Recently, I was able to get my hands on the XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K Projector from XGIMI—a company that has made itself a staple in the AV industry over the past few years. Across years of evaluating models from BenQ, Sony, Panasonic and others, I never considered using a projector as my primary device for visual entertainment. But XGIMI’s flagship in-home Horizon Pro 4K device may have changed my mind about that, thanks to its resolution, sound quality, thoughtful features and user-friendly design. Let’s start by looking into the specs for this device—which is more like a minimalist entertainment system than a mere projector.
- Optical-L wavelength band
- Two USB 2.0 ports
- HDMI 1, which also serves as ARC (Audio Return Channel) and supports lip sync
- HDMI 2
- Wireless 2.4- 5-gigahertz Bluetooth 5.0/BLE
- 3.5mm AUX output
- 2GB ram
- 32GB storage
- Fast Boot
- DTS-Studio Sound
- Dolby Audio
- Dolby Digital
- Dolby Digital Plus (DD+)
- Aluminum framing
- Power, home and settings button
- Volume controls
- Google Voice Assistant
- Bluetooth connection with a range of 30 to 50 feet.
- The lower black button is meant for auto-keystone setup, while the dial has a multiuse function for directing the UX or controlling the display focus.
- The remote does not come with the necessary two AAA batteries, which I found odd.
The Horizon Pro is a DLP projector that runs on a Texas Instruments DMD chip. DLP is the same fundamental technology that powered rear-projection televisions decades ago, updated for modern applications. DLP chips use an array of millions of tiny mirrors with high refresh rates that reflect RGB LED light through a lens to project a crisp image onto a wall or a screen. (For best picture quality, I recommend using a large projector screen with this device.)
Most DLP chips used in projectors, including this one, are still fundamentally 1080p. However, this projector achieves 4K resolution thanks to Texas Instruments’ XPR pixel-shifting technology. At very high speed, XPR mechanically shifts the light coming from the projector so that the pixels aren’t in the same place. Because it does this four times per frame (that is, 240 times per second), it effectively quadruples the resolution of the final image from 1080p to 4K.
The resolution has a high 2200-lumen LED RGB backlight through to the optics to the front to processing of the MediaTek chip that does all the video decoding and runs the AndroidTV 10. This gives you a sense of how bright the image can be, how far away the projector can be from the screen or wall and, most importantly, how large the screen can be. It’s a fixed focal length projector, which means there isn’t any way to select the focal length, so the throw ratio is locked at a 1.2 ratio, I did notice that, as with most projectors, using the projector at eight feet back for a 150-inche image, up to a total width and length of 300 inches. It’s just not as usable during the daytime as a smaller screen would be. In comparison to an OLED television, the image will likely seem a little washed out and not get pure black levels.
This projector does provide great portability, however. I purchased the X-shaped floor stand, and I love it. I was at first worried about the stand not balancing the projector’s weight, but it works perfectly. The device itself is not particularly heavy because the 7.5-millimeter connector plug power supply is outside the device, which means the cord it comes with is not particularly long. It comes with a C13 power cord, so you can purchase a longer cable or use an extension cord since placement for the unit can be tricky.
Mounting and keystones
The projector uses one-fourth screw that can be mounted right side up or upside down like most projectors. Part of the setup will be correcting the angle you are broadcasting against your screen. There is an auto-keystone adjustment, where the machine can try to detect the borders of a screen and align the images; this worked well, but for precision and perfection, I still manually switched over to the keystone alignment every time as you don’t move the projector. I found the auto-focus adjustment very nice, which you can adjust on the remote via each reboot if you choose to. The device senses when it was moved.
This projector won’t work well in spaces with a lot of natural light. Because I normally keep my curtains closed, this projector could be optimal for me to use daily as my television. As for color representation, it is good, too, although it requires a bit of tuning. The menu interface, where you can calibrate and adjust the image quality and settings. The device has preset modes you can adjust depending on what you’re watching: Movie, Football, Office, Game and Custom. I found some of these modes to be inconsistent with color representation, so I stuck to Custom and then manually adjusted RGB values, brightness, saturation, contrast, HDR and motion smoothing.
