I own an OLED TV, but a three-star projector has become my go-to home cinema product

Xgimi Halo
(Image credit: Future)

I love watching movies. It is one of the main reasons working at What Hi-Fi? is such a joy, with my current role granting me access to some of the finest home cinema hardware available.

That’s why, despite being on a journalist’s stipend, I chose to invest in an OLED TV and Dolby Atmos soundbar when I moved house a couple of years ago. Specifically the What Hi-Fi? Award-winning LG C2 and four-star JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam.

It is also why I often insist on turning the lights off, closing the blinds, and at times even waiting until it’s pitch black outside before watching movies I care about – trust me it makes a difference, especially if you’re a horror fan. Look at our best horror movies to test your Dolby Atmos setup list and guide on light pollution and you’ll get a more detailed breakdown of why this is the case.

But as I get older I have found that a three-star, battery-powered projector, the Xgimi Halo, is becoming my most used bit of home cinema hardware.

This isn’t because I think it offers better picture quality. Its poor contrast and awkward speaker placement mean, while it's perfectly good enough for casual viewing, you will miss a lot of shadow detail and might occasionally find yourself wincing in pain after sibilance creeps its way into the audio during heated scenes. 

No, the reason for the change in habit is all down to convenience. 

For context, I’m a bit of a social creature. In keeping with this, I used to host a bad-movie night where my friends and I would gather in my lounge to watch classics such as Birdemic, The Room and Alice in Murderland on hardware the titles didn’t deserve.

I really started using the Halo more when I hit the point in my life where most of my friends began having kids – so these movie get-togethers became difficult. Nowadays, most instances of socialising involve having sprogs running around the place in need of entertainment during the afternoon. For this purpose, the small and easily moved Halo is a godsend. Featuring keystone correction and Android TV, which, Netflix apart, has most major streaming services supported, it is all too easy for me to whack on an episode of Bluey to keep the kids entertained while we host our friends.

The problem is, I’ve become used to this convenience; and I have started using the Halo in other situations. 

For example, my wife hates having a proper TV in the bedroom, despite both of us enjoying watching the odd episode of Glow Up or Ru Paul’s Drag Race before we nod off. Rather than go through the laboured experience of waking up with the TV on at an ungodly hour and doing a zombie shuffle up to the bedroom, we’ve started plonking the Halo down and watching the shows in bed. This means even if we nod off, our sleep isn't overtly disturbed.

Equally, if it’s nice weather, I have found myself impersonating Homer Simpson, using our pullout parasol, the Halo and a portable screen to watch TV from the comfort of my garden hammock. Once you get used to the experience it is hard to go back, even in the UK where “sunny” is a relative term.

Is this bad? If I was watching masterpieces such as Dune or Masters of the Universe, yes; but for casual viewing I regret nothing. Convenience is king and I'm never going back.


These are the best projectors we have tested

We detail the best Dolby Atmos soundbars

Our picks of the best OLED TVs

Alastair Stevenson
Editor in Chief

Alastair is What Hi-Fi?’s editor in chief. He has well over a decade’s experience as a journalist working in both B2C and B2B press. During this time he’s covered everything from the launch of the first Amazon Echo to government cyber security policy. Prior to joining What Hi-Fi? he served as Trusted Reviews’ editor-in-chief. Outside of tech, he has a Masters from King’s College London in Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion, is an enthusiastic, but untalented, guitar player and runs a webcomic in his spare time.