Reviews

XGIMI HALO+ Review: Our Opinion –

Xgimi Halo+ is not just another cheap portable mini projector. Its elegant and understated design is matched by a surprisingly good image. This little gem is bright for its size, delivers decent contrast, pretty accurate colors, and the Android TV ecosystem is wellintegrated. There is even a battery with a claimed autonomy of 2.5 hours in reading content.

However, it’s a bit pricey and easily outperformed by larger conventional batteryless projectors like the Optoma HD29He. So if you absolutely don’t need fully wireless movie nights, you can get a better picture and save money by choosing another option.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a portable home theater experience, the Halo Plus offers a better and brighter picture than many competing projectors. The simplicity of Android TV’s builtin interface and plenty of streaming options make it much easier to use than many models we’ve enjoyed. But this comes at a high cost.

Full HD 1080p in a tiny box

  • Native resolution: 1920×1080 pixels
  • HDR Support: Yes
  • 4K Support: Yes
  • 3D Compatible: Yes
  • Lumens: 900
  • Zoom: No
  • Lens shift: No
  • LED life: 25,000 hours

Halo+ is a 1080p projector, but it accepts 4K and HDR signals. Like most projectors, it can’t do much with HDR, but the feature is still great. There is no lens shift or zoom, which is typical for this type of portable device. To get an enlarged image, move the projector away from the screen.

The declared brightness seems to be greatly overestimated. We measured about 284 lumens, while the manufacturer claims 900. This is not bad, but far from what Xgimi claims. Either way, it’s one of the brightest portable projectors we’ve tested, though it’s a far cry from more affordable batteryfree projectors. So it all depends on how you plan to use Halo Plus. If having a battery is essential, then this projector is bright enough for its category. If you just want something small and not too expensive, there are other options that are brighter and more functional.

Claimed battery life is 2.5 hours. Using a battery cuts the light intensity in half, which is common with battery powered portable projectors.

There is one more quirk that we should mention because it drove us crazy. When turning off Halo +, we have two options available: standby mode and complete shutdown. If you choose to turn off completely, which makes sense to prevent battery drain, the only way to turn the projector back on is to press the power button… twice. Before the screen turns black, a small warning appears about this. This design defies common sense. We don’t know of any other product that requires you to doubleclick the power button to activate.

  • Inputs and streaming
  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • USB port: 1
  • Headphone and Bluetooth audio output
  • Internet: 2.4/5GHz, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Remote control: no backlight

At the back, there is a fairly standard connection for a projector of this size: HDMI and USB, plus an analog headphone output. The native Android TV integration is a big advantage in terms of ease of use. This means you have all the major streaming apps and the full versions of those apps. Many portable projectors use diluted versions, making them much more difficult to use.

Halo+ features two 5W speakers from Harman Kardon. They provide quite a lot of volume for their size.

Image Quality Comparison

We compared Halo+ with two similar portable projectors: Anker Nebular Mars II Pro and BenQ GS50. The Anker Nebular Mars II Pro offers similar specs, about the same size, but costs $550 on average. The BenQ is much bulkier than the Halo+, but both are still easily considered portable. It costs 799€. We connected them to a home theater amplifier and connected them side by side to a 102inch projection screen.

The Anker image looked a bit washed out compared to the Xgimi, although their contrast ratios are nearly identical. This is likely due to the lack of image adjustment controls on the Mars II Pro. The fixed brightness setting is too high, resulting in shadows and a washed out image. Looking at it on its own, it’s not as conspicuous and overall the picture is still good. But compared to Xgimi, it lags behind.

It should be noted that Mars II Pro displays 720p versus 1080p for BenQ and Xgimi, but this is not as important as one might think. Of course, the other two are sharper, but Anker has a great figure. All in all, if you want something nearly as good, but want to save some money, then the Mars II Pro is your best bet.

The GS50 fishes at brightness. Xgimi is almost twice as bright as BenQ. But at 100 inches, both still fall short of “true” home theater projectors. On the other hand, if you are projecting a TVsized image, it will be much more impressive. Xgimi is really brighter. Its contrast ratio is also better, by about 50%. This, combined with additional light, results in a more attractive image.

However, BenQ reproduces much better colors. Grass, sky, skin tones – everything looks much more natural. The colors of Xgimi are not as realistic. However, while color is an important part of the overall picture quality, it just can’t compete with Xgimi’s better brightness and contrast in this case.

When it comes to Xiaomi’s Mi Smart Projector 2, we measured half the lumens compared to the Xgimi and Anker, about the same as the BenQ. Since it has almost the same price as the Xgimi but no battery, the latter comes out as a clear winner.

Conclusion

Halo+ features a sleek, understated design. Suit outside, athlete inside. It outperforms its most direct competitors. However, as is the case with all these portable projectors, you really need to think about what you are going to use it for. Is having a battery an important benefit to you? If you’re not going to use a battery, a traditional home theater projector like the BenQ HT2050A for example is a lot better than the Halo Plus for the same price.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be using it regularly away from outlets, the Halo Plus delivers a brighter and overall better image than several other portable projectors we’ve tested. The Anker Mars II Pro is better, but lacks the contrast, detail, and ease of use of a full Android TV interface. The BenQ GS50 has a more original design but can’t compete with the Xgimi in terms of brightness. So if you’re going to use it offline and don’t mind the relatively high price, the Xgimi Halo+ is a great option.

CNET.com article adapted by CNETFrance

Image: Jeff Morrison/CNET

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