You couldn’t describe this projector as cheap, but the XGIMI Aura is well priced for an ultra-short-throw model. Capable of projecting a picture up to 150 inches, it’s a decent alternative to a regular TV. Image quality is generally very good – a sharp picture, bold colours and plenty of detail, but blacks could be darker. Overall, you’d have to spend a lot more to get much better quality.
- Good value
- Flexible range of screen sizes
- Android TV
- Great picture quality and sound
- No Netflix
- UKRRP: £2149
- USARRP: $2499
- TypeAn ultra short throw projector, it’s designed to replace a TV with a screen up to 150 inches
- Streaming servicesDisney+ and Amazon Prime Video are built-in, but Netflix isn’t currently supported
Better known for its portable projectors, such as the XGIMI Halo+, the XGIMI Aura is the company’s first 4K ultra-short-throw laser projector. Capable of an 80-inch picture from just 4.3 inches away, up to a maximum of an 150-inch image, this is a plausible alternative to a big-screen TV.
At £2149, the Aura is priced well compared to its main rivals, too. Bright pictures, built-in Android TV and surprisingly good speakers for a projector make this a compelling home cinema package for anyone who doesn’t want to go through the hassle of a full projector installation.
- Wide and large, the Aura needs a good amount of desk space
- Plenty of HDMI inputs
- Nice material finish at the front
Short-throw laser projectors tend to be quite large, and the XGIMI Aura is no exception at 140 x 606 x 401mm and weighing a hefty 14.9kg. This is a projector for which you’ll need to find permanent space. Still, it’s less noticeable than a large TV and quite attractive thanks to the soft material covering at the front.
Spin the projector around and you’ll see an array of ports: 3 x HDMI 2 (one HDMI ARC), USB and an Ethernet port, if you’d rather not use the built-in Wi-Fi. This number of inputs means you’ll be able to connect everything you need.
There’s a built-in lens, angled to project the final image a few inches above the projector. It’s built to deliver a variety of image sizes, starting at 80 inches from a distance of 4.3 inches, up to a 150-inch image from a distance of 19.4 inches. That’s a wider range of screen sizes than much of the competition, delivering plenty of flexibility. It means that the Aura can fit into most rooms, even smaller ones.
Designed for permanent installation, the main thing to get right is keeping the projector level. To help, the adjustable screw-feet enable you to level out the projector on an uneven surface.
Aside from the power button, there are no onboard controls, so you’ll need to turn to the voice remote. It’s the same excellent remote supplied with the XGIMI Horizon: it’s well made and a pleasure to use.
- Clever eight-point keystone correction
- Built-in Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, but Netflix doesn’t work
- Runs Android TV
As I’ve come to expect from XGIMI, the Aura runs Android TV. That’s a decent choice, delivering a smooth interface that’s built for the big screen. And it means that there are built-in apps available from the Google Play Store.
That’s good news in some ways, but some restrictions do apply. First, you don’t necessarily get access to the full range of apps you might want – I couldn’t find a Now app, for example. Second, even if an app is available, it doesn’t mean that it will work.
Once again, Netflix is the big issue here. Netflix has to certify all Android TV devices to run its app, but the XGIMI Aura isn’t certified. So, Netflix is available in spirit but not in reality. That leaves Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ built-in, both of which run smoothly.
If you want other apps, then a streaming device such as the Amazon Fire TV Cube will be required. This isn’t so much of an issue with this projector, since it will sit in one place. With XGIMI’s portable projectors, the lack of Netflix may mean that you have to carry another device around with you.
XGIMI’s portable projectors offer clever keystone correction and autofocus options, but these features aren’t available with this model. Instead, you have to manually focus and adjust keystone using the smart eight-point controls.
Neither controls is difficult to use. And, since this projector won’t be moved around much, you’ll only really need to adjust these settings once.
- Bright and sharp 4K picture
- Surprisingly loud for a projector
- Blacks can verge towards the grey
This projector has a rated brightness of 2400 lumens. That’s actually even brighter than it sounds: given that you’ll place this projector inches from a display surface, you’re not losing brightness by throwing an image across a room.
As with the Epson EH-LS500, the XGIMI Aura isn’t a native 4K projector, using a 0.47-inch digital micromirror device (DMD) DLP chip with XPR technology to generate a close-to 4K image. The results are pretty good: better than HD, but not quite as sharp as a native 4K projector.
XGIMI says that the Aura can produce 1.07 billion colours, covering 90% of the rec.709 and 80% of the DCI-P3 colour spaces. It also supports HDR10.
XGIMI has profiles for the type of content you’re watching (Movie, Football, Office, Game and Custom). The latter profile provides more control over the image settings, including brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness. It’s worth turning off the motion compensation mode, as you really don’t need it.
The first thing I noticed about this projector is that it’s bright. Bright enough, in fact, to use on a relatively sunny day with windows open – although you may want to draw the curtains if you’ve got strong direct light on the screen.
For watching in a darkened room, the Cinema mode drops the brightness of the projector to the point where black bars on films become almost black, blending into the background. This results in a far moodier picture, although you can lose detail in some of the darker parts of the image. I recommend playing with the Local Contrast setting to help the projector adjust to the scene.
As with most projectors, there’s a trade-off to be had between dark blacks and detail; stick the brightness up a little to reveal more detail and blacks shift towards grey. The overall balance here is well struck, but a full home cinema projector with a regular light will produce darker blacks.
Since the Aura comes with a DLP chip, and the projector works by cycling its laser through red, green and blue light, there’s the occasional hint of the rainbow effect – particularly in black-and-white images; but it isn’t particularly distracting.
In general, colours are superb, particularly through a good HDR source. Watching Coco, the afterlife is superbly rendered, bringing the Mexican adventure to life. Even with regular content, colours are rich and vibrant without exaggeration.
Special mention should go to the speakers: four 15W speakers (that’s two tweeters and two woofers) tuned by Harmon/Kardon. The result is better audio than you’d normally expect from a projector. In fact, sound is good enough that you can watch without the need for a soundbar.
That said, the built-in speakers lack positionality, with the sound always appearing to come from the projector. And, there’s a lack of real bass, too, so some action scenes lose their impact. For the full movie experience, a soundbar such as the Sonos Arc would make sense.
The laser light is rated to last for 25,000 hours – that’s eight-and-a-half years, assuming you use the projector for eight hours a day.
Should you buy it?
If you want a well-priced ultra-short-throw projector that can deliver a huge high-quality 4K image from a short distance, this is a great choice.
If you want the best quality that a projector can produce, then a dedicated home cinema model will deliver darker blacks.
Capable of replacing a TV with a large image, the ultra-short-throw XGIMI Aura is a nice living room projector. It has a great interface with streaming apps, although the lack of Netflix is disappointing. Overall, quality compares well to the more expensive Epson EH-LS500, and you have to spend a lot more to get even better quality with the LG HU85LS.
Colours are excellent and the projected image is sharp, but if you want deeper blacks for that more cinematic experience, you’ll want a home cinema model from our best projector roundup.
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Tested for more than a week
Tested using streaming apps with real world use
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Not directly, as the app is not supported. Amazon Prime and Disney+ work on the projector, but you’ll need an external streamer to watch Netflix.
It can manage a 150-inch screen.
It has a brightness of 2400 lumens, but this will seem brighter as the projector is placed so close to a wall.