Have you ever tried out a portable projector before? Today we’re going to share our thoughts on the Halo from XGIMI with you and hope we can help you with your buying decision, in case you’re currently researching to buy such a product.
When I started my career in AV, I was very exposed to projectors as they were used in corporations to display a laptop image for all participants of a meeting to see. At that time, even the portable projectors were heavy, loud, and if you wanted to get a decent image brightness, you had to pay a couple of thousand bucks.
Since then, a lot of development went into projection technology, and as computers became smaller and batteries became more powerful, interesting new products could be created. This brings us directly to two of my favorite aspects of the Halo projector from XGIMI. It runs Android TV as an operating system, just like modern smart televisions. It comes with an embedded battery that makes it truly portable, unlike the bulky devices from back in the day, which could almost always only run when connected to a power socket. It’s far from these bulky projectors, actually. The design is quite lovely and very innovative, in my opinion. XGIMI won the Red Dot Design Award with this product in 2017, 2018, and again in 2019, only to mention some of the many design awards they received.
Not only design but great features
What else is good about the Halo projector? During the review of the product, I found that the projected image quality was safely above the average portable projector in the consumer range. The projector shines with 800 ANSI lumens brightness and delivers vivid colors and a really crisp image at a physical resolution of 1080p. If you play media with 4K Ultra HD resolution, the video is perfectly scaled, and it only looks better than the native resolution, and there are no negative side effects from the scaling. I did not try out the 3D feature because I have no 3D media nor the technology to watch it, but this projector also comes with DLP cinema-grade active shutter 3D imaging.
What also comes really handy is the keystone correction (trapezoidal correction) of the projected image. This helps to project a normal image, even if you place the Halo projector somewhere to the right or left of the viewer position. You can set this up yourself, so the image won’t be askew, and there won’t even be a hotspot in the image, which means the brightness of the video is the same all over the picture. If you put the projector somewhere else, which happens a lot, because it’s very light and you can operate it on batteries, it will automatically adjust the lens’s focus to give you a clear image, even if the distance to the wall is now different. That works well on its own, but you can also do that manually if you want to adjust the focus yourself. In my flat, I have a structured wallpaper which is white but not even, and even though that might suggest that the image quality would be bad, I really have no complaints. So in case this is the only thing holding you back, you should give it a try before you dismiss this type of gadget altogether.
As mentioned above, the Halo projector from XGIMI comes with an Android TV operating system, just like most modern smart television products nowadays. This means that it can run apps from the Google Play Store, you can install games, browse the Internet, or hook the device up with your smart home. I tested with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa, and it works just fine. It’s also worth mentioning that it comes with Chromecast baked in, so you won’t even need an HDMI dongle in order to stream content to the projector, and no need for a USB drive either. This way, you can turn your binge session into cinematic dimensions by projecting the video to a size of up to 300″.
Okay, here’s something for the projector skeptics. People often say they don’t like projectors because they are generally very loud as they are operating. This is due to the operating noise of a fan inside the device, which is required as the lamp of the projector generates a lot of heat while it’s on. The XGIMI Halo, on the other hand, is really not that noisy. It doesn’t operate entirely without noise, but I found that it’s not noticeable as you watch a video or play video games. But it gets better. The system has a built-in speaker system (2x 5W) from Harman Kardon, and while it might not be the speaker system from your local cinema, it still surprised me how well it worked for music and movies. If you want to leverage the Halo for more than just projecting video for movie night, you can also use the speakers as a standalone Bluetooth device. Certainly better than listening to music on the Google Nest Mini, for example.
Portable and useful
With the 17,100 mAh battery, you can use the projector even in spots that don’t have a power socket nearby. For how long will that work? XGIMI states the battery lasts about four hours for video playback and about eight hours for music-only media playback. My feeling is that this is not wrong, but if you’re watching on the highest brightness, it is likely to last only about half that time. So I assume these reference times are the maximum lifetime you can get out of the battery if you reduce the brightness significantly. I wouldn’t say that this projector is a must-have product for commercial use cases, but if you have a presentation once in a while and want to be independent, you could definitely use this projector for business too. Finally, a portable projector for that elevator pitch support, eh?
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Another thing that is special about projectors is that people sometimes forget that, unlike TVs, these products require a light source, often a special light bulb, which has a limited lifetime before it loses brightness (after about a few hundred hours) and at some point dies (after about 800-1,200 hours). So you would need to buy a new light bulb from time to time on traditional projectors. The XGIMI leverages LED technology as a light source, allowing the image projection to remain clear and bright for a lifespan of about 30,000 hours. So you’ll feel a lot less guilty about using the projector just to watch a flick now and then or just relax as you project a starry night sky with calm music. I’m not judging. Everybody deserves a bit of coziness and time to relax. The LED light source consumes less than half the power of most LCD TVs, which makes it even a greener choice.
So is this product perfect? I tried to find flaws. I looked and looked and looked. I checked for weak points in the software. I tested everything on the remote control. I could not find issues. I like to include some negative aspects in my product reviews because I want to be transparent and fair to the readers as well. There is only one aspect that I identified which was not all that optimal, and if I could make one wish for the Halo XGIMI projector or future models, I’d wish for a lens cover or even an automatic shutter to protect the lens in any way from dust or damage while it is not being used. This would particularly handy to avoid fingerprints on the lens and avoid scratches that could occur during transport in a backpack, for instance. I know this isn’t critical to how well the product performs, but it’s the only thing I could think of that could be improved.
XGIMI Halo technical specifications
In case you also want to check out the details on what parts were being used, feel invited to review the tech specs below.
- CPU: Amlogic T950X2
- GPU: Mali G31
- RAM/ROM: 2 GB / 16 GB
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (but supports 4K)
- Luminance: 800 ANSI lumens
- Ratio: 1.2: 1
- Throw ratio: 100 in @ 2.66 m; 80 in @ 2.17 m; 60 in @ 1.59 m; 40 in @ 1.06 m
- Keystone Correction: 40° automatic vertical trapezoidal correction and manual horizontal trapezoidal correction on 4 corners
- Autofocus/4K/3D: Rapid 10,000+ points autofocus function and professional high-definition camera
- Battery: 17100 mAh, up to 4 hours of video playtime (energy saving mode)
- Speaker: Harman Kardon 2 x 5 W
- OS: Android TV 9.0
- Input options: 3.5mm stereo audio, HDMI, USB 2.0
- HDR: HDR decoder for best performance in bright or dark environments
- Monitor: DLP
- Screen chip: 0.33″ DMD
- Projection method: Front, rear, hang
- WiFi: 802.11 a / b / g / n 2.4 / 5GHz
- Noise: <30 dB
- Power dissipation: 90W
- Power: AC 100-240V 50 / 60Hz
- Dimensions: 171.5 x 145 x 113.5 mm
- Weight: 1.6 kg
In case you’re missing cinema too much in quarantine or self-isolation, maybe this can help your entertainment needs. The MSRP is currently $799 for the Halo, and given the design and product performance, I find this to be a fair price. Certainly, there are cheaper options, but I’m not sure if all of those would perform as well as this one.
YouTube: XGIMI Halo Portable Projector Overview
Photo credit: All images shown are owned by XGIMI and were provided as part of a press kit.
Editorial notice: The author has tested the product for a period of two weeks before writing this review article. We have received a sample unit in order to prepare this review.