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Xgimi Horizon Pro Review | PCMag

Everyone will notice the good points about the $1,699 Xgimi Horizon Pro—sharp 4K (3,840-by-2,160-pixel) resolution, HDR 10 and HLG support, an LED light source rated at a bright 2,200 ANSI lumens, and integrated Android TV for streaming. A few viewers may notice the Xgimi’s annoying rainbow artifacts and occasional tendency to lose shadow detail, but most home entertainment fans will find it a projector worthy of its premium price.


Easier-Than-Easy Setup

Competition for the Horizon Pro includes the BenQ X1300i,  the Epson EF-100, the ViewSonic X10-4KE, and our current Editors’ Choice award winner among 1080p streaming projectors with a solid-state light source, the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12. However, all those projectors except for the ViewSonic offer lower native resolutions, and the Xgimi’s Android TV 10.0 implementation offers more capable streaming than that device—the X10-4KE uses a version of the Android OS that depends on the Aptoide store for apps.

In addition to the integrated Android TV, the Horizon Pro boasts an RGB LED light source designed to last for the life of the projector—Xgimi rates it for 25,000 hours in Standard power mode—and a 1,920 by 1,080 DLP chip that uses TI’s XPR fast-shift pixel shifting to put 3,840 by 2,160 pixels on screen.

Any projector with Android TV requires two essentially separate setups, one for the hardware and one for Android TV. If you want to use the Horizon Pro strictly for streaming, there’s little more to hardware setup than connecting the power cord and turning it on: You don’t need to focus, because the projector focuses automatically by default whenever you switch it on or move it. If you want to connect other video sources, there are two HDMI 2.0 ports on the back panel.

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ViewSonic X10-4KE Image

Xgimi Horizon Pro side and rear panels

Surprisingly at this price, there’s no optical zoom, so you may need to adjust the projector’s position to match the image size to your screen. (There is a digital zoom, but it’s best avoided, since digital zoom can introduce artifacts and reduce image brightness.) Fortunately, the Horizon Pro is easy to move, weighing just 6.4 pounds and measuring 8.2 by 8.6 by 5.3 inches (HWD).

Setting up Android TV can be frustrating, since streaming projectors need an Internet connection, obliging you to join an internet-connected network before signing in with your Google Account. The Horizon Pro makes this step as easy as possible; you can connect by either Wi-Fi or Ethernet and avoid the chore of entering text with the remote by connecting a USB keyboard. Leave it connected after setup, and you can use the keyboard for navigation and entering search terms as well. Alternatively, you can use the remote, or give commands to Android Assistant with the latter’s microphone.

Xgimi Horizon Pro with remote

Also worthy of mention is the projector’s Harman Kardon sound with two 8-watt speakers and support for both Dolby and DTS Audio. The sound quality is exceptional for such a small projector, with enough volume to fill a large family room. For even better audio, you can connect an external audio system to the 3.5mm analog or S/PDIF optical outputs.

I ran into one glitch in testing: At one point I turned the projector off, leaving it set to a high volume. When I turned it back on later, I couldn’t get the volume to change, even though the indicator moved up and down when I pressed the appropriate buttons on the remote. To get it to work again, I had to turn the projector off and disconnect and reconnect the power cord. This could have been a major annoyance if it happened at night after other people had gone to bed. Xgimi was not aware of the issue but promised to look into it and should be able to fix it with a firmware update. The projector alerts you when new firmware updates are available and lets you chose when to install them.


Gorgeous Bright Scenes, Less So Dark Ones

The Horizon Pro’s image quality is generally impressive, but there are exceptions. In my tests, it delivered nicely saturated color, reasonably good color accuracy, appropriate detail for the resolution, and good contrast for both video and film in brightly lit scenes, particularly with 4K content. But dark scenes and shadowed areas in otherwise brightly lit scenes lost a significant amount of shadow detail.

Also, when I compared 1080p SDR and 4K HDR versions of the same movies on disc, the 4K versions suffered by comparison, with noticeably less shadow detail, visibly lower contrast, and black levels that weren’t as dark. Whether you consider this a problem will depend on how demanding you are about exactly matching the director’s vision. Many if not most people won’t mind the issues with dark scenes and will focus more on how good bright scenes look, especially with 4K material.

Xgimi Horizon Pro left side with Harman Kardon speker

The projector’s menus offer four predefined picture modes with few or no settings plus one custom mode with lots of options for those who would rather adjust the image themselves. All work with both 2D and 3D input.

Most folks will find any of the modes usable for casual viewing. None offers a color management system for calibration, but Office mode delivers suitably neutral color with acceptable color accuracy by most standards. How you feel about the other modes will depend on how willing you are to forgive occasional memory colors—ones you’re familiar with from the real world, such as blue sky, skin tones, or common fruits—that are clearly off target.

Xgimi Horizon Pro angle view

Along with delivering the most accurate color, I found Office mode had the best balance of color accuracy, contrast, black level, and shadow detail. It produced image brightness close to what I’d expect from roughly 1,000 ANSI lumens, suitable for my 90-inch screen in a dark room and bright enough to stand up to ambient light using an 80-inch screen in a family room.

The projector’s Movie and Football modes offer frame interpolation not available in Office mode. Many viewers consider the feature an improvement for live or recorded video but dislike it for filmed content, because adding frames also adds a digital video effect (known as the soap opera effect) that makes movies look like live video. Game mode, which works only with HDMI input, is the best choice for gaming thanks to the lowest input lag—I measured it at 42ms for 1080p input and 34ms for 4K input, both at 60Hz. That’s suitable for casual gameplay.

Xgimi Horizon Pro front and left side

While any single-chip projector can show rainbow artifacts (flashes of red, green, and blue), I saw more of them with the Horizon Pro than is typical with current-generation DLP projectors. Some people don’t see rainbow artifacts and some that do don’t mind them, but a few find them so annoying that almost no DLP projector is acceptable. If you’re not sure which camp you’re in, be sure to buy the projector from a dealer that accepts returns without a restocking fee, so you can test it out for yourself.


Just Missing an Editors’ Choice Nod

The Xgimi Horizon Pro does so much so well—from its ease of installation to the Android TV operating system to the eye-catching detail and vibrant color and contrast of brightly lit scenes in 4K—that many home entertainment buffs will find it worth the price despite its lack of auto focus. If you’re in the minority who are bothered by rainbow artifacts or lost shadow detail in dark scenes, I’d suggest the Epson EF-100 and Mini EF12, which can’t show artifacts, or possibly the ViewSonic X10-4KE, whose rainbow artifacts are few and fleeting. All three of those projectors also deliver more shadow detail, especially the ViewSonic, the only other 4K model in this group. Otherwise, the Xgimi is easy to recommend.

Pros

  • LED light source designed to last for the life of the projector

  • Rated at 2,200 ANSI lumens; suitable for a midsize family room

  • 4K resolution with XPR pixel shifting and full HD 3D support

  • Small, light, and easy to set up

  • Integrated Android TV for streaming

  • Impressive audio quality

View More

The Bottom Line

The Xgimi Horizon Pro offers all sorts of keen features, from 4K resolution to auto focus, and only the fussiest videophiles can knock its image quality.

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