I've used many different projectors over the last couple of decades, but none have ever really ticked all the boxes. The Xgimi, though, comes pretty close to fulfilling all my needs. You want a projector you can use indoors as another TV? The Halo can do that. You need a projector to watch movies in your backyard? The Xgimi can do that too. I used it in as many different scenarios as I could think of, and it took almost all of them in its stride.
Halo 1080p portable projector
Bottom line: The Halo combats the biggest issue with these portable projectors; it has fantastic sound without the need for external speakers. The image quality and battery life can't be sniffed at either.
- Compact design
- Good battery life
- Excellent built-in speakers
- Not a full Android TV experience
- No native Netflix
Xgimi Halo: What's good
When I was looking at the Halo use cases, my first thought was a drive-in movie for my kids. I have a nice blank wall on the side of my house where the lawn is, and it felt like a perfect place to set up a movie. The problem is the closest outlet is about 80 feet away, and a traditional projector uses way too much power, even for my Jackery 1000 power station to handle. Enter the Halo and its battery-powered goodness.
As you can see from the above image, the Halo worked great in the way I wanted it to. The projector itself is weighted really well, and because of its shape, it sits nicely on a tripod without the worry of it toppling over. The center of gravity is directly over the tripod, so it felt secure and didn't wobble in the wind. With it attached to the Manfrotto tripod, I was able to move it back far enough to cover the entire wall with the movie of choice. Halo's battery life meant we could position it wherever we wanted to get the best experience possible without the need for cables. Two-hour battery life is enough to watch a standard movie, as long as it isn't the Lord of the Rings, but having the Jackery to keep it charged really helped there. If you are thinking of taking the Halo with you when you go camping or to the beach, keep that limitation in mind.
The Halo's battery life meant we could position it wherever we wanted to get the best experience possible
The visual quality itself was surprisingly good. I have a 4K HDR LG as my main TV, so I was worried that the visual fidelity — especially the size it took to cover my whole wall —would suffer. It turns out that even with a screen 25 feet on the diagonal, the image was more than up to the job. Sure, it wasn't as good as a 4K HDR Blu-ray or anything; after all, it wasn't even on a pure white wall, but it made us all feel like we were at a drive-in movie, and that's exactly what we wanted. The Halo produces 800 ANSI lumens, which is significantly more than you would see on other portable projectors. This lets you see what's on the screen even in the daytime, though I did find it to wash out with direct sunlight. Keep the curtains closed when you are watching, and you should be good.
The Halo boasts about having Harmon Kardon speakers, but I was a little wary before trying it out. Normally you would need to hook up external speakers to have any chance of a good sound experience on a projector. The Halo speakers were a nice surprise and offered loud enough volume to be heard over the wind and three-year-old, and a texture I wasn't expecting. I assumed the speakers would be tinny and dull, but the bass was decent, and the midrange was clear enough to allow vocals to come through clearly. Overall the speaker quality is a real selling point for the Halo; I've never used a projector with audio this good. Of course, the Halo is Android-powered, so if you want to, you can use Bluetooth to connect headphones for an even better sound experience.
Xgimi Halo: What needs work
When a company advertises that its product runs Android TV "with over 5000 apps," I expect it to work with those apps without much issue. Unfortunately, the Xgmini Halo is unable to run Netflix natively. While you can run it through other ways, the idea that the biggest streaming surface on the planet isn't available makes little sense to me. Normally this means that the Android TV version the company is using is not the most recent or that the device is asking for permissions — root access or unlocked bootloaders — that Netflix just doesn't allow.
Is the lack of Netflix a deal-breaker? No, not really, but it suggests that the Android TV side of the Halo may not be regularly looked after. If that's the case, you may not want to rely on it as your primary TV for a long period of time. If you are out camping and using a USB or even playing games on an Xbox, it won't be a problem, but if you are looking to buy it specifically for the Android TV, you may want to look elsewhere.
Update: Xgimi reached out to me to say they are applying for Netflix certification at the moment and as soon as it is available the projector will be updated to include it.
That being said, the Android TV experience is still pretty good. The Disney+, Hulu, and Prime Video apps all work perfectly right now, and even apps like Geforce Now seem to work fine as well. I worry that as Android TV evolves, the Halo will be left in the dust, and these apps won't work anymore. Hopefully, that won't be the case.
Xgimi Halo: The competition
It's often difficult to find a home for a projector in your main room, but the BenQ can be used incredibly close to your screen, making it far easier to get setup. The 2200 lumen lamp means you can use it even in the middle day; a must if you want it as your main TV.
Of course, because it is a standard style Projector, you will need to add a surround sound system to get decent audio, and taking it outside is pretty much impossible without a lot of setup time and effort.
The Anker Apollo's four-hour battery life is the biggest win for this tiny projector. Having that long a life means you can have it projecting in the background of a party or while watching shows at a campsite without worrying about random shutoffs. The brightness is low, though, just 200 lumens, so you'll need to use it in the dark to get the full effect.
You should buy the Xgimi Halo if:
- You want a portable projector
- You don't want to take a separate speaker with you
- Want to use Android apps
You shouldn't buy the Xgimi Halo if:
- You want a new main TV
- You want to watch Netflix
The lack of Netflix aside, I've fallen in love with Xgimi Halo. For my specific use case, it's perfect as it allows me to do something different with my family, and with the current state of the world, a distraction is always welcome. We even had the idea to take it up to our local water tower and see if we can't make it an even bigger experience. I'll let you know how that goes!
The Halo is the cheapest projector, or even the most powerful, but it does tick all the boxes when it comes to balance. The visuals are excellent, especially when you couple them with a bright lamp and the portability to project just about anywhere. The sound is a huge selling point, making it easier than ever to get a projector set up and usable in just a few moments.
If you are looking for a projector that you can use in various situations, with sound that is powerful enough to really shine, then the Halo from Xgimi might be right for you. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to watch Frozen 2 in the desert with my family.
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