SIM2 Nero 3D-2 Projector Review

This Summary of the Nero 3D2 projector review has just been posted. Proofing and a few more comments, still to be added!

SIM2 Nero 3D-2 Projector - The Bottom Line

The Nero 3D-2 is typical of a high end, premium, single chip DLP projectors of recent years, but with the addition of 3D capabilities. Those of you seriously considering this Nero projector from SIM2, should be planning to place it in a dedicated home theater, or similar space, with mostly dark surfaces.

As a first class single chip DLP projector, expect rich colors, a very sharp image, and in the case of the Nero 3D-2, dynamic functions such as CFI and smooth motion that will operate pretty much invisibly, especially when compared to most other projectors.

On higher ticket projectors like this SIM2, there is usually a lot more emphasis on making the projector “invisible”, than on tweaking for the last ounce of performance. Perhaps that is because in this price range there are a lot more folks looking to put together a great home theater, without worrying too much about the details, then there are wealthy do-it-yourself types, or just hard core techies.

HDTV image from the 2011 Victoria Secret special, She looks simply ravishing on the big screen!

In other words, if you are looking for a projector that seriously gives you the maximum of pure performance for the dollars spent, the Nero probably isn’t for you. But if have the budget, and your goal is to sit down in your theater, touch a button, kick back and enjoy a movie (or other content), “Bingo.” I mean if you aren’t agonizing about black levels, or how many speeds of CFI you can play with, and the projector is just one important “detail” along with a top quality audio system, fancy seating, and so on, then this Nero likely fits the bill.

If you are looking for a top quality, customer service oriented dealer that can design and implement your theater, then there’s a good chance, they will be a SIM2 dealer. There are only a few players in this space. In addition to SIM2, there’s Runco, Digital Projection, projectiondesign (not widely distributed in the US), and less well known, Wolf. I have no numbers to back it up, but most likely it is SIM2 and Runco that dominate home theater sales in this price range, and both have highly trained, customer-centric dealers.

Above: Star Trek’s Captain Pike

I especially appreciate the smooth CFI for sports. It seems to have a bit less noise around fast moving objects than most. Even better, and more important, the dynamic iris (Dynamic Black) is extremely smooth. No doubt they might have squeezed slightly better blacks out of the Nero 3D-2 projector at the expensive of a bit of smoothness. I think that’s the right trade-off for this particular projector, for its typical customer base.

Above: Ernest Borgnine and Bruce Willis in RED

But the real strength of the Nero 3D2 projector, is the color performance. I recently praised the Sony VPL-VW95ES for great color and really good skin tones. Well, as good as that Sony is, the SIM2 bests the Sony. In this case, I believe it to be more of that single chip DLP projector look with its especially rich colors, vs. an equally well calibrated Sony using LCoS.

Above: From Quantum of Solace

Brightness: For 2D viewing the SIM2 Nero 3D-2 projector is fairly typical in brightness for projectors over $4000 – $5000, which means over our “average” 500 lumens calibrated. Depending on the lens selected, the SIM2 Nero 3D2 should produce at least 600 lumens, with whichever lens you go with, at mid-point on the zoom. If you end up with the more expensive T3 lens, you should get a noticeable boost in brightness, as SIM2 points out that the T3 lens is definitely brighter than the others (and more money). We did not get to play with the T3, so have no idea how many lumens, but I’m getting the feeling that the T3, if you can use it, might be somewhere around 20% brighter than the other lenses.

As is typical of DLP projectors, the Nero is about 30-40% brighter in its brightest mode, than D65 calibrated. We found 825 lumens (mid-zoom), T2 lens. With the T3 lens I would expect more than 1000 lumens maximum. Again, all this is just right for a theater setup, as long as you don’t want a huge screen. Of course, SIM2 would just love for you to try one of the much brighter (and far more money) 3 chip DLP projectors if you want, perhaps a nice 130″ or 150″ diagonal screen…

Above, Sunday NFL Mix on DirecTV (4 games instead of 8 on the first games of the day).

