Xgimi Halo Plus portable projector review: Overview, will travel

The Xgimi Halo Plus isn’t your typical, inexpensive dim portable mini projector. Its elegant and sober design combines with a surprisingly good image. This little beauty is brilliant for her size, has a good contrastfairly accurate color and Android TV diffusion integrated. There’s even a battery with 2.5 hours of claimed playtime.

As

  • Bright for the category
  • Small size
  • Built-in battery

Do not like

  • A little expensive
  • Color is only OK
  • Weird ergonomics

It’s a little pricey, though, and easily outclassed by larger spotlights without a battery, like the BenQ HT2050A. So if you don’t absolutely totally need wireless movie nightsyou can get a better picture or save money compared to the Halo Plus.

If you’re looking for wireless fun, the Halo Plus delivers a better, brighter image than many competing projectors. The simplicity of the built-in Android TV interface and its myriad of streaming options make it much easier to use than many previous portable projectors we’ve loved. You will, however, have to pay a little for this ease of use and performance.

1080p resolution in a small box

  • Native resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • HDR-capable: Yes
  • 4K-capable: Yes
  • 3D compatible: Yes
  • Lumens Specification: 900
  • Zoom: No
  • Lens Shift: No
  • LED life: 25,000 hours

The Halo Plus is a 1080p projectorbut it can accept 4K and HDR signals. Like most projectors, it won’t do much with HDR, but this feature does not hurt. As is usually the case with projectors in this category, there is no lens shift or zoom. If you want a larger image, you need to move the projector away from the screen.

The brightness specification is even more inflated than usual. I measured around 284 lumens against their 900 spec. That’s not really that bad, but it’s quite a far cry from Xgimi’s claims. It’s one of the brightest portable projectors we’ve tested, but a far cry from even cheaper battery-less projectors. So it all depends on how you approach the Halo Plus. If the inclusion of a battery is paramount, then it’s pretty brilliant for its class. If you just want something small and not too expensive, there are other much brighter/better options.

There is a small foot at the bottom that allows you to rotate the front up to better position the image.

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This battery has a claimed battery life of 2.5 hours. Using the battery reduces the light output by about half, which is similar to what happens with most battery-powered pajamas.

There is another quirk that I must mention, because it drove me nuts. When you turn off the Halo Plus, you have two choices, basically standby and completely off. If you choose completely off, which makes sense if you don’t want the battery to drain, the only To turn the projector back on, press the power button… twice. There’s a little warning about it before the screen goes black, but it flickers and misses. To me, this design is exceptionally counter-intuitive. I can’t think of another product that requires you to press the power button twice to activate it. I seriously thought the spotlight died on me halfway through.

Inputs and streaming: check and verify

The inputs of the Xgimi Halo+ projector.

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  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • USB port: 1
  • Audio output: headphone output and Bluetooth
  • Internet: 2.4/5GHz, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Remote control: not backlit

On the rear is a fairly standard suite of connections for a projector of this size. HDMI and USB, plus an analog headphone output.

You’ve got full Android TV inside, which is a nice change from the more common Android-lite and Aptoide store. Which means you have all the top streaming apps, and full versions of said applications. Many portable projectors use nerfed versions of many apps, which makes them much more boring to use.

On the sides are two 5W speakers tuned by Harman Kardon. They play quite loud for their size. This is one of the first projectors of this size where I didn’t need to run it at 100% to hear over my air conditioner.

Image quality comparisons

A close up of the Xgimi Halo+ projector lens.

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For my comparison, I pitted the Xgimi against two similar (in spirit) portable projectors, the Anker Mars II Pro and the BenQ GS50. The Anker Mars II Pro offers similar specs, roughly similar in size, but costs $550. The BenQ has about 80% more physical volume compared to the Xgimi, but both are still easily considered portable. It costs $800. I hooked them up to a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier and viewed them side by side on a 102 inch screen at 1.0 gain.

The Anker looked somewhat washed out compared to the Xgimi, although their contrast ratios are basically the same. This is likely due to the lack of picture adjustment controls on the Mars II Pro. The non-adjustable brightness setting is too high, which increases shadows and makes the image appear washed out. By itself, it’s not as obvious, and the picture is still good overall, but compared to the Xgimi, it lags.

While the Mars II Pro is also 720p compared to BenQ and Xgimi’s 1080p, it’s not as significant as you might imagine. Sure, the other two are sharper, but the Anker holds its own. All in all, if you want something that’s almost as good, but want to save some cash, the Mars II Pro is the way to go.

The white remote control of the Xgimi Halo+ portable projector.

Geoff Morrison/CNET

The GS50 looks good on its own, but there’s one key way to do it: brightness. The Xgimi is almost twice as bright as the BenQ. At 100 inches, both are still dim compared to “real” home theater projectors, but if you’re projecting a more televised image, they look much more impressive. The eye, however, is immediately drawn to the Xgimi. It’s so much brighter. Its contrast ratio is also better, by around 50%. This, combined with the added light, makes the image more attractive.

However, the BenQ has a much better color. Grass, skies, skin tones all look much more natural on the BenQ. The Xgimi’s colors aren’t as bad as the ones I’ve tested recently, they just aren’t as realistic as the BenQ’s. While color is a crucial part of overall image quality, in this case it simply cannot compete with the Xgimi’s better brightness and contrast ratio.

What about the Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2? I measured half the lumens compared to the Xgimi and Anker, about the same as the BenQ. Since it’s basically the same price as the Xgimi, but lacks a battery, the Xgimi is the clear winner.

silver cylinder

The side view of the Xgimi Halo+ projector.

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The Halo Plus has a sleek, albeit understated design. A business suit on the outside but an athlete on the inside. It outperforms its most direct competitors. However, as with all these portable projectors, you really need to consider how you are going to use it. Is the battery look a nice addition or will you be using it that way regularly? Because if you don’t use the battery, a traditional home theater projector like the BenQ HT2050A, for example, is much better than the Halo Plus for the same price.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be using it regularly away from power outlets, the Halo Plus delivers a brighter and generally better image compared to several other portable projectors we’ve liked. The Anker Mars II Pro is a better deal, but it lacks the contrast, detail and ease of use of a full Android TV interface. The BenQ GS50 has a more playful industrial design, but can’t compete with the Xgimi on brightness.

So if you’re going to be using it unplugged and you don’t mind the fairly steep price tag, the Xgimi Halo Plus is a great option.

Front view of Xgimi's Halo+ projector on a green screen.

Geoff Morrison/CNET

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