Monday, January 11, 2010

Microvision: PC Magazine Review is Full of Crap, Flawed, and is Biased.

I say this...

Because David Stone, the PC Magazine review team leader, has taken the lazy man’s path to reviewing a high tech product and his inexperience with the laser display technology shows. PC Magazine review is basically a self centered pompous review that likes to start-off with “biased” and “pompous” conclusion as the introduction to a high tech product review. If you don’t know the meaning of pompous; then look-it-up in the dictionary! In the English language it means...

• Arrogant
• Pretentious
• Self-important

If Davis Stone was the recognized authority on lasers or laser based MEMS raster scanning display technology; then I would stay low and take him seriously. But that is not the case... as is obvious from many apparent mistakes in his review methodology and the dozens of reader comments fiercely debating and questioning PC Magazine review.

Now you can add me also to the list of those questioning Mr. Stone’s competence, experience and integrity as the self-proclaimed independent review authority.

This is how Mr. Stone starts off his “Image Quality” review of Microvision’s pico projector SHOWwx...

Image Quality

“The ShowWX's image quality is disappointing at best and, unfortunately, probably better described as flawed. I measured the brightness at 8 lumens, which is a reasonable 80 percent of the claimed 10 lumens.”

Here’s the link to PC Magazine review...
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2357640,00.asp

Here’re a few points to start with that show how shallow the PC Magazine review really is...

1. Diffused light measurement techniques and devices are not [and should not be] used for measuring light output from pulsating [or modulating] laser light sources especially where the laser light is switched on/off during periods of dark picture segments. Only an ignorant and inexperienced reviewer would use the same tools and methodology for laser light MEMS raster scanning technology projectors [like SHOWwx] that they use for diffused light source projectors... pico or conventional.

2. Combination of diffused light source [lamp and LED] with LcoS panel puts out lumens whether you need them for projected images or not... thus creating background lighting and contributing to overall lumens readings. Laser based pico projectors, on the other hand, use coherent light source and it is the lumen light intensity of the pixels that should be measured... because that’s what the eye sees with dark background contributing to the high contrast ratio. This explains the flawed measurement of 8 lumens that was recorded by PC Magazine reviewer vs. the 10 lumens stated by Microvision.

3. Mr. Stone is wrong [and full of crap] in stating 8 lumens measured vs. the stated 10 lumens... because when correctly measured using the proper tools [and methodology] the Microvision laser pixels are at 10+ lumens. You can call Corning for yourself and verify that.

4. Also, when the laser light source is modulating at 100 MHz rate and completely switched on/off during periods of dark picture segments... the background lumens are almost nil... with the image pixels still at full 10+ lumen intensity. That explains everything we have seen and heard over the last year that tells us that SHOWwx is an impressive, even jaw-dropping, pico projector with stunning image quality and vivid colors.

5. The background lumens give washed out effect to the projected images. Background lumens may add to the total lumens, as is the case with LED/LcoS based pico projectors, but they also wash out the images. Did Mr. Stone do a side by side comparison of the projected images? I don’t think so!

Because if he did a side by side comparison, this is what he would see...
http://myfotospace.my.funpic.de/Comparison-of-PicoP.png

6. Laser based pico projectors use coherent light source and it is the lumen light intensity of pixels that creates high intensity vivid colors. When the laser light source is switched on/off during periods of dark picture segments, the background lumens are almost nil... with the image pixels still at full intensity. That should explain the high contrast ratio of 5,000:1 for SHOWwx, where lasers are switched-off during periods of dark picture segments... without reducing the lumen intensity of the projected pixels. This is an energy conserving technique that Microvision uses that also gives it the high contrast ratio of 5,000:1 as a side benefit. Mr. Stone ignored to mention the color gamut, vivid color and high contrast ratio of the images projected by SHOWwx.

7. Pico projectors are designed for image viewing by humans and not by some rigged set-up that neutralizes the image enhancing techniques such as those incorporated by laser pico projector SHOWwx. For example, the “speckle” effect is inherent to laser based MEMS raster scanning display technology. And Microvision uses various techniques to minimize speckle to a point that is hardly noticeable to the naked eye. Now, if PC Magazine set-ups a rig, as part of their review, and then go looking for speckle then obviously they will find it... because they have effectively neutralized whatever Microvision designed into the SHOWwx to reduce speckle. To me that shows malice and an agenda to attack the main differentiating feature of SHOWwx... the image quality.

8. The green line at the bottom of the projected image is used for calibrating the SHG green lasers from Corning. The green line is intermittent and not visible to the naked eye... unless you go looking for it. The future generations of Microvision pico projectors will not be using this green laser calibrating feature. It is quite possible that the PC Magazine reviewer received an older SHOWwx using Corning green laser or the reviewed unit was out of calibration. Either way, one small blemish [or a pimple] on the face does not make your caring and loving wife an ugly beast... does it?

