JVC DLA-RS35 Projector Review

JVC DLA-RS35 Projector - The Bottom Line

How’s this for the bottom line on the JVC RS35 – and the HD990 projectors: The JVC DLA-RS35 wins!

With my 2010 1080p Projector Comparison Report starting up, and only three more projector reviews to complete (the InFocus SP8602, JVC RS15, and the Mitsubishi HC6800). I’ve worked enough with each of those to know that none are a threat to the JVC DLA-RS35, anymore than any of the other $3500+ projectors we’ve reviewed, except of course for the RS25.

That’s right, while the report won’t be ready for several weeks, the one thing I now know, is that the JVC RS35 will receive our Best In Class award for projectors $3500 – $10000 (that’s as high as we normally go).

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JVC DLA-RS35 Brightness

Where’d the lumens go? A mystery. I do not know any reason why an RS35 would measure about 10% less bright than the RS25 we reviewed a few months ago, but it does. I’ve looked for leaks, but don’t see any.

So, while it might be strange, and other RS35′s theoretically would be a bit brighter, here’s the word. With over 650 lumens in “best modes”, the JVC is noticeably brighter than most 1080p projectors. Still there are several in its range, and a couple that can best it.

“Brightest” mode, is what the JVC says it has, but with only a measured 750 lumens, it’s only about 15% brighter than “best” mode. And, more to the point, it’s a lot less bright than the average 1080p projector, when you want the maximum lumens.

Placement flexibility is excellent, not quite the best. The 2:1 zoom should work in just about every room. The only real limitation is that some projectors have a little more vertical lens shift. Only a very few projectors, like the Panasonic PT-AE4000 and the Epson projectors, have a bit more vertical lens shift. JVC, though motorizes theirs, for convenience (lens shift as well as zoom and focus). By comparison, most projectors with lens shift, tend to have manual shift. As to zoom and focus, about half of the home theater projectors sold out there have those motorized.

Fancy features:

The JVC DLA-RS35 projector is well endowed, in terms of features, and their benefits. While no other projector I can think of, can match the Panasonic PT-AE4000 for it’s wide range of features (normal and unusual), this JVC does pretty well. Of note, it does have a good, not great CFI (creative frame interpolation) ability, with multiple settings. The RS35 also has Detail Enhancement as part of its sharpness controls. It works rather well, although if you push it too far, you start seeing the downside, too much contrast in faces, etc. Like most dynamic controls – they work best, in moderation.

The very bottom line:

A tiny improvement in black level performance (best I can determine so far) over the RS25 I had here a couple months back, is definitely noteworthy, but the single thing that struck me about the RS35 is its feel of being a sharper projector than any previous JVC RS projector I’ve seen. I attribute that primarily to the tighter pixel alignment, but the RS35 also receiving, theoretically the sharpest of the lenses, etc., can’t hurt either. I’ve been using slight detail enhancement with my RS20, and darn, it definitely does not appear to be as sharp.

Finally, a projector with world class black level performance, that actually appears to be extremely sharp, has truly excellent color, a fairly dynamic looking image, and lots of “best” mode lumens. ‘Bout time!

The JVC DLA-RS35 from my observation has no really major weaknesses, although, I still find it lacking in terms of how bright it can get, in “brightest” mode. Those of us, who like our sports, or gaming, or sitcoms with a decent level of ambient light, will continue to be disappointed, a little.

But, when you put on a nice movie from Blu-ray disc, for the first time, in a nice dark room, you should be totally blown away.

As a RS20 owner, the only thing holding me back from getting the RS35, is the cost. Even with the nice discount most manufacturers would offer me, that’s a real chunk of change for those of us who “work for a living”. We shall see. Most likely I’ll wait for the next generation – afterall, as a reviewer, I really do need to have projectors here that do all the latest and greatest, and for next year’s crop of home theater projectors, that may well include the ability to watch Avatar, Clash of the Titans, Alice In Wonderland, etc. in 3D. All the standards are coming into place and I imagine that will be possible on a decent number of projectors a year from now, but there are no guarantees of much of anything in terms of future 3D capability from the few 3D ready projectors out there.

The Last question: “Based on what I’ve seen, from the RS35 and RS25 review units, is the “hand picked” RS35 worth the difference?

Again, it’s your money, and I can’t tell what you can afford, but, all else considered, the sharpness difference alone, for me would justify the RS35, because, the other JVCs’ average sharpness has been my own primary misgivings with both my older RS1 and my current RS20. Had there been an “RS30″ last year – same idea, I do believe I would have bought it then, as I was definitely in the heart of my 2 year spending cycle.

Awesome picture! Truly the Best In Class. Congratuations JVC, for giving the bar another nudge.

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