The SI Black Diamond screens have been hugely successful in the ALR space, and despite a flood of new competitors they remain strong. The 1.4 gain version included in this review performed exceptionally well on contrast, black levels and color saturation. In the first contrast test with ambient light from the side windows it scored 30:1, besting all other screens in the review except the Seymour at 36:1. When the ceiling floods were added it gave us a contrast of 21:1, almost a tie with the first place Elite DarkStar at 22:1. Meanwhile, the Seymour hung in there with a very solid 19:1. Moreover, The Black Diamond gave us the deepest black level in the Windows + Ceiling Floods test, and a very solid third place in black levels when ambient light was from the side only. Overall, for the defeat of ambient light no matter where it comes from, the Black Diamond 1.4 is at the top of the pack, duking it out with the Seymour Matinee Black.
In other respects the Black Diamond 1.4 shows very good but not uniquely exceptional performance. It has a respectable viewing angle of 60 degrees which is middle of the pack -- not nearly the super wide angle performance of a few of the lower gain models, but much more accommodating than the Seymour at a very restrictive 32 degrees. This screen will work as long as you don't have too much viewing going on from exaggerated angles.
It is quite bright overall, giving a luminance reading of 142 compared to the brightest reading of the eleven which was 146. (Keep in mind these luminance readings are relevant only for comparative purposes, and relate only to the projector and ambient light environment in our test room.)
With respect to visible texture artifacts, the Black Diamond 1.4 is in the "typical" category with many of its ALR competitors. It shows a modest graininess that tends not to be visible until the camera starts to pan over subject matter that has no texture. So it does not have the natural clarity of the Da-lite Parallax or the DNP Supernova, but it is higher in contrast and deeper in black levels compared to either of them, so you get more image depth and snap with the Black Diamond in exchange for some occasional texture artifacts.
The Black Diamond's weakest aspect in our testing was its relatively slim vertical half angle, which measured 20 degrees. Five screens in the group measured worse than this in the 15 to 18 degree range, but the Black Diamond clearly does not have the vertical latitude of the Stewart Firehawk at 40 degrees or the Draper MS1000X at 35. On the other hand, for many users this is the easiest limitation to work around. If you are one of them, this may be a limitation of little consequence.
In the end, the Screen Innovations Black Diamond 1.4 puts in a solid performance and holds its own despite the array of new competitors lined up against it. On the essential function of being able to defeat ambient light and maintain contrast it is among the best with the Seymour Matinee Black being its chief rival. The Black Diamond is not known for being the cheapest of the ALR screen options out there. But if the array of performance attributes that the SI Black Diamond can deliver meets your requirements, you'd be seriously remiss in not pricing out the configuration you are looking for.