SIM2 Nero 3D-2 Projector Review
The SIM2 Nero 3D-2 Home Theater projector is one of SIM2's premium single chip DLP projectors. SIM2 offers their projectors through a collection of higher and high end "dealers". SIM2 is one of those high end companies that stresses customer support and product quality.
December 2011 - Art Feierman
SIM2 Nero 3D-2 Projector Overview
The Nero 3D2 projector is one of three Nero models, all featuring 3D capablity. In addtion to the Nero 3D-2, there is the lower cost 3D-1 and the 3D-HB. The line-up plays out this way: The base model is the 3D-1. That SIM2 projector is the least expensive of the three, offering 1600 lumens brightness and a basic 10,000:1 contrast ratio.
The 3D-2 projector claims a brighter 2000 lumens, and a boost to 30,000:1 contrast for better blacks. The 3D-HB offers the same contrast but is the brightest of the three with 3000 lumens. I should note I had requested the brighter HB version, but only the 3D-2 was available.
The Nero series are all single chip DLP projectors. SIM2 offers higher end 3 chip DLP projectors as well, with prices into the stratosphere.
We received the Nero 3D-2 but only had it for about 10 days. Mike immediately calibrated it, and I did get to spend a lot of time watching it.
The Nero 3D-2 is a projector designed for the dedicated home theater. It's not a light canon by any means. In my own theater with all its dark surfaces, the 3D-2 had plenty of lumens for movies and sports, but more on that in the appropriate pages.
Above - nothing like sports on a projector. The image above from DirecTV's NFL Game Mix. When it's on four screens, each is roughly the size of a 50 inch LCDTV. Even at 8 screens, when I watch that, you can really see what's going on - with each game (the way I set it up) being over 35" diagonal.
The Nero 3D-2 is designed to be a relatively seamless projector. It seems to lack any rough edges. Just as I've described some other very good projectors, the Nero is pretty invisible. Which is, not doing things that call attention to the fact that you are watching a projector, instead letting you be immersed in the content.
In the pages that follow, we'll cover a lot of territory, but to start, below are some highlights, and the basic specs. The last section of this page goes through a number of "special features".
SIM2 Nero 3D-2 Projector Highlights
- A projector designed for a dedicated home theater
- Brighter than average "best mode"
- Beautiful post calibration color
- "Out of the box" color is good, but cool. It is unlikely though that the projector would not be calibrated
- Ultra high contrast projector
- Choice of 3 lenses for maximum placement flexibility
- Adjustable vertical lens shift
- PureMotion for smooth motion (CFI)
- Very stylish design - looks great on your ceiling, even when off
- Supports an anamorphic lens, with or without sled
Specs for SIM2 Nero 3D-2
MSRP: $24,900 with T1 or T2 lens, $26,750 with T3 lens
Technology: DLP, single chip
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
Brightness: 2000 lumens claimed, post calibration (D65) 605 lumens at mid-zoom on the provided lens
Zoom Lens ratio: 3 lens options covering a very wide range
Lens shift: Vertical and horizontal
Lamp life: 2000 hours (variable brightness)
Weight: 24.3 lbs. (10.8 Kg)
Warranty: 2 Years Parts and Labor
View additional specifications: SIM2 Nero 3D-2 home theater projector.
SIM2 Nero 3D-2 Special Features
Very nice, and very smooth, although, it doesn't seem SIM2 is working it exceptionally hard. That is, blacks, while "ultra high contrast" are very good, but definitely not exceptional, and are bested by many less expensive projectors. When I say "ultra high contrast" that's our indication that they are "good enough", getting to that quality is, in our opinion, very important. Improving from there is great, but less critical.
3 Lens Choices
SIM2 offers three choices for the Nero series, which they describe as T1, T2, and T3.
Between them, the Nero 3D-2 has exceptional placement range. It can be placed almost anywhere in between 1.37 times screen width to 3.9 times screen width. There are a couple of small gaps in that range, which probably aren't even worth mentioning. More details in the Tour section
Nero 3D-2 3D Abilities
Overall, I'd have to say their implementation of 3D is rather good. 3D is particularly clean, cleaner than, I think, any of the LCoS projectors we've reviewed, although those are all half the price, or less.
Rather, I have the usual complaint that I've launched at every over $4000 3D capable projector I've reviewed to date - and that's: Not enough lumens for enjoyably bright 3D on most screens. The Nero 3D-2 will do fine, brightness wise, in 3D
on smaller screens, such as 82" or 92" diagonal, with typical white screen surfaces. To go much larger, and really enjoy 3D, the best alternative is to go with a higher than normal gain screens, to make up for the lower lumens. I'd say 1.5 to 2.0 gain screens can make a real difference, but with the usual trade-offs, such as a narrowing seating range. A plan B, which some folks are doing, if practical for you, is to have two screens.
