What is the JVC DLA-X5900?
Connections & Control
Features & Specs
The X5900 uses a 265W high output NSH lamp, with a claimed brightness of up to 1,800lm. The claimed contrast ratio is 40,000:1 and, as with previous generations, the JVC includes a user-selectable Intelligent Lens Aperture to deliver a dynamic contrast ratio that is claimed to reach 400,000:1. The X5900 also supports the Rec. 2020 wide colour gamut and High Dynamic Range (both HDR10 and HLG). The projector will also automatically switch to the correct HDR picture mode when an HDR10 signal is received. The X5900 includes a Low Latency Mode which suppresses display delay for faster response when receiving signals from PC and game consoles. In addition, when the Low Latency Mode is active, high-bandwidth signals like 4K with 10-bit or 12-bit colour depth can be processed without compression.
Other features on the X5900 include the latest version of JVC’s Clear Motion Drive frame interpolation technology, along with the Motion Enhance feature which the company claims can minimise motion blur significantly by optimising the drive of the D-ILA panels. As with previous generations the X5900 supports active shutter 3D but, if you want to take advantage of this feature, you'll have to buy a 3D pack which includes the PK-EM2 3D synchro emitter and two pairs of PK-AG3 3D glasses. Other useful features include a lens memory control with five memories, which is very useful if you use a 2.35/2.40:1 screen and 143 screen adjustment modes. The Pixel Adjust function allows for precise colour deviation correction in 1/16-pixel increments and also segments the screen into 121 points for individual adjustment. There are two customised settings that can be stored in the memory.
There's an Auto Calibration feature, along with a 6-axis colour management system and a 2-point white balance control. The Auto-Calibration feature requires an optional third-party optical sensor but is capable of optimising essential elements in the image, including colour balance, gamma characteristics, colour space and colour tracking. There is also a 12-point manual gamma adjustment included in the Auto-Calibration software, which can be found on the JVC website and installed on your PC for free. Finally there is an improved Info screen in the menu system that not only shows you more information about the resolution, bit-depth and colour gamut of content that the projector is receiving but also displays the MaxCLL and MaxFALL mastering data available for HDR content on some UHD Blu-ray discs.
Picture Settings – Out-of-the-Box
Picture Settings – Calibrated
All the measurements below are based on a manual calibration using a Klein K-10A colour meter, a Murideo Fresco Six-G pattern generator and CalMAN Ultimate calibration software. For more information on how to correctly set up your Projector, you can take a look at our PicturePerfect Guide.
Picture Settings – High Dynamic Range
In terms of brightness, we measured the X5900 at 600 lumens in the calibrated SDR mode with the low lamp setting and the manual iris fully closed, along with a maximum brightness of 1000 lumens with the manual iris fully open instead. We also measured the maximum brightness at 1,400 lumens using an HDR signal, with the manual iris fully open and the projector in high lamp mode. All these measurements were taken in a completely black room off a 1:1 unity screen that was 7 feet by 4 feet.
JVC DLA-X5900 Video Review
The latest version of e-shift worked extremely well, although we struggled to see any actual difference between e-shift4 and e-shift5. They both proved effective at upscaling high definition content, although we would recommend keeping the smoothing and noise reduction controls at zero and just using the enhance control - a setting of three worked for us. The result was a detailed and clean image that had plenty of perceived resolution and didn't appear over-processed, nor did it suffer from unwanted noise or artefacts. The e-shift technology also allows the X5900 to accept a genuine 4K signal and then via diagonal pixel shifting deliver a higher resolution image. This technology has been used by JVC for a few years now, allowing the company plenty of time to fine-tune the performance and e-shift5 certainly did an excellent job with Ultra HD Blu-rays.
