Just when you start to think that if you’ve seen one portable projector, you’ve pretty much seen them all, the Xgimi Halo+ shows up on the scene to exceed your expectations.
I’ve tested my share of projectors, portable and non-portable, smart and bare-boned, and it’s becoming harder and harder to find something that actually stands out. So, when I was invited to test and review the Halo+, I didn’t exactly expect to be impressed.
One of Xgimi’s latest projectors, the Xgimi Halo+ is apparently the brand’s brightest, most advanced, fully portable projector. Yet it is stuffed with things other projectors wished they had, like Intelligent Obstacle Avoidance, a 10W speaker system and a built-in battery. That’s on top of its X-VUE 2.0 image engine, which delivers picture quality so impeccable you don’t feel like you’re watching on a projector, especially one this compact.
How does it fare against other projectors out there? It outperforms bigger rivals that you’d expect would have better performance, and trust me when I say you’re going to want to check it out before you check out all others. Really, the only thing that’s holding it back is that it’s not for the budget consumers. But hey, if you want the best of the best, it’s never going to come cheap.
To test the Xgimi Halo+ I set it up in my apartment in the same spot I have used for all my previous projector tests and used it over a number of weeks. To discover more about T3’s review process, read our how we test page.
Xgimi Halo+ smart projector review: price and release date
Not that it’s exceptionally pricey either. Most 1080p smart projectors would set you back anywhere from $500 to $800 (£400-650). So, at $849 / £749 / AU$1,499, this isn’t that big of an upgrade. It’s also justifies that extra spend by delivering superior performance and picture quality.
It was also only released on September 22, 2021, so it’s still relatively new. That also means you might see its price drop a little if you wait a little longer. That’s on top of Xgimi constantly holding deals and discounts, especially during top sale days of the year.
Xgimi has a few useful accessories like different types of stands and a carrying case if you need them. A portable stand, which you can take anywhere with you, will set you back $69 / £59 / AU$159. Meanwhile, a carrying case will cost you $89 / £89 / AU$99.
Xgimi Halo+ smart projector review: setup
My least favorite part of testing a projector is the setup, but I must say, I didn’t mind it that much with the Xgimi Halo+. Because of its snappy performance and intuitive user interface, the initial setup is fast and pain-free. The remote pairing is effortless, as is downloading and installing your streaming apps.
It’s even easier if you already have Google Play set up with all your favorite streaming apps. Apart from Disney+, which for some reason remembers your information and logs you in automatically, you’ll still have to log in to all the accounts manually. But, because the projector is fast, it won’t take you long, especially if you take the QR code or login via your phone route, which most of the apps offer.
If you have your own screen, it even comes with Intelligent Screen Adaptation, which intuitively adjusts its projected display to fit your screen perfectly. The automatic keystone correction works beautifully if you don't.
Xgimi Halo+ smart projector review: design
Measuring 113.5 x 145 x 171.5mm (4.46x5.7x6.75 inches) and weighing 1.6kg (3.53lbs), the Xgimi Halo+ might be a little bigger and heavier than other portable projectors, but it stays in that stuff-in-your-backpack domain. Its cuboid shape makes it incredibly compact and easy to carry, and the only thing that would make it even more portable is the addition of a built-in handle, perhaps something akin to that on the Nebula Mars II Pro.
Despite its vertical cuboid form factor, it’s impressively stable. Even when I placed it on a shaky shelf, it showed no signs of shaking or wobbling. There were no disruptions to the projected image either. I’ve found that some portable projectors are forced to readjust their focus every time the surface they’re on shakes, but this one doesn’t even so much as flinch.
Made of premium materials, the Halo+ feels robust and like it will last you a lifetime of rugged adventures. Even its media touch buttons on the top panel are premium – they’re responsive to the softest touch, making controlling it easy and have a slight Sonos feel to them. Not that you’ll be needing to use them that much, thanks to the included remote, which comes with all the necessary controls, including a Google Assistant button and a switch that allows you to use the +/- buttons for volume adjustments and tweaks in lens focus.
It’s got a three-sided grill that’s part of its built-in speaker system, allowing its two 5W Harman Kardon speakers to deliver a 180-degree audio experience. That leaves it to the back panel to accommodate the air vent, which is surprisingly small. Not that the projector needs it. It’s pretty good at managing the heat, staying cool even when under pressure. And, while its fans inside do get a little loud, they’re not loud enough to overwhelm the speakers and ruin your experience.
There’s a good selection of ports as well, with one HDMI 2.0, one USB 2.0, and one 3.5mm audio jack. The HDMI and USB ports are great for connecting other video input sources like a streaming stick or a USB drive while the 3.5mm audio jack has you covered on the audio front.
Unless you have a specific video file you want to use or want to use Netflix (there’s no Netflix support on this model), you likely won’t utilize these a lot. Its dual-band 2.4/5GHz, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi should let you use its streaming capabilities with ease, while the Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity will let you connect to other devices, including Bluetooth speakers.
Finally, on the bottom panel is a kickstand that lets you angle the projector and a tripod female thread to mount it on a proper stand, especially when you’re outdoors.
