Highly Recommended Award
Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.
- Long-life LED light engine
- Full HD 1080p resolution
- Quick setup with auto-focus, image alignment, and auto keystone
- Slow to start without Hibernate mode
- Confusing menus
- Need to install Web browser
- Lacks Netflix compatibility
For most people, the subtle but meaningful upgrades in XGIMI's Halo+ from the orignal Halo are well worth the $100 difference.
With a small laundry list of improvements over the orignal Halo we reviewed last year and honored with a Highly Recommended award, XGIMI's Halo+ is an important step up. Like its predecessor, the Halo+ combines full HD resolution and the ability to run on battery power, making it just as versatile—as appropriate for a home or backyard movie night as for a small group video conference or a school lesson in a repurposed room.
Built around maintenance-free LED illumination and a 0.33-inch Digital Light Processing (DLP) imaging module, the Halo+ goes a step further than the competition and even the Halo with several lens tricks that are sure to delight and ease its set up. Image color and detail processing has also been upgraded, and gaming features including a low-latency mode were added.
The changes may seem incremental, but by tweaking it here and there, XGIMI engineers have made the Halo+ the equivalent of a new and more powerful device.
Spot on cosmetically with the earlier Halo model, the Halo+ measures the same 4.5 x 5.7 x 6.8-inches and has the same perforated black and gray aluminum skin that allows cooling air to flow in. Other than a different position for its auto-focus and keystone sensors, it looks identical to its predecessor. It's larger than a typical pico projector, and heavier at 3.5 pounds including the integrated battery.
On the other hand, it comes with considerably more light output than most portables: 900 ANSI lumens, slightly brighter than the Halo's rated 800 ANSI lumens. For comparison, we measured 642 ANSI lumens for the Halo in our review and 753 ANSI lumens for the Halo+, a 15% improvement. It'll never get to the brightness of a full-sized home theater projector, but it comes closer than many portables. The projector's 1.2:1 throw ratio lens is rated for 16:9 images from 60 to 200 inches diagonal, but given its brightness the Halo+ will provide its most vivid images at 80 to 100 inches.
Fortunately, even at that size you'll see good detail thanks to its full HD imager. That's already ahead of many picos and portables that get by with Wide-XGA resolution or less. Inside, light beams from its powerful banks of red, blue and green LEDs are sent to the projector's 0.33-inch DLP imaging array for native 1920x1080-pixel resolution. The reflected image off the chip is delivered to the screen through the output lens.
With a rated lifetime of 25,000 hours, the LED light engine will never need to be replaced. That's the equivalent of more than 17 years if you use it for four hours a day, every day. In other words, there's a good chance the Halo+ will outlast just anything plugged into it.
With the equivalent of a high-performance Android phone or tablet inside, the Halo+'s Mediatek MT9629 system on chip is a step up from the original model's Amlogic circuit. In addition to a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, a Mali G52 graphics accelerator and 16GB of storage space for system operation and user media. Out of the box, the Halo+ has 8GB of storage available.
Like the original Halo, the Halo+ melds sophisticated optics with artificial intelligence. It projects a complex target while its sensor feeds sharpness and shape data to the processor to automatically focus and square off the image. It takes about 4 seconds, and its results are as good as I can do it manually, sometimes better.
However, the Halo+ goes beyond the Halo with its sophisticated Intelligent Screen Adaption technology that was first introduced in the step-up Horizon and Horizon Pro models. Along with super-fast auto-focus and geometric correction, if you're projecting onto a wall the projector will perform obstacle-avoidance, scaling the image down so it won't cast over a wall-hanging or a nearby potted plant, for example. If you have a projection screen, you can just point the projector toward it and the system will automatically detect the screen edges and align the image.
Additionally, the Halo+ enjoys a more sophisticated video processing scheme. The X-VUE 2.0 Image Engine is said to improve the image by performing dynamic color and clarity adjustments, along with reducing video noise. Like the Halo, the Halo+ is compatible with 4K signals and with HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range content. It's also compatible with 1080p 3D if you add DLP-Link glasses.
Frame interpolation was added to the Halo+ in the form of XGIMI's MEMC feature. Like similar settings found on many home theater projectors and TVs, it improves clarity for fast moving objects for sports or action movies. Gamers who like to play on the big screen will also appreciate a new Game Mode Boost features that reduces input lag to a rated 26.5 ms, which is more than respectable for all but high-stakes gaming.
Under the surface, the Halo+ uses the Android TV 10 operating software and web streaming platform that provides access to over 5,000 Android streaming apps, including BBC, CNN, Kanopy, MLB.TV, and YouTube. It did a good job showing everything from watching Apple TV+'s "Prehistoric Planet" to Amazon Prime Video's "Barry." For the security minded, the Halo+ can use the Nord VPN virtual private network (VPN) to hide your identity or stream material from foreign countries. On the downside, like most Android-based projectors tested by ProjectorCentral, it's not authorized for Netflix. A plus is that Google Assistant is also integrated and accessible from the remote's microphone to search for content or ask about the weather.