JVC added a low latency mode to last year's projectors and this feature is included on the X5900 as well. In fact the projector defaults to the low latency mode this year because JVC feel it not only suppresses display delay for faster response when receiving signals from PCs and game consoles but also allows high-bandwidth signals like 4K with 10-bit or 12-bit colour depth to be processed without compression. We measured the input lag with low latency mode active at 37ms, so the X5900 is certainly a great choice of anyone thinking of big screen gaming. When you engage the low latency mode the Clear Motion Drive (CMD) feature is disabled because the whole idea is to bypass any unnecessary processing. The CMD feature applies frame interpolation to produce smoother motion and whilst it works, we would never use this feature with movies or TV dramas. However it can be useful with sports broadcasts or gaming, although in the case of the latter you'll have to make a choice between a low input lag or smoother motion. There's also a feature called Motion Enhance, which JVC claims can minimise motion blur significantly by optimising the drive of the D-ILA panels. To be honest we tested this feature in both its low and high setting and really couldn't see any difference but since it doesn't introduce smoothing with film-based content, we can't see any reason not to try this feature along with the low latency mode.
In terms of watching standard dynamic range content the X5900 immediately impressed with a detailed and highly natural image. Initially there was a slight cyan tinge to the whites and bit too much saturation but we doubt most people would notice and after calibration, the results were really impressive with accurate colours and a pleasingly bright image. Thankfully the inclusion of a manual iris control means you can adjust the X5900's light output to suit your screen and room but the black floor is slightly elevated compared to other JVC projectors, even with the iris closed right down. However it's still better than the competition and not only are the blacks good on JVC projectors but so is the shadow detail. You also have the option of using the dynamic iris to boost the contrast performance if you prefer. We have always found that JVC's dynamic iris works very well, applying its effects subtly and largely avoiding pumping the brightness or crushing the shadow detail. Although personally we prefer just using the manual iris to adjust the light output to suit our screen and room and then just let the JVC strut its stuff. The X5900 was suitably quiet in operation, although if you listen you can hear the e-shift device, which is physical in nature, actually working. As we would expect the JVC delivered a lovely film-like image and regular test discs like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Moana looked particularly nice with detailed images that really popped. The same was true when it came to streaming video and in shows such as Stranger Things certain scenes in particular looked very impressive in SDR, especially when projected on to the big screen.
When it came to high dynamic range content, the X5900 was a definite improvement on the X5000 but still struggled with the inherent limitations that we associate with all projectors when it comes to HDR. Due to their limited brightness and the manner in which a projected image is delivered, there's no way a projector can produce an HDR performance that can compete with a TV, which will be capable of much brighter specular highlights. However the X5900 was at least able to deliver images that tone mapped correctly and thus didn't clip detail. Despite the elevated black floor with HDR content, the X5900 was still able to deliver improved detail in the darker parts of the image, combined with more detail in the brighter parts that resulted in a picture that could have real impact. We did need to use the High Lamp Control setting, which obviously increased the fan noise, however we weren't normally aware of it when actually watching a film. As a result, a reference Ultra HD Blu-ray like The Revenant looked impressive on the JVC, although a lot of the film takes place in a brightly lit snowy wilderness. This disc was encoded at 1000 nits, which the X5900 had no problems tone mapping without introducing any clipping, and the same was true of a 4000 nits disc like Pan, with no clipping of the sun in the 'Arriving at Neverland' scene. When we moved on to streaming services the results were a bit more mixed with the HDR on a show like Star Trek Discovery looking quite good, whilst we found some of Stranger Things to be a bit on the dark side. The X5900 was able to take full advantage of all the other benefits offered by HDR such as the higher resolution, wider colour gamut and 10-bit video depth, so in some respects we find it makes more sense to strip the HDR metadata (either using a suitably equipped Ultra HD Blu-ray player or an HD Fury). That way you can enjoy all the other benefits of Ultra HD whilst still retaining the kind of contrast performance we expect from a JVC projector. The 10-bit video depth eliminates most banding and the wider colour gamut produces more vibrant and saturated colours, which the JVC was able to render with excellent accuracy.
Although the format is falling out of favour, 3D looks great projected on to a big screen and the X5900 delivered a superb performance in this area. The image certainly benefited from the increased brightness and delivered a 3D performance that was detailed and full of depth, whilst still remaining free of any crosstalk. The 3D in Transformers: The Last Knight looked stunning, with bright images, natural colours, plenty of detail and no annoying crosstalk. The same was true of Moana, where the colourful animation was bursting with depth and detail and, even when watching some 3D torture scenes on the Spears & Munsil test disc, the JVC still passed with flying colours.
