- Manufacturer & Model
- XGIMI Halo LED Portable Projector
A true 1080p DLP imaging system with LED lighting rated for 30,000 of performance, no color wheel, two onboard 5" speakers, WiFi and Bluetooth streaming with HDMI and USB connectivity, excellent motion capabilities, lightweight and portable, autofocus, four-point keystone correction, overall performance is quite good.
XGIMI's Halo LED Portable Projector packs a tremendous amount of performance into a lightweight and highly portable form factor. Onboard technologies like autofocus make for a near plug-and-play experience, and menu controls allow users to dial in an image. With Android TV 9.0 and WiFi, Halo provides access to 5,000 apps, opening the doors to a wide range of streaming options, and USB 2.0 and HDMI 1.4/2.0 ports allow for use with memory sticks, streaming devices, and physical media players. The addition of Bluetooth adds an audio dimension to the projector's overall performance capabilities.
Despite some issues with dark scene reproduction, Halo's overall picture performance is bolstered by excellent motion capabilities, saturated colors, and natural-looking skin tones.
With names like Anker, Vamvo, Apeman, and AAXA, the list of portable projector manufacturers is hardly padded with household names. Today, we're taking a close look at a rising name on that list: XGIMI (pronounced: Ex-Gee-Me). Currently, the company offers five different "portable projector" models spread across two series. The budget-minded MoGo Series carries three models priced from $400-$650, and the step-up Halo Series has two. Both Halo models utilize 1080p DLP technology for true Hi-Def imaging, with the recently released Halo+ ($849) sporting a new CPU, Android 10.0 TV, 80.11ac WiFi, and a slight bump in luminance. Price-wise, Halo+ lists for $50 more than last year's model, but savvy shoppers can find the original Halo for up to $170 less.
This isn't my first run-in with Halo. In November 2020, I purchased one as a Christmas gift for our college-age daughter. By all accounts, she and her friends have enjoyed using it to watch shows and movies in her dorm room. I know she loves its plug-and-play nature, and I've been thrilled she hasn't needed tech help!
Fast forward to Summer 2021, and XGIMI invited AV NIRVANA to review a projector, which led to Halo arriving on my doorstep for a second time. Although XGIMI has since revealed Halo+, the original Halo model remains a highly relevant contender, especially for buyers hoping to save some coin.
Halo is an award-winning 3D-capable projector that's locked and loaded with an alluring skill set. While its performance might not match similarly priced standard-sized projectors, it's an excellent choice for buyers that want a solid picture from a device that can be moved from room to room or thrown in a backpack and taken on a camping trip. Currently tagged with an MSRP of $799, Halo can be purchased directly from XGIMI.com or through Amazon.
Weighing a bottom-heavy 3.53lbs and standing less than 7" tall, Halo's physical presence screams convenience – it's sized perfectly for handling and transportation. Using a mixture of plastics and a wrap-around metal grille, it feels decently substantial in the hands and has the look of a premium product. While I didn't put it through particularly challenging physical stress tests, it's sturdy enough to take some abuse. That said, I wouldn't characterize the projector as rugged. If you plan on taking it on trips, you'll need some sort of carrying case and a creative way to cover its lens and autofocus sensor.
The projector's topside has three touch-sensitive buttons (volume up, volume down, and play/pause), while the included remote carries a more extensive set of controls needed for daily use. The bottom has a tacky rubberized pad, a 1/4" tripod mounting point, and a folding kickstand, and the rear houses a power button, single USB 2.0 and HDMI 2.0 inputs, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Yes, the projector lacks an SD card slot, but owners can use the USB port to source audio, picture, and video files.
XGIMI touts Halo as 4K HDR-compatible, which I confirmed using a Panasonic UB9000 4K BD player and 4K source material. Just be aware that Halo's imaging system is not 4K. Instead, the projector relies on an HDMI 2.0 mode and processing that down-converts an incoming 4K HDR signal to 1080p.
Internally, Halo packs a tech punch headlined by an Amlogic T905X2 Cortex-A53 Quad-Core processor, Android 9.0 TV, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, an LED light source rated to last 30,000 hours without major light loss, and a full-1080p DLP projection system with a motorized lens and autofocus (±40 automatic/manual keystone correction). Notably, the projector's 0.33" DLP imaging chip isn't paired with a color wheel but rather red, green, and blue LEDs (which eliminates any possible rainbow effect). And, let's not forget, the projector is also compatible with 3D DLP-Link glasses.
