XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K DLP Projector
  • Performance
  • 3.5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$1,699 MSRP
Pros
  • Excellent detail with the auto focus feature
  • Useful auto keystone features for easy setup
  • Fast boot time
Cons
  • HDR performance isn’t much of a boost over SDR
  • Mediocre Contrast
  • 3D is not currently enabled
Our Take

XGIMI's new flagship 4K lifestyle projector, the Horizon Pro, includes a bunch of advanced setup features that make it easy to just put it on a table, point it at a wall and start it up. Paired with the Android TV interface, it’ll have you watching in seconds.

XGIMI Horizon Pro left facing

There's been an influx of affordable 4K projectors over the past couple years that fall into the lifestyle category. That is, projectors that don't need to spend all of their time mounted in a stationary position on a table or mount and can be easily set up in different environments. XGIMI has had some 1080p options, most recently the H2, but they've now released a new flagship projector that is their first 4K model—the Horizon Pro for $1,699 (there is also the Horizon, a 1080p version that costs $1,099). The Horizon Pro has higher brightness than any of XGIMI's previous projectors, accepts HDR10 and HLG signals, runs on the Android TV 10.0 OS, has a built-in Harman/Kardon stereo speaker system, and includes some pretty interesting and sophisticated keystone correction and other settings to get you through setup quickly and easily.

Features

As is the case with many new lifestyle projectors, the Horizon Pro uses a LED light source that will only need minimal maintenance, if any, and never needs to be replaced. XGIMI says it outputs 2,200 ANSI lumens and can last 25,000 hours, although it's unknown at which brightness setting that light source life was measured. Over the life of the projector this is great for cost saving, as a typical lamp-based projector (such as the recently reviewed Optoma UHD35) will require multiple lamp replacements to reach the same number of hours. So while the UHD35 is initially a few hundred dollars cheaper, the costs in the long run cause it to cost more overall.

The projector uses a single 0.47-inch DLP chip with XPR fast pixel-switching technology to achieve a 4K (3840x2160) image. It will support a resolution up to 4096x2160. The fixed zoom lens has a throw ratio of 1.2:1 and can project an image from as small as 30 inches up to 300. For a 100-inch diagonal, it needs to be 8 feet 9 inches from the screen (exact throw distance for different screen sizes can be found with the ProjectorCentral XGIMI Horizon Pro Projector Throw Distance Calculator). There is a digital zoom if needed, but this can adversely affect light output. Proceed with caution.

Horizon Pro   4K Lifestyle2

XGIMI has designed the Horizon Pro to keep setup easy and get you watching content as quickly as possible. After initial setup (entering Wi-Fi passwords, installing apps, connecting your Google account, etc.), the Horizon Pro can boot up and display a home screen in as little as six seconds out of standby. There are four automatic keystone functions (off by default) that aid setup in new and interesting ways, although they do add a whole six extra seconds to the projector's start up time (the horror). The first is to have auto keystone always turned on for startup. The second is to have the auto keystone kick in whenever the projector is moved. This sounds good on the surface, but in my household (with a rambunctious five year old) it was too sensitive where even a bump to the table would sometimes cause it to engage.

The final two are the most interesting. Adaptive Projection Area is able to sense objects during keystone setup that would block your view and scales the image so a wayward lamp or plant, even an electrical outlet, won't end up inside the picture and disturb your viewing. If you're projecting on to a screen, the Adaptive Screen Projection option will sense the edges and fit the image within the screen borders. XGIMI says this works best with a white screen and black frame. Once the image is set, there's an auto focus that will make sure the picture is clear. The auto focus can be run from a button on the remote as well. I found all of these features to run remarkably well (better than I expected, to be honest), and while there's no substitute for proper projector placement to get the best image, the auto keystone functions could be extremely useful for the temporary setups this projector is likely to be used for. But like the digital zoom, any digital image adjustment can diminish the overall brightness output. So again, proceed with caution.

For an OS, the Horizon Pro uses Android TV 10.0. It's a relatively smooth interface that can be easily navigated with the remote (there were a few times that the button response could be slightly sluggish, although not overtly so). Since it's an Android-based platform, the Google Play Store is included for downloading a whole slew of apps, as is Google Assistant that can be accessed via the remote.

