I have been on something of a projector kick in the last few months. I have been looking for a projector to replace my TV in the main living room, as well as one to set up in my outside theater in my backyard. When Xgimi asked me if I wanted to try its newest 1080p offering, the Elfin, of course, I said yes, and though it may not be suited for my living room display, it's certainly worthy of some love elsewhere in the house.
The Elfin is a little different from some of the best home theater projectors as it is designed to be subtle, offering a profile only slightly bigger than a hardback book. I spent a lot of time trying the Elfin out in different scenarios to get a good feel for what it can do.
Bottom line: The Elfin is sleek, lightweight projector that would be perfect for a child's room or in an outdoor theater. You can even take it to hotels or business trips as it is so small. Just be aware it isn't the brightest projector, so it isn't great as your main TV.
- Very light
- Low profile (extremely small)
- The speakers are surprisingly good
- Android TV built-in
- Only 800 Lumens
- Light on connectors
Xgimi Elfin: Price and availability
The Elfin from Xgimi is slated to release on August 20th in the North American market and will be available on Amazon here in the US. As this is the initial launch, the stock may be low, but I have never seen Xgimi run out of product at launch, so you should be good to go.
The Elfin is on sale at $649, and Xgimi projectors tend to hold their value for around three to six months. $649 is a reasonable price for the Elfin, so now is a good time to buy if you are in need.
Xgimi Elfin: What's good
Aesthetically, the Elfin is one of the nicest projectors I have seen in a long time. There are no ugly bumps or lumps; it's just a smooth white box with a micro lattice of holes drilled in for the speaker. Measuring around 7.5 x 7.5 x 2 inches, the Elfin is so small it is easy to stash on any surface, making it almost invisible unless it is turned on. It's quiet, too, unlike many home cinema projectors, so you can watch a show without the constant roar of fans over the top of the audio. I really enjoyed the low profile of the Elfin as it blended in with my living space rather than standing out.
The Elfin is so small it is easy to stash on any surface, making it almost invisible.
The Elfin is a true 1080p projector, so the quality of the projection is really great. One of my favorite things with this new line of Xgimi projectors is the AI-driven keystone adjustments. First seen on the Horizon range, the software can automatically adjust your display, so it misses objects on the wall or my personal favorite; it can adjust your image, so it is square, even if your projector is at an angle when it projects. This gives you some variety in where you position the projector, rather than having it face on the whole time.
Like all of the Xgimi lineup, the Elfin comes equipped with Android TV, which is incredibly easy to use. Having a smart projector that can play Disney+, Hulu and YouTube make it instantly more versatile, and the Harman Kardon sound system means you don't need any peripherals to get the most out of it. This is a good thing, really, as the Elfin is a little low on ports.
Xgimi Elfin: What needs work
One of the things I liked most about the Horizon 1080p projector was the number of available ports. It came with 2x USB, 2x HDMI, an ethernet port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a digital output for audio. On the other hand, the elfin just has a USB, an HDMI, and a 3.5mm jack. This severely limits the peripherals you can add to it, though the USB does allow you to attach a keyboard or storage, and the HDMI will let you hook up your game console; you really need more ports if you want to use a projector as your main TV.
I ended up taking the Elfin on a trip that had me stay in a hotel, and it was just right to fit in a small bag.
The other stumbling block to using this as your everyday projector is the lack of light. The Elfin has a max ANSI lumen of 800, which, while being ok for darkness or extreme lowlight, isn't going to cut in the middle of the day in your living room. The low light cements the idea that this is not a projector for your day-to-day but should be used as a secondary device, either in your backyard or as you travel around.
I ended up taking the Elfin on a trip that had me stay in a hotel, and it was just right to fit in a small bag. With the heavy blackout curtains you often find in hotels, the Elfin worked like a champ, but it suffered badly in my living room, where I have light curtains and natural light.
Xgimi Elfin: Competition
1080p projectors are not that hard to come by these days, but those as compact as the Elfin are thin on the ground. There are almost none that can compare to a whisper-quiet 7.5-inch square device. To find something that offers more value than we need to look at what the Elfin doesn't have; battery and brightness.
If you are looking to make the Elfin your main TV, the brightness of just 800 lumens may not be enough. The Horizon, the Elfin's bigger sibling, has a massive 2,200 lumens, more than enough to use anywhere. It is chunky, though, so it would need a special place just for it. If you are looking for something portable in terms of battery, then the Xgimi Halo is an excellent choice. Although it doesn't have the smart keystone adjustment, the Halo does have the same 800 lumens LED with a two-hour battery thrown in for good measure.
Xgimi Elfin: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You are looking for a travel projector
- You need a projector for a second room
- You want something unobtrusive
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You need a battery in your portable projector
- You want something bright in your main living room
The Elfin has a lot of great points to recommend as a secondary device in your home. If you travel a lot and would like a projector to take with you to the hotel instead of those tiny TVs, or you want to set your child up with a projector in their bedroom, then the Elfin is likely a great choice.
If you are looking for something with a lot of brightness or many ports, then the elfin isn't going to work for you. You'll be better off with a bigger, more powerful setup like the Xgimi Horizon.
While the Elfin isn't the ideal projector for me, it certainly ticks a lot of boxes for a device for my family. I need something that will play my Xbox at full brightness and let me plug in multiple devices, including my speakers, but my daughter just wants a small pretty box that will play Bluey in the bedroom for her — she's only 3 don't judge her.
My wife and I also really like it outside in the cozy theater we have in our backyard. It's small enough to sit on a Manfrotto tripod, and because of the AI smarts, it can be set over to one side instead of right in front of us. It can also automatically adjust to fit the projector screen we bought, so more cutting off the edges of a movie. It may not be the exact thing I was looking for, but it has filled a need I didn't know I had.
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