Xgimi Elfin LED Portable Projector

Xgimi Elfin LED Projo Brings Back the Good Ol’ Days Of Movie-Watching

BT2020, 4K, HDR, WCG, REC709, 25 Mbps AVC, 16:9, ISF, THX, yada yada yada. Dealing with bleeding edge technologies, both professionally and as a hobbyist for essentially all my life, I’m beginning to feel weary about my home theatre. I feel the magic starting to vanish.

Being a member of various forums, discussion groups and mailing lists around the world, I find more and more members bickering about every aspect of every home theatre technology. This hobby, it seems to be, has turned too many people into pixel peeping, argumentative, technology slaves. Lest we forget, home theatre is about fun.

Thankfully, Xgimi sent me an Elfin portable Android-based 3+1 LED DLP 1080p Google TV projector (about $650 US) just in time for my daughter’s visit from Ottawa. The projector is a mere 8” x 8” x 2” in size, weighs 2 pounds and reminds me of a Mac Mini. At the bottom is a slot for screwing in a tripod, and on its backside, a USB slot, HDMI 2.0 input, and a 3.5 mm stereo output. It comes with a pair of built in speakers tuned by Harman Kardon. But the best part: the projector functions as an Android box as well; allowing you to download apps from Google store, from social media to games.

Connecting to Internet via its internal dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi is a breeze. Choose the network, put in your password, done! After downloading the YouTube, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix apps, I was ready to go. There are more apps than simply those, of course, but those are the only ones I use regularly. Also the added Bluetooth 5.0 capability allows you to connect it to an external Bluetooth speaker so you don’t need to be chained by wires.

Setting up the projector is easy; and the only thing you have to do during the initial setup is updating its firmware. It took about 20 minutes to get everything set up which you only do it once for the life of the projector. Interestingly, there are no controls on the case; everything must be done via the included remote (AAA batteries needed, not included). As for image setup, it comes with built in auto focus and auto keystone (+/- 45 degrees, horizontal and vertical), both of which took no more than 3 seconds to set up; and the subsequent start up time is merely 5 seconds from dead-off to seeing the menu on the screen. That’s faster than my laser projector.
I got the obligatory popcorn ready, and my daughter and I started watching a slew of YouTube videos, mostly the so-called 8K travelogue videos and Techmoan channels, since they’re fun to watch. I used both my freshly-painted wall for the screen and my home theatre’s Stewart StudioTek 130 G4 screen. Time flew by, the image is not perfect, but for that price, it’s amazing. To put things into perspective, I use a $15K US JVC laser projector as my daily display and taking that into consideration, I can still say that this Xgimi Elfin to be a decent projector. Pleasantly surprised, however, is how much the Stewart StudioTek 130 G4 screen elevated the image quality of this projector to another level.

The next day, we continued by watching the 2022 Ghostbusters 4K movie. This time, we used the Panasonic UB9000 4K Blu-ray player connected via my PixelGen THX Certified HDMI cable to the projector. We were both amazed by the projector’s brightness: 800 Lumens and 5,000:1 contrast ratio may not sound like a lot on paper, but to both our eyes, it’s mighty bright without being washed out. And that’s particularly impressive for a projector of this size and price. Also, this projector is relatively silent unlike my Vivitek pico projector. The built-in speaker is also surprisingly decent. Clean, clear, and can be pushed to play loud without any distracting distortion.

Reviewing this projector is a blast too. Because of the DLP single-chip technology, there is no convergence that needs to be fixed. Unlike other technology (including 3-chip DLP) that requires a convergence to be done to align red, green, and blue into a single white dot all across the screen, there is nothing to be done here, as there is only a single beam that a single-chip DLP is dealing with. Furthermore, the use of RGB+B LED as the light source of this DLP projector truly suppressed the rainbow effect usually found in projectors with a single light source + colour wheel (even the 7-segment ones). The above average lens quality of this 1.2:1 throw projector helps with the clarity too.

Is the projector perfect? For the price… yes. Near silent operation (only 30 dB), pleasingly rather accurate out of the box colour preset, bright enough for most portable applications, light, easy to set up. And most importantly, it’s a whole lot of fun!

That evening, and in the following days, my daughter and I had the most fun watching movies together for as long as I can remember. The projector also invoked the nostalgia of the fun times I had with my late grandfather way back about half a century ago, experiencing the magic of movie watching which later inspired me to go deeper into home (and commercial) theatre technologies.

So to recap, lest we forget, home theatre is supposed to be fun and what fun we had. As for the Xgimi Elfin, it is, to say the least, inspiring.