XGIMI Halo+ review: Almost the perfect portable projector
With the original Halo projector, XGIMI set out to rewrite the rules of portable projectors, combining Full HD 1080p resolution with a bright 800 ANSI lumens lamp. At a time when most laptops stopped at 720p and were 500 lumens, that was really exciting.
With Anker’s Nebula Solar and Viewsonic’s M2, there are now other 1080p options, but XGIMI is back with a new and improved Halo, the Halo+. Here, brightness jumps to 900 ANSI lumens, while new smart screen adaptation and alignment technology makes projector setup a breeze. Add in a built-in Harman Kardon 5W sound system and updated Google Android TV software, and there’s potential for a portable projector that raises the bar once again.
XGIMI Halo+ review: What do you get for the money?
It’s a 1080p DLP projector with a 900 lumen LED lamp, with built-in stereo sound and Google Android TV 10. With the latter installed, you don’t need streaming sticks or other sources to watch. your favorite streaming services as apps and features are provided. You don’t need an AC outlet either, as the 59 Wh lithium-ion battery will keep it running for two hours without it.
The projector comes with a sleek remote control, complete with microphone and Google Assistant support, and there’s an HDMI 2.0 port on the rear for connecting a games console or Blu-ray player. It even has a dedicated mode for low latency gaming.
XGIMI makes bold claims about Halo+’s capabilities, including HDR10 support, intelligent autofocus and screen alignment with automatic keystone correction, as well as DTS and Dolby Audio. Plus, with a 1.2:1 throw ratio, you can expect a 60-inch image at 2.6m or a 120-inch image at 3.19m. In fact, it supports screen sizes up to 200 inches. The LED lamp should last up to 30,000 hours, so you should be able to use it for a decade or more.
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XGIMI Halo+ review: What does it do well?
First of all, it is very simple to set up. Place it on a suitable table or surface at the appropriate distance from your screen and it will pretty much configure itself to provide a good picture, regardless of height or angle. You might have to do a little fine-tuning with the manual controls afterwards, but thanks to several temporary setups, we got the Halo+ up and running in minutes with the absolute minimum of fuss. That’s great news if you don’t have a dedicated home theater space and want something you can set up for a night out in a jiffy.
The same goes for software configuration. If you’re using an Android phone, you can simply set up your projector from the Google app, with the relevant apps (but not login details) synced. If you have to do things manually, the process isn’t much harder, and adding more apps is easy from the Google Play Store. I had Google TV, Amazon Prime Video, Stadia game streaming, and Disney+ ready for action within ten minutes of setting up the projector.
The Google Assistant works well for simple search and playback of content on streaming services, and the remote and menus are easy to use. A dedicated Settings button opens up more options than you’ll find in Android TV’s Settings menu. There’s also a Chromecast feature to stream photos and videos directly from a phone, tablet, or browser.
Image quality is – to a point – superb for a portable projector. In fact, I don’t think I’ve looked at a projector in this class that can beat the Halo+ for image clarity. Watch 4K streaming services and sources and you could swear there’s more detail and texture than you’d expect on a 1080p display, which is good news when you’re upscaling a Full HD image to fill a 100 inch screen. Colors are vibrant, and with a few tweaks most materials look great.
The Halo+ can even function as a gaming projector. You have to be a little more careful when setting it up, as auto-alignment and keystone features are disabled to minimize lag, but games are fast, smooth, and very playable, whether streamed using Stadia or run directly from an Xbox Series S.
The Halo+ also gets high scores for audio quality. The sound from the dual 5W speakers has a presence and weight you won’t find on most other portable projectors and I was happy to watch Marvel and Star Wars blockbusters on Disney+ without plugging in a soundbar. There’s a bit of brashness and distortion at the highest volume levels, but these are overkill for personal or family viewing in any case.
The only portable projector I’ve heard that sounds as good is the BenQ GV30 (£579) and I’d say the Halo+ sounds slightly fatter – not to mention a higher resolution image. There’s also a 3.5mm output if you want to plug in headphones.
Basically, it’s a rock-solid portable projector. It’s well built and easy to use and comes with everything you need built in, but it’s just over 17cm tall and weighs just 1.6kg. In testing, I was able to get nearly two hours of playback before the battery wore out. That won’t cover a screening of The Batman, but you should be good for shorter movies or a few episodes of your current binge series. I also like the easy-access controls on the top and the built-in kickstand to tilt it up.
XGIMI Halo+ review: What could it do better?
I have a few caveats about the image quality of the Halo+. First, the image has a certain look – slightly cold, without the full range of color tones, which you can’t quite adjust. I liked it more with the colors set to “Warm”, but you still don’t get what I would call a natural presentation.
I’d also take claims about HDR10 support with a pinch of salt. Sure, the Halo+ can process HDR10 metadata and map the projected output around it, but the brightness levels aren’t high enough or the black levels low enough to really deliver an HDR image. To be fair, that’s true for full-size 4K projectors with 3,000 ANSI lumens output, so that’s a lot to ask of a portable model with just 900 ANSI lumens to play with.
Subjectively, I also found the Halo+’s motion compensation a bit unpleasant. Left on the default setting, motion looks artificially smooth, giving the image a lot of the infamous “soap opera” effect. Even reduced to low, it gave movies a slightly TV-like quality. Some people don’t mind it and others actively like it, but if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, you might want to ditch the Halo+.
Finally, the Halo+ cannot play out-of-the-box Netflix content. Run the app and try to start a program, and you will be informed that streaming is not supported on this device. XGIMI provides a brochure detailing a workaround, but it takes a bit of time and effort and doesn’t look like something you might want to rely on. Still, it’s not a dealbreaker. If you want to play Netflix, you can always plug in your favorite affordable streaming stick.
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XGIMI Halo+ review: Should you buy one?
Maybe. The Halo+ is a well-designed portable projector capable of delivering exceptionally clear images, and some viewers will love the bright, punchy images and super smooth motion.
Others might find the presentation slightly contrived, and if you’re a fan of natural or cinematic settings on TVs or projectors, this might apply to you. XGIMI nailed the design and audio and packed in some great features, but it’s not quite the perfect portable projector; it’s a shame because, with a little work, I feel like it could be.