Projectors have by no means actually been an affordable different to a giant TV, as a result of for those who’re not prepared to spend properly north of $1,000 for one, you’ll wrestle to get a good movie show expertise at residence. However XGIMI’s follow-up to its glorious 4K Horizon Professional projector is a extra reasonably priced strategy to flip an empty wall right into a supersized HDTV—even when there are some trade-offs that include its $650 price ticket.
There’s no legislation that claims you have to spend so much on a projector, however for those who’re spending significantly lower than $1,000 you’re usually going to be sacrificing brightness—limiting when and the place you possibly can truly use it—and picture high quality. A number of months in the past I reviewed the Anker Nebula Capsule II, and whereas at $700 it wasn’t essentially going to interrupt the financial institution, attempting to fill a big wall with an equally massive projection was problematic as a result of the projector simply wasn’t very vivid. With its new Elfin, XGIMI has made some extra strategic function trade-offs. It lacks options like a built-in battery, but in addition affords a good 800 lumens (the Anker mustered simply 200) and full HD decision (the Anker topped out at 720p) for a really aggressive $650.
Gentle and Moveable, however Convey a Tripod
The Elfin isn’t XGIMI’s first try and make a light-weight projector that’s simple to maneuver from room to room and even tackle a weekend glamping journey, nevertheless it does function a brand new horizontal design that appears like the corporate took its bigger Horizon Professional and sliced it up right into a stack of smaller projectors.
The Elfin is far lighter than the Horizon Professional, too, weighing in at simply two kilos, so it’s a lot simpler to hold round and journey with. However a part of what retains the load down is a barely chunky exterior energy brick that you just’ll must convey in every single place the projector goes.
I’m not precisely positive when an extending leg stopped being a normal function for projectors, however just like the pricier Horizon Professional, the XGIMI Elfin has no strategy to prop itself up so it may be positioned at a great angle. You’ll both must stack some books underneath the entrance of it, or reap the benefits of the tripod mount on the underside. Due to the projector’s minimal weight, you don’t want an particularly massive or costly tripod to help it, however I might undoubtedly contemplate one essential accent for those who don’t plan to completely mount the projector someplace.
Don’t Lose That Distant
Each the XGIMI Horizon Professional and the Anker Nebula Capsule II embody redundant guide controls on the highest of the projectors themselves, however the high of the Elfin is as easy and naked as a child’s butt—or a minimum of a child that’s been branded with the XGIMI emblem and upgraded with a single white energy standing LED.
The Elfin’s included distant isn’t fairly as fancy because the one included with the XGIMI Horizon Professional. It’s a smaller, all plastic affair, and there’s undoubtedly some rattle whenever you transfer it round because of a free battery cowl. It’s additionally missing the devoted button for triggering auto and guide focus just like the Horizon Professional’s controller, however in any other case it contains all of the buttons you’ll must navigate Google TV. You’ll be taught to love it, if solely as a result of it’s your solely strategy to do something.
Don’t Count on Film Theater Sound
Just like the Horizon Professional, the XGIMI Elfin is an impressively quiet projector. Sure, there’s a fan, nevertheless it’s paired with massive vents on the again and underside of the projector so it by no means must roar to life like a jet engine to maintain the LEDs cool. If you happen to rise up shut you possibly can hear it, however when you begin taking part in one thing it turns into imperceptible white noise.
The place the Elfin is likely to be more difficult to make use of as an all-in-one resolution is the built-in audio system. The Horizon Professional utilized a pair of 8-watt Harman Kardon audio system inside to successfully fill a room with sound with out distorting when the amount was cranked, and it managed to tug off some first rate bass efficiency so results like explosions sounded surprisingly satisfying while not having a separate woofer. The XGIMI Elfin as a substitute encompasses a pair of ahead pointing 3-watt audio system and you’ll very a lot hear the distinction between the 2.
