Standard projectors don’t fit every household space, but XGIMI’s Halo+ Portable Projector is a consumer-friendly alternative that can go virtually anywhere. The battery-powered mini-projector provides a clear 1080p image and a bevy of welcomed features that help offset its hefty price tag.
Traditional projectors require such a specific layout and plenty of empty wall space that, until portable projectors started hitting the market, they were reserved primarily for commercial, educational, and business purposes. As the technology condensed, availability grew. It’s been nearly two decades since Mitsubishi introduced the first pocket-sized projector, and companies like XGIMI have done wondrous things with the mechanics of portable entertainment. The Halo+ Projector may not be the best option available, largely due to its high price, but the battery-powered device includes many features worthy of praise.
While the 1080p image quality is a primary draw to XGIMI’s portable projector, it only scratches the surface of what’s contained within the sleek, modest casing. Running on Android TV, the Halo+ is a multifaceted device sure to enhance your at-home game and movie nights.
True 1080p Projections Wherever You Go
- Dimensions: 4.5 x 5.7 x 6.8in (11.4 x 14.5 x 17.3cm)
- Weight: 3.5lbs (1.6kg)
- Input ports: Power, HDMI (ARC Supported) × 1, USB × 1
- Output ports: 3.5mm headphone jack
- Wireless Connectivity: WiFi (Dual-band 2.4/5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0
As someone who grew up in the age of LAN parties, I can attest that having to transport a full-sized TV isn’t an easy feat. Even today’s thinned-out screens have some heft, and the risk of damage is way too high to warrant frequent travel. So, I completely understand the convenience of a portable projector. I just didn’t expect a level of clarity that could, to a degree, replace a mid-level 1080p TV. And yet XGIMI’s Halo+ Portable Projector does exactly that with an adjustable screen that remains surprisingly clear and bright whether it’s stretched to 40-inches or 200.
It also supports 4K and HDR signals, but don’t expect that level of clarity and vibrancy. It is still limited to a 1080p output.
Out of the box, the XGIMI Halo+ is capable of producing a full-high definition (FHD) image brightened by a 900 ANSI lumens LED. That’s about the equivalent of a standard 60W incandescent lightbulb, but rather than trying to illuminate an entire room, all 900 lumens are focused through one lens. In my office, it was more than enough to produce a visible image with the lights off. You lose visibility in a lit room, and the brighter the room, the dimmer the image.
When I took the unit outside and projected the image against the stucco grooves of my house, the picture was as clear and as smooth as it could be considering the textured surface. There’s definitely a market for watching movies or gaming in the cover of moonlight, and the Halo+ is a great tool to make it possible. Throw in a projector screen and the image would be even better.
The Halo+ also features 3D compatibility, though I had no means of testing it.
The real test came when I booted up Evil Dead the Game. I went with the darkest game I could think of to see just how the XGIMI Halo+ handled the blackest blacks and dimly lit settings.
In the hour-plus of playtime, the screen did have to refocus twice in the middle of the action, but otherwise, the image was almost as clear as my 50-inch Samsung TV, even though it was stretched to about 65-inches. Other more vibrant games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge and Halo: Infinite showed off the brilliant colors made possible by the projector’s HDR10 functionality.
Responsive Auto-Focus and Auto Keystone Correction
One of the biggest issues you’ll face with a projector, especially in smaller spaces, is not having it perpendicular to the screen. Angling a projector would typically result in a distorted image, or what’s known as the keystone effect.
The typical remedy is to straighten the angle of the projector, but the Halo+ includes an auto keystone correction feature that really amplifies how consumer-friendly the portable projector is. I tested the device at three different angles and didn’t have to involve myself in the correction process. There is a manual option, should the auto feature not work, but I never had to use it.
Projecting on the ceiling or behind a screen? The image can be easily flipped to display properly via a system menu.
With keystone correction, there’s a risk of diminishing the quality of the image. The scaling process reduces the number of pixels in the final image, sometimes resulting in visual artifacts and a softer display. Though I had my projector at an angle and keystone correction did work its magic, I didn’t notice any change to the straightened picture.
The Halo+ also features auto-focus, which kicked in only when playing low-light games. I tried to recreate the infrequent auto-focusing I experienced while playing Evil Dead the Game with low-light movies, but the issue never arose again.
Both features work well to provide a smooth viewing experience, to the point where I could forget I wasn’t staring at a TV screen. That’s not to say the quality is a 1:1 ratio, but there were no jarring effects that hindered my enjoyment.
Artifact-Free Video and Lag-Free Gaming
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
- Brightness: 900 ANSI Lumens
- Lamp Life: 25,000 hours
For gamers, the true test of any display is how well it handles the fast-paced digital worlds of AAA titles. My primary concern when running my Xbox Series S with the Halo+ was a delay from controller input to the on-screen action. Across three titles (Evil Dead the Game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, and Gears 5), I experienced absolutely no noticeable lag. XGIMI markets the Halo+ Plus with 26.5ms low latency, or the approximate equivalent of a TV running on a built-in Gaming Mode.
Not only is gaming virtually lag-free, but the projection also remains void of any pixelation that may hinder clarity. Even with Gears 5’s biggest and darkest set pieces, the image is rendered beautifully, marred only by the surface you’re projecting onto. I didn’t have a projector screen at the time of testing, but the image was vibrant even against my light-colored wall.