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A good upgrade from Halo to Halo+ is the move from Wi-Fi 4 to Wi-Fi 5. It allows faster transfers and is more secure but is still a step behind the latest Wi-Fi 6 or 6E formats. I was able to use the projector's Chromecast built-in feature to move video from a notebook, tablet or phone to the projector without a cable in sight.
One of the Halo+'s missings remains its lack of a preloaded Web browser. This can easily be remedied by installing the Puffin TV browser from the Play Store, which worked well at showing both popular and several obscure Web sites; it costs $1 a month or $10 a year.
Like with the Halo, the Halo+'s available ports along the back are just enough. In addition to an HDMI connection, the Halo+ has a USB Type A port for a flash drive or for powering an add-on streaming device; it lacks an SD card slot.
As with the Halo, the Halo+ has surprisngly capable pair of 5-watt speakers that have been tuned by Harman-Kardon. Along with Dolby Digital and DTS audio processing, the Halo+ adds DTS Studio Sound technology for enhanced sound quality. You can use the on-board speakers for playing music from your personal device via Bluetooth 5, and there's also a 3.5mm analog audio output jack for sending sound to headphones or a powered speaker.
Because of its size, the Halo+ was easy to unpack and set up. As mentioned, at 3.5-pounds, it's heavier than other tiny projectors but is still a snap to carry from room to room or building to building. It comes with a travel nylon bag and has a total weight of 4 pounds with its AC adapter. Rather than a lens cap, it has a protective window.
Because it sits vertically, the Halo+ has a big advantage over horizontally oriented projectors such as XGIMI's own Elfin. In many cases, the Halo+ can be used on a coffee table or shelf without having to tilt it up. When it does need to be inclined, the Halo+'s front foot angles the projector up by as much as 10 degrees. It also has the flexibility of a single threaded attachment point underneath for use with a ceiling mount, tripod or stand. A good choice is the company's X-Desktop Stand Pro, but at $100, it's a reach.
There's no zoom or lens shift, which is typical of portable projectors like this; to adjust image size you simply move the projector closer to or further from the screen. To give you some idea, it'll throw an 60-inch image from 5.2 feet and a 100-inch image from 8.7 feet. You can check the ProjectorCentral XGIMI Halo+ throw calculator to see how far away you'll need to set the projector for your desired image size.
Once placed, the Halo+ I can automatically correct for the keystone distortion of up to a 45-degree angle both horizontally and vertically. The image's corners can also be manipulated to create a rectangular image. Some brightness is sacrificed when you engage keystone correction as is typical for most projectors. In this case, correcting for a 10-degree tilt lowered the projector's brightness by 48%, so it's best to avoid having to tilt the projector significantly to retain as much brightness as possible.
On top, the projector has a rudimentary control panel, with "+," "-" volume buttons and Pause/Play controls. The center of attention is the Bluetooth remote control, the same unit used on the first-generation Halo. Powered by a pair of AAA batteries, it has a 45-foot range and a good array of choices. In addition to a four-way control and a volume slider, it has buttons for turning the projector on or off, going to the Android TV home page and going back. On the front edge is a switch for changing the function of the volume control to running the focus routine. If you leave it set to Focus, the volume rocker can be used to focus the image in or out.
On the downside, the Halo+'s disjointed menu follows the earlier Halo and some other Android-based projectors with two distinctly different sections for doing similar things. The first level is available through the remote control's Settings gear icon and provides access to keystone correction, Image Mode, audio and 3-D adjustments.
The ironically named All Settings at the bottom leads to another level of choices, from network details and device settings to apps and the remote control's preferences. The image brightness and other detailed settings are in the Projector Mode section. This dual menu system may be forced by using the Android operating system, but there's no getting around the fact that the interface design is confusing and could use some improvement.
The Halo+ has four Image Modes in the primary menu (Movie, Football, Office and Game) and four Projection Settings for Brightness (Performance, Standard, Eye Protection and Energy Saving) in the secondary menu. The Bright and Soft settings found earlier in the Halo are not seen here. The Custom area provides the opportunity to change the relative levels for Brightness, Contrast, Saturation and Sharpness as well as setting the video noise reduction circuit, color temperature, HDR and motion compensation.
If you hate on-screen keypads for entering passwords and Web sites URLs, you'll love that the Android TV app now works with generic keyboards. I used a wireless Logitech K400r.
