With the likes of Sony, BenQ, LG and Epson hogging the projector spotlight, it's easy to forget that Xgimi has been working away in the background for quite some time now. The current range includes eight projectors, varying in price and form factor. They also vary in quality: while the Halo compact projector didn’t fare too well when it came to our review, its Aura ultra-short-throw model did put in a more impressive performance.
But will that continue with the Horizon Pro, Xgimi’s latest compact projector aimed at fusing the home cinema experience with sleek and hassle-free hardware? The Horizon Pro does look good on paper, but in this case, the cover is a lot better than the book.
The Horizon Pro usually retails for £1649 / $1699 / AU$2599, putting it in competition with Epson’s Award-winning EH-TW7100. For your money, you get 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage to support the Android TV operating system and provide the capacity to download films; things the Epson does not offer.
The Xgimi makes a positive first impression with its solid build and tasteful aesthetics, even down to the premium unboxing experience that differentiates it from its peers. Its rounded cuboid case is comprised of black and grey metal and solid plastic that looks as luxurious as it feels.
And at just under 3kg, the lunchbox-sized projector is light enough to pick up and position practically anywhere. You may want to place it somewhere out of earshot, though, as its fan is jarringly loud considering the projector’s compact dimensions. Xgimi says the fan noise measures around 30dB, but it's noticeable even over the built-in speakers.
Native resolution 4K (3840 x 2160)
HDR HDR10, HLG
Light source Bulb (DLP)
Operating system Android TV
Picture size 40- to 200-inch
Lamp life 30,000 hours
Brightness 2200 ANSI lumens
HDMIs 2 x HDMI 2.0
The sides of the device are mostly clean, with a grille wrapping around the unit for cooling and the Harman Kardon speakers. There are a host of connections on the rear of the projector, including two HDMI 2.0 ports (one of which supports eARC), two USB 2.0 sockets, an optical output, a 3.5mm headphone socket, and LAN for wired internet. As for wireless connectivity, you’ll find dual-band 2.4/5GHz wi-fi and Bluetooth 5.0.
One thing that this projector doesn't include is adjustable feet. Instead, picture positioning is done almost entirely through software-based auto adjustment and focusing, as well as some physical repositioning if needed.
The set-up process for the Xgimi is both joyously hassle-free and frustratingly limited. The projector auto-focuses, auto-keystones and will gyro-correct to ensure a sharp and straight image without the need for manual adjustments, which is great because there are no manual lens adjustments to be found. The same can be said for picture settings. There are just five presets (Movie, Game, Sport, Office and Custom) with very few options to tweak unless you pick Custom – and even then there’s not much to change other than colour temperature, sharpness and brightness.
While we appreciate this simplicity and understand the appeal for casual projector users, we also feel limited by the projector’s controlling approach to customising the picture. The Horizon Pro offers HDR support in the form of HDR10 and HLG, which is appreciated, although HDR10+ or Dolby Vision would have been welcome additions.
The greatest appeal of the Horizon Pro is that it's an all-in-one home cinema solution, complete with built-in speakers and onboard streaming apps. Starting off with the Harman Kardon tuned speakers, it's a pleasant surprise that they are in fact more than usable. When it comes to most projectors with built-in speakers, we often find that they sound thin and offer little in the way of dynamics, however, this isn't the case with the Horizon Pro.
While we would appreciate a slightly greater spread of sound, the speakers themselves are reasonably loud and clear, with enough punch and weight behind them to provide an adequately cinematic-sounding experience. Plugging a soundbar using the eARC port does enhance the audio experience, but for occasional use, the built-in speakers are acceptable.
Another clutter-free aspect of this projector (but perhaps not in an ideal way) is the minimalist remote, which arguably reduces the button count too far. The remote features navigation controls for the Android TV system, access to the Google Assistant, as well as buttons to control the volume level and settings – that’s your lot. There’s no direct access to switch between HDMI inputs, picture modes or shortcuts to access streaming services. It's barebones, to say the least.