Thankfully, Android TV is showing up more and more as an OS on lifestyle projectors instead of the god-awful Aptoide platform. That isn't to say that Android TV isn't without its faults, with one glaring omission at the top of the list. You can't get the Netflix app through the Google Play store and it doesn't come installed in the projector. This isn't an issue specifically with XGIMI or the Horizon Pro, but with most current projectors running this OS, and it has more to do with Netflix licensing requirements than any technical issues with the platform. Even casting Netflix from a Chrome browser window is problematic. I could get the page to show up and begin playing a title, but after a few seconds the video would freeze and audio would continue. There are workarounds—you can buy and use a streaming stick, or you might find instructions on the Web to sideload (manually install an app that isn't available through the Play Store) Netflix through an involved process that I wouldn't recommend unless you understand technically what you're doing. None are optimal solutions, so if Netflix is a major part of your streaming app family you'll need to take this into consideration.

XGIMI Horizon Pro front

The XGIMI Horizon Pro borrows its look from the company's H Series of projectors—the discontinued H1 and its updated version the H2—except the Horizon Pro comes with a black finish to the metal chassis (the 1080p Horizon keeps the same light gray finish as the H series). The Horizon Pro measures 8.19 x 8.58 x 5.35 inches (HWD) and weighs only 6.4 pounds, so it's easily movable. The metal siding is curved and keeps the projector from looking too boxy. We've seen this squat cube shape before in other lifestyle projectors, notably the Philips Screeneo S6 I reviewed in 2019 and a few different JmGO projectors like the N7, although the Horizon is slightly smaller than those. The four feet on the bottom of the projector are not adjustable, so be sure your surface is flat and level if you don't want to use keystone correction. Or there's a hole where you can attach it to a tripod.

On the back are two HDMI 2.0 ports, two USB 2.0, an Ethernet port (although I used the included dual-band 2.4/5Ghz wireless connection and had no issues with streaming content to the projector), an optical audio out for connecting to a home speaker system, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There's also the DC power jack that connects to an external power brick. This is a main reason why the projector is only 6.4 pounds, but it will necessitate some additional thought if you plan on mounting the projector on the ceiling.

There are only four buttons on the top of the projector—power, volume up, volume down, and play—and aside from the power button their functionality isn't mentioned anywhere in the documentation that comes with the projector or found online. This reinforces the fact that the remote is an absolute necessity to control the Horizon.

Horizon Pro   4K Lifestyle3

The remote is thin and has a nice weight to it, mainly at the lower end where the batteries are. There are buttons for going to the Android OS home, opening the menu or directly to settings, volume up and down, a navigation wheel and select button, and a button to activate Google Voice (the mic is on the top of the remote). Separated from the rest, presumably so you don't accidentally hit it, is a button for auto focus. There is no backlight for the remote so using it in a dark room can be annoying until you memorize where the buttons are (which shouldn't take long). It also does not come with batteries (two AAA are required), and on my sample the battery holder came apart when I was installing the batteries. Specifically, one of the springs that keeps the battery in place fell out and I had to carefully put it and the battery in at the same time without it popping out again. XGIMI says this was an issue with our early production sample and that you shouldn't experience the same thing.

Thanks to a partnership with Harman/Kardon, the Horizon Pro uses a Harman/Kardon-tuned pair of 8 watt speakers pointing out each side and a passive radiator on the front under the lens. Both Dolby and DTS decoding are supported, the latter including three different sound modes—Movies, Music, and Sports. There wasn't a drastic amount of difference between the modes and I found Movies to be the most pleasing and used it most of the time. The sound was very upper-mid present, which was good for dialogue clarity, though the processing could override voices at times, especially when there was lots of action. Low end response was okay considering the size of the speakers and enclosure, but don't expect any sort of bass rumble from a system like this. The speakers do get to a decent volume, but that focus on mids could lead to listening fatigue at higher volumes, so when I wanted things louder I found the Music mode to be the best choice. That mode takes out the midrange push and adds a bit more low end response. The projector also acts well as a Bluetooth speaker and connects easily with a smartphone.