Finally, like the original Halo, the Halo+ comes with a 1-year warranty.Performance
In this age of instant projection gratification, the Halo+ is a bit of a slow poke. It took 46.2 seconds to put an image on the screen from being fully powered down. This is likely the result of its Android computer needing to get going. If this is too long to wait, the projector can be put into Hibernate mode rather than turning it off fully, which isn't a bad option if you're plugged in and not trying to preserve battery power. Start-up from Hibernate mode is reduced to 8.1 seconds. Meanwhile, the projector shuts itself down and turns the fan off in 12.7 seconds.
Using the projector's Office Image Mode, the Halo+ yielded 753 ANSI lumens, a 15% improvement in brightness compared to the Halo's measured 642 lumens. Overall, the color balance for the Halo+ was much improved over the Halo, even in this brightest of modes, with it showing less of a blue cast to its images. It stood up to room lights, but bright sunshine can wash out its image.
The Office setting is a nice option for showing tabular material but should be fine for presentations and photos as well; behind the scenes, it has three HDR settings. Using the Movie mode warms up the scene considerably and was still able to put 721 ANSI lumens on the screen, while the similar Football setting raised the brightness imperceptibly to 724 ANSI lumens. While the Movie setting offers three choices for Local Contrast, three for HDR and four for Motion Compensation, the Football mode only has HDR settings available.
The Game mode was the dimmest of the four modes at 446 ANSI lumens and lacks any HDR, contrast or motion compensation choices. As noted, it has a Boost setting for lowering the latency of the projector to about 26 ms, but using it overrides the keystone correction to achieve this, so you'll need to have the projector well positioned. By adjusting the Custom settings, I created a more neutral compromise between brightness and color balance in this setting.
Later, when I watched the opening "Dawn of Man" scenes from "2001: A Space Odyssey," I was impressed by the Movie mode's ability to show just enough detail in the shadows along with vivid and rich sunrise and sunset scenes. The Halo+ came into its own when I was watching the "Red Sea" documentary on Amazon Prime. Its color rendering was surprisingly good with vivid purple backgrounds, yellow and green coral as well as bright white beach sand.
The Halo+ consumed a maximum of 71.4 watts, which dropped to 1.0 watt at idle. Assuming it's used for 8 hours a day for 200 days a year and you pay the national average of 14 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity, it adds up to an annual electricity bill of $17.
It was also quiet. XGIMI rates the noise at 30dB using the standard industry measurement technique in a soundproof room. In a casual measurement during our testing its fan put out a peak of 37.1dBA of noise in Performance mode with the meter 36-inches from the exhaust vent; the room had a background noise level of 35.9dBA. The numbers were 36.7dbA in Standard mode and 37.2dBA in the Eye Protection mode, but at the cost of a 46% and 49% drop in brightness. The Energy Savings mode turns the Halo+ into an imaging flashlight at 86.4 lumens but drops the noise level to 36.4dBA.
Regardless of its mode, the projector stayed cool. It hit a peak of 106 degrees Fahrenheit at its exhaust vent.
While it runs quite well using AC current and its power adapter, the Halo+ has the same 59.5 watt-hour battery as the original Halo. It powered the projector in Movie mode for 1 hour and 31 minutes, just enough for many movies and streaming episodes. After an hour, however, it dropped to the projector's low-output Energy Saving mode.
Last year, we liked the original Halo projector enough to give it our Highly Recommended award for its ability to squeeze close to a full-size projector into a tiny case. XGIMI engineers left well enough alone in the Halo+, keeping with its 1920x1080 imaging and long-lasting LED lighting components, while adding a bunch of goodies that are sure to please.
As good as the Halo was, the Halo+ is even better. It costs about $100 more before any discounts, $849 vs. the Halo's $749, or about a 12% premium. But when you're spending that much for a sophisticated, portable mini-projector, it makes sense to get the best possible image quality and the easiest possible setup features. The improvements from the Halo to the Halo+ may seem minor, but when taken together, it adds nice extra punch to XGIMI's diminutive little package.
Brightness. Set to the Halo+'s Performance Projector Mode and Office Image Mode, the projector put out 753 ANSI lumens of light. Using the Movie and Football modes reduced output to 724 and 721 lumens while the Game settings dropped the delivered light level to 446 lumens. It its highest output, the Halo+ used 74.3 watts of power, which drops to as low as 23.3 watts in Energy Saving mode but at the cost of brightness with less than 90 lumens of output.
XGIMI Halo+ ANSI Lumens*
* Brightest power mode, AC Power
Brightness Uniformity: 88%
Fan Noise. At 37.1 dBA of fan noise, the Halo+ was a quiet projector compared to its larger cousins. This dropped to 36.4 dBA in Energy Saving mode, but the light output dropped to under 100 lumens. The measurements were done 36-inches from the exhaust vent in a room with a background noise level of 35.9 dBA. By contrast, XCIMI rates the Halo+ 30dB of noise in a sound-proof room.
- HDMI (Version 1.4)
- Audio out (3.5mm stereo jack)
- USB 2.0 Type A
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our XGIMI Halo+ projector page.