Getting back to the Android TV operating system, it's mostly good and doesn’t stutter or glitch during use, but it has one odd omission: while it features the likes of Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ and even Paramount+, Netflix is not supported. We can install, log into and even browse the app – however, when we try to play content it flashes up an error code. Xgimi acknowledges this on both its website and in the user manual, stating that you need to plug an appropriate streaming device in via HDMI to access Netflix. It is unclear why Netflix isn’t supported on the projector’s Android TV system despite being pre-installed, but it's frustrating either way.
Starting off with the positive picture aspects, the Horizon Pro features a mostly clean and well-defined image. Its 4K resolution is achieved through pixel-shifting, and it uses a DLP chipset that produces an impressive claimed brightness of 2200 ANSI lumens. It is a seriously bright and punchy image that impresses with the right source material. Considering this is a coffee-table-oriented projector, we believe it will fare well in a living-room scenario thanks to the high brightness.
The projector also handles motion well, with minimal stuttering in the opening panning shot of No Time To Die. As the camera pans overhead, the trees pass by with very little judder. Here we can also see the crisp outline of characters as the menacing masked villain Safin stands in the foreground of the image with clean and well-defined edges.
These traits also work well when it comes to animation. A quick visit to the vibrant world of Toy Story 3 shows the projector in its best light, with the bright and vivid image suiting the bold animation style and exaggerated colours well. Another bonus here is that finer details and skin tones don’t matter here as much as with live-action content, so the lively image is genuinely enjoyable if you’re watching animation.
Switching to Dunkirk, we also appreciate the black depth and the projector’s ability to combine bright elements within dark scenes while retaining adequate punch. Even bright highlights don’t compromise the depth of blacks in darker scenes, which is a common problem at this level.
That's about where the Horizon Pro’s strengths end, as there are a number of important aspects of picture performance where this projector falls short of the standards we expect at this level. First is colours, which range from looking slightly off to wholly unnatural. When set to standard in the colour mode settings, there is a yellow-ish cast over the image that results in overcooked skin tones and makes colours appear too warm. Knocking this back to cool in the settings menu does remedy this somewhat, but it draws a lot of the punchiness out of the image and leaves skin tones looking slightly pale and washed out. In general, certain colours don’t look natural under any settings, with a particularly jarring blue cardigan worn by a young Madeleine Swann standing out in the opening scenes of the latest Bond flick.
Moving onto contrast, the projector seems to lack any subtlety when it comes to balancing light and shading, as it appears to deal only in absolutes. Subjects on the screen will either be light or dark with little subtlety in shading. This is particularly evident in the abandoned ship scene in Dunkirk where a beam of light piercing through an open hatch appears to illuminate the faces of all the soldiers inside the ship while leaving the background almost entirely pitch black. Few details can be seen within the boat’s interior or on the overly exposed faces of the soldiers. This extends to an exterior shot of a sinking medical boat, where the poor handling of contrast makes the ship appear as a featureless white object with minimal shadow detail. This binary approach to lighting reduces any depth that the Xgimi could produce within its picture and compromises dark detail.
Finally, while the 4K resolution helps to keep edges neat, we’ve seen more nuance from similarly priced rivals. Skin and clothing textures don’t exhibit much in the way of considered detail and overall the image is lacklustre when compared to other 4K projectors at this level.
Despite strong first impressions and an admittedly decent feature set, the Xgimi loses us quickly with a picture that is limited when judged against its Epson rival.
If you want a mostly hassle-free plug-and-play projector, then the Xgimi might win you over with its intuitive set-up and ease of use, but if you’re a budding home cinema enthusiast, you can do a lot better for the money.
- Picture 3
- Build 4
- Features 4
Read our review of the Epson EH-TW7100
Also consider the BenQ W1800
Read our BenQ X3000i review