,
going back to my BenQ 8720 - a projector that is roughly 1/3 the price - is really going to be tough. But, enough about me.
The Sim2 C3X receives our Hot Product Award! This was easy, So far, from an image quality standpoint, it has simply been the best projector I have had the opportunity to review. I was dazzled by it at CEDIA last year, and it lived up to my expectations this week. I logged at least 25 hours watching DVDs and Hi-Def on it, and want one. Unfortunately, Sim2 is not likely to donate one to me. Alas.
The basics on the Sim2 C3X
Technology: 3 Chip DLP - Darkchip3
Native Resolution: 1280x720
Rated Brightness: 2500 lumens max, 2000 lumens low power
Zoom Lens Ratio: Choice of 2 lenses 1.5-2.0:1, or 2.0-3.0:1zoom
Lens Shift: Vertical +/-50% screen height
Lamp Life : 2000 hours maximum, 1500 low power
Weight: 24 lbs.
Warranty: 2 Years
As noted above, the Sim2 C3X is a 3 chip DLP projector, using the Darkchip3 technology, currently TI's top of the line. The projector it should be noted, immediately is extremely bright! You want a really large screen? This projector can do it. With the right screen sruface and room, I'm pretty sure a 160" diagaonal screen is easily viable. If you have a 110" diagonal screen and more than a little ambient light, this projector will work. In my theater room, we watched the Oscars last night, with 6 recessed lights (none directly hitting the screen) on full and it washed out only a small amount. Overall the viewing experience was just fine.
There are three versions of the C3X: The C3X (the unit tested), the C3X Link, essentially identical but with processing handled outboard (and more inputs), so the processor can reside with the rest of your equipment, and attach to the projector by a single, supplied, 20 meter (65 ft.) fibre-optic cable (longer lengths available). Lastly, there is the C3X Lite ($15,990 in the US). This version is essentially identical to the C3X but uses a 150 watt lamp, instead of a 250, and claims a mere 1500 lumens. Ideal for smaller home theaters, say screens 100" diagonal or less.
Let's start with the Physical properties of this projector.
From the front, if you are facing the projector, the first thing you notice, is that the C3X is a highly sculpted (and to me, attractive) projector. Sim2 being an Italian company, the land of Ferrari, and Versace, this is not surprising. That aside, there is a recessed lens and infra red sensor on the front.
Moving to the top, all you will find is a single mechanical (and recessed) knob which controls the projector's vertical lens shift, also a vent. The sides are bare, once again just sculpted lines and curves (and vents).
That takes us to the back of the projector. Hiding there on the upper right of the back panel is your control panel. I relied on the remote, and did not use it, but I'll assume it iss functional. It would seem to me tha most people with a projector in this class will have a room control system, or at least a very good learning remote, to control all of their devices, so the hidden control panel should not be an issue.
There is certainly not an exceptional number of inputs. (I gather that if you need tons of them, the C3X Link version is for you. The C3X does have all the essentials:
There is an HDMI input. Component video is handled by the usual 3 RCA plugs, although there is a 4th, for h/v (horizontal and vertical sync) which could be used as a data input.
For your analog computer, there is a standard HD15 computer input. For screen control there are a pair of 12V outputs, so you can control a motorized screen, and the second one could be used to control a screen mask. Of course, you'll find a regular composite video input (RCA) and S-Video (DIN). There is also a jack to hardwire the remote. An RS-232 is there for command and control and also a USB port. Finally, you'll find The power switch and receptacle for the AC power cord.
Underneath are two screw adjustable rear feet. You can also see the swing out handle center front.
To the front left side, is the lamp compartment door. There is an integrated handle around the front center foot (the foot is not adjustable) that tucks away when not needed. How often someone needs a handle on a projector that is almost certain to be mounted, I surely don't know, but it's there.
One note, Sim2 recommend that there be at least 2 and 9/16 inches clearance between the bottom of the projector (which is inverted) and the ceiling, for ventilation. If you use a 3rd party mount, it also must not block the bottom vent.
Time to get to the juicy stuff - Image Quality. Click below.