Other internal features include dual-band WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2/5.0, two Harmon Kardon 5 Watt speakers, and a 17100mAh battery that's specified to offer two hours of use. Battery time is aided by auto-dimming that engages when the projector is unplugged. During testing, I was able to enjoy 2 hours and 30 minutes of battery-based streaming with moderate volume levels, which is enough time to enjoy a movie on the go.
Halo can throw an image from 30" to 300" with up to 800 ANSI lumens, though my experience says an image larger than 100" is less than desirable. A zoom function allows owners to shrink image size, but images can only be made larger by moving the projector further away from a wall or screen. For a point of reference, an 80" image requires the projector to be roughly 7' away from a vertical surface.
Video content can be sourced using the external HDMI and USB ports, Android TV apps downloaded from the Google Play Store, or through screen sharing via Chromecast Built-in. The lack of Netflix support is a bit of a bummer, but adding a Roku stick is a reasonable workaround. In fact, a Roku stick brings quite a few advantages, including the ability to stream an Xfinity cable subscription.
One last nifty feature is the inclusion of Bluetooth streaming. While owners can download music apps like Spotify directly to Halo, Bluetooth effectively turns the projector into a portable speaker. I found the pairing process to be easy and Halo delivered Bluetooth audio as promised. However, the projector's light source stays on during playback, making the projector more of a pseudo-Bluetooth speaker. It's usable but not ideal for situations where audio is the only desired output.
Halo ships in attractive packaging that has the appearance of quality. It's certainly robust enough to save and re-use for future storage and transportation of the projector. That said, I'd opt for XGIMI's soft case (available for $50 on Amazon) if the projector were going to be constantly on the move.
The box contains a multi-language instruction manual, an 8' long power cable, and a Bluetooth remote control. As previously mentioned, you won't find a lens cover.
The remote is slim enough to slip in a back pocket and has good range, with testing distances reaching over 40'. An intuitive button layout offers access to volume control, system menus, focus, input selection, and other necessary functions. You can also use Google Assistant to issue voice commands, which provides decently reliable control over general features like "play" and "pause."
Halo is extremely easy to set-up. Aside from joining a network, downloading and signing into apps, and charging the onboard battery, the projector is practically plug-and-play. Once on, simply aim the projector at your desired screen surface and Halo auto-focuses in a matter of seconds. Auto-focus is instantly engaged anytime you move or shift the projector, tapping some 10,000 screen points to make sure the resulting image is perfect – the process does an excellent job of keeping things looking nice and sharp.
I clocked the projector's startup process, from pressing the power button to completion of auto-focus, at 42 seconds.
Halo lacks adjustable feet, so the burden of leveling the projector is placed squarely on the shoulders of the user. And while it doesn't have motorized image shifting capabilities, it can correct vertical keystone distortion at up to a 40-degree angle. The menu system also has user-controlled multi-point keystone adjustments that provide two points of control for all four corners of an image (tho, it can't be used during 3D and gaming modes). I successfully used the multi-point keystone controls but noted it did not correct a slightly visible black border around the image. This ultimately proved to be a non-issue once I began watching content.
The menu system has five preset image modes (Bright, Standard, Soft, Office, and Game) and an adjustable "Customize" mode. Soft appeared closest to a calibrated state in a dark room, with Standard being a good option for viewing sessions in environments with ambient light. The Bright setting added too much blue to whites for my liking, making flesh tones look unnatural. For purposes of this review, I used the Spears & Munisil HD calibration disc and the projector's Customize mode to dial in the picture. After using the disc, my settings looked like this:
- Contrast: 46
- Brightness: 50
- Saturation: 42
- Sharpness: 45
- Color Temperature: Warm
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (4:3 is also available)
The disc's "Lighthouse" and "Big Buck Busy" reference content (actual screen shots, above) looked excellent from a seating distance of 10ft with a 70" image. Greens, blues, and reds were relatively balanced, and high levels of detail paired with natural movement completed impressively complex images. If you're concerned about any ghastly image quirks, like the soap opera effect or blown-out colors, you won't find them here.
