XGIMI Halo Portable Android TV Projector Review
XGIMI Halo Portable Android TV Projector Introduction
In today’s article I’ll be taking a look at the Halo portable projector from XGIMI, a compact and sleek looking device that aims at bringing the movie theatre experience to the comfort of your home.
XGIMI is a young company based in Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province. Established in 2012, XGIMI designs and manufactures high-performance multi-functional smart projectors and laser TVs, with a focus on improving audio-visual experiences for users. XGIMI has previously created a series of large-screen projection products with Harman/Kardon, Texas Instruments, Baidu, and Google. XGIMI launched its first-generation smart projector back in 2014 and currently has a slelction of seven projectors with more products coming out soon.
Sitting at the midpoint of XGIMI’s product stack, the $799 USD Halo is a portable 1080p DLP projector that offers a solid feature set including a built-in battery, 600 to 800 ANSI-lumens, built-in dual 5-watt speakers, and a snappy Android TV OS. This compact unit is designed to be the complete package for a seamless big screen experience at home with a modern touch.
XGIMI Halo Portable Android TV Projector Closer look
XGIMI ships the Halo 1080p portable projector in a stylish box that’s reminiscent of Google device packaging. With minimal marketing material on it, the box lists the main features of the unit on the front and sides. Inside, we get the usual paperwork including a user guide in ten languages, FAQ, and warranty pamphlets. The unit comes with a laptop-style power adapter for charging the internal battery and of course using the projector while plugged in. The accessories bundle is a bit sparse for a $799 device; it would’ve been nice to at least have a lens cover and a carrying pouch included in the box of a unit that puts so much emphasis on portability.
The remote bundled with the XGIMI Halo has a premium look and feel to it that’s usually the domain of high-end TVs or Android boxes. Its design and ergonomics feel just as good as the NVIDIA Shield TV remote, for example. This white remote has a user-friendly button layout, offering rubberised function buttons for power, menu, input selection, Google Assistant, settings shortcut, Return, and Home. The navigation, OK, and volume buttons have a black metallic finish with a textured surface. The remote is easy to navigate by feel, and I was able to use it without looking after a few minutes of playing with the projector’s settings and functions. A microphone pin hole is located on top of the remote for Google Assistant voice commands. The bottom has a switch that changes the function associated with the volume buttons. By default, the switch is set to “VOL”, for volume control. The “Focus” position allows users to manually adjust the frame.
Out of the box, I was pleasantly surprised by the XGIMI Halo’s premium feel and overall design. The seamless body is made of plastic on the top, bottom, and back section. The front and sides are wrapped in a metallic grill that makes the Halo look like a high-end wireless speaker. Weighing 1.6 kg (roughly 3.6 lb) and measuring 113.5x145x171.5mm, the unit has a good heft to it, yet it’s compact enough to be carried one-handed. XGIMI managed to fit an impressive amount of tech in such a small frame. First, we get a 1080p LED DLP HDR projector that’s built around a 0.33″ DMD (digital micromirror device) and paired with an autofocus sensor. The unit also has 3D capability and is compatible with 4K content. Next, we get a full-blown Android TV system with all the bells and whistles, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and built-in Chromecast. To complete the package, we also get a pair of 5W speakers sporting the Harman Kardon brand and an internal battery.
While the Halo is ready to go as is, XGIMI added some extra connectivity on the back, making the unit a bit more versatile. On top of the power plug, power button and 3.5mm headphone jack, we also get a USB 2.0 and HDMI 2.0 (ARC) input ports. These will come in handy for connecting other devices to stream media from, considering the unit’s 16GB internal storage might be not enough storage capacity for some power users. Another thing to keep in mind are the unit’s limited built-in controls, which only include Vol+, Vol-, and a Play/Pause buttons. Simply put, the Halo is unusable without the remote since we don’t get any kind of built-in navigation and selection input. The bottom of the unit has a 360-degree rubber base and a mounting point for tripods or ceiling anchors. The built-in kickstand was useful for tilting the unit up a notch but doesn’t offer much control over the angle.
XGIMI Halo Portable Android TV Projector Setup & Experience
Setting up the Halo boils down to the same process I went through many times before with Android TV devices. I plugged the unit to the power, face it against the wall, and used the remote to fire it up. It took a few seconds for the Halo to do its thing, then I was left looking at the equivalent of a 30″ monitor right on my office wall. XGIMI equipped the Halo with amazingly efficient 10,000+ point auto-focus function and automatic vertical keystone adjustment. If the front of the unit is perfectly parallel to the screen surface, it will do all the work to project a straight and crisp picture. The Halo also comes with a 4-point keystone correction software (vertical +/-40 degree and horizontal +/-40 degree). Unless you position the projector at an impossible angle, getting a straight frame takes only a few clicks on the remote.
The rest of the setup was the usual Android TV fare. It took a few steps to connect the unit to Wi-Fi and login to my Google account. Once done, I was greeted with the familiar UI and ready to stream content through my favorite apps. The Halo was pretty responsive, and I didn’t have any issues navigating the Android TV interface and installing the various apps I wanted to have on the ready. It’s not a performance monster like the NVIDIA Shield TV, but it’s plenty fast for the tasks it was meant to perform. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the official Netflix app is not supported by the Halo yet. I say yet because XGIMI is currently negotiating with the media giant to resolve this issue. In the meanwhile, a quick online search should set you on the right path to get your Netflix fix on a gigantic screen projected by the Halo in no time.
XGIMI equipped the Halo with DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology that generates a great looking display with well defined colors and sharp images, as long as you’re not sitting right in front of the screen. I tried my best to capture the overall feel of the unit in dark and bright scenes, but you’ll have to trust my word that it looks much better live and in person. The Halo has two brightness outputs: 600 lumens when running off the battery and 800 lumens when plugged to the wall. In portable mode, the 600 lumens output provided a great picture quality in a dark environment. It still held its own with some moderate lighting, in this case a floor lamp in the corner of the room which did not affect the viewing experience much. I experimented in our dining room by positioning the projector at one end of the table, a bit over 100 inches from the wall. This netted me a bright and crisp 90-inch image thanks to the Halo’s native 1.2:1 throw ratio. When plugged in, the Halo kicks things up a notch and outputs 800 lumens which results in a visibly brighter picture. This should allow for a bigger projection of up to 300 inches under the right conditions. To put it simply, the amount of ambient light will determine how far you can push the Halo.
Aside from the great picture quality, the XGIMI Halo sounds excellent out of the box for a unit with built-in speakers. It can get quite loud without losing detail and clarity, even when pushed towards its upper limit. During my testing, I didn’t feel the need to go beyond 40% volume while indoors. While I cannot compare the dual 5W built-in speakers to bigger sound systems, including beefier Bookshelf speakers or Soundbars that cost as much as the projector itself, they should get the job done perfectly when using the device in portable mode outdoors or in a situation where connecting external speakers is not an option. This leads us to portability and battery life. I managed to get roughly three hours of video playback at the default settings, which is more than enough for the average movie or offsite presentation. The Android TV home screen has a battery icon that shows the remaining charge level, but it’s not very practical since it doesn’t show the exact percentage of battery life left.
XGIMI ticked all the boxes with its Halo 1080p portable smart projector. My only gripe at the moment is the underwhelming accessories bundle. This compact unit is packed with cutting edge tech and features usually found at higher price points. It offers great picture quality and sound with a solid battery life to keep the device going for hours. The Android TV integration makes the Halo a solid choice for a complete entertainment package, with the bonus of having full control of your screen size, from 30 inches all the way to 300 inches.