Key Features

  • 4K (3840x2160) resolution
  • 2,200 ANSI lumens brightness
  • LED light source with up to 25,000 hours of life
  • As low as six second boot up time out of standby
  • Auto Keystone that can sense obstacles and adjust image
  • Auto focus
  • Android TV 10.0
  • Google Assistant built-in
  • HDR10 and HLG support
  • 2 x 8 watt Harmon/Kardon speaker system
  • 3D capable
Horizon Pro   4K Lifestyle6

Performance

Display Modes. The XGIMI Horizon Pro has five different image modes that are shared between SDR and HDR content—Movie, Football, Office, Game, and Custom. Each setting has slightly different modifications that can be made. Dynamic contrast (that is called Local Contrast), HDR, and motion compensation can be adjusted in Movie; HDR can be turned on and off in both Football (designed for fast motion sports) and Office (for presentations); nothing can be adjusted in Game (the input lag is automatically reduced from 118.1 ms in other modes to 34.6 ms); and expectedly the Custom menu has the most options. There are no CMS (color management system) controls in Custom to adjust the accuracy of color points, though. In addition to the three tweaks found in Movie mode, Custom has brightness, contrast, sharpness, and saturation sliders, noise reduction intensity (for less than 4K sources), and color temperature. By selecting custom color temperature, the white balance can be adjusted.

Every image mode out of the box is very blue, which causes magenta to be more of a purple. The closest to the target 6500K white point that the Horizon Pro gets (without adjusting the white balance) is in Custom image mode with color temperature set to warm, and it's still slightly blue at around 7000K. With my Calman calibration software from Portrait Displays, an X-rite i1 Pro 3 spectrophotometer, and a Murideo Six-G pattern generator, I was able to get the white balance to 6500K by using the RGB sliders that are available with a custom color temperature. My settings were Red 49, Blue 21, and Green 30, but only use those as a starting point and don't expect them to get the exact same results as product samples vary. The color temperature adjustment also fixed the magenta color point that, under all the other image settings, was far too purple (although it was still a little oversaturated, as was blue and red).

There are also five different brightness modes on the Horizon Pro, although most don't drastically change the brightness. Standard, Bright, Eye Protection, and Custom were all within 68 ANSI lumens of each other (ranging from 1,131 up to 1,199 ANSI lumens in Movie image mode) with Bright being the upper boundary and Standard being the lower. The brightest mode was Performance at 1,521 lumens but it turned the image very green, as is usually the case on most projectors in the brightest setting.

SDR Viewing. A final episode of I'll Be Gone in the Dark that I wasn't even expecting was released on HBO Max while I was reviewing the Horizon Pro, so I decided to pop it on while the projector was set up. It's a documentary series about writer Michelle McNamara and her own investigation into a serial killer in California she dubbed the Golden State Killer. This last episode deals less with the Golden State Killer (although it does include parts about his sentencing) and more on the murder that happened near her childhood home in suburban Chicago and how it might have affected her. The series has lots of current interviews and uses some older footage. In my modified Custom picture mode, skin tones looked natural throughout and, while the older footage from the 70s and 80s had the distinctive feel from the time period, there wasn't any extra degradation in crispness from the projector.

When watching any content during the day, I needed to make sure the curtains were drawn. Any excessive ambient light would cause the picture to look washed out. Switching to Performance brightness mode helps, but the extra green tint it adds made content unwatchable to me.

XGIMI Fifth Element
With 1080p disc content like The Fifth Element on Super-Bit DVD, the XGIMI Horizon Pro exhibited some extra noise. (Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures)

To see how the Horizon Pro handled non-streamed, non-4K material, I turned off upconverting on my disc player to see how the projector would handle an old familiar friend, my Super-Bit version of The Fifth Element DVD. The movie is still a favorite, although the disc transfer doesn't hold up as well in the age of 4K. Still, the projector did a decent job while adding just a bit of extra grain in the opening Ancient Egypt scene as Aziz continues to fail at his job of providing light. The noise reduction function (only available in Custom image mode) did help a bit but didn't clear it all up. Fortunately, no added grain was apparent when streaming 1080p content through Android TV, and the detail on LEGO Masters, which I watched via the Sling app I downloaded from the Google Play Store, was as good as I've seen on other 4K projectors.

