XGIMI has just launched one of the best projectors it has ever created. Taking one of its flagship models and turning it into a long-throw super projector. It is the new XGIMI Horizon Ultra 4K Long-Throw Smart Home Projector (or simply, the XGIMI Horizon Ultra).
It kind of feels like nothing was held back this time. Everything you’d find in the company’s other models with a few new exciting features that change the playing field a little. The kind of change that will force competitors to step up their game or find a new job.
Not only does this offer auto focus and keystone, and object avoidance and alignment, but it also offers a few other tricks that we haven’t seen before (and work pretty well). It is also vibrant, bright, and offers a low latency. Making it a good option for both video content and gaming alike. It is Dolby Vision certified and offers are plethora of streaming options thanks to having Android TV 11 built-in. It is a mighty contender.
With its design alone, it immediately stands out as something unique. It doesn’t actually look like a projector at all. It looks like a square device that has some kind of technological purpose that leans more toward being a wireless speaker than anything else. A little bit of modern with a dash of retro (but only a dash). The fact that it says Harmon Kardon on the front helps highlight this even more. It doesn’t come off as something that is going to become your complete source of visual entertainment.
It features a balance of well-made materials, including a fabric lens cover on the front and PU leather across the top and sides. Everything else is a balance of plastic and aluminum, with a noticeable amount of weight so that you know it has a lot going for it inside.
When it is off, it blends inconspicuously into its environment. But then you hit the power button on the back or via the remote and the rest is revealed.
The fabric cover on the front slowly lowers itself down and the lens comes to life. It is a silent process as it doesn’t really make any noise. Even when the fan begins to spin as well as it doesn’t really make a lot of noise when compared to most of the models out there.
The backside has all of the connectivity, as well as a single power button. Everything else is handled from the remote. The sides and top are barren when it comes to anything to press or interact with. The space is reserved for its modern design and ability to blend into its environment.
Of the options you will find back there, you have your power connection, a LAN connection (internet), two USB 2.0 connections (for thumb drives and other sources of data), two HDMI connections (the second of the two supporting eARC), a digital optical out, and an analog 3.5mm aux out for a stereo or headphone send.
Pretty much everything you’d normally expect to find on the back of a projector. As well as offering Wi-Fi built-in so that you don’t have to be tethered down with an Ethernet connection if you don’t want to be (or if it isn’t convenient.
It comes with a hefty power brick that you’ll have to plan on hiding. It’s a good thing XGIMI focused on doing this as it does take some of that weight away from the projector itself (which I mentioned already has a decent amount of weight as it is). It offers the same color theme as the projector and plenty of cable length so it can be hidden on the floor or behind some furniture space.
The remote is fantastic. Not only is it simple (like all XGIMI models), but it offers a robust design. Including a silver aluminum body. It’s compact and doesn’t stick out while also maintaining a design that is easy on the eyes.
Even better, the company provides batteries so that is one less thing you have to worry yourself with. Thus everything will work right out of the box.
The bottom of the projector contains a threaded hole for small stands and mounting solutions. It’s the same threads used by cameras and other small devices. Because of this, you can attach or adapts to all sorts of options, regardless of if the projector is sitting on a surface or hanging from your ceiling.
One of these solutions is available from XGIMI in the form of its X-Desktop Stand Pro. An aluminum and quite durable stand/base solution that gives you the ability to fully control the projector’s tilt. This would be a bit handy since the projector does shoot a bit high and not perfectly straight forward. It does this with the assumption that the center-point of the screen will either be higher than itself or lower if if the projector is flipped and mounted to the roof.
This stand is an extra purchase and completely optional if you find that it is needed. Again, you likely won’t use it unless you are trying to shoot straight on at the screen and need to adjust the angle due to this.
Else you may be making use of these threads for ceiling mounted scenarios. Although since the company chose to go with a small thread solution and not a proper bracket solution with multiple points of contact, we couldn’t find it in ourselves to hang it from the roof to see how well that would work (due to the weight of the projector). I’m sure everything would work out just fine and I’m sure the threads are properly supported inside somehow, but we just didn’t want to take any chances.
