With the 3D hurdle mostly very successfully negotiated, though, it’s no surprise based on past experience to find things plain sailing for the rest of the X30B’s tests. In fact, as with so many entry-level JVC projectors before it, its 2D pictures are nothing short of sensational for its money.
As usual with JVC’s D-ILA tech, the 2D highlight is the black level response. Dark scenes look outstanding, with rich, deep, natural black colours sitting right alongside bright whites and vibrant colours. And don’t forget that since the X30’s extreme contrast is achieved natively, with no dynamic iris, dark scenes look totally stable, with no brightness ‘jumping’ or flickering. There’s also no sudden leap in brightness when what you’re watching transitions from a dark to a light scene.
During such bright scenes, colours are exceptionally vibrant and natural, making the lack of a CMS easier to bear (if still unfortunate). Greens look particularly good and well balanced for this level of the market.
Skin tones can look just a fraction orangey using the projector’s factory settings, if we were being really picky. But this is a minor point overall; JVC, it seems, is certainly getting better at setting things up well in the factory before it even ships its projectors out.
The leap in brightness delivered by the X3 last year pays similar dividends on the X30 in 2D mode, making its images look every bit as dynamic as those of rival models in the same price bracket - overcoming what was once almost the only flaw in JVC’s D-ILA projection make up.
Another really impressive thing about the X30’s pictures is how flexible they are. For even without a full colour management system there are enough options and enough range within those options to ensure that almost all image tastes or preferences can be catered for. Even the Clear Motion Drive system is worth more experimentation than most similar systems - especially the two ‘black frame insertion’ modes, which do a quite nifty job of recreating the sense that you’re watching celluloid at a commercial cinema.
With the X30 also hugely impressing with how quietly it runs, even when showing 3D, there are only a couple more small problems to note on top of the puny issues already noted. First, it seems odd to us that there’s no Game preset. And second, our sample exhibited some curious ‘pulsing’ noise over mid shades of grey while using some of the image presets – especially the ‘Natural’ one.
But even if it turns out this isn’t a problem specific to our test sample, it’s easily avoidable by sticking to, say, the film or cinema presets. And anyway, you can only really see it with ‘pure’ blocks of greyness such as those found in the menus of Call of Duty: MW3; it’s hardly ever noticeable over normal video footage.
But for heaven’s sake, don’t let this any of this pathetic last-minute whinging get to you. The X30 is overall a bigger step forward from the X3 then we’d expected, which means pretty much by default that it’s the finest projector in its class.
Well, whaddya know: with the X30 JVC has yet again set the bar for projection quality in the £3,000 projector class. It might almost be boring if the projector wasn’t so darn brilliant.