Colours look superior, too. This isn’t the case right away, as the X7 seems to need a few minutes of ‘running in’ after you turn it on to mellow out some rather ripe initial tones. But once things have settled down the X7 is capable of quite exquisite and expressive colour tone handling, with outstanding subtlety and a superlative tonal range.
We personally like the amount of flexibility in its colour ‘engine’ too. For while the projector can work accurately with the key video standards if that’s where your tastes lie, it can also inject as much colour ‘oomph’ as your individual tastes might want it to.
The X7’s pictures even look slightly more detailed than those of the X3 - which is saying something. It doesn’t harm the X7 in this regard that it’s also an excellent handler of motion, suffering impressively little from judder and not at all from blur - even without JVC’s Clear Motion Drive (CMD) processors in action.
That’s not to say the CMD is pointless. For while some people, understandably, wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole, its ‘Mode 1’ setting arguably introduces an interesting subtle flickering effect that feels oddly evocative of a celluloid cinema experience, without making motion look distractingly processed.
The X7 improvements described so far have been with 2D material, and result in a 2D performance that’s little short of masterful. But the X7 also marginally outguns the X3 with 3D.
There’s the same (relatively small) amount of crosstalk that you get with the X3, and brightness and colour levels look very similar, too, using the handy 3D picture preset. But there seems a fraction more crispness to the X7’s detailing with the deepest parts of 3D shots - such as the crowd running off the distant end of the Golden Gate Bridge in our much used/abused Monsters Vs Aliens 3D sequence.
Obviously it would be great if JVC could figure out how to remove crosstalk completely from its 3D images. Also, the fairly hefty step up in fan noise you get using the high-brightness 3D mode could prove distracting if the projector is positioned near your seating position. But the fact remains that at the time of writing, you frankly haven’t seen the new 3D HD format in action until you’ve seen it on one of JVC’s new projectors.
To be honest, we’d expected to find the X7 problematic, chiefly on the grounds that the X3 was so ridiculously good for its money that coughing up nearly double for the X7 just wouldn’t make sense. But the X7’s step up in picture quality, at least in 2D mode, is startlingly enough that we can easily imagine many people heading down to their local high-end AV dealer hell-bent on an X3 only to emerge a good demo later with an X7 under their arm and a drained credit card in their wallet.