This was a bonus mention we wanted to cover since we were impressed by this. The projector came to us in a similar fashion as you’d find a Russian nesting doll. A box, inside of a box, inside of a box, inside of a box. In otherwards, the actual product packaging (box) came tucked away within three other brown boxes. Clearly, making sure that the projector arrived in one piece.
Unlike products you get from sources like Amazon that can be like playing Russian roulette, XGIMI seems to really care about making sure you have a good delivery experience.
I mentioned that this projector is vibrant and bright. This was no exaggeration. This is the brightest projector that XGIMI has ever released at 2300 ISO lumens. As mentioned, it supports Dolby Vision and has quite the color gamut. It offers a DCI-P3 color space that is over 95.5% and Rec. 709 standard exceeds 99.9%. Even at its max recommended projected size of (up to) 200-inches (in all of our shots, you are seeing it projected against a 150-inch screen).
This is thanks to what the company is calling a hybrid dual light system that makes use of both LED and laser to obtain this. Leading to a crisp, bright image, that gives the idea that you are using a much larger projector than it really is.
It offers a great image, even with the lights on, thanks to its ability to dynamically adjust both color and brightness to the level of light in the room. So it gets brighter when you turn the lights on and dims down as you turn them off. It does this so fluidly, that we could barely tell it was happening.
It will also dim to a black screen with a short message if someone walks in front of the beam (if you keep the option enabled). This is an effect to protect someone’s eyes so they aren’t staring into all of that bright light. Clearly, a featured targeted for those with kids walking around.
It doesn’t just stop there though. It also offers the ability to do something we haven’t quite seen before. It is the ability to automatically adapt to the color of your wall if you are simply aiming it at your wall (no screen). So say your wall is a soft Earthy color that is anything but white. Maybe a light gray or a soft tan. The projector will adjust colors and brightness to compensate for this. This way your colors are still accurate and you still get that full immersion.
We found this to be an exciting feature as wall color has been one of the biggest variables that chase people away from wanting to simply project against a wall without a screen. That and if they have textured walls or not (still better to have a wall without any texture).
This completely eliminates this concern, or at least mostly. It won’t be 100% perfect but it will be (quite) noticeably better. Enough that it should bring a smile to your face each time. Many of the walls here are a light tan in color to match the theme of the outside of the building. So something like this works out well.
Of course, you get the same auto keystone, auto focus, and object avoidance (alignment) that you’d find with other XGIMI projectors. That and the new uninterrupted keystone and focus the company introduced with the MoGo 2 projector. This means the user doesn’t have to do much more than point the projector at a wall that has a lot of empty space on it and turn it on. It will pretty much do everything else for you. It will automatically size the image to fit into the biggest amount of space it can find while avoiding pictures, lights, or anything else that might be on the wall.
This is all thanks to the company’s Intelligent Screen Adaptation Technology 3.0 (or ISA 3.0), which includes this and many other features to dial everything in for you so that you don’t have to lift a finger.
There are just a few things to take into consideration. You have to make sure that the overall reach of the lamp extends past the space you want to project in (the initial light being projected). It will then size the image down and align it within that given amount of space.
Also, if you are shooting it at a screen, you want to make sure this process is being done with the lights on so that it can see the black borders of the screen. It will then fill the screen perfectly (or at least nearly perfectly) every time. Then you can take the lights down and enjoy.
Moving along to its built-in (two) 12W Harman/Kardon speakers. Its ability to provide its own sound without the need for a system is nothing new. But few projectors sound as good as this. It’s loud and can take a beating without distorting. The clarity of the speakers as well, puts it on par with many of the soundbars that are out there. You just have the sound coming from the projector instead of directly in front of you. So this is best for den scenarios where you are just playing simple games or keeping kids entertained For a more theatrical experience, you’ll want a full surround sound system.
Then there is that mention of low-latency performance. The projector offers a low latency of just 18ms with game mode enabled. This is what makes it a great option for gaming when compared to most of the older projectors. Thankfully, this is something we have been seeing a lot with many laser projector models. Allowing you to take advantage of that larger screen space. If you are a competitive gamer, you’ll likely still opt for a normal screen with even lower latency, but this works just fine for the average gamer.
