XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K projector review

XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K projector review

The XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K is a worthwhile splurge if you’re looking to upgrade your home entertainment system. With its sharp and bright picture, integrated Harman Kardon speakers, top-notch auto-focus and auto-keystone adjustments, this diminutive, high-end projector is simultaneously unobtrusive and classy.

I spent a few weeks watching movies, TV, YouTube and all kinds of video content projected on a big screen in my small row house in Washington, DC, and at $1,700, you get what you pay for. If you’ve got the space and the funds, it’s a dynamite home theater projector.

Here’s everything you need to know before you plunk down the cash for the XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K.

The XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K is a great buy for those willing to splurge on a high-quality, easy to use home theater projector for enjoying entertainment anywhere. However, its lack of a native Netflix app may be a turn off for some.

Simple setup and operation

The projector runs on Android TV 10.0, which means if you have an Android phone, setup is as simple as saying “OK Google, set up new device.” Your phone will find the Horizon Pro, get it onto your Wi-Fi network, and sign you in on Google services like YouTube.

If you have an iPhone, however, Set up is more manual and fiddly. It’s still relatively intuitive to use an on-screen keyboard with the Bluetooth remote control, but you will need to manually input the Wi-Fi network and password, as well as set up your Google account, which is a pain. But it’s a minor inconvenience that you only have to do once. (Interestingly, the Horizon Pro has an Ethernet port, so you can avoid the whole wireless setup business entirely if you don’t mind running cable around the living room.)

After that, the projector will probably update its Android TV, which takes a few minutes, and then you’re presented with the standard AndroidTV Home Screen. Here you can add various streaming apps, like Netflix, Apple TV, HBO Max and Disney+.

Easy adjustments and advanced features

One of my favorite features is the auto-keystone function known as “Intelligent Obstacle Avoidance,” which automatically discerns the edges of your viewing area and sets the screen size and focus to make sure nothing interferes with the projected image. On my basement wall, it was smart enough to avoid a stray Ethernet cable that had started to sag a bit and other items that might block some of the image. When I set up a portable screen, the auto-keystone function zoomed the image to fit the available screen area exactly. It’s truly impressive that all those annoying adjustments we used to have to do in order to make sure an image projected square and true to the wall can now be made with the touch of a button.

When it comes to search, the remote offers one-button access to Google Assistant, so you can look for content or open apps. It works as well as Google Assistant does on your phone, which means your mileage will vary.

Chromecast is also built into the Horizon Pro so you can wirelessly cast your content from your computer or tablet, which is handy if you want to use it to mirror your computer screen or show off some photos from your phone. This is a key function because Netflix — the number one streaming service — is not supported on this projector. This is a big stumbling block, and it should figure into whether you purchase the Horizon Pro or not. You can get around it by casting content from a computer that will run Netflix to the projector, but that’s a pretty poor substitute for native support. I ended up hooking my Apple TV 4K to the projector and getting around it that way.

Showtime. The picture on the Horizon Pro is, as you would expect for the price, fantastic. The specs promise 1 billion colors, and while I didn’t count them, I can definitely say the colors and picture are crisp and bright, and the contrast is great. While a lot depends on the ambient brightness in the room, the blacks are suitably deep as well. The projector ships with that annoying motion smoothing function turned on, which makes everything look like a BBC production from the 1970s, but things looked great once I finally figured out how to turn it off. It’s designed for sports and other fast-moving images, but to me, it just makes everything look cheap. To switch it off, navigate to the Image Mode menu, click on one of the modes (like Movie) and turn off the Motion Compensation setting.

This projector is designed to be pushed to the limits, and it comes through. Watching highly detailed YouTube videos and nature documentaries is a glorious experience. The large screen allows sweeping vistas and expansive drone footage to shine in all their vertiginous glory.

It performed spectacularly in pitch-black rooms and pretty well even in moderately well-lit spaces. No projector is going to rival a flatscreen or a laser projector, which costs thousands more, but its auto brightness and contrast functions performed well enough. You will want to turn down the lights, however, to be as dark as possible.

XGIMI Horizon Pro cube

Christopher Allbritton/CNN Underscored

The Horizon Pro is a squat almost-cube about 8 inches deep and wide and 5.3 inches high. It’s got your standard understated dark plastic finish that looks handsome and dignified if you put it on your coffee table in the living room. If you hang it from the ceiling, though, I imagine it will look like an ominous cube made of alien technology.

The remote, however, is a delight with its clean lines, simple button layout, and satisfying heft. I did not like that such an expensive device came without batteries for the remote. It’s the little things that matter, after all.

As mentioned, not having Netflix natively supported on the Horizon Pro is a major drawback. And it could be a deal killer for heavy Netflix users. Also, would it kill XGIMI to include batteries for the remote?

While XGIMI advertises the projector’s built-in speakers as “theater quality,” that’s a stretch. The two 8-watt, 45mm full-range speakers sound fine, but they’re no substitute for a dedicated soundbar or multi-speaker setup. They sounded tinny and thin when played at a high-enough volume to hear the dialogue.

But if you’re splashing out on $1,700 on a home projector, you probably already have a soundbar or another speaker setup better than those built into the projector.

As a little bonus, though, the projector can be used as a Bluetooth speaker if you’d like to stream music from your phone or tablet.

Dimensions and weight

8.1 x 8.5 x 5.3 inches, 6.3 pounds

Inputs

HDMI 2.0 × 1, HDMI 2.0 (ARC Supported) × 1, USB 2.0 × 2,
LAN × 1

Outputs

3.5mm headphone jack, optical

Resolution

3840 × 2160 pixels

Brightness

2200 ANSI lumens

Image size

40 to 200 inches

Supported formats

HDR10, HLG

3D

Frame Packing, Side by Side

Service life

30,000 hours

Audio

Dual 8W Harman Kardon speakers

Codecs

DTS-HD, DTS-Studio Sound, Dolby Audio, Dolby Digital (DD), Dol-
by Digital Plus (DD+)

Storage

32GB

Price

$1,599

If you’re looking for a handsome, compact home projector with a spectacular image, killer convenience utilities like the auto-keystone and -focus, and a smooth Android TV experience, the XGIMI Horizon Pro is a great investment. Its subpar sound, however, will need to be augmented with more robust speakers, and the inability to watch Netflix out of the box may put people off.

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