Video Optimized Lumens. Both Cinema and Natural color presets offer close to accurate color straight of the box, with Cinema having a slight edge when compared with a calibrated projector. But the best match is the Natural preset with some tweaking. The small drop in brightness, to 1609 ANSI lumens, is still enough for a 185" diagonal 16:9 image in a dark room or a 115" image with moderate ambient light.
Presentation Optimized Lumens. Using the RS440U for presentations is akin to using a Lamborghini for your daily commute to the train station. Should you want to use it for that, however, the Cinema preset at its default settings delivers vibrant, saturated color at the full 1676 ANSI lumens.
Low Lamp Mode. The Low lamp mode on the RS440U lowers brightness by just a touch more than 30%.
Zoom Lens effect. The 2x zoom lens offers significant flexibility for positioning the projector with only a moderate drop in brightness. The lens curtails light by about 18% at the full telephoto setting compared with the wide-angle setting. That's a lower brightness loss than with many 2x zoom lenses, but enough to notice. For maximum brightness, in short, you'll want to put the RS440U as close to the screen as possible, but you won't lose all that much brightness if you position it farther away.
Brightness uniformity. The measured brightness uniformity, at a very solid 87% is just enough to barely see in a solid white image if you look for it. For all practical purposes, there is no visible variation across the screen.
Input Lag. With Low Latency On and FI off, input lag is just 42 ms with all color modes. With Low Latency Off it jumps to 122 to 156 ms depending on the color mode and the Clear Motion setting.
Fan noise. JVC rates fan noise in Low power mode at 21 dB, which is low enough that it is hard to hear in a quiet room. High power mode, rated at 26 dB, is enough higher to be noticeable in most home theater-size rooms during quiet moments. The constant, low-pitch quality makes it far less bothersome than if it varied in volume or pitch, but if noise is one of your key issues, you'll probably want to stay in Low mode.
JVC recommends using High Altitude mode at 3,000 feet and above. Fan noise is higher for both power settings in this mode, but Low with High Altitude mode on is quieter than High mode with it off. Most users who need High Altitude mode will probably want to limit the RS440U to Low power mode.
Lamp life. JVC rates the RS440U lamp at 3,500 hours using High lamp power and 4500 hours with Low lamp power. Replacements are a hefty $599.
Warranty. The price includes a three-year warranty for the projector and one-year or 1,000 hour warranty for the lamp.
With its 2x zoom and large vertical and horizontal lens shift, the RS440U offers plenty of placement flexibility whether in a ceiling mount or behind the seating area. If you're replacing an older projector in an already existing mount, the large zoom and shift ranges make it easy to adjust the image position to fit on the screen, and the fact that zoom, focus, and lens shift are all powered makes it even easier.
For placement behind the seating area, the intake vents on the back along with the size and weight--at 7" x 17. 9" x 18. 6" (HWD) and 34 pounds--make installation on a rear shelf problematical. However, placement on top of a high cabinet behind the seating area would work. Keep in mind too that if you want to take advantage of 4K HDR and your current HDMI cable isn't 4K HDR compliant, you'll need to replace it.
Throw Distance. The RS440U's throw distance for a 150" 16:9 diagonal image is roughly 15.25 to 30.5 feet. The lens will curtail the brightness at the long end of the range by about 18%, however, which is enough to notice. For higher brightness, you'll need the projector as close to the screen as possible.
If you want to use the RS440U Lens Memory for a Constant Image Height (CIH) setup without the need for an anamorphic lens, you'll need to choose a distance that will let you have the CIH for all the aspect ratios you need. You can then store the appropriate lens settings for 2. 4 format, 16:9 format, and other aspect ratios in the five Lens Memory settings, and adjust image size for each format by loading each setting as needed. See the JVC RS440U Projection Calculator to find the throw range for your screen size.
Lens Shift Range. The horizontal and vertical shift for the RS440U interact, so the overall shape of possible positions takes the form of an oval. At the maximum shift for either one, the shift for the other is 0.
With the RS440U on a table and the lens at the top of its maximum vertical shift range, the bottom edge of the image is about 40% of the image height higher than the centerline of the lens. At the bottom of the shift range, the entire image is below the lens, with the top of the image about 18% of the image height below the lens centerline. With the vertical shift at the center position of its range, the horizontal shift is roughly 35% of the image width left and right of the center position.
Pixel shifting still isn't native 4K. The difference in detail between 4K e-Shift and native 4K imaging chips isn't much, and you're unlikely to notice any. But there is a small difference.
Low Latency mode. Although the 42 ms input lag with Low Latency On will be fast enough for many if not most gamers, some may consider it slow compared to the 16 ms lag available with the fastest projectors currently on the market.
Low Latency mode vs. other features. With the RS440U's lens shift range, you aren't likely to need digital keystone correction. But if you use it, you can't use Low Latency mode. Similarly, to no surprise, you can't turn on Low Latency and FI at the same time.
At $3,999, the JVC DLA-RS440U is impressive for the price and worth every penny. It can accept up to 4K 60p 10-bit (4:4:4) input and translate it to a level of detail on screen that's virtually indistinguishable from native 4K resolution. For HDR it supports both HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma. And most important, it layers these leading edge features over a solid foundation of basics.
The RS440U delivers dark black, high contrast ratio, and saturated color. The combination adds three dimensionality to 2D images and is at least arguably more important for producing a compelling image than the boost to nearly 4K resolution. As an incidental extra, it also offers Full 3D. And at 1,800 lumens it is bright enough to give you a 185" 16:9 image in a dark room.
The combination of powered zoom, lens shift, and focus paired with five Lens Memory settings is another key strength, The automated lens positioning allows the convenience of a CIH installation without needing an anamorphic lens.
There are only a few projectors in this price range and below that offer both powered Lens Memory and 4K HDR support. All use e-shift or the equivalent. Of those few, there are only four--all from JVC--that can accept HDR signals at up to 4K 60p 10-bit (4:4:4). Only two of those--the JVC DLA-RS440U and the JVC DLA-X590R offer JVC's latest generation e-shift 5 with its improved image quality over previous versions, and according to JVC, both models are the identical projector sold through different channels. The JVC DLA-RS440U, in short, is an essentially unique, standout choice.
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