That being said, we have spent over 10 hours back and forth playing a number of games, most of which being the new Starfield, which does support Dolby Vision and absolutely looks great with this projector. We swapped between it and using a Samsung MicroLED TV and no one noticed a difference latency-wise. Overall, making for a great gaming experience.
To be fair, there aren’t really a lot of cons to worry about. The average user would likely find themselves bragging to friends and family about how great the projector is. A short demonstration of what it can do and others will likely want one for themselves. But we always seem to find something worth pointing out and we only had the one thing that affects all of these auto adjusting models.
This is where I initially mentioned “It kind of feels like nothing has been left out” since it does lack the options of mechanical lens shift and deeper optical zoom settings that can help adjust the overall field of light and not just the ability to move the image around (within it). Thus if you are using this with a screen in a dark environment, there is a chance you will have light bleeding around the image some.
This wouldn’t mean anything on an OLED TV since black means off, but on a projector, you get that dim light that can’t be eliminated as you can’t simply turn off certain pixels. As mentioned, you do get some optical zoom, but only so much and the keystone doesn’t affect the edges of the light (only the image space within it).
This is mostly fine if you are sitting it on a table/surface that can be moved around to get the best distance from the screen. It still wouldn’t be perfect since the keystone isn’t affecting the surrounding light, but you could try to get the field of light and image as close as possible (possibly turning it into a short to mid-throw scenario depending on the size of your screen).
But if you are mounting it to the ceiling and have limited options where you place it, this becomes an issue as you will likely bleed light. 17+ feet away from the screen and you will be bleeding a lot of light, making it very noticeable. Thus although it is a long-throw projector, it isn’t perfect in all situations.
So it is best when projecting at a wall where you need these features to get the best space with little to no manual adjustments. However, if you want a static projector that never moves from the room and is dialed specifically into the size of a screen (both the lamp and the image it is producing), limited on space, you’d still be leaning toward a more expensive model that lets offers additional optical zoom and some proper lens shift.
This is also all dependent upon the idea that you know how to manually make use of these adjustments, of course. For everyone else, this projector is a top buy, hands down. Especially, since this model is clearly targeted for them (and for the user looking to just point it at a wall and be done with it).
The auto-calibration features this projector has to offer are fantastic. Covering things like zoom, focus, keystone, alignment, avoidance, and adaptation. It doesn’t leave anything else for the user to have to toy with and makes the overall experience stress-free.
Then there is the clarity and brightness it has to offer. By far some of the best we’ve seen within this price range and absolutely the best we’ve seen from XGIMI. The company is known for its quality projectors, but this one drops the cherry on top of that cake. It’s bright, it’s vivid, it’s clean, it’s crisp, it’s inclusive, and all of this with up to a 4K@60 resolution. A powerful contender that will likely make the competition worried and absolutely the best product from XGIMI to date.
It would just be nice to have had the ability to keystone the overall field and not just the image inside of it. But then again, this is clearly aimed at those shooting at walls and not so much fine-turning to screen space. So it doesn’t affect the score as much as we’d normally come swinging. Because it clearly has a niche and it dominates within the niche without a doubt.
Finally, it would have been nice to see a more secure way of mounting it upside down from the ceiling (for those looking to do that).
|Our Rating||Average Price*|
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
- Type: DLP
- Display Chip: 0.47″ DMD
- Supported Formats: HDR 10, HLG
- Brightness: 2300 ISO Lumens
- Resolution: 3840 x 2160 pixels
- Color Gamut: DCI-P3 95%
- Lamp Life: 25,000 Hours
- 3D Support: 3D(Top and Bottom (Including Frame Packing) & Side by Side)
- Throw Ratio: 1.2-1.5:1
- Optical Zoom
- Uninterrupted Auto Keystone
- Uninterrupted Auto Focus
- Intelligent Screen Alignment
- Intelligent Obstacle Avoidance
- Projection Options: Front, Rear, Front Ceiling, Rear Ceiling
- Projection Size: 40″ to 200″
- Built-in Audio: 2 x12W Harman/Kardon speakers
- RAM: 2GB
- Storage: 32GB
- OS: Android TV 11
- Chromecast built-in
- Wi-Fi: Wifi 6 Dual-band 2.4/5GHz, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.2/BLE
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