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JVC DLA-NZ7 review

JVC brings the cinema home Tested at £11,499 / $10.999 / AU$16,000

Home cinema projector: JVC DLA-NZ7
(Image: © Future)

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The JVC is proof that you can get the full cinema experience at home, with a crisp and clear image that lets you sink in and get lost in whatever you’re watching

Pros

  • +

    Incredibly natural image

  • +

    Highly detailed

  • +

    Great with motion

Cons

  • -

    Basic remote

  • -

    Up against tough competition

JVC has set the standard for high-end projectors with its D-ILA designs since 1997, and it doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. The DLA-NZ7 is here to carry the torch on for this long line of prestigious projectors. It's fully featured, capable of producing a gorgeous image and is just an all-round showstopper. 

Over the years, practically every JVC DLA projector has performed well in our reviews, so the NZ7 has a lot to live up to. Thankfully this projector, much like those before it, steps up to the challenge.

Price

Home cinema projector: JVC DLA-NZ7

(Image credit: Future)

The DLA-NZ7 undoubtedly falls into the premium category, and its price reflects that. It costs £11,500 / $10,000 / AU$16,000 – which is £4000 / $3000 / AU$5000 more than its less expensive but hugely talented sibling, the DLA-NP5, which received a five-star rating in our recent review. 

The NZ7 features some tempting upgrades over the cheaper model, including a laser light source, 8K support and a 300 lumens brightness increase.

Build

Home cinema projector: JVC DLA-NZ7

(Image credit: Future)

This unit is unapologetically big and bears a striking resemblance to its lower-priced sibling. We actually appreciate the sleek and sturdy black plastic construction and rounded corners – it definitely gives the impression that the NZ7 means business. It weighs in at just over 22kg and measures 50cm in width, so make sure you have a support that is not only equipped for the size of the JVC, but also the weight. 

The 65mm, 17-element lens sits proudly on the DLA-NZ7, channelling the laser light source. This lens is flanked by two large fan vents; JVC claims that fan noise from the projector is 24dB, the same as the NP5 and in line with other projectors at this price. In practice, the fan noise doesn’t reach noticeably intrusive levels and never becomes distracting during movie watching.

Features

Home cinema projector: JVC DLA-NZ7

(Image credit: Future)

Much like other projectors at this level, you won’t find any built in speakers or streaming module here, as it's all about the picture. JVC has put its D-ILA projection technology front and centre, but what is D-ILA? Put simply its JVC’s take on Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) technology, a system that the company has been using for over 20 years now.

Liquid Crystal on Silicon isn’t an exclusive technology to JVC, as Sony also uses it in its high-end projectors under the SXRD name. LCoS combines some of the principles of both DLP and LCD projection technologies and is often considered to offer the best overall balance, particularly when it comes to rendition of black detail and depth. 

The projector's display chipset is natively 4K, but 8K resolution can be achieved using the company’s e-shift technology to render the higher resolution. E-shift is JVC’s proprietary form of pixel shifting that doubles the amount of pixels in a 4K image to create 8K.

JVC DLA-NZ7 tech specs

Home cinema projector: JVC DLA-NZ7

(Image credit: Future)

Native resolution 4096 x 2160

Light source Laser

Bulb lifespan 20,000 hours

Brightness 2200 lumens

Native contrast 40,000:1

HDR modes HDR10, HDR10+, Frame Adapt HDR, HLG

HDMI inputs 2

HDR support on the JVC comes in many different flavours, including HDR10, HDR10+, HLG and Frame-Adapt HDR, and combined with a brightness of 2200 lumens (a fairly standard value for a projector of this type), it means the projector is very capable when it comes to HDR content. JVC also claims that the NZ7 features a native contrast ratio of 40,000:1.

Setting up the JVC is a breeze thanks to the motorised shift, zoom and focus controls, making the usually daunting task of getting the picture to fit on the screen a much more intuitive process. The projector also has manually adjustable feet, although due to the size and weight of the DLA-NZ7, they can be tricky to reach and operate.

The DLA-NZ7 features a solid selection of connections, including two HDMI 2.1s, an ethernet socket, 3.5mm trigger connector, 3D synchronisation connector and a USB port for updating the system. The HDMI connectors are rated at 48Gbps, and the projector can handle 4K 120Hz and 8K 60Hz signals, making it a tempting choice for gamers.

The only area that the JVC disappoints is with its remote, which is sometimes unresponsive and lacks direct access to change picture modes quickly.

Picture

Home cinema projector: JVC DLA-NZ7

(Image credit: Future)

The DLA-NZ7’s picture is truly a sight to behold, with a balanced, crisp and understated image that never feels the need to shout about how good it really is.

Colours are an immediate strength of the JVC, as it has a marvellous ability to render them in a nuanced and natural way. The world of Blade Runner 2049 retains its bleak and drab tones while Officer K stalks around the farm during the intro, but once he returns to the cyberpunk metropolis of Los Angeles, the projector bursts into life, still managing to deliver the punch and vibrancy we expect. The deep night sky looks convincingly black despite being set against the bright neon lights of the city. 

The grey and gloomy skies of 2049 California have a level of variation of texture that avoids the 'featureless blank canvas' look that projectors with less insightful pictures often deliver. In a scene in which light beams through a window into a dingy farmhouse, the picture is nicely balanced and retains both light and dark detail within the same shot. Contrast is undoubtedly a strength of the NZ7 alongside its capable HDR handling. 

Both skin tones and environmental surfaces look sharp and clear, with plenty of detail to be picked out from the scuffed and dirty walls of the LAPD precinct, and to the battle scars on K’s face. 

The bold and colourful sci-fi world of Ready Player One comes through with the punch and impact that we expect, but the projector's comprehensive handling of lighting and colours also help to differentiate and give unique character to both the grim dystopian reality and bright digital worlds within the film. It brings an understated perspective to the action-packed animated sequences, with the crisp details and well-defined edges adding to the sense of realism to the real-world scenes. 

The JVC also excels when it comes to motion in a film such as Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. It doesn’t take much tweaking to reduce blurring and juddering to low levels, even with scenes such as the dogfight, which involves plenty of fast-moving action. Towards the end of the film, as the Spitfire glides over the beach, the projector still takes the crashing waves in its stride. The war epic is captivating on this projector, and we found ourselves watching it for extended periods.

And captivating is how we would describe this projector overall. It's so easy to get lost in the picture and immersed in whatever film you are watching thanks to the natural colours, impressive insight and brilliant motion. These factors draw you in to make whatever you’re watching feel so much more real, and help you to get lost in that world. In this regard, it highlights how the JVC brings the feeling of the cinema home, and we could lose ourselves in its masterful picture for hours.

Verdict

Home cinema projector: JVC DLA-NZ7

(Image credit: Future)

This projector never brags to you about how capable it truly is, instead letting the crisp, natural and cinematic picture wash over you. It's home cinema projection taken seriously, and while there are other options at this price with punchier pictures, the JVC is here for people who want to be immersed in the image rather than what the projector itself is doing.

SCORES

  • Features 5
  • Build 5
  • Picture 5

MORE:

Read our review of the JVC DLA-NP5

Also consider the Sony VPL XW5000ES

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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