The pandemic forced a lot of people to be creative with how they spend their free time over the last year and a half, as many activities such as eating at restaurants or going to live events were suddenly removed from the equation. But few experiences were as sorely missed as going to a movie theater and watching the latest films on the big screen. So it's no surprise that many people got creative during this period, accepting the trend that many other people already took advantage of by setting up their own outdoor theaters with video projectors.
As people who own high-end models like the XGIMI Halo projector would likely tell you, these are suitable substitutes for quality television sets on their own. Many of them are even more affordable. But the versatility of a video projector, especially one with the features packed into the XGIMI Halo, makes the product stand out in the crowded field of television technology.
When quarantine first forced school closures and remote working for many families in early 2020, I purchased a projector and began organizing screenings on our garage door, inviting neighbors over to join while maintaining a safe distance as we watched the latest movies that skipped theaters. It was fun but required a lot of set up including long extension cords, perfect placement of the projector, and setting up my Apple TV to stream. It became a bit tedious after a few nights.
This is where one of the XGIMI Halo's biggest strengths comes in, as it doesn't need to meet any of these requirements to provide a higher quality experience. The device is WIFI enabled and has its own Android operating system, and comes with sophisticated keystone correction that can be tweaked to create the perfect angle from many directions.
Breaking down all of this, the keystone correction is probably the most convenient feature. Many other projectors require placement directly in front of the screen, and if it's mounted to your ceiling or at a fixed location for rear projection, it's likely difficult to remove and place elsewhere. The Halo can be placed in many different locations, whether on the ground or on a higher surface and can be adjusted so that its angle is ideal in the correct aspect ratio for whatever you're watching. This is especially handy for public screenings with the neighbors, as the projector can be placed out of the way so it won't accidentally get kicked by someone rushing to get more popcorn.
It also includes a convenient auto-focus feature that can be deactivated and set manually with the remote. However, the auto-focus itself works pretty well and I didn't need to mess with it in ideal conditions. I must note that some nights were affected by winds that caused our screen surface to sway a bit, and that would cause the auto-focus feature to readjust due to the areas of the projection becoming a bit blurry. Luckily it's easy to turn off as needed.
The built-in battery contributes to the device's convenience, though the power-saving settings do make the image less bright when it is unplugged from a power source. We got a little over two hours of battery time with a full charge, so some longer movies might require a recharge if you're risking going unplugged. It's a great feature to have, but just be aware that streaming does require more power so for watching sporting events or something on Hulu or Disney+, you will want to keep that in mind.
It also has Bluetooth capabilities, which come in handy for outdoor usage. Again, this is another drain on the battery, but as good as the built-in Harmon Kardon speakers sound with an indoor setup, you might require some extra sound power from a louder Bluetooth speaker when set up outside. That said, the built-in speakers are great for indoor use, though they are slightly lacking in the deeper bass sounds compared to other frequencies.
Perhaps the most convenient feature in the XGIMI Halo is the Android operating system, which allows users to download their favorite streaming services as well as myriad other games and apps available in the Google Play store. The biggest issue here, as you will likely find in other reviews, is the absence of Netflix which is unavailable on the XGIMI device. This means you'll have to use a Roku, Fire Stick, Apple TV, or other streaming devices with Netflix capabilities to watch utilize the popular service.
The device includes a few different ports on the backside including plugins for the A/C adapter, an HDMI cable, USB 2.0, and a headphone jack. This makes it convenient to set up non-Bluetooth speakers or a video game console, especially newer 4K-capable systems like the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X — the Halo provides a high-quality picture for both comparable to an affordable 4K TV.
The projector is a powerful LED light source that makes the HD images pop on many surfaces, even in certain bright conditions. While any projector looks best in a darker setting, many of them require high-end screens to make the most of their projection quality. But the Halo can work on practically any surface and still look great, no screens required. While we have a fixed screen on the wall of our kids' playroom so we can make use of the projectors indoors, I've also tested it on the wall of my office and bedroom in less than ideal conditions. The quality of the picture doesn't suffer to the point where it becomes unusable, and that's likely the selling point for many people looking to spend money on a decent projector.
Projectors have versatility, and that makes them appealing to customers for many different reasons. Some want more affordable options compared to a TV, while some want them for public events or group gatherings. The XGIMI Halo might be more expensive than some other projectors you'd find at a retailer, but it offers the quality that you'd expect from top-of-the-line products that cost twice as much. And because of the versatility and convenience, it offers for its use in a home theater system or at a hastily organized outdoor gathering, it's definitely something you should consider if you're looking for a projector you'll enjoy using for years to come.
The XGIMI Halo projector currently retails for $799 and can be purchased at the XGIMI website.
An XGIMI Halo projecter was provided to ComicBook.com by XGIMI for the purposes of this review.