All considered, I did most of my 3D watching on my 1.3 gain Stewart Firehawk G3, at just under 100" diagonal, and would have liked a step up in brightness. I'll be installing a 2.5 gain, high power screen that arrived recently, and will report on how other projectors, similar to this Nero projector in brightness, perform on that much brighter screen.
I had no trouble with 3D coming from Blu-ray 3D, or any different 3D 1080 or 720 formats from any of the DirecTV 3D channels. The short version - everything 3D that I threw at it - worked.
Bottom line on 3D with the SIM2 3D-2: Nicely done within the limits of the projector's brightness. Clean, no sign of rainbows for me (on 2D or 3D). Good stuff!
Let's talk 3D active glasses:
For 3D you have two options. SIM2 will work with glasses compatible with XPanD 103 glasses (as do Panasonic and Epson projectors, and a few others), but they also have their "proprietary" glasses option, which they claim is slightly better. The choice is yours, and the 103 compatibility means some 3rd party glasses should be obtainable for as little as $49, maybe less. (Not that anyone spending $20,000 on a projector is likely to worry too much about the price of a few pair of glasses.)
2D to Simulated 3D on the Nero 3D-2
This is becoming a standard line for me, but I still hope to find a projector that really nails 2D to 3D.
Basically I've yet to see 2D to 3D that I could recommend for anyone really into everything looking right. I'm sure most kids will love it. On the other hand, I think a projector is really going to have to be consistently excellent doing 2D to 3D, for most enthusiasts to consider using this feature. I haven't seen that yet. But, I hear it's coming.
If you don't mind the little 3D "imperfections" due to 2D - to 3D conversion, plus the image being about 1/4 the brightness of 2D, and wearing the glasses, go for it. It's not about watching perfection, it's about satisfying your preferences. Not quite ready for serious primetime, but some will enjoy it. Myself, so far, other than for testing purposes, I haven't found the projector that makes me want to do it.
SIM2 Nero 3D-2 Gamma Modes
The SIM2 Nero 3D-2 has three different gamma setups: Dynamic, Natural, and Parametric. Parametric allows you to set the level desired - such as the normal 2.2, or 2.4.
Of note, Dynamic lifts the dark areas, for more shadow detail. Here is an example of each:
Nero 3D2 Brilliant Color:
As expected, the SIM2 implementation of Brilliant Color, is relatively subtle, whereas with many projectors, Brilliant Color can be not just dynamic, but sometimes over the top. Texas Instruments - the DLP folks, provide a "Brilliant Color" engine, that DLP projector manufacturers can modify and set up the way they want to. Here's a cropped image from the movie Red. You can see differences in the ribbons and if you look closely, you can see Brilliant Color is a touch less smooth on skin tone transitions in Bruce Willis' face.
One more pair of images Off, then On. Note the reds are more realistic with Brilliant Color off, as turning BC on is a bit cooler. Still you can see that the sky and image overall is a bit more dynamic looking with it on:
Creative Frame Interpolation works very well. PureMotion is SIM2's name for it. It behaves like most other projector's Low setting, would be my guess. As usual, I don't recommend using it for movies if you care about "the director's intent". I would guess that most people don't use it for movies. I don't. It changes things - too much, for my taste, but then that's true of all CFI's.
Image below - Leeloo, from The Fifth Element
SIM2 Lamp Characteristics
Unlike most projectors that offer a full power and a lower power "Eco-mode", the Nero 3D-2 offers six settings each slightly different. 280 watts is full power, 230 watts is the lowest power. You can choose any wattage in between, in increments of 10 (240, 250...).
The thing to note of greatest importance, is that as a single chip DLP projector, the Nero 3D-2 is not particularly quiet in terms of fan noise.
At full power, it's right up there with other projectors that seem to be around 30 db.
If you drop the power down from 280 (past 270) to 260, the fan does kick down a notch. It's not a dramatic improvement, but definitely a couple few db. The fan noise will drop still further by 230, but even then, this isn't a particularly quiet projector with many other projectors quieter in their eco modes, and with some projectors still quieter at full power, than the SIM2 at the 230 watt setting.
In smaller rooms, I'm pretty sure most folks will have their projectors at 260 watts to help control the noise.
Time to look at the (external) hardware, the remote control and the SIM2 3D-2 projector's menus.