This is one heavy machine, at over 15 kilograms. It's also big, but its clean lines and black finish make it less obtrusive.
This projector is something new in my experience: it is a 4K projector. Rather than 1920x1080 pixels (full HD), this offers 3840x2160 pixels of output resolution, or double in both dimensions, for a four-fold increase in total.
However, its three D-ILA (JVC's version of LCoS) panels only offer the regular full HD number of pixels. It gets the higher resolution by double exposing the panels, electronically shifting the image diagonally by about half a pixel (0.71 pixel widths, if my maths is correct) for every second one, alternating between the two at 120 times per second (presumably 100 times, in the case of Australian 50-hertz content).
The projector does not accept 4K signals. It uses its higher resolution to smooth diagonal and curved edges of full HD content.
The projector has powered everything: zoom, focus, lens shift (horizontal and vertical) and even its lens protection retracts automatically when switched on, and closes again when switched off.
The purchase price does not include 3D paraphernalia, though. For 3D, you will need the 3D sync transmitter, which plugs in to the projector (AU$149), and one or more pairs of 3D glasses (AU$198 each). The glasses come with a USB cable to charge them, rather than using disposable button battery cells.
The projector started up in what it calls "Normal" lamp mode, which means that the lamp was switched down to 160 watts. You can also use "High", which bumps it up to 220 watts, increasing the cooling fan noise and reducing the life of the lamp. In general, the "Normal" mode was excellent (it goes up automatically to "High" for 3D), giving plenty of brightness in my darkened office.
The projector was extremely quiet in that mode, with the cooling fan noise additionally dampened by the bulk of the unit.
The colour was beautiful, based as it was on extraordinary black levels. This projector has a contrast ratio claim of 80,000:1 natively. There is no dynamic iris. With a full black screen, there was almost no breakthrough of light. Even better, on my test patterns in which one small part of the screen is full white while the rest is full black, the farthest black extremities retained their full blackness — something that can't usually be achieved with a dynamic iris.
The progressive scan conversion of incoming signals was fairly good, if occasionally imperfect (when it would generate artefacts, such as moving moire patterns). This is automatically performed (or can be switched off, which means set to video mode). I thought perhaps a force film mode option to allow perfect playback would have been expected in a projector of this cost. In general, though, it'll work well enough for your HDTV receiver. But do use a Blu-ray player with its own high-quality progressive scan conversion to ensure best performance with discs.
The resolution enhancement did produce slightly smoother diagonals, in that the jaggies (step patterns) were smaller. But I must say that this was visible when I went fairly close to the screen. From my too-close-to-the-screen viewing chair, jaggies are never visible on proper 1080p source material. So if it contributed to the picture quality in a practical sense, it was difficult to tell.
Especially as the overall result of the whole package was to produce — when fed high-quality source material — one of the best projected images I have ever seen. It really was glorious.
But there is something to be avoided. The projector has a function called "Clear Motion Drive". This has four modes that do various things to the picture, including Modes 3 and 4, which add interpolated frames between the incoming ones in order to smooth motion. Even Mode 4, which is the stronger level, didn't do a very good job of it on complex content, and it produced irritating artefacts at the same time. Do leave this feature switched off.
The 3D performance of the projector was interesting. There was certainly crosstalk (ie, leakage of some of each eye's image to the other eye) that could be perceived. But it was inconsistent. In one test I use, in which there are red/pink foreground images over a strong, sky-blue background, the ghosts of the pink elements were almost invisible. I paused the scene and spotted them, but they were so low in level as to not interfere in the slightest with the 3D, resulting in rich depth.
But a few seconds later, the same colour combinations used elsewhere had marked ghosts clearly visible even without pausing the picture. That was very strange. There is a setting under the 3D menu called "Crosstalk Cancel", but moving this slider up and down made no difference that I could see.
The 2D-to-3D converter managed to apply some sense of depth to normal scenes (in which, for example, the front objects are located towards the centre bottom of the frame, and are in sharp focus). On a test, though, it did very little. The results will vary from scene to scene.
Although overall this projector's 3D is quite adequate, if you are dead keen on the highest 3D performance, then you're going to have to look elsewhere (read: DLP).
But if you are primarily interested in the highest quality 2D front-projector performance, then take a very close look at the JVC DLA-X70R.