HDR Viewing. There isn't an HDR image mode or any HDR specific adjustments that can be made when watching HDR content on the Horizon Pro, so I continued with my custom settings mentioned above that I used for SDR content. There wasn't a drastic vibrancy or highlight difference between SDR and HDR. Even though Moria in The Fellowship of the Ring is a deep and dark place, there are moments that usually light up the screen, like when we see the flames of the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm. The reds and oranges dancing around the Balrog looked good on the Horizon Pro, but it wasn't as vibrant and impactful as I've seen on other projectors. The black level and brightness in dark greys is a little high on the XGIMI, so some dimensionality was lost in the rocks and dark corners throughout Moria. The dynamic contrast function helped that a bit (I tended to leave it on its Medium setting).

Where the Horizon Pro shined in all 4K content is in the detail. The skin textures in Frodo and the hobbits, each hair of Gandalf's beard, the dirt that seems to follow Aragorn throughout his adventures, it was all there. I never once had to change the auto focus result to make the detail look any better (although I did try to manually adjust it and only succeeded in making it look the same).

3D Viewing. The Horizon Pro literature has 3D support listed, and I was able to get my 3D version of Ant-Man to run and display as top-bottom 3D, but I couldn't get the projector to work with my off-the-shelf DLP-Link glasses. XGIMI says a future firmware update is planned to enable 3D on the Horizon.

XGIMI Horizon Pro lifestyle pedestalwRemote

Conclusion

Lifestyle projectors continue to improve and get less expensive as the years go on, and the XGIMI Horizon Pro is evidence of that. In comparison to the Philips Screeneo from 2019, the Horizon Pro has a more detailed image, better color accuracy, some neat features to ease setup, and is hundreds of dollars cheaper. The black level isn't great (not unexpected at this price point or with most LED projectors we've tried) and it doesn't reach its claims of 2,200 ANSI lumens so you'll need to make sure you can control the light in your room to some extent. But it delivers a great looking picture to the screen and is very much designed to be able to move around, set up quickly, and get you into watching your favorite shows.

Measurements

Brightness. The brightest light mode on the XGIMI Horizon Pro is Performance, which I measured at 1,521 ANSI lumens in Movie image mode. It adds a distinctive green tint to the image. The Bright brightness setting is 78.8% that of Performance at 1,199 ANSI lumens. Standard, Eye Protection, and Custom all measured basically the same—around 74.5% of the brightness of Performance, or 1,133 ANSI lumens. Color and white brightness were virtually equal with color brightness only off by 1.45%.

The measured brightness of the display modes is as follows:

XGIMI Horizon Pro ANSI Lumens

Mode Standard Bright Eye Protection Performance Custom
Movie 1,131 1,199 1,137 1,521 1,133
Football 1,131 1,199 1,137 1,521 1,133
Office 834 885 839 1,123 837
Game 1,129 1,197 1,135 1,519 1,132
Custom 1,131 1,199 1,137 1,521 1,133

Brightness Uniformity. Screen uniformity on the Horizon Pro is very good. On my sample it measured at 86.6%, with the bottom right being the dimmest and the middle top being the brightest. There were no visible hot spots in anything that I watched.

Fan Noise. The Horizon Pro is very quiet (XGIMI has it rated at 30dB). In my room at a distance of three feet from the projector from both the sides and behind, I wasn't able to measure anything above my room's noise floor of 30dB. At a foot behind the projector (where the fan exhaust is) I measured 34 dB.

Input Lag. With a 1080p/60 Hz Leo Bodnar lag tester, the input lag in Game image mode on the Horizon Pro measured 34.6ms. This is a bit high for any sort of competitive gaming (things like Overwatch), but is fine for solo games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales. In all other image modes the input lag measured 118.1ms at 1080p/60Hz, which is far too high for gaming of any sort.

Connections

XGIMI Horizon Pro connections angle
  • HDMI 2.0 (x2)
  • USB (x2)
  • Optical audio out
  • 3.5mm audio out
  • Ethernet

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our XGIMI Horizon Pro projector page.

