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XGIMI Horizon Ultra review: The fantastic 4K projector that merges laser with LED

Our Rating :
£1,749.00 from
Price when reviewed : £1749
inc VAT

The XGIMI Horizon Ultra is a worthwhile investment for any home cinema enthusiast


  • Living room friendly design
  • Superb image clarity and detail
  • Excellent colour performance


  • Missing some key streaming apps
  • Lacks serious gaming features

In its ongoing mission to shake up the projector market, XGIMI has gone wild with the Horizon Ultra. If it’s not enough that it doesn’t look like any other 4K projector. It doesn’t operate like most of them, either, combining laser and LED technology to hit levels of image quality you might not think possible at a sub-£2,000 price point.

Throw in a fantastic Harman/Kardon speaker system, built-in streaming and XGIMI’s brilliant Intelligent Screen Adaptation (ISA) tech, and you have a one-box home cinema that can compete with serious projectors from the biggest brands. And while it’s not exactly cheap, it is incredibly good value.

XGIMI Horizon Ultra review: What do you get for the money?

The Horizon Ultra is a 4K home cinema projector that, like most more affordable 4K projectors, uses pixel shifting technology on a 0.47in 1080p DLP chip to create a 2160p image. For some that’s never going to be ‘true’ 4K but the effect is so close that you’d be hard pressed to see any noticeable distinction.

The most interesting thing about XGIMI’s latest projector isn’t its resolution, however; it’s its light source. We tend to see budget and portable projectors using dimmer but long-lasting LEDs, while mid-range and higher-end home cinema models either use a traditional lamp or an array of lasers. The Horizon Ultra uses a 2,300 ISO lumens hybrid system, mixing LEDs and lasers to give you the brightness and clarity one might normally associate with laser projectors but with richer and more natural colours. The LEDs and lasers have a predicted lifespan of up to 25,000 hours.

Beyond this, the Horizon Ultra supports HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision formats and incorporates a 2x12W Harman/Kardon speaker system with DTS-HD, DTS-Virtual: X and Dolby Digital support. It has built-in Android TV 11.0 streaming, giving you access to a wide range of streaming services and apps, and it includes XGIMI’s ISA 3.0 tech for easy setup and fuss-free usage. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity is included, while the back hosts two HDMI 2.0 inputs, two USB-A ports, an RJ-45 for Gigabit Ethernet, plus 3.5mm headphone and optical S/PDIF outputs.

XGIMI Horizon Ultra review: What does it do well?

I don’t often wax lyrical about the design or style of a projector but the Horizon Ultra is an exception. The top, left and right are covered in a cream PU leather, with the back housing the connections, all lined-up beneath some meaty vents.

The front is dominated by a large fabric section, which shifts down smoothly and quietly when you turn the projector on to reveal the lens behind. I could moan about some practicalities – there’s no obvious way to tilt the projector upwards if it’s sitting on a low table and the power brick is absolutely massive – but the styling of the projector itself is elegant, unobtrusive and perfect for living room use. People who saw it during testing liked the way it looked, even if they weren’t really sure what it actually did.

XGIMI has also done another great job of removing friction from the setup and configuration. The Horizon Ultra effectively sets its own screen size, focus and distortion correction during the initial setup, and will do so again if you press the focus button or move the projector while it’s switched on. There’s an optical zoom to increase or decrease the image size without impacting image quality, and with a 1.2 to 1.5:1 throw ratio you don’t need a cavernous space to get a good sized picture. You’ll still need around 3m to get a 100in picture, which might be tricky in some living rooms but you can generate an 80in display from 2.43m.

Setting up the built-in streamer isn’t any more challenging. You can copy across your Google account, Wi-Fi settings and Android apps from an existing device or add credentials manually if you’d prefer. Any other apps – with a few notable exceptions – can be installed directly from the Google Play store. I had it up and running with Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Disney+ within twenty minutes of plugging it in and I barely had to think about tweaking angles or adjusting settings during or after that process.

Even when I moved it between rooms and screens, the Horizon Ultra pretty much just worked. On the odd occasion when the focus needed fixing, the automated ISA 3.0 system consistently delivered as sharp or sharper results than my own manual adjustments.

Yet the most impressive thing here is the picture quality. When I’ve tested mid-range laser projectors – including XGIMI’s own – I’ve always been impressed by the clarity and detail but not always the colour performance, which can be oversaturated in some tones, undersaturated in others, and often a little cold, clinical and unnatural. None of that holds true with the Horizon Ultra. The image is spectacularly crisp and detailed, revealing textures and nuances that might normally get lost in the frame. On a 100in screen, the results are frequently breathtaking.

At the same time the colours it produces are rich without looking contrasty or artificially punchy, and skin tones and scenery look natural. I used it most of the time on the Cinema preset with a range of TV shows, movies and video games, and whether I was watching big action movies, sci-fi or drama – or booting up Cyberpunk 2077 and Returnal for a spin – I was delighted with the projected image.

Even HDR content looks great on the Horizon Ultra, which is not something I can say for many of the projectors I’ve tested recently; not good as on a decent OLED, QLED or mini-LED TV, maybe, but it’s very enjoyable all the same. Meanwhile, a quick run through of highlights from the 4K Blu-ray of Dune proved that the Horizon Ultra is capable of getting the best from high-quality material: a real feast of 4K detail, tone and blazing colour.

To back this up, the Horizon Ultra delivered impressive results in my colorimeter testing, reproducing 92.4% of DCI-P3 colour gamut. Even colour accuracy, an area where many projectors deliver sub-par results, was good, especially after using the Horizon Ultra’s High Colour Accuracy routine to optimise the picture. 

The built-in sound is great, too. No single, square box is going to give you the immersive surround sound you might get from a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system, or a Dolby Atmos soundbar, but the Horizon Ultra delivers rich, powerful audio with a clear dialogue channel and some nice steering of stereo effects. What’s more, there’s more of a sense that sound isn’t just coming from a single, central source than with most other projectors.

XGIMI Horizon Ultra review: What could it do better?

Not much. Gamers might want something with a higher refresh rate than 60Hz or more dedicated game modes but I found the performance and latency more than good enough for a session of Cyberpunk 2077, Gears 5 or Baldur’s Gate III.

Otherwise, the biggest complaints come down to app support. As with other XGIMI projectors, there’s no native Netflix app. There’s a workaround to install an Android version but you won’t get 4K resolution or HDR on that and, while XGIMI hopes to work with Netflix to resolve this, there’s no specific timeframe. On top of that, there’s also no BBC iPlayer, Now TV or Channel 4 app support. 

This is a mild disappointment, but easily fixed just by plugging in your choice of 4K Streaming Stick.

XGIMI Horizon Ultra review: Should you buy one?

If you have the budget, yes. While there are even more capable 4K projectors – and native 4K laser projectors – available, they’ll cost you a lot more than the £1,749 you’ll pay for the Horizon Ultra. 

Right now, there isn’t a 4K projector for under £2,000 that can touch it and certainly not one with the built-in audio or streaming features. Like any serious home cinema projector, it is a big investment, but this is one purchase that could make your movie-watching dreams come true.

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