The Elfin’s audio system aren’t essentially quiet, and you possibly can nonetheless fill a room with sound, however they lack the flexibility to actually push lower-end frequencies. If you happen to’re hoping for a real residence theater expertise, you’ll most likely need to pair this projector with some bigger exterior audio system, however for those who’re simply going to observe TV with it, the built-in audio system must be greater than ample.
Higher Fitted to Film Evening
If you happen to’re inquisitive about shopping for a projector, the one function you must deal with most, even over decision, is its brightness or lumens score. As a result of projectors work by bouncing mild off a floor, as a substitute of projecting it instantly towards viewers like a TV does, they are often simply washed out by exterior mild sources. XGIMI’s Horizon Professional boasted 2,200 lumens ,which meant it could possibly be used to create a big projection even in the course of the day (for comparability, the projector in a movie show might be rated as excessive as 60,000 lumens), however the 800 lumens of the Elfin does restrict the place and when you need to use it.
At night time, in a really darkish room with no lights on, I used to be in a position to make use of the Elfin to undertaking a picture roughly 10 toes in measurement on a wall with adequate brightness and distinction to be similar to what I’d anticipate from a TV. In the midst of the day, nonetheless, with pure mild pouring right into a room, I may at most muster a five-foot picture utilizing a brightly coloured online game as my supply, however I needed to make the picture even smaller for a film with darker, moodier scenes. Your mileage might range, and what you contemplate a good viewable picture will definitely be completely different than what I do, however I undoubtedly wouldn’t contemplate completely swapping a big TV for the XGIMI Elfin until you used blackout curtains all through your house all day lengthy. The two,200-lumen Horizon Professional is a extra believable TV substitute, however the 800-lumen Elfin is healthier suited to watching films at midnight.
What XGIMI hasn’t sacrificed with the Elfin is the Horizon Professional’s glorious auto-focus and auto-keystone correction options. They are often triggered to activate every time the projector is moved, and do a very good job at supplying you with a pointy, straight picture—assuming your projection angle isn’t too excessive. One function I’d possibly flip off, nonetheless, is the projector’s capacity to resize the picture in order that it avoids obstacles on the wall like mild switches. It often means you’re going to finish up with a really small picture—it very a lot overcompensates—so simply ensure to be further cautious with the place you place the projector and also you’ll be positive.
Netflix Stays an Problem
Just like the Horizon Professional, the brand new XGIMI Elfin isn’t an permitted Netflix machine, which signifies that despite the fact that the projector runs Google TV and you’ll obtain the Netflix app, you received’t truly have the ability to stream any Netflix content material with out an error message.
There are workarounds to the difficulty, however the best resolution is to only pair the Elfin with an affordable streaming dongle like a $50 Chromecast with Google TV, which performs Netflix simply positive.
However utilizing a streaming dongle with the Elfin means you’re utilizing up the projector’s single HDMI port. So in contrast to the XGIMI Horizon Professional, which contains two HDMI inputs, for those who plan to make use of the Elfin with a tool like a sport console, you’ll both should do some cable swapping time and again, or add an HDMI switcher to the combination, which provides to the projector’s reasonably priced price ticket.
A Enjoyable Improve for Film Evening, however No TV Alternative
Though 800 lumens is extra brightness than you’ll get with equally sized and priced projectors, it’s merely not sufficient illumination to successfully use the XGIMI Elfin as a TV substitute within the day time. You’re undoubtedly higher off spending $650 on a 55-inch 4K TV you need to use day and night time with out concern. The XGIMI Elfin is as a substitute a extra reasonably priced strategy to sometimes create the big-screen movie show expertise at residence, so long as you possibly can adequately dim the lights.
And whereas opponents’ merchandise just like the Anker Nebula Capsule II function built-in rechargeable batteries for improved portability (what number of instances has your campsite had an influence outlet?), I feel the elevated decision and brightness of the brand new XGIMI Elfin makes it a extra compelling different to be used away from residence. You’re not going to discover a 120-inch TV for $650, and for those who do, you’re undoubtedly going to have a heck of a time squeezing it right into a backpack.