When shopping around for a new TV, it's easy enough to know what to look for and what questions to ask. What’s the picture size and resolution? How many HDMI inputs does it have? Does it come with any smart features built-in? Is it HDR-compatible? But what if you’re interested in a projector instead? What do you need to know then?
In the modern age, projectors are becoming more and more accessible with plenty of affordable options available online. However, these entry-level examples can be pretty tricky to understand. Some projectors claim to be 4K or even 1080p compatible when in reality they won’t output a picture even close to that resolution. So doing some proper research and picking out the right one for you can really make a world of difference.
After having some fun with a few different budget-friendly projectors in years past (and also looking at things like the Switch-specific OJO Projector), we’ve been curious to try out something a bit more high-tech. Enter the XGIMI Horizon Pro. We’ve been fortunate enough to go hands-on with one of these for the past few months with our Nintendo Switch and we can certainly see the pros of investing in a projector of this caliber.
At first, the thought of setting up a projector correctly can be incredibly daunting, especially if you’ve never set one up before. The Horizon Pro was a cakewalk right from the get-go, however, thanks to features like Automatic Keystone Correction which automatically scans your wall for the optimal place to project an image, and fine-tunes the dimensions and angle to fit your space.
This means you don’t have to rearrange your entire room to fit a projector, and you don’t have to place it in the center of your room either. As long as you have a decent-sized blank wall or a place for a screen, you’re given a wide range of freedom to place the Horizon Pro wherever you want and it’ll work as intended.
Since the Horizon Pro uses Android TV as its operating system, you’re able to easily download apps like Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll, Spotify, Disney +, YouTube, and more right from the Google Play store. There are two USB slots on the back of the box that can be used with external storage devices and you’ll find two HDMI inputs as well that allow you to connect other devices, like your Nintendo Switch.
When it comes to gaming and projectors, latency caused by your wireless controller and the projector image itself can be a troublesome thing, but the Horizon series comes equipped with a Game Mode that you can toggle on in the image settings, and we highly recommend you use it. This Game Mode reduces the latency down to 35ms, and we never felt it impeded our gameplay sessions. Even when playing something with precision platforming like Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury, controls were responsive and a very good time was had.
This is a 4K UHD native projector, meaning the image it produces will display in real 4K. You can adjust the picture size anywhere from 40 inches all the way up to 200, but you'll likely notice a drop in visual quality with anything over 150 inches. However, since the Switch isn’t a 4K machine, the picture will look essentially the same regardless of if you’re using the Horizon Pro, or the lower-priced Horizon model, which outputs at 1080p and even has a lower 18.2ms of latency in Game Mode. From what we could tell, those are the only major differences between the two different Horizon models on offer.
In our memories, catching a flick in theaters or studying a power point in class usually meant the lights in the room needed to be dimmed or turned off when using a projector. While you’ll definitely get the best picture if you do the same with the Horizon Pro, you’ll still get a decent image even if you just can’t escape the light thanks to the 2200 ANSI Lumens — that's a standardized measurement of light output for projectors, by the way — that this projector packs. It also supports HDR 10.
Included inside the box you’ll find a Bluetooth remote which gives you access to basic power options, volume adjustments, menu access, and the ability to quickly recalibrate your focus with the touch of a button, which we found incredibly handy. The remote itself has a weighty and premium feel, being made of aluminum and using two AAA batteries for power. Although you’ll find power, play/pause and volume buttons on the top of the projector as well, we opted to use the remote as we noticed we’d occasionally offset the projector on our small tripod every so often when we nudged it. This was easily remedied with the Auto Keystone Correction feature we mentioned earlier, though.
The Horizon Pro is an incredibly sleek and modern-looking piece of tech. The exterior is built mostly of aluminum, with lots of little holes for the built-in speakers to push audio through, and its fans are incredibly quiet. The top and bottom use a matte finish plastic, so there’s no need to worry about fingerprints like there was with the glossy sheen found on something like the Wii U. For a projector boasting so many high-quality features, we’re surprised by how small the device is, as well. There is a fairly hefty power supply that’s needed to power the device, but beyond that, the projector is only a little larger than a GameCube.
You can pull a lot of sound out of the two eight-watt Harman Kardon speakers smashed into this unit, too. The bass levels are impressive for the size and you’ll get some decent range. However, you do have the option to use external speakers either wirelessly through Bluetooth or with the 3.5mm headphone and/or optical port found in the back.
We do recommend looking into some sort of separate speaker option, as it felt a little unnatural to have all of our audio coming from one 'off-screen' location, especially since ours was sitting in the back corner of the room. Maybe if we placed the projector more centrally, or mounted it to the ceiling (using the standard tripod-compatible mounting thread located on the bottom of the projector), the sound would bounce around and fill up our space a bit better.
We did find it odd that the Horizon Pro doesn’t come with any way to protect the lens when it’s not in use. In the past, XGIMI has utilized built-in motorized lens covers, so we were disappointed to see they didn’t bring back this feature or even include a detachable lens cap.
