Buying a projector is traditionally not a cheap venture but then a lot has happened in projector technology over the last few years to make the space considerably less traditional than before.
Xgimi (opens in new tab) was founded in 2013 to take full advantage of those burgeoning developments and offer a range of machines, from portable projectors to ultra-short throw TV-replacers, with some remarkably reasonable price tags.
While it’s the portable range where, of course, you’ll find the lowest prices, it’s well worth considering the upper-end Xgimi projectors for some impressive specs at a budget.
The Xgimi Aura (opens in new tab) is an obvious example. Two of the hottest areas of projector development right now lie in laser light sources and ultra-short throw (UST) lenses. The Xgimi Aura has both.
Xgimi Aura UST: centre of home entertainment
Laser projection offers a few distinct advantages over more traditional lamp-based machines. The laser diodes last around 10 times longer and they can turn on and ramp up to full performance in a matter of seconds. That means instant on/off operation and, with 25,000 hours of use, a virtual certainty that you’ll never need to undertake the expensive job of replacing the laser. That’s 4 hours a day of movie watching for 17 years, by which time, we suspect, you might want to replace the projector instead, if you haven’t already.
The aim of the Xgimi Aura is to make you rethink your living room TV. ‘Why spend thousands on a super-sized 77in television when you can pay a fraction of that on and get a 150in picture instead?’ is the question Xgimi asks. It’s a decent point. That’s some cinema-sized home entertainment and with its own Dolby Audio and DTS-enabled 4 x 15W Harman Kardon speaker system built in.
Just like the TV it wants to usurp, the Aura is smart and packed with all kinds of video streaming apps and services as well as music access too. All of that comes in a very neat and tidy 14 x 61 x 40cm package making it seem a very credible one-box home entertainment solution.
Installation is something of a doddle too. This is a UST projector and not something that you need to ceiling mount and have beamed over your head. It can throw a 100in image from just 8.2 inches away from your screen or wall. Just pop it on a sideboard and away you go. No professional installer required. There’s a handy 8-point keystone correction system, which you can adjust with your remote, to get the image looking just as you like.
As for performance, you can expect a decent image, even in moderate ambient lighting, thanks to the 2400 ANSI Lumens light output. Use the HDMI sockets and apps to find 4K HDR TV and films to enjoy on your big screen with a motion processing system that’s designed to reduce any judder. That sounds very competitive going at £2149/$2499 (opens in new tab).
Xgimi HORIZON Pro: 4K films all round the house
For something a little ad hoc but just as fun, the Xgimi HORIZON series might suit your needs better.
The Xgimi HORIZON Pro (opens in new tab) is a far more compact proposition at 21 x 22 x 14cm and just the ticket if you’re looking for a device that you can move from room to room as you need it. Throw in an extension cord and you can turn your garden into an open air cinema too.
It’s a coffee table-style projector which can still produce a picture between 40-300 inches. That’s everything from a small bedroom screening for one to an extended family home cinema experience at some seriously grand scale – and all in 4K HDR quality. Not bad for £1449/$1699 (opens in new tab).
Like the Aura, the HORIZON Pro is a smart device with Android TV 10 OS onboard. That means Google voice control and a raft of your favourite apps and services. There’s even Chromecast built in too, allowing you to cast films and TV from your mobile, tablet or laptop instead.
Xgimi’s claimed ease of set-up has to be one of the Horizon series’ biggest selling points, though. The HORIZON Pro comes with both autofocus and auto-keystone software, meaning that the projector can analyse your projection surface and make sure that the picture it produces is automatically created in the right dimensions and at sharp focus.
The AI system can even use intelligent obstacle avoidance to keep plants, light switches and other fixtures and fittings automatically out of the picture. Combined with a 6-second start-up, that makes for some very easy portability. The 16W Harman Kardon speaker system builds in audio on-the-go too.
There are two HDMI ports on the body for source material and console gamers will appreciate Xgimi’s claims of lag-free gaming with a game mode that reduces screen latency down to less than 35ms.
Should you choose to go for the slightly cheaper Xgimi HORIZON (£949/$1099) (opens in new tab) you’ll get to enjoy even faster speeds of under 18.2ms with the projection down to 1080p, SDR resolution level. While it’s significantly more affordable, you still get the same light output specs of a healthy sound 2200 ANSI Lumens and an LED light source that’s rated to last for 25,000 hours.
All in all, some excellent options for your next home projector. The only difficult part is deciding which one.
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