Additionally, there are settings where you can change different brightness levels. At the highest brightness level, which I ran most of the time, the Horizon Pro consumed about 155 watts of power. So, overall, good color representation, the details were great, and the brightness felt great to me unless, again, you have it in a room with quite a bit of natural light. Additionally, the way that DLP projectors work is that you cannot have true black. You will see a shadow cast where the projector shines that light compared to true black, like on an OLED screen. This may not work for consumers wanting to watch a movie that is more on the dark side, such Blade Runner or a horror movie. It’s more combined or crushed, but the bright scenes were still more than dynamic, along with the color saturation.
The Horizon Pro does support HDR10 but, despite what the specs show, it doesn’t seem to truly support Dolby Vision, nor is it upgradeable within this product. This will likely be available for future models, but not the XGIMI Horizon Pro. Most apps that support HDR, like Apple TV Plus, automatically switch between what type of HDR metadata gets delivered, and a lot of that gets associated with the 4K content, so you are also getting that extra HDR10 quality the majority of the time.
The device runs Android TV 10, so it has many benefits of that interface, including the Android TV ecosystem, Apple applications and built-in Chromecast streaming from your portable device onto the projector screen. However, there are a few limitations, such as Netflix being unsupported on Android TV for XGIMI projectors. There are workarounds that aren’t too much of a hassle, but it is an extra hurdle, although the company provides instructions on downloading the Netflix app inside the box. The MediaTek chip response time is excellent, running apps smoothly, but I did not find the UX interface to my liking. The response time felt good, but I do hope there will be changes in future models. You can always plug your game console, Roku, Chromecast or other device into it if you find the interface too slow for any reason. The response time while switching multiple apps between each other while torture testing the processor was speedy and responsive.
Additionally, the unit does support 3-D which you’ll need to purchase the XGIMI glasses online on the company’s site.
Gaming and sound
Gaming is one of those places where it’s difficult to go back after playing on a 100-inch tv, even to a 55 or 65-inch OLED with full HDR support that you get from the rendered content that looks fantastic on a projector like this. There is even a special latency gaming mode enabled through HDMI 2.0, so if you switch that mode on and plug in your favorite console or PC, I don’t notice any latency. So, it’s safe to assume that playing fast-paced, quick-response-time games is excellent. As for wireless gaming from the Steam link app from Android TV didn’t cut it for me. It showed too much latency wirelessly, which made the games unplayable but plugged in, and it worked wonderfully, but still a disappointment.
If you are a Call of Duty: Warzone 2 player like me, get ready to wear some sunglasses when you get flash banged because those 2200 lumens on a higher brightness setting on a 100-inch plus screen prove itself to be intense yet fun. The game has an input lag of 34 milliseconds, which is more than manageable. If you want to replace your monitor or OLED screen for this, that’s the best move if you are more of an FPS player, but you may have less latency if plugged in than wirelessly.
If you are using the AUX out or the optical out, you are not preserving that lip sync data anymore, so the projector sends it to your audio device. Holding the device in ‘Game Mode’ is close enough to real-time for good lip sync performance. This applies to sound bars and other receivers with an input lag adjustment or a delay setting to line it up manually. As for the ARC, it helps communicate the screen’s output time versus the audio to keep it in line.
The projector comes with built-in eight-watt Harman/Kardon speakers on the left and right sides of the device. It may not be surround sound, but I love it. It’s loud, clear, and crisp, giving it the tremendous multiuse for placing it inside or outside. I rarely had to raise the speaker past 40 or 50%. You can still plug entertainment surround sound into the device, but the speakers are more than sufficient if you don’t care about having full surround 7.1 sound audio, like me. The speaker does mask the fan at the bottom of the device, which isn’t too loud to begin with; it’s no louder than an XBOX Series X or PlayStation. It’s noticeable but not annoying, even if sitting next to it.