The XGIMI Halo+ is easy to set up and delivers superbly clear pictures but colour rendering and motion smoothing won't suit everyone
- Fantastic 1080p clarity
- Effective auto-focus and alignment
- Built-in Android TV
- Over-zealous motion smoothing
- Colours lack depth
- Netflix won’t run without a workaround
With the original Halo projector, XGIMI set out to rewrite the rules for portable projectors, combining Full HD 1080p resolution with a bright 800 ANSI lumens lamp. At a time when most portables stopped at 720p and were 500 lumens, this was genuinely exciting.
With Anker’s Nebula Solar and Viewsonic’s M2, there are now other 1080p options out there, but XGIMI is back with a new, improved Halo, the Halo+. Here, the brightness gets an upgrade to 900 ANSI lumens, while new intelligent screen adaptation and alignment tech makes the projector easier to set up. Throw in an integrated Harman Kardon 5W sound system and updated Google Android TV software, and there’s potential for a portable projector that raises the bar once again.
XGIMI Halo+ review: What do you get for the money?
This is a 1080p DLP projector with a 900 lumens LED lamp, complete with built-in stereo sound and Google Android TV 10. With the latter installed, you don’t need any streaming sticks or other sources to watch your favourite streaming services, as the apps and capabilities come bundled in. Nor do you need a mains socket, as the 59Whr Lithium Ion battery will keep it running for two hours without.
The projector comes with a sleek remote control, complete with a microphone and Google Assistant support, and there’s an HDMI 2.0 port on the rear to connect a games console or a Blu-ray player. It even has a dedicated low-latency game mode.
XGIMI makes some bold claims about the Halo+’s capabilities, including HDR10 support, smart auto-focusing and screen alignment with auto-keystone correction, plus DTS and Dolby Audio sound. What’s more, with a 1.2:1 throw ratio, you can expect a 60in picture from 2.6m away or a 120in picture from 3.19m. In fact, it supports screen sizes of up to 200in. The LED lamp should last for up to 30,000 hours, so you should be good for a decade or more of use.
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XGIMI Halo+ review: What does it do well?
First of all, it’s really easy to set up. Plonk it on a table or suitable surface at the appropriate distance from your screen and it will pretty much configure itself to deliver a good picture, regardless of height or angle. You may have to do a little fine tuning with the manual controls afterwards but through several temporary setups we had the Halo+ up and running in a few minutes with the absolute minimum of fuss. This is great news if you don’t have a dedicated home cinema space and want something you can set up for an evening’s viewing in a jiffy.
The same goes for the software setup. If you use an Android phone you can simply set your projector up from the Google app, with relevant apps (although not the login details) syncing over. If you have to do things manually, the process isn’t a whole lot more difficult, and adding more apps is easy from the Google Play store. I had Google TV, Amazon Prime Video, Stadia game streaming and Disney+ ready for action within ten minutes of getting the projector set-up.
The Google Assistant works well for simple search and playback of content across streaming services, and the remote control and menus are easy to use. A dedicated Settings button opens up more options than you’ll find inside Android TV’s Settings menu. There’s also Chromecast functionality for streaming photos and video directly from a phone, tablet or browser.
Picture quality is – up to a point – superb for a portable projector. In fact, I don’t think I’ve looked at a projector in this class that can beat the Halo+ for image clarity. Watch 4K streaming services and sources and you might swear that there’s more detail and texture than you’d expect on a 1080p display, which is good news when you’re blowing up a full HD picture to fill a 100in screen. Colours are vibrant and, with a little tweaking, most material looks good.
The Halo+ can even work as a gaming projector. You need to be a little more careful about setup, as the auto-alignment and keystoning features are turned off to minimise lag, but games feel snappy, smooth and very playable, whether streamed using Stadia or running direct from an Xbox Series S.
The Halo+ also scores high for audio quality. The sound from the dual 5W speakers has a presence and weight you won’t find on most other portable projectors and I was happy watching Marvel and Star Wars blockbusters on Disney+ without plugging in a soundbar. There’s a little brashness and distortion at the highest volume levels, but these are overkill for personal or family viewing in any case.
The only portable projector I’ve heard that sounds this good is the BenQ GV30 (£579) and I’d say the Halo+ has a slightly bigger sound – not to mention a higher resolution picture. There’s also a 3.5mm output if you want to plug some headphones in.
Crucially, this is a rock-solid portable projector. It’s well-built and easy to use and comes with everything you need built-in, yet it’s only just over 17cm tall and weighs just 1.6kg. In tests, I was able to eke out nearly two hours of playback before the battery conked out. That’s not going to cover a screening of The Batman, but you should be good for shorter movies or a couple of episodes of your current binge series. I also like the easy access controls on the top, and the integrated kickstand for angling it upwards.
XGIMI Halo+ review: What could it do better?
I have a handful of caveats about the Halo+’s picture quality. Firstly, the image has a certain look – slightly cold, without the full range of colour tones, which you can’t quite seem to adjust around. I liked it more with the colours set to “Warm”, but you still don’t get what I’d call a natural presentation.
I’d also take the claims around HDR10 support with a pinch of salt. Sure, the Halo+ can process HDR10 metadata and map the projected output around it but the brightness levels aren’t high enough or the black levels low enough to really dish out an HDR image. To be fair, this is true of full-sized 4K projectors with a 3,000 ANSI Lumens output, so it’s a lot to ask of a portable model with a mere 900 ANSI Lumens to play with.
Subjectively, I also found the Halo+’s motion compensation a bit obnoxious. Left on the default setting, movement looks artificially smooth, giving the image plenty of the infamous “soap opera” effect. Even turned down to low, it gave movies a slightly TV-like quality. Some people don’t mind this and some actively like it but, if you’re sensitive to this kind of thing, you might want to give the Halo+ a miss.
Finally, the Halo+ can’t play Netflix content out of the box. Run the app and try to start a programme, and you’ll be informed that streaming isn’t supported on this device. XGIMI supplies a leaflet detailing a workaround but this takes a little time and effort and doesn’t feel like something you might want to rely on. Still, it’s hardly a dealbreaker. If you want to play Netflix you can always plug in your favourite affordable streaming stick.
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XGIMI Halo+ review: Should you buy one?
Possibly. The Halo+ is a well-designed portable projector capable of delivering images of superlative clarity, and some viewers are going to love the bright, punchy pictures and super-smooth motion.
Others might find the presentation slightly artificial, and if you’re a fan of natural or cinema settings on TVs or projectors, then that might apply to you. XGIMI has aced the design and audio and crammed in some excellent features but this isn’t quite the perfect portable projector; that’s a shame because, with a little work, I feel it could be.