XGIMI Halo Review
With its high brightness and Android TV OS, the XGIMI Halo is technically the best portable projector.
- Android TV
- Sharp picture
- Decent audio
- No native Netflix
- UKRRP: £729
- USARRP: $799
- EuropeRRP: €799
- CanadaRRP: CA$1069
- AustraliaRRP: AU$1499
- Projector typeA portable projector, the XGIMI Halo has a built-in battery and Android TV, so you can use it practically anywhere.
- Streaming servicesRunning Android TV, the projector supports Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ natively; Netflix is currently not supported.
Portable projectors are a fun way to watch wherever you go, but they tend to suffer from one or more problems: they’re not loud enough, the quality’s not good enough or you struggle to watch content on them. The XGIMI Halo aims to solve all three of these, with more resolution, better sound and built-in Android TV.
- The XGIMI Halo is a chunky and solid portable projector
- Quite large for a portable projector
- Can be mounted on a tripod
- Has flip stand for angling the projector
Looking like a bookshelf speaker, the XGIMI Halo pushes the boundaries of what you could reasonably consider a portable projector. Sure, this model is smaller than a home cinema model, but it’s chunky and big for something you have to carry around (172 x 114 x 114mm, 1.6kg). Compared to the Nebula Capsule Max, this is a bit of a beast.
That said, you can still easily fit this projector in a bag or a suitcase. You’ll probably want to buy a pouch, as the lens is exposed, so could get scratched without any protection.
Power is provided via the laptop-sized charging brick, which plugs in at the rear of the projector. You get around 2.5m of cable, which should be enough to place the projector far enough back to get a big enough screen.
You can sit the Halo flat on a desk, but if you need to angle it up there’s a flip-out foot at the front, plus there’s a standard tripod screwthread as well.
At the rear, you get an HDMI input, a USB port and a headphone jack.
There are basic volume and play/pause controls on top, but you’ll need to use the Bluetooth remote control to do anything more complicated.
- Running Android TV, the XGIMI Halo is easy to use
- Has full access to Google Play store
- Disney+ and Amazon Prime, but Netflix doesn’t work
- HDMI input
When you turn the projector on or move it, the XGIMI Halo runs its autofocus, so you’ll get a in-focus picture automatically. You can take control and do the job manually by switching the remote to focus mode using the switch on top. You have to take care of keystone correction, but this is easy with the remote and on-screen pattern that you adjust until the image is square.
While most portable projectors run a hacked version of Android, the XGIMI Halo uses Android TV, complete with the proper Google Play Store for apps. The good news is that the interface is designed for use with a remote control, rather than touch, which makes navigating far easier here. The internet connection is provided by the dual-band Wi-Fi.
When you’re connected to the internet you can use the Google Assistant, via the button on the remote control, to launch apps or search for content.
It helps that the XGIMI Halo has a decent processor, too, as it’s far more responsive and smoother to use than much of the competition.
Before you get too excited, though, there are some downsides and not all apps are supported. While I could install Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, Netflix would install but wouldn’t run (Netflix has to certify apps to run on Android TV devices), and Now wasn’t available at all.
Not having native Netflix is a pain, and I couldn’t find a way around the issue during testing – you can try and sideload the touch version of the app but this is far too much hassle for most people in my experience. Here’s hoping that XGIMI gets Netflix to certify the app in the future.
While you can cast content to the projector (Google Cast is built-in), Netflix doesn’t work still, and you can’t mirror your screen to play protected content. At the moment, then, if you want Netflix, you’ll need to plug in a device via HDMI – I found that a Fire TV Stick plugged in the back was the easiest option, using the projector’s USB port to provide power.
For the apps that do support Android TV on the XGIMI Halo, you get a neat home screen, with recommended and recent programmes showing for each one.
As the XGIMI Halo uses Android TV versions of apps, rather than regular Android versions, you can’t download content for offline viewing as you can with the Nebula Capsule.