9. The SHOWwx uses red, green, and blue lasers and MEMS mirror to raster scan the images on the screen. That means it doesn't have a native resolution in the same sense as DLP, LCD, and LcoS projectors, which have a fixed number of cells or mirrors. It has a preferred resolution for optimal performance which Microvision pegs at 848 by 480 pixels, one of the variations on WVGA and also appropriate for the wide-format version of 480p video. Since Microvision’s picop display engine uses MEMS raster scanning at the heart of its technology, it has upward pathways to high definition resolution of large image [currently at 200”] projection... without any increase in the physical size of the display engine.

10. In the digital world, other than a word processor, black on white is not very common. It’s mostly a soft pleasing background like IBM blue. However, if you are stuck on comparing “black on white” then look at what Microvision’s pico projector SHOWwx offers...

http://www.youtube.com/user/mvisvideo#p/a/u/0/P9M0FI7zMmo

Now let’s see what the competition has to offer?

Putting it mildly, PC Magazine review is full of crap, flawed and is biased.

Whatever their motivation, the PC Magazine didn't have a “Single” good thing to say about Microvision’s SHOWwx. It's like the reviewer went out of his way to look for and focus on the negatives. Absolutely “Nothing” impressed him about SHOWwx at all.

Everything we have seen and heard about SHOWwx tells us that it's an impressive, even jaw-dropping pico projector with stunning image quality and vivid colors. Everything PC Magazine tells us is: it's missing a couple of lumens, it washes out in minimal light, it has speckles, its cables are too stiff, it's got a green line across the bottom, and it's overpriced. Without saying so, this guy even hinted that it could burn your eyes out, but thank God humans are programmed to blink before that happens! I am really surprised PC Magazine reviewer didn't dump on SHOWwx battery life [longer than anyone else], heat generation [none at all] and bow-tie effect too.

When you compare the stack of favorable reviews from multiple reviewers and one bad review from PC Magazine, it makes you wonder and very suspicious towards the reviewer.

I don't think the PC Magazine reviewer is on the take nor has a grudge against Microvision. Two people can look at the same thing with different expectations and draw different conclusions. May be the reviewer got a bad unit or an older unit using first generation green laser from Corning or one that hadn't been calibrated properly.

However, the question is: “Who else is going to review the SHOWwx, what are they going to say about it, and what will their motivation be?”

There was obvious intent here to neutralize the SHOWwx most powerful strength, its projected image size and image quality, and this PC Magazine review did just that. This was well thought out by a cunning mind not some nitwit journalist on the take. It was most likely written well in advance and this clown simply put his name on it.

In my opinion, and the opinion of many others that I respect, the PC Magazine review is not only flawed but it is also biased.

As for SHOWwx projector image quality, a picture speaks a thousand words. Just look at the latest videos and think for yourself...

http://www.youtube.com/user/mvisvideo#p/a/u/1/F2qnrOsg6wg

or this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e_rKfi8xCU&feature=related

or this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0TQqQor0H0&feature=related

or this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSz-gmF-UwI&feature=related

Then there is this glowing review by Melissa Arseniuk for Canwest News Service...

“Another product attracting a lot of attention at CES is a Microvision portable projector ($500, available March 2010). It allows users to share images from their cellphones, iPods, computers and cameras by projecting them onto the nearest flat surface.

The projector follows the hype generated by AT&T last month when the cellphone giant released the LG eXpo, its first cellphone with built-in video projection capabilities.

While the Microvision device is an external product, it blows the LG eXpo out of the water in terms of resolution and versatility.”

Here’s the link...
http://www.canada.com/life/Taking+Vegas+...

At the CES 2010, Microvision’s SHOWwx projector won the “Last Gadget Standing” award when competing with 24 other semi-finalists. SHOWwx had over 7,300 on-line views and received 99,148 votes.

Here’s the link...
http://lastgadgetstanding.com/2010/01/09...

Now you tell me?

Over 99,148 on-line votes and everything we have seen and heard over the last year tells us that SHOWwx is an impressive, even jaw-dropping, pico projector with stunning image quality and vivid colors.

Everything PC Magazine tells us is: it's missing a couple of lumens, it washes out in minimal light, it has speckles, its cables are too stiff, it's got a green line across the bottom, and it's overpriced. Without saying so, this guy even hinted that it could burn your eyes out, but thank God humans are programmed to blink before that happens!

You get what you see... and not what PC Magazines says there is or isn’t.

PC Magazine review is full of crap, flawed and is biased.

Anant Goel
http://www.wealthbyoptions.com/