JVC DLA-X35 Projector Review

The JVC DLA-X35 is the last new projector to arrive before I start working on our annual 1080p Home Theater Projector Comparison report. I start on that in about 48 hours, and it will publish mid-February – that is, within two weeks.

3-3-13 – Art Feierman

 

JVC X95 vs X35

Due to the upcoming report, I am not going to offer up the usual multiple comparisons here, since the report will cover all of that.  Suffice to say that this JVC projector will be slugging it out in the $2000-$3500 price range, with some serious competition, including the Sony VPL-HW50ES, The Epson UB projectors, Panasonic PT-AE8000U Mitsubishi HC7900DW, HC8000D, and a couple of others.

A three way comparison between the JVC DLA-X35, the Sony VPL-HW50ES and the Epson Pro Cinema 6020UB will be featured in the annual report.

For now, I have for you some side by side images.  First the JVC X35 compared to the JVC X95R, and some “directly competitive images comparing the X35 to the Epson Home Cinema 5020UB:

JVC X95 vs X35 (the X95R image is on the left):

Brightness between the two projectors has been set as close as I could get it, using the JVC X95R’s iris.  Still, note that the X95R images are a touch brighter.

Epson Home Cinema 5020UB vs JVC X35

Now let’s take a look at the Epson Home Cinema 5020UB. One could consider this the more direct match of the two Epsons (the other being the Pro Cinema 6020UB). Why? Well, with the Home Cinema 5020UB then both it and the JVC DLA-X35 have a two year warranty (even though the Epson comes with a two year replacement program as well).

Also both are finished in white. (A black version of the JVC is available.) The Epson is $2599, while the JVC is $3499. The Epson however comes with two pair of 3D glasses, while the 2 pair and the emitter are optional. 2 x $179, + $99 = $457. So consider there’s a huge pricing difference, at least equipped for 3D, which works out to an over $1350 difference. Both are finished in white, but of course the JVC has motorized lens functions. To get the closest match up between the Epson and the JVC, I had to use the JVC’s manual iris, and shift the Epson to eco-mode (where the colors are off a slight amount from the full power calibration). The Epson is on the left in all of these. Please note, that overall brightness seems to differ depending on how bright a scene is being photographed. This is to be expected since one projector has a dynamic iris – the HC5020 UB, and the other not.

In the images of the night scene below from The Hunger Games,you can see how the blacks are blacker on the Epson (left), and more shadow detail (look in the darkest areas to the left and bottom left). Overall, the Epson has significantly more “pop” in this very dark image. In fairness, had this image had some additional bright areas, at some point the Epson’s iris would not close down this far, but on very dark scenes like this, and the Bond night train below, dynamic irises are extremely effective. You would think that JVC might decide some day to add a dynamic iris to their already great LCoS panels?

What about the Sony VPL-HW50ES you ask?

On a personal note, I find the JVC DLA-X35 to be closest overall, to the Sony VPL-HW50ES. They are similar in price with the Sony, theoretically only slightly less ($3999 with 2 pair of 3D glasses, spare lamp) vs.  ($3499 no extras).  Unfortunately these two projectors passed through here many months apart, so no chance for side by side comparison images.

Both are excellent, both LCoS, each with a some advantages, but very comparable overall.  In the full report I’ll talk about a number of differences, but more than anything else, the biggest difference to me, between the JVC and Sony projectors is the Sony’s significant brightness advantage (calibrated; roughly 1000 vs. 700 lumens).  For smaller screen folks, that shouldn’t matter much, but for most, it could be the difference maker.

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