Xgimi Halo+ smart projector review: features
While many portable projectors sacrifice an integral feature or two for the sake of a lower price tag, Xgimi seems to have taken a different approach with the Halo+. What you have here is a model that might be a little more expensive, but it also comes with all the right features. And, I must say, I prefer this over sacrificing features like a built-in battery just to save a few bucks/quids.
Maybe it’s just me, but having a built-in battery feels vital to a portable projector. Otherwise, you’re limited to only being able to use it when there is a power source. Luckily, the Halo+ comes with a 59W battery that the brand says gives you up to two hours of playtime. During my tests, it gave me two hours and 10 minutes of Disney+ viewing with brightness set at 50% and everything else, including Wi-Fi, turned on.
There are a lot of other features here you won’t find in other projectors, such as having different image mode presets and the ability to adjust the refresh rate. It boasts four image mode presets – movie, football, office, and game (only available via HDMI) – plus a custom one. All image modes are somewhat customizable, but the custom one gives you more settings to personalize: brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, noise reduction, and color temperature plus local contrast, HDR, and motion compensation (or refresh rate).
For a compact projector, it delivers a 200-inch image projection, but it’s not just the size that matters. The Halo+ also comes with Intelligent Screen Alignment, which allows it to automatically adjust the projected image to match the screen’s size. It also boasts an Intelligent Obstacle Avoidance, which allows it to adjust its projected image accordingly when it’s detected obstacles, which works very well.
It comes with HDR10, which apparently delivers a high contrast ratio and better dynamic range with compatible sources, but I didn’t see any difference in the movies I watched. Luckily, its Android TV 10.0 operating system, built-in Chromecast, and Google Assistant features work well.
One last feature worth mentioning is its 16GB of storage, which should allow you to leave your external SSD or flash drive at home.
Xgimi Halo+ smart projector review: performance
The Xgimi Halo+ doesn’t just excel in its feature set and design. It also delivers better performance than any other mid-range portable projectors I’ve tested. That’s saying a lot considering I’ve tested quite a few of them.
The auto keystone correction is pretty spot-on, while its autofocus is snappy. It’s also fast to wake and snappier than its rivals when running apps or opening content. Many smart projectors are still slower than TVs, so if you don’t have a lot of patience, you’ll want to consider this one. Plus, unlike other projectors, it gives you several options when pressing the power button – hibernate, power off, restart, and display off.
Its two 5W Harman Kardon DTS and Dolby Audio speakers are impressive as well. Not only do they deliver 180-degree audio, which ensures that everyone in the room gets the same audio experience, but they’re also surprisingly loud. I’ve been using this at night, and I have to make sure its volume is at 20% or lower to ensure that I’m not disturbing my neighbors when it's past 10pm.
The only thing about having 180-degree audio, however, is that you cannot expect excellent sound imaging. Because its speakers are trying to deliver the same level of audio in that 180-degree space, it has to sacrifice the positioning of all these different elements. You won’t, for example, be able to hear a character in a show you’re watching walk from left to right, even if you’re sitting in front of the projector.
On the plus side, the sound projection is pretty wide. So, not only is it plenty loud, even at 20 to 25%, but it can fill a small room nicely so that you’re getting a more cinematic experience. And, there’s a volume balance setting that you can toggle to increase the mid-range frequency a little bit, which is handy when you’re having a hard time hearing the dialogue.
Despite all that, its the picture quality that will impress you the most about the Halo+. Armed with Xgimi’s X-VUE 2.0 image engine and integrated 60Hz motion compensation technology (MEMC), you’re guaranteed to get bright, sharp images that are incredibly clean and vibrant.
The visuals you get with the Xgimi Halo+ are simply much more elevated than anything I’ve seen before. I’ve tested a 1080p projector with 900 ANSI lumen brightness before, but that couldn’t match the picture quality and brightness level of the Xgimi Halo+.
And, if you’re not a fan of lifelike movements on screen, you can adjust the refresh rate a little bit. But, even at a lower refresh rate, you’re still getting crisp images.
Xgimi Halo+ smart projector review: verdict
I am absolutely blown away by the Xgimi Halo+. There are many great smart portable projectors out there, but only a handful are truly excellent. If you want the best, the Xgimi Halo+ is worth considering, even though the price of entry is a little higher.
It’s the whole package, equipped with all the features that truly make it a portable projector that you can use anywhere. Add to that a snappy performance, an intuitive user interface, and most importantly, an immersive viewing experience, and you’ll see why it’s worth the extra cash.
Unless you want to spend a lot more, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a projector as impressive or as well-rounded as this one.
Xgimi Halo+ smart projector review: also consider
If you love that cuboid design but cannot afford the Halo+’s price tag, the Xgimi MoGo Pro+ is a great, cheaper alternative. For $699 / £589 / AU$949, it delivers the same 1080p resolution, comes with its own built-in battery, and is even more portable. However, it’s not as bright and its keystone correction isn’t as intuitive.
There’s also the Nebula Cosmos with its $799 / £799 asking price. It offers the same 1080p at 900 ANSI lumens viewing as the Halo+ for slightly cheaper. It also comes with a 360-degree audio experience. However, when it comes to picture quality, the Halo+ is still superior.