It was the night before a four day Labor Day holiday. A Girl Scout troop leader told me she was phoning in a scheduled meting and having a movie night as few were expected to attend due to the upcoming holiday and lack of anyone saying they were coming. The plan was to have a movie night with the expectation of maybe a maximum of half the troop showing.
September 21, 2023: Hey a quick update to articles referencing the XGIMI Horizon Pro, or XGIMI Elfin. Brightness claims were listed based on information provided by the manufacturer at the time. XGIMI has reached a settlement with Epson to switch from ANSI to ISO standards and additionally change the brightness claims of a few of their projectors that overstated them. As I wrote a lot of XGIMI articles I am copying this block and saying if you see it say the Horizon Pro is 2200 ANSI lumens, it’s actually 1500 ISO lumens. The 800 ANSI Lumen claim of the Elfin is now 600 ISO lumens. These still appear to respectively overstate brightness by about 17% & 6% when accounting for conversion.
Quick disclaimer – Girl Scouts don’t endorse the XGIMI Horizon Pro (as far as I know,) I was called in to show a movie to a troop. I’m just a dad, not representing any org.
TL;DR – not a cheap projector with knock off unpolished software, did a great job in this use case, some minor issues I note.
As I have been blabbering on about how much I have been enjoying this loaner projector and how every time I start to get it set up for the actual test I want to do (outdoors, on a portable power supply, with my 120″ screen,) it rains, we have high winds, or it’s so hot it’s literally going to be nothing but a staged photo shoot of miserable people, this seemed like something I could do to at least get some testing done.
The setup for movie night
School cafeteria, 120″ projector screen, no internet connection, wobbly chair for a projector stand, chip clips to secure the screen, two 50+ foot extension cords, Tribit Stormbox Blast, USB->M2 enclosure, M2 SSD drive with a movie I’d ripped from a disc due to no streaming ability at the location. Yes, I could have used a thumb drive. No, I could not locate my thumb drive and there’s no reason to have an M2 SSD drive in the mix that was overkill.
With all the things I was bringing, I forgot the tripod.
The lack of bringing a tripod caused me to not be able to fully utilize the 120 inch screen. I tried, but my picture size was more in the 100 inch range. I needed to get the projector up and more center, but wobbly chair was not cooperating.
The audio on the XGIMI Horizon Pro is pretty decent, but I had no faith it could overpower the expected four troop members so I paired the Tribit Stormbox Blast with the unit and cranked it. It’s obnoxiously loud. The Horizon Pro is just a very nice set of speakers that won’t disappoint in a closed quiet environment. It’s not loud enough to overpower kids.
Short of it is, the Horizon Pro can not get louder than my 7yo when she’s saying “You know” at the start of every other sentence out of the blue… while I’m driving… so I went with a device that goes to 11.
Which was significantly fewer than the number of people that showed. Plans were 4-6, and we ended up with about 20+ (including adults).
Paul’s blood pressure
Most of my reviews I review completely in real world situations. The XGIMI Elfin I’ve got has been manhandled by my kids, sits in my kitchen, and projects its awesomeness on the wall. If it breaks in real world use I will cry, but move on. Loaner equipment scares me so. Especially when you’ve got $1200+ sitting in a wobbly chair surrounded by ice-cream and Oreo-fueled short attention span monsters.
Seriously, had I known the whole troop plus some kids were coming I’d have brought some barbed wire.
The three rules
- Don’t walk on the power cord which has a giant cart on it and a bunch of metal poles blocking it just so kids notice.
- Don’t touch the wobbly chair that the XGIMI Horizon Pro is on
- Don’t touch the screen
Literally two minutes into the movie all had been broken and yeah… I sat through the movie within leaping distance of this device. I did not have fun.
Issues encountered with the XGIMI Horizon Pro
This is for this particular showing. The auto focus and setup failed on the screen. It had failed previously at my house. In both cases it was close but not right and claimed it failed both times. My house it was on a wall (reflective semi-gloss maybe?,) here it was on a screen however it was on a wonky chair and I can’t be absolutely sure it was the Pro’s fault. We’ll see in future testing when I’m not dealing with 14+ moving children.
At the end of the movie the kids decided to jump in front of the projector and dance to the end music. The XGIMI Horizon Pro adjusted focus and became so blurry I could not even see how to correct it. I attempted, but we ended up cutting off the probably second or fifteenth credits and I eventually had to just reboot the unit because I could straight up not see what was going on and nothing I pressed helped me with this.
The first issue I think is a firmware update (there have been a couple while I’ve been playing with it,) and I suspect there will be a correction. The second you might run across with psycho children fueled by sugar intake for an hour, and hopefully there’s a button I’m just missing that corrects this. Unfortunately the manual, which I had brought along, was being used to keep the chair of wobble from wobbling as much. Yeah… not kidding. I wanted the manual, I didn’t get the manual.
Overall, both issues surmountable and preventable. My experience with the Elfin has made me expect the first will be corrected.
File manager app included with unit doesn’t allow you to copy files from external to internal. I wanted to load my 20 gig movie night movie on to the unit, but not happening with installed software. Sure, I could have installed FX File Manager or anything, just noting this. I used the external drive because I was running out of time.
Thoughts on the unit (for this movie night)
My wife mentioned that as a portable unit this felt extremely lacking in things such as a cheap carry case, or a ring or covering for the projection side. Or anything other than the box it came in to transport the unit. The power supply also comes in about 3/4th the size of a brick and the cable is fairly short. It was not right for this particular use case, as wobbly chair enthusiasts might attest to. Could be great with $5 of carry case.
As with the Elfin, I’m a bit surprised at a unit that does not come with two cheap-o AAA batteries for the remotes. I’m told by multiple companies at this point that involves some new hoops to jump through so… just be aware you’ll want a couple of batteries handy for the remote.
Netflix, as with any other projector I’ve run across, does not work. The unit is a certified Android TV, but Netflix certification eludes. There are at least two easy ways to work around this, but for purposes of trying to do everything legally for this, I didn’t install the Kodi Netflix or use the desktop manager hack or the bizzarro Firefox Netflix workaround.
2200 Lumen 4K looks pretty decent. The movie we were watching was a 4K UHD, but getting up to count pixels wasn’t something I could do.
In a well lit room at 6pm this can be seen at 100 inches or so. Pretty washed out. Turn off the lights / dim them and it feels like you’ve got a TV. At 100 inches. It’s bright and colorful and I suspect had I not been working with the best in wobbly chair technology it would have reached 120 inches without trouble.
Motion smoothing looks very odd at 100 inches.
There are buttons on the top for controls but require some pressure it appears. Even mounted right I’m wondering if that’s going to wobble or cause refocus.
Still not a proper review. I’m really enjoying this device but I’ve got two use cases I need to put it into. Right now though there’s nothing making me think that it’s not just about the best projector on the planet at this price range, lumen level, and format (Android TV).
But as noted, not a proper review yet. Also trying to figure out how to take pictures that represent what a human eye is seeing vs what the camera sees is hard.