In addition to a number of portable projectors, Xgimi (pronounced exjimmi) also has an Ultra Short Throw model at home. With its very large image, the Aura wants to replace the TV in the living room. In any case, it seems very competitively priced, but does it also deliver the necessary performance?
Xgimi Aura – Specifications
|What||Ultra HD DLP Projector with LED Light Source|
|Setup||3840 x 2160 (0.47” DMD with pixel shifting), light output 2400 ANSI lumens, 0.233 throw ratio (100 inches diagonal at 21 cm), noise level <32 dB|
|Connections||3x HDMI (2.0, ARC), 3x USB (media, power supply), 1x optical digital out, 1x headphones, 1x Ethernet|
|Lamp Life||LED light source, up to 25,000 hours|
|Extras||HDR10, HLG, 3D, 4x 15 Watt speaker (Harman Kardon), Android TV 10, motorized focus, built-in WiFi, Bluetooth|
|Dimensions||606 x 401 x 140mm|
|Recommended retail price||2,799 euros|
Xgimi Aura – Design
Sober, but with a certain eye for detail and style, that’s how we would describe the Xgimi Aura. The rather hefty size, as we have already seen with all other UST projectors, does not bother because it looks elegant
Black and gray are the main tones, and the chassis was given just enough curvature at the top and front to make it graceful. There are no controls on the projector other than the power button on the side.
Xgimi Aura – Connections
No groundbreaking news at the connections. The Xgimi has three HDMI 2.0 connections, one with ARC. According to Xgimi, eARC would also be available later in the year via software update. Furthermore, there are three USB connections, one of which is on the side at the front where it is easily accessible.
Furthermore, we only find a headphone output and optical digital audio output. Ethernet and WiFi are provided for the smart TV functions and Bluetooth for audio and the remote.
Xgