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JVC DLA-X95 Review - Performance Review

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JVC DLA-X95Also available on JVC’s X55 and X75 projectors this year, the 4K e-shift
2 system should not be confused with ‘true’ 4K projection – however
much JVC might want you to be confused! The X95 can’t actually receive
or parse native 4K images, or add detail to images via processing in the
same way a true 4K projector can do.

However, the e-shift 2 system does still do some pretty amazing things to images. Just adding double the pixel density makes images look much more cinematic, thanks to the way you no longer get a sense of the physical pixel structure inside the image, even when watching on a really huge screen. Pictures also look more detailed and textured – even though you’re not being shown any extra ‘real’ picture information.

Some of the 4K Profile settings – especially High Resolution – on offer push things a little far, leaving sources looking too gritty for comfort. But other settings work jaw-droppingly well, especially with a little fine-tuning via provided Enhance, Dynamic Contrast and Smoothing 4K options, giving you an undeniable sense that you’re watching pictures that are genuinely beyond HD.

Certainly, going back to a standard HD projector or turning off the X95’s 4K upscaling leaves images looking relatively soft and less ‘direct’/immersive.

Seeing as we seem to have stumbled into actually testing the X95’s pictures, we might as well press on. So let’s divert our attention to the X95’s other huge selling point besides its e-shift 2 system: its contrast.

JVC claims a frankly phenomenal 130,000:1 native contrast ratio for its flagship projector – a cool 40,000:1 more than you get even with the brand’s already stellar X75 model.

Delivered by the X95’s use of only the most immaculately manufactured optical components, hand-picked from JVC’s production lines, it’s worth reiterating that the X95 is currently unrivalled projector contrast level is a native one. In other words, the X95 can deliver it’s astonishing black level response without needing to constantly adjust brightness levels like most projectors, meaning you don’t have to worry about brightness instability or compromised shadow detailing.

The X95’s native contrast efforts mean, also, that it’s able to deliver dark scenes with gorgeous dynamism, since any bright elements appearing within predominantly dark scenes are produced with levels of brightness you just couldn’t achieve from a projector that has to reduce its light output in order to produce a convincing black colour.

Add the pixel density achieved by the e-Shift 2 technology to the enormous contrast range, and you’ve got comfortably the most cinematic picture seen to date from a projector costing under five figures. The extra contrast even takes the X95’s performance a comfortable distance beyond JVC’s brilliant X75, and there are many projectors costing more than £10k that won’t be able to stand up against the X95, at least where contrast is concerned.

Given how good the X95’s contrast is and how many calibration tools it
carries, it’s no great surprise to find that it produces the most
perfect and natural colours we’ve ever seen from a projector. Though the
projector is also capable of serving up an exceptionally dynamic,
richly saturated palette if that’s more to your tastes than the subtler,
more restrained look of an accurately calibrated image.

The
definition in the colourscape is remarkable too, with the subtlest
tonal shift rendered with such mesmerising accuracy that even 2D
pictures have an almost 3D solidity to them.

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