You’re probably going to see a lot about XGIMI today, and that’s because they’re great. That and a media push that happens to coincide with my wife’s birthday (Happy Birthday Kim!) but no really they’re great and I think you should probably know why.
The main issue here for me not the hardware. A lumen is a lumen, autofocus has been about the same forever, and what you get out of a projector is quite a bit what you put in… no, the issue is the software.
XGIMI’s lineup brings a near perfect Google/Android TV experience
I’ve tested out more smart projectors than I’ve written about. Some are so bad there’s no reason to go on. The software has been, without a doubt, the biggest failing part of most. From apps and screen mirroring that just doesn’t work, no parental or content controls, third party app stores that work when they want, and every single company out there seeming to have some off brand Netflix hack to make it work by wrapping in a Firefox browser and using mouse mode. The software has been almost universally crap (not you though).
I mean, it works, but it’s putting the engine of a 1987 Plymouth Horizon in a Porsche 911 and then trying to peel out at McDonald’s.
The software on projectors, even higher end ones, is crap…. except XGIMI’s Android TV… I’ve been using the XGIMI Elfin in daily use when I get up (watch some news on a wall while I make the kid’s breakfast and coffee) and between a slick Google experience and seemingly reasonably updated OS experience (I get an update every couple of weeks it seems like,) I feel this is a hardware investment that’s going to be supported for years to come.
The Android TV experience in full combined with good to great hardware brings a level of polished that I’m really not finding elsewhere. Even some of the name brands are using in house OS/Android mixtures that seem cheap.
After months with the Elfin and so many different use cases including using it as a Meet/DUO video conference platform (you can slap a webcam on,) and every sort of test I could throw at it the only thing I ran across was an occasional auto-focus bug in one scenario, and the Netflix certification not being there.
Netflix, I’m still waiting on a response from you guys. You’re the one hold up from making this one of the few perfect products I’ve reviewed. I mean maybe you’ve got your reasons but come on man, answer your tweets and emails.
Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering yes, every XGIMI I’ve tested you can sideload APKs as well as install through the Google Play Store. Yes, your phone/carrier’s streaming video app that’s not available in the Play Store for Android TV probably will sideload without any hoops.
Of course, the Netflix official way is slap a $15-45 dongle on the back of a projector and cast through there… XGIMI has their own workaround as certification is coming about as fast as the dragons did in the original Game of Thrones series. That workaround is not great.
Overall though, if you’re looking for a well maintained software experience I really would encourage you to check out XGIMI. You’ll find significantly cheaper, but if you don’t want to be doing software support and you want the Android TV experience XGIMI baby.
For full disclosure they gave me that Elfin for a product review, loaned me the Horizon Pro (and should have it back now,) and have kidnapped my puppy and are holding it for ransom until I post something nice about them.
We reviewed the Horizon Pro here, here, and here, and the XGIMI Elfin here and here. While I’d make considerably more commission on the Horizon review, I’d say look at the Elfin. It’s much more portable, the brightness doesn’t translate like you might think it does, it’s considerably less expensive, and man it’s just great.
Anyway, that’s about it – I think they’re great, I am participating in the media blitz because, well, they’ve got my puppy and I’m no John Wick.