- The XGIMI Halo is bright enough to use in a darkened room
- Much brighter than most portable projectors
- Capable of projecting a large screen
- Decent audio – you won’t necessarily need external sound
The projector is rated at up to 800 ANSI Lumens, although switch to battery power and brightness drops to 600 Lumens. Even so, that’s a lot brighter than the 200-Lumen Nebula Capsule Max.
The difference is that you can watch the XGIMI projector in a darkened room easily enough; it was even useable at a smaller screen size on an overcast day. As day turns to dusk, you can start to enlarge the picture, pulling the projector back.
When it was daylight, I could get around a 50-inch picture, doubling to around a 100-inch picture when it was darker. XGIMI says that this model can project up to a 300-in screen, although you’d need it to be quite dark to achieve this based on my testing.
There are preset modes to adjust the brightness, contrast and colour, based on the type of content (movies, etc), although you can delve into the menus and adjust settings manually if you prefer.
Once it had got dark enough to view on a large screen, the XGIMI Halo’s image quality is a step above the competition’s. With its Full HD (1920 x 1280) resolution, this DLP projector is a step up from every other portable projector that I’ve reviewed.
You get a sharper picture and it’s hard to spot individual pixels, even close up. There’s a level of detail and clarity that lower resolution models can’t match. XGIMI has done a good job with image quality. Projected video is bright and features vibrant colours that really bring content to life. It’s genuinely a fun experience watching anything on this.
Contrast is generally good, with plenty of detail across the picture, although blacks can verge towards being grey. And, it’s easier to watch something dark and moody when it’s darker, as you can lose some detail when lighting is brighter.
Thanks to the dual 5W speakers, tuned by Harmon Kardon, the XGIMI Halo is a far more powerful audio device than the direct competition. It’s pretty loud. During testing I found it’s certainly loud enough to fill a room and just good enough to be used outside.
Speech is nice and clear, although you the speakers lack a bit of bass, so sound effects don’t quite have the impact as a proper home cinema system or better Bluetooth speaker would deliver. Think of the speakers as more like those on a decent TV, rather than a home cinema experience and that’s what you get.
There’s a battery built-in, which gives between two and four hours of playback, depending on what you’re watching and the projector’s settings. I found it good enough to get through an average-length film, but realistically you’ll need a power supply to watch multiple things or even something a bit longer.
There’s a non-replaceable LED lamp, which is rated to last for 30,000 hours – if you watched for eight hours a day, you should get around 10 years out of the projector.
XGIMI Halo Conclusion
With decent audio, high resolution and more brightness than the competition, the XGIMI Halo is technically the best portable projector I’ve reviewed. And, it has the best interface, too, with Android TV proving itself to be smoother and easier to use with a remote than the hacked versions of Android most of the competition uses. Image quality is great, too, and this model really is a portable cinema system.
There are some issues, though. First, there’s no Netflix support without plugging in an external device. Secondly, this projector is properly expensive. If you’ll use this projector a lot and want the best quality, you can work around these issues, but those looking for occasional use could be better off with the cheaper Nebula Capsule Max. If you don’t want to move the projector around much, one of our recommended home cinema projectors may be a better bet.
Should you buy it?
If you want a portable projector that’s more flexible and can be used in a shaded room, the XGIMI Halo is for you. It also has a relatively high resolution (1920 x 1080) and surprisingly decent audio. With Android TV built in, it’s also one of the easiest portable projectors to use.
The lack of native Netflix support is disappointing, as it means plugging in an external device if you want to watch (Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video work natively). The high price is hard to get over, too.
With its relatively high brightness, Full HD resolution, Android TV and decent speakers, the XGIMI is technically the best portable projector. It produces a large, detailed picture and is a joy to use with its remote control. A relatively high price and lack of native Netflix hold it back slightly.
Not natively at the moment. Although you can download the app, it has not been certified. If you want to use Netflix, you currently have to use an external media streamer or computer.