And while we here at Sound & Vision typically advocate for high-performance, and accordingly high-priced, options, the reality is that much of the action in the global projector scene involves affordable lower-end models, many from brands you may have not heard of before.
XGIMI (pronounced “X-Jimmy”) is a leading maker of home entertainment projectors in its native China. The bulk of the company’s offerings are compact, portable HD-resolution models designed for quick-and-easy setup outdoors or in an interior space where you want a temporarily project a big-screen image, usually on a wall. While you can find tons of similar products on Amazon.com, many at ridiculously low prices (and with highly suspect specifications), XGIMI products stand out from the crowd owing to their sleek industrial design and Harman Kardon-developed built-in audio systems.
The new Horizon Pro ($1,699) is the first 4K projector to emerge from XGIMI and, while still compact enough to be portable, it’s being pitched as an option for more serious home theater viewing. Brightness for the projector’s LED light source is spec’d at 2,200 ANSI lumens and lamp life at 25,000 hours. A 0.47-inch Texas Instruments DLP chip with XPR tech achieves 4K resolution via pixel-shifting and HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range are supported. The Horizon Pro uses a fixed lens with a 1.2:1 throw ratio, and it can beam images from 30 inches all the way up to 300 inches.
The Android TV 10.0 interface enables the XGIMI to stream video over dual-band Wi-Fi using its built-in apps. There’s also Chromecast built-in for wirelessly “casting” programs directly to the projector from a computer, phone, or tablet, plus Google Assistant to help with program searches and hands-free commands. During initial setup of the projector, I noted there was literally no way to opt-out of the Google sign-in process. This wasn’t an issue for me since I have a Gmail account and Google already knows everything about me from my shoe size to my opinion on adding alfalfa sprouts to sandwiches (go for it). But this could be a showstopper for anyone who is intent on avoiding the Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Google-Brain.
Available apps on the Horizon Pro include Amazon Video, Hulu, Apple TV+, Peacock, YouTube, and many others. A Google Assistant search for “Netflix” also turned up a Netflix app, but after I downloaded this and entered my login credentials, the app wouldn’t play any programs. Fortunately, I had an Apple TV 4K and Roku Streaming Stick+ on hand, both of which offer a superior user interface—and a working Netflix app.
As I mentioned above, XGIMI’s products are distinguished by their sleek design, and the Horizon Pro is no exception. The cake-size projector features rounded corners and a black mesh case concealing its built-in 2 x 8-watt Harmon Kardon sound system. Basic controls are located on the top to power the unit on/off, play/pause streamed content, and adjust volume. Rear-panel connections include a pair of HDMI 2.0 inputs (one with ARC), optical digital audio and minijack headphone outputs, USB 2.0 type-A and LAN (Ethernet) ports, and a DC power input to connect the projector’s brick size (literally) power brick.
XGIMI bundles an equally striking aluminum-encased remote control with the Horizon Pro. Although it does break the first rule of projector remote ergonomics—no backlit keypad—the functions of the limited number of controls lining it surface are easy enough to memorize and it can be operated by feel alone.
I started my setup by connecting the Horizon Pro to a tripod (via the screw terminal located on its bottom surface), situating it approximately nine feet away from a 92-inch diagonal, 1.1 gain Stewart Filmscreen Cima screen, and aligning the lens with the screen’s bottom edge. After following instructions in the included printed manual to pair the remote control with the projector via Bluetooth, I plugged in a USB drive loaded with the latest firmware (provided to me by XGIMI). This added a wide range of new picture adjustment features, none of which are covered in-depth in the Horizon Pro’s printed manual. And since there’s no extended manual or additional setup info located in the support section of XGIMI’s website, for the most part I was flying blind.
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