Review: SIM2 MICO 50 Projector
This high-end LED based projector is a can't-miss upgrade for videophiles who can afford it.
August 23, 2010 by Robert Archer

Sometimes I forget how fortunate I am to have a job where I get to play with the latest electronics products.

That callousness, however, is put to rest when products like the SIM2 MICO 50 - part of the new wave of lampless projectors - arrive at my house.

With no lamp, the MICO 50 uses Luminus Devices’ Phlatlight LED lighting technologies. SIM2 says with these technologies the light engine has an estimated lifespan of 30,000 hours. The company also uses Texas Instruments’ (TI) Dark Chip4 and DynamicBlack technology.

SIM2 harnesses the capabilities of the LED/DLP combination by implementing an 8-bit per channel, high-speed current driver, which the company says acts to balance the light intensity from the LED devices to match the light output to the incoming video signal.

SIM2 employs a liquid cooling system, which it says enables the projector to run quieter than a standard projector and, when combined with the LED lighting, run cooler.

Rounding out the technologies available with the MICO 50 is a choice of short-throw (T1) and long-throw (T2) lenses.

The MICO 50 was delivered to my house by SIM2 Eastern regional sales manager Jim Armstrong. As Jim and I lifted the projector out of the box, I noticed that it was bigger and heavier than I had anticipated. We hoisted it onto my projector shelf, which is about 12 feet from my 1.78 Screen Research unity gain screen and 2.35:1 Stewart Filmscreen Cabaret that’s fitted with a FireHawk G3 screen.

After connecting an HDMI cable that runs from my Key Digital processor we aligned the picture with the Screen Research screen via the MICO 50’s awkward-to-use remote control. With the picture aligned, we started to view broadcast content from ESPN and HBO and I began noting pre-calibration settings.

From there we adjusted the contrast, black level, sharpness, color, saturation and aspect ratio settings. When looking at the pre-calibrated image I found the LEDs were close to overdriving the white and red levels.

After the calibration process, which took about 30 minutes, I began to watch movies like “Cars” and “Up” on Blu-ray and HD broadcast content like Boston Bruins hockey games on New England Sports Network and Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains the Same” concert film on Palladia.

I immediately noticed stunning resolution and clarity. The contrast, grayscale tracking, color accuracy and color palette impressed me.

Switching to the Stewart screen/Panamorph lens combination I also liked the image, but unlike my Dream Vision Dream ‘E projector, where I’m able to fine-tune the vertical stretch processing in increments of 2.35, 2.37, etc., I wasn’t able to do that with the MICO 50.

With the Stewart/Panamorph combination, I think the G3 material was a better match in my home environment than the 92-inch unity gain screen from Screen Research. I found the image to have greater depth and more pop.

I have no problem with the pricing of the MICO 50 (MSRP $22,000). It’s a premium product with state-of-the-art technologies and its MSRP reflects it.

The MICO 50 was an ideal product for SIM2 to send me. I had the screen types and sizes to match the brightness and picture quality of the projector and the ability to control my room’s ambient light. If custom electronics pros use the projector with a small- or medium-sized screen and provide ability to control room conditions, this projector is a can’t-miss step-up for consumers.


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Robert Archer - Senior Editor, CE Pro
Bob is a dedicated audiophile who has been writing about A/V for Electronic House sister publication CE Pro since 2000.

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