When it comes to portable projectors, many suffer from poor brightness, poor sound and fiddly interfaces.
Price and availability
The XGIMI Halo retails for £729 / $799 / €799 / CA$1069 / AU$1499. The Halo+ costs a shade more at £749 / $849.
The difference, in the US and UK at least, is not hugely different. The Halo is cheaper, but as we’ll find out, there’s a reason why the Halo+ has the ‘plus’ addendum.
What’s the difference in the design?
Externally, you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference between the two. Both measure 172 x 114 x 145mm and weigh 1.6kg. That weight is at the limit of what we’d consider for a portable projector; however, slightly more bulk is worth it given the quality on offer.
Both the Halo and Halo+ are decked out in the same metal mesh finish, too. There’s one minor difference: the Halo+ has an additional sensor on the front, which is used for auto keystone correction (more on that later).
Otherwise, the two projectors are identical. They both have a foot underneath that lets you angle the projector, although there’s also a tripod mount, too.
At the rear, both projectors have an HDMI input, plus a USB port.
What features do they have?
It’s the auto keystone correction that really stands the Halo+ apart from the Halo. Just plonk the projector down, point it at a clear surface and it will get a perfectly square and in-focus picture. That’s very handy, as you can carry this projector everywhere (as you should), and never have to worry about fiddling around to get a clear picture.
With the standard Halo, you get autofocus, but keystone correction is manual. Even so, XGIMI makes it easy to adjust the image so that it’s square on the wall, it’s just that you’ll need to do this when you move the projector around.
Both projectors run Android TV natively, with full support for the Google Assistant via the voice remote controls.
Android TV is a great operating system: it’s designed for TVs and projectors and comes with the Google Play Store so that you can install apps. However, while Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video are supported, Netflix currently isn’t.
The easiest option is to stick a media streaming stick into the HDMI port, powering it via the projector’s USB port.
XGIMI has built a battery into these projectors, and they’ll both last around two hours. That’s enough time to watch a standard film, but if you want to watch something more epic, you’ll need to use the provided power adaptor.
What’s the image quality like?
There are some differences in image quality. While both have a Full HD resolution, the Halo+ is slightly brighter at 900 Lumens (the Halo is 800 Lumens). This doesn’t make a huge amount of difference in general use, and both projectors are bright enough to use during the day if you pull the curtains shut; that’s more than can be said for most regular portable projectors.
While it’s still quite bright, you can get an image about the same size as a regular TV; as it gets darker, you can move both the Halo and Halo+ back and get a much bigger image – more than 100-inches is easily possible (depending on space).
Both models can take a 4K input, although have to downscale the results to 1080p; still, this gives flexibility.
Making more of a difference is the HDR10+ support from the Halo+. With this turned on, HDR content looks more vibrant and detailed than on the regular Halo.
Both projectors are very good, delivering a bright and sharp image that’s a step up from the low-resolution images of most portable projectors.
How do they sound?
While most portable projectors have built-in speakers, most aren’t very good. XGIMI has used dual 5W speakers in both the Halo+ and Halo. Tuned by Harmon/Kardon, these speakers are loud and powerful enough that you don’t need external speakers.
Sure, they lack a bit of bass and don’t have the clarity of a full-on soundbar, but the speakers are great for those times you want to just drop the projector down and get watching.
Plus, the fact that you don’t need to carry an additional Bluetooth speaker around with you helps offset the weight of these projectors.
Which one should I buy?
With the Halo+ costing just £50 more than the original Halo, the extra features (HDR and auto keystone correction) are worth the additional cost. That said, if you’re on a tighter budget and don’t move the projector around that often, having to use the manual keystone correction on the Halo but saving a bit of cash may be worth it.