 
Comments (9) Post a Comment
Michael Banks Posted Jul 12, 2021 9:59 AM PST
Thanks for the review. I'm wondering if the pixel shifting required to achieve a 4k image is the culprit is reduced interframe contrast in this projector and other DLP pixel shift 4k projectors. In the past there have been DLP 1080P projects reviewed by Projector Central (I own one) that deliver solid contrast performance. Do you think the extra light scatter in the optical engine of 4k pixel shift DLP projects may be contributing to reduced interframe contrast. Thanks.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jul 12, 2021 10:00 AM PST
Michael, you make an interesting observation in that some of us definitely registered a loss of perceived contrast compared with the then 1080p state of the art DLP models when TI introduced the new 4K pixel-switching chips. I don't know precisely why, but it could be the light scatter you are suggesting.
scotto Posted Jul 12, 2021 3:26 PM PST
Are the ANSI lumen values measured with the environmental adaptation setting disabled? If it is enabled, the brightness will be lower.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jul 12, 2021 3:30 PM PST
Normal procedure is to turn off all keystone, geometric correction, auto zoom, etc before measuring and we're 99% sure that was done here. Also, XGIMI fact-check the review before publication and did not question our measurement results. Nonetheless, we'll double check to make sure we didn't make any errors and will edit the review if needed.
Victor Posted Jul 12, 2021 3:56 PM PST
Is this a prototype product or no?
Paul Vail Posted Jul 13, 2021 5:44 AM PST
Love this review. I am a pretty firm believer that XGimi is leading the way with their LED projectors and others are playing a bit of catch up. They are using LED modules that are delivering what was unheard of in terms of brightness just a few years ago. Even if it can't reach 2,200 lumens, a decently calibrated 1,100 lumens is plenty for a 120" or larger screen in a dark room. Maybe even a 150"+ screen after dark if you are okay with normal movie theater brightness.

It is a bit glossed over in the review, but it is amazing how many people ask how they hook their projector up to a speaker bar. This simple setup to improve sound quality is almost always asked first: "I want to use Bluetooth" - So, it would be good to know if you can make a connection between a lifestyle projector and a BT receiver and if audio quality is decent and if there are lip sync issues as there often are. But, the fact this has digital optical audio output is something that should be standard on all home theater projectors. BenQ, Epson, and others are releasing variants with 'SMART' functionality, then not giving us any surround sound outputs from the projector. That seems crazy to me.

I hope that XGimi follows suit with LG and adds eARC to one of those HDMI connections so that people can just use a speakerbar or a surround system and get ease of use (more or less) with high quality surround sound on a single cable connection. This should really be standard on all projectors at this point.

Finally, while I love these Bluetooth remotes, my understanding is that XGimi doesn't offer any infrared options for control which can make using a universal remote control darn near impossible. They don't offer IP control either. So, you can't tie it into any existing remote controller that you may already own and MUST use the XGimi remote, which is really a sad oversight I think on their part.

I will continue to say that a BOX does not travel well. You can't stick it in your backpack or tuck it away neatly on a shelf sideways or anything. It's a lousy shape. I wish more reviewers would point this out as it would be really nice for them to make this more like a book so it could go in the same bag my laptop travels in. It would be WAY nicer. Kind of like adding adjustable feet that also completely unscrew so you can add a good universal ceiling mount easily. Small changes for major improvements.

Still, it is one of the best LED models I would think that we've seen come to market in terms of connectivity and functionality. I'm not really sure how this model stacks up compared to other popular entry level 4K models which are on the market currently. Like the Optoma UHD35 which ends up with about 1,100 calibrated lumens in a mid-lamp mode setting and is priced lower, but needs lamps. So, how does contrast measure up to the other similarly priced/class of entry level DLP models? Close? Would be good to know as that's a major consideration for many buyers.

Really solid review overall which I appreciate all the time! Thanks for the great work.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jul 13, 2021 8:45 AM PST
Great observations, Paul!
Dr. Taco Posted Jul 16, 2021 3:51 PM PST
This was a pretty great review, can we also get a in-depth review for the (FHD 1080p version), XGIMI Horizon DLP projector?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jul 16, 2021 3:52 PM PST
Apologies, Doc, but it's not likely we'll take that one up any time soon, mainly because it's so similar and our resources are limited. Sorry.

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