Aside from a lack of onboard support for Netflix, Halo's biggest Achilles heel is dark scene playback, with screen noise and black crush being notable issues. While viewing Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray) and Gravity (Blu-ray) using an OPPO UDP-103 BD Player, plenty of noise and crush in shadow details were visible. To be fair, noise was most noticeable on a 70" image while standing within a foot or two of the image. Visibility of noise was reduced about 6' from the screen, and even less noticeable from a distance of 10'. To help illustrate this point, I captured images (below) of dark screen playback at these three distances, but keep in mind my camera and your computer screen are a poor substitutes for the naked eye.
On the flip side, films such as Ready Player One (Blu-ray) and Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse (Blu-ray) looked exceedingly good, as did Super Mario Cart 8 on the Nintendo Switch. Halo's motion handling, brightness, and rich color capabilities allowed brighter and more vibrant content to shine. Similarly, colorful content viewed on YouTube and Xfinity cable TV (HDMI) was clean and punchy. That included NFL football (actual screen shot below), which presented natural-looking grass and motion that was pleasing to the eye.
After viewing a wide variety of streamed (YouTube, Disney+, and HBO Max) and HDMI sourced content, Halo proved worthy as a suitable option for everyday use and a superior option if portability and ease of use are desired. In fact, the projector is bright enough that it can be used to throw a 30" to 40" image on a wall in a moderately lit room (yes, you'll experience some wash-out, but you'd be surprised at how much content is visible). If you're looking for a projector to use solely in a home theater, I'd suggest looking at more traditional large-model options.
Audio output was a bit bright and light on the low-end, but entirely sufficient given the projector's size and overall design. To give you an idea of its output capabilities, I measured SPLs reaching into the mid and upper 70dB range 6' from the projector. While bass output was hardly deep, it had enough presence to give some semblance of weight to explosions, helicopters, and the like, and dialog was consistently intelligible. Music playback was also sufficient. Much like movie and TV content, music was bright and lacking the full-range weight you'd expect from a proper pair of speakers. Of course, Halo's utility as a dual projector and Bluetooth speaker is certainly compelling for folks looking to kill two birds with one stone.
It's worth noting that seating distance from the projector is something to consider, as it does have some fan noise (rated by XGIMI at 30dB). The fan isn't overly distracting when seated several feet away, but might become annoying if you plan on running Halo less than a foot from your seating position.
XGIMI has pulled together quite a compact package, giving Halo just about everything one could want from a portable projector. Highlights include an impressive full HD image, plenty of brightness, vibrant colors, and admirable motion reproduction. We can also add the lack of a color wheel to its list of strengths, which eliminates any rainbow effect concerns.
Halo's WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities are also notable, particularly because WiFi provides onboard access to nearly 5,000 apps and a plethora of entertainment complements of the Google Play Store and Android TV. Let's not forget its handy HDMI port, which can be used to source HD and 4K content from physical media and external streaming platforms.
The projector's biggest detractions come from dark scene noise and black crush, but neither of these factors overshadows the projector's competencies.
Aside from performance, I found myself endlessly impressed by Halo's usability. Following initial set-up procedures, Halo acts as a plug-and-play device that powers up, focuses an image, and is ready to rip within a minute's time. Even fine-tuning an image through picture and keystone controls is easy to achieve. Hats off to XGIMI's engineering department on crafting such a consumer-friendly device.
While pricey compared to some pico-projectors, Halo's impressive toolset gives buyers lots of bang for the buck. If ease of use and portability are essential, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better value. Recommended!
XGIMI Halo 1080p LED Portable Projector Specifications
- Image Size: 30’’ – 200’’
- Throw Ratio: 1.2:1
- Lamp Type: LED
- Lamp Life: 30,000 Hours
- Standard Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (1080P)
- Maximum Supported Resolution: 3840 x 2160
- Projection Method: Front, Rear, Ceiling Mount, Desktop, Tripod Mount Suggested
- Itelligent Operation: Auto Focus/Keystone Correction
- RAM: 2GB / ROM: 16GB
- Operating System: Android TV 9.0 OS, Chromecast Built-in, Google Assistant
- WiFi: Dual-band 2.4/5GHz, 802.11a/b/g/n
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0
- Power Usage: <200 Watts
- Packing List: Power adapter * 1, Power cable * 1, Bluetooth remote control * 1, User manual * 1, FAQ * 1, Customer care card * 1
- Size and Weight: 4.4 X 5.7 X 6.7 inches, 3.5 pounds