The only real brightness issue relates to 3D. Few home theater projectors out there really have enough brightness in 3D, at least not enough to not yearn for more. The Nero 3D-2 certainly can use a few more lumens if you are trying to fill, for example a 110″ diagonal screen with 3D. It’s probably best on 3D at no more than 100″. I spent most of my viewing in my theater at a 98″ diagonal, and would have liked a bit more horsepower. That said, again, this is typical of this class of projector, as well as the lower priced LCoS projectors from Sony, Mitsubishi, etc.

For those who believe they are really interested in a lot of 3D, and don’t want a small screen, either a dual screen setup, or perhaps opting for the Nero 3D-HB (High Bright), which should be 50% brighter, and that means roughly an extra 20″ diagonal with at least the same brightness.

The Very Bottom Line on the Nero 3D-2 projector:

A classy single chip DLP projector for high end home theaters, SIM2 is for no muss, no fuss people who want an excellent, and probably fully deluxe, home theater. I’m talking about people who aren’t worried about how many watts per channel in their surround sound system, don’t care about contrast ratios, or D65 calibration (or even know what that is). You’re a potential SIM2 owner if you just want to walk into the room, touch a button on the whole room control system you are almost certainly ordering with the rest of the theater and furniture.

And you are a potential SIM projector owner, if you want to be dealing with a professional dealer who can design and build out that beautiful theater for you (or do a major upgrade to your existing one), and once your theater is operational, will be there on short notice should you encounter a problem down the road.

Ultimately though, for most of us, what also matters, is the great picture quality – and as I have said, things don’t get more natural looking than this SIM2 handling a closeup of a face, or a lively cityscape, or a farmers market. If there’s a downside, it’s the less than stellar blacks, but they are still “ultra high contrast” – good enough, though as a hard core enthusiast I would have hoped for better. For the person who just wants a great picture, though, the Nero 3D-2 should nicely do the trick.

You won’t understand SIM2 I think, until you visit that local installing SIM2 dealer and see what this projector can do, and who the dealer can take care of your theater needs from beginning – to post sales. That’s the plan!

Above: from Red

OK, that concludes our review of the Nero 3D2 projector, except for our obligatory Pros and Cons below.

Myself, after reviewing the SIM2 Nero 3D-2, I really want to get a look at the 3D-HB, and check out that extra brightness for 3D use, but really, I want to get my hands on one of their 3 chip 1080p projectors. It’s been about 5 years since I had one in here, and back then, it was the same story – pretty much the best color I had ever seen on a projector.

SIM2 Nero 3D2 Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities

SIM2 Nero 3D-2 Projector: Pros

  • Superb color, and overall picture quality, post calibration
  • Good black level performance with a smooth iris
  • Very, very, good CFI – smooth (some may even like with movies)
  • Three lens options and vertical lens shift, for great placement flexibility
  • Great looking projector – physically
  • Good warranty, comprehensive post sales support available
  • User manual better than most
  • Above average brightness for a calibrated “Best” mode
  • About average brightness at its brightest (or brighter than average with the brightest of the 3 lenses)
  • The brightest lens – the T3 – costs more, and is the longest throw of the lenses
  • SIM2 dealers are known for ability to design and install compete rooms, and for post sales support

SIM2 Nero 3D-2 Projector: Cons

  • Blacks could be blacker
  • Menus could be better laid out (not bad, but different than many others, especially advanced color controls)
  • Lamp life could be longer
  • Design and layout of the remote control (most owners I expect will not use it, but have a room control system)
  • A bit noisy at full power. Recommendation: Reduce brightness from 280 to 260 watts for lower fan noise, and minimal loss of brightness

Above, from Legends of Flight (2D option). There’s some really stunning content, especially in 3D. This is an excellent disc from Stephen Low, who also produced Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D!

That’s it folks! For those that can, grab your checkbook or Amex card, hop into your Mercedes, Lexus, Ferrari or Bentley, and go say hi to a SIM2 dealer.

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