Xgimi Halo portable projector review
The Xgimi Halo portable projector makes me want to watch movies in the park, or play at the end of the garden during a barbecue, because I am totally anti-social. But you’re probably wondering who the hell Xgimi is in the first place. No, it’s not Klingon slur, it’s a company that has been manufacturing projectors since 2013, already with a wide range to its credit.
The Halo portable projector stands out as a midpoint across the entire Xgimi line-up, as well as in what the market has to offer. It may not match the connectivity, resolution, or refresh rates of a high-end non-portable projector, but it is a big competitor when it comes to 1080p projectors of the same price.
First of all, the design is adorable yet stylish. It is easy to hold in one hand and uses high quality materials. The perforated aluminum shell gives it the appearance of a portable speaker, and as a Bluetooth speaker alone, it performs exceptionally well. But the sound produced by the two beautiful Harman Kardon 5W speakers belies the fact that the Halo is much more than just a portable speaker.
When you want to use the Xgimi Halo to its full potential as a projector, it takes around 40 seconds to boot up and focus. It sounds like an age where you fancy playing the latest game, but once turned on it’s responsive and uses the Android 9.0 user-friendly interface.
One trivial flaw is that the autofocus feature, which works through the use of a small camera on the front, has a habit of refocusing seemingly randomly. Fortunately, you can manually adjust the focus either by navigating the user interface or by switching the plus and minus buttons on the remote from volume to focus. There is a toggle at the bottom of the remote for this.
Xgimi Halo specifications
Display technology: 0.33 inch Digital Light Processing (DLP)
Maximum resolution: 1080p HDR
Contrast ratio: 1000: 1
Native resolution: 1080p HDR
Entry delay: 40ms
Projection ratio: 1.2: 1
Brightness: 600-800 ANSI Lumens
Battery Life: 2-3 hours (standard mode)
Lamp life: 30,000 hours
Contributions: 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack
Weight: 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg)
Cut: 4.4 x 5.7 x 6.7 inch (11.2 x 14.5 x 17cm)
Price: $ 799 (£ 729)
If you have the device at an oblique angle to the surface you’re projecting onto, you can play around with the vertical and horizontal keystone settings, and it can calibrate itself with commendable accuracy as well, which is cool. However, this feature has its limits and unfortunately does not work at all in game mode; you will need to find a perfectly parallel place to project your games. The ability to attach it to a universal stand helps, however, and it even has a small extendable foot to prop it up on a flat surface, so you can get the right angle.
You can lay the Xgimi Halo on its back and throw it on the ceiling if you like, thanks to its obelisk shape (as opposed to the squashed look that a lot of competitors have gone for). It will tip over thanks to its rounded edges if someone hits the surface, which can be disconcerting if it’s perched on the edge of a table. I wouldn’t recommend it for the long haul, seeing as the exhaust is at the back.
The exhaust fan runs fairly quietly, but it gives off heat at full load. Once turned off, however, the Halo will continue to cool down, which will help extend the lamp life by 30,000 hours – call it just under 10 years of use, unless you plan to use it. ‘use all day, every day. Not bad when you consider that others of the same caliber are rated between 4,000 and 20,000 hours.
The Halo’s 0.33-inch DLP screen shines its red, green, and blue LEDs through the fixed lens to achieve a 1.2: 1 throw ratio. This will result in an image between 30 and 300 inches (76.2 to 762 cm) in diameter, although at the wider end of the scale 1080p will look quite pixelated. Still, looking over 100 inches of wall space means placing the Halo at around 8.7 feet (2.67m) is sufficient, so you can have a movie-going experience in a relatively small space.
Spotlight colors are vibrant and don’t look washed out, and the Halo lets you fully adjust the picture settings to your liking. There are even preset picture modes to choose from, including a “game” mode that prioritizes input latency. You can create custom brightness settings and rename them as well, if you want. There’s even a little novelty in its ability to play 3D media, with images placed side by side, or on top and bottom.
It might not be the brightest in the country, with a maximum of 800 ANSI lumens, but according to Xgimi, it’s the brightest 1080p portable projector on the market. Whether true or not, it’s still super bright for outdoor viewing, even during the day, if you feel like it. With almost 3 hours of battery life in standard mode (it’s the brightest), it might not give you enough time to watch the extended version of The Fellowship of the Ring, but it’s long enough to at least one standard length film. It will however go into power saving mode after a few hours, where the brightness drops dramatically and the colors turn yellowish.
As a smart Android device, the Halo can connect and stream over Wi-Fi from all kinds of services. This means you can pick up where you left off anywhere, as long as you can connect to the internet. Unfortunately, the Netflix app is not yet compatible, but thanks to Halo’s Chromecast capability and Kodi compatibility, the issue can be bypassed. These might not be the most practical workarounds, but until Xgimi manages to get hold of the licenses, Netflix will be off the table natively.
You can plug in USB devices as well, which means an Amazon Fire Stick will also work fine. And there are tons of media players available on the Android store, so you can watch whatever you’ve already downloaded. You can even store movies there, as the Halo has 16GB of storage space in its small aluminum frame.
Now for the most important point, as I guess you would be looking to do some gaming with the Halo, I went through it and tested it to see if the input lag was going to be an issue. With game mode on, you get around 40 milliseconds of lag, which is better than its little sister, the MoGo Pro, but still not the best for online multiplayer battles, where every millisecond counts.
This verdict is underscored by the Halo’s base 60Hz refresh: you won’t get the most out of high-end hardware because you’ll be stuck at those speeds regardless of your fps. Against the 120Hz of the Optoma GT1080HDR for the same price, it looks pretty skinny. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a stellar gaming experience with the Xgimi Halo; this is fine for most solo stuff, but don’t expect intense competitive play.
If picture fidelity is your primary concern, the Halo sports 1080p resolution. And while it does support 4K input, the output is still limited to FHD. So no matter how far away you place the projector, you won’t get the same level of detail as with a true 4K projector. However, 1080p is still a good resolution for a portable projector of this class, many don’t even reach that scale.
When you compare the Halo to other 1080p portable projectors, such as the Epson Home Cinema, which retails for the same price of around $ 800, it becomes evident that Xgimi has focused its design efforts: adaptability, portability, brightness. and sustainability.
Against the 4.2ms, 240Hz latency and 4K resolution of the top-of-the-line Optoma UHD38, you can see what an extra few hundred dollars will get you in. But by spending your money on a higher spec projector, you’d be sacrificing the convenient portability that something like the Halo can bring to the table.
The Xgimi Halo is a great projector for those who want to do a bit of light gaming in all kinds of spaces, watch movies from weird angles, or just listen to music on a portable audio system. It’s a brilliant, reliable little machine that can adapt as needed and won’t break down after a year or two. Sure, you might not get the fastest gaming experience, but as long as you’re not looking to play competitively, it’s definitely worth the $ 800 price tag.