Surprising Theater-Quality Audio
- Audio: Dual 5W Harman/Kardon speakers
- Codecs: DTS-HD, DTS-Studio Sound, Dolby, Dolby Digital (DD), Dolby Digital Plus (DD+)
One of the most questionable aspects of any portable projector is audio. Not only do you have to worry about whether there’s a built-in speaker, but if there is one, you’re at the mercy of its potentially subpar quality.
XGIMI’s Halo+ Portable Projector is outfitted with two 5W Harman/Kardon speakers that support Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-Studio Sound for a surprisingly clear and booming sound. It’s not going to beat a costly surround sound system or bookshelf speakers, but the integrated dual speakers fill out a space nicely. You definitely won’t miss any dialogue due to tinny or muffled audio, and action-packed scenes come to life nicely with a surprising resonance.
Even when I took the projector outside, I was treated to robust audio that wasn’t overshadowed by the cacophony of the outdoors. If you need to keep the audio to a minimum, standard headphones can plug into the 3.5mm audio jack.
Android Integration Leaves Little to be Desired
- RAM: 2GB
- Storage: 16GB
- System: Android TV
XGIMI’s Halo+ is an all-in-one media center thanks to Android TV integration. Unless you’re looking to game, you don’t need anything else besides a Wi-Fi connection and streaming service access. The user interface is clean and easy to navigate, and everything you need is right on the homepage. The included remote even works with Google Assistant at the press of a button.
There didn’t seem to be any difference between the projector’s Android UI and that of a Google TV television, and I didn’t experience any lag or slowdown when flipping through apps.
When I booted up the projector, all of the major streaming services were already downloaded and ready to be connected to my accounts. As long as you have a strong Wi-Fi connection, services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ will run as expected and deliver HD-quality streaming. The projector does have one HDMI port, but save for a gaming console, there’s little need to use it. You can also plug in a USB-A storage device to access photos and external videos.
Chromecast Built-In and Wireless Casting
If you don’t want to plug anything into the Halo+, you can make use of the built-in Chromecast functionality for wireless casting. It’s not a perfect option, as it only works with select apps, but having the choice is nice. Considering the capabilities of Android TV, though, I can’t quite determine why you’d use Chromecast built-in over the onboard apps.
You can project images and video directly from your Apple or Android phone using a number of different apps, turning your Halo+ into a veritable slide projector, but that seems to be the biggest draw. I tested this feature with the Video & TV | Chromecast app for iPhone, but Android users can try Cast to TV. What I did use of Chromecast’s wireless casting worked, if not with a more considerable delay than when compared to the near-zero latency of a hardwired console or device.
An Expected Middling Battery Life
Considering everything the Halo+ can pull off, it’s really no surprise that its weakest point is its battery. Per XGIMI, the 59W rechargeable battery is expected to last approximately 2.5 hours. I ran an ambient YouTube video for about 1 hour and 15 minutes and was able to project my Xbox for 45 minutes more before the battery needed to be recharged.
That’s just enough time to watch a full two-hour movie, though the low-power mode can help conserve energy for a longer run time. Unfortunately, that means dropping the brightness, which already takes a slight hit when not plugged in.
If you want a little more time out of the unit’s battery, you may consider a power bank connected via a DC-IN to USB adapter. It’s not a long-term fix, but it can help ensure you don’t have to cut your viewing experience short if you’re not near an outlet.
When it comes to having to replace a completely dead battery, I found no literature or replacement batteries for sale through XGIMI. It is built into the unit, so you’d have to take the projector apart to even see the kind of battery you’d need to buy. The projector could have been a little more user-friendly with an accessible battery.
Should You Buy the XGIMI Halo+ Portable Projector?
XGIMI produced a surprisingly powerful portable projector, though all of its functionalities do require the unit to be a little bigger and bulkier than other portable options. However, what you get is more than worth the heft. The sleek gray casing houses all the mechanics needed for an excellent viewing experience at a crystal clear 1080p resolution. As much as I tried to push the Halo+, it was able to deliver a clear and high-quality image every time.
Android TV is the real star of the show, providing access to virtually everything whether you’re setting up your projector in your backyard or taking it on the road. If you’re going to be far from a Wi-Fi connection, you can just bring a USB drive full of content to flip through and watch.
The accuracy of the Halo+ Portable Projector’s automatic keystone correction allowed me to use the unit in a rather tight, projector-unfriendly spot. That the unit does all of the work for you, even shrinking the projected image to avoid obstacles, is one of its more consumer-friendly features. XGIMI worked hard to make this the ultimate at-home projector that will fit just about any space. And for homes that can accommodate a true projector experience, the Halo+ can attach to a tripod or be mounted from the ceiling. Its wide and stocky build may be a little awkward compared to flatter models, but it still works.
I had a hard time finding even minor pitfalls with the Halo+, but as with many portable devices, the battery proved to be the outlier in an otherwise well-made product. Two hours is a decent amount of time, and you can find ways to extend it further, so it’s definitely not a dealbreaker. But for the very high price tag, some may be deterred by the time constraint.
I expected to find more significant pain points than just the battery, but XGIMI did a fantastic job developing a user-friendly portable projector. It won’t replace a unit designed for stationary use, but if you can get past the price, the battery life, and the slightly awkward design, it’s among the best portable options on the market.
XGIMI Halo+ Portable Projector
- Smooth, crystal clear 1080p projection
- Android TV provides access to most streaming apps
- Rechargeable battery lets you bring the unit virtually anywhere
- Low-latency, zero-lag gaming
- Very high price tag
- Battery is not easily replaced if it malfunctions
- Design is bulky and not great for ceiling installation
- Not a suitable replacement for stationary projectors