The Horizon Pro has a suggested MSRP of $1,899.00, but we've noticed it does often goes on sale for less. When you compare this to other projectors of similar quality on the market, the price isn't too outlandish, but it's still a lot of dough to consider when you could alternatively spend the same money on a Switch, a library of games, and a perfectly nice TV to fit your room. Assuming you're in the market specifically for a projector, though, this is a high-quality and convenient solution.
If you’re dabbled around with more budget-friendly projectors in the past and are looking to bring home a more premium theater-style experience, the Horizon Pro by XGIMI is a fantastic piece of kit — a 4K UHD projector with Switch-friendly low latency and Android TV functionality built-in allowing you to use your favorite streaming services right out of the box. The Auto Keystone Correction feature is a game changer for those who want a home theater setup without having to rearrange their entire living space. Beyond a couple of minor disappointments, this is a great option if you're after a gaming-friendly projector.
Thanks to XGIMI for providing the Horizon Pro used in this review.
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I think I'll just get an OLED TV. Or Peggl--
I considered getting a projector, but the ones that are really worth it are more than a TV. I also typically play games with the lights on, even if low. I have a 42 inch oled and it's great.
What I'd love is something like the Moto Z phone projector but for the Switch. That's the kind of portability I'm looking for.
I just play my Switch OLED in handheld mode, lol. If I play on a TV then it'll be a standard console.
$1,899.00… sadly… I think I'll have to pass on this one
Ridonkeyulou. It's also got a very cheap panel, blue tinge to it. Could be uncalibrated, but why show it like that? Was this a demo unit for NL to shill?
NL: Do please let us know if anyone actually buys one of these thru your link. Curious minds want to know.
Im stupid. I still use a 200€ 1080p monitor.
This is still pretty low end for a 4K projector, the JVC laser ones start from £11,000.
I have a 1080p JVC DLA projector in my home theater room, that was around £5500 when new, and another issue with projectors, they do really need total dark light controlled rooms, to get the best out of them.
Very smart imho, the Switch only outputs up to 1080p, and you can get a lot of TV these days for around £200- £500.
4K is pointless unless you have a native 4K source.
I considered a projector but there's more than the projector to consider. You need a suitable wall/screen which is surprisingly difficult in the average house in the UK. I also don't like playing/watching in the dark (although I appreciate projectors do still work well in light conditions).
I do like the idea of not having a massive screen hanging on a wall though. Ultimately I am waiting for the VR technology to get a move on. There's no need for big screens and projections when you can have the screen any size, anywhere via some form of wearable tech.
Somewhat surprisingly, we're still nowhere near that being a reality. I often wonder if the Samsung, Sony and LG's of this world are deliberately dragging their heels to maintain selling these huge physical screens that sit on walls and soak up energy. I'm convinced TVs will be something we'll look back on in 30 years time as being utterly ridiculous - projectors less so, but still in the same league of silly tech.
@nocdaes us all wearing VR units and removing any sort of community and family watching?!? That’s the future for you?
TVs are silly but VR headsets are sensible!?!?
I stay silly thanks.
Watching TV and sharing games is a joy. Us all locked away in VR bubbles is my idea of hell.
@Stocksy Yeah, while nowadays I mostly play in handheld on my own I used to play together with my sister a lot growing up and still often do when I meet her and our friends.
In fact, being able to not only play the Switch without a TV on my own, but also bring it to their houses and play with them is one of the reasons why I love it so much!
That said, I don't mind VR as long as it remains only an option, not being the only way to play (even more so since I don't think I would use it much if at all myself).
@stocksy @johnnymind I don't mean VR as it is today. I agree the joint experience is the challenge with the current setup, but it's not that many years ago mobile phones were the size of bricks and only used by the business elite or in cars!
I believe there will be a VR/AR breakthrough in the next 10 years and then it'll take off much like the pace of mobile phones over the 10-20 years after that. It's hard to imagine what it could be, but perhaps a device that sits on your eyes, even less invasive than a contact lense, but similar, and a devjce in your ear for sound. You could all see and hear the same content in a particular room/place for a joint experience still.
Obviously we are a long, long way away from this today! We're getting closer to a reality of much longer lasting battery technology though, which is one of the key milestones, I believe, before wearable technology can take off.
Who knows, maybe I've been reading too much science fiction! I do find it interesting to look at technology today versus 30 years ago though... and that can make it interesting to consider what could be possible in another 30 years!
One thing I'd be confident of though... in 30 years we won't have 60 inch TVs mounted to walls in our living rooms with cables connected to game consoles.
@nocdaes Interesting, we'll see if that ever happens or not!
Although I'm pretty sure that while most people could not have TVs mounted to walls in their living rooms with cables connected to game consoles there will be some who still do just like there are people who nowadays still have CRTs for their retro consoles!
'd love to play some Super Metroid on that one.
1899? hahahaha get outta town with that (not you Zion) I could buy another high end PC for that. My gaming PC I built now I payed less for.
Ridiculous Price. It's a no from me.
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