- Excellent black levels
- Impressive dynamic range
- E-shift can be effective
- Supports HDR
- Accurate after calibration
- Great video processing
- Superb 3D images
- Attractive price
- Not native 4K
- Could be more accurate out-of-the-box
JVC DLA-X5900 D-ILA Projector Review
Should I buy one?If you're looking for a high quality projector at a decent price point then the answer is most definitely yes. The X5900 might be a tweaked version of the model that JVC launched two years ago but it remains an excellent performer with an impressive set of features. The design is attractive and the build quality is excellent, whilst the menus and remote make the X5900 easy to set up and operate. There are motorised lens controls and a lens memory, which is sure to please those with Scope ratio screens, whilst the low latency mode means you can use the projector for gaming as well. Other features include auto-calibration, pixel adjust, frame interpolation and a dynamic iris for those who would like to boost the already excellent contrast performance.
The X5900 delivers a fantastic performance with standard dynamic range (SDR) content, with great blacks and contrast ratios, although the increased brightness necessary for high dynamic range (HDR) has raised the black floor slightly compared to other JVC projectors. The colour gamut is also a bit wider and whilst this means the X5900 can deliver 100% of DCI-P3, it also means that JVC struggle to rein in the saturation with Rec.709 content. The out-of-the-box accuracy could have been slightly better but after calibration the projector was able to deliver a reference performance in terms of greyscale and gamma, whilst the colour performance was also generally excellent. When watching SDR content the projector delivered images that were detailed and natural, with a lovely sense of depth and decent motion handling.
When we moved on to HDR content the results weren't always as impressive, with the JVC struggling to deliver images with sufficient brightness in some scenes. The inherent limitations of HDR10 with static metadata, combined with the limited brightness compared to a TV, means that a projector is never going to be ideal for HDR. However the increased resolution, which the latest version e-shift handles very well, coupled with the wider colour gamut and 10-bit video depth do result in some excellent projected images. The format might be falling out of favour these days but the X5900 was a superb performer with 3D, delivering bright, natural and detailed images that were free of crosstalk. Ultimately the JVC DLA-X5900 is a great all-round performer and at £3,999 it should be considered a Best Buy.
What are my alternatives?At a price point of £3,995 the JVC X5900 has very few direct competitors, with projectors like Sony's VPL-VW260ES and the Epson EH-LS10500 really going up against JVC's DLA-X7900.
For the X5900 the main alternative is the superb Epson EH-TW9300, which at a price of £2,999 has to be considered a real bargain. This is an excellent projector that uses LCD panels, instead of the D-ILA panels used by the X5900, but matches the JVC in terms of features and even manages to add a few extra like a motorised lens cover and ISF calibration controls. We do feel that the JVC has the edge in terms of both SDR and 3D content but the Epson just beats the former in terms of HDR content. Like all LCD projectors, the light path of the TW9300 isn't sealed so there is a possibility of dust blobs but aside from that there really isn't a great deal between the two projectors. The JVC does deliver a slightly more film-like image but, at £1,000 less, the TW9300 is very hard to ignore.
The other obvious alternative is the Optoma UHD65 which also retails for £2,999. This is a DLP projector that supports HDR but lacks a wide colour gamut, motorised lens controls or 3D. It can deliver a highly detailed and very bright picture, with some lovely SDR images, but since it's a single chip device it does use a colour wheel and its black levels and contrast performance are poor. However, if your room has white walls then the poor contrast performance of the Optoma is less of an issue, as reflected light will raise the black floor and thus reduce the contrast performance of the JVC. In addition the HDR performance of the UHD65 is good and the price is attractive but make sure you don't suffer from rainbows caused by the colour wheel. Ultimately though if you do decide to go for the JVC DLA-X5900 projector, you're sure to be pleased with your choice.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels
2D Picture Quality
3D Picture Quality
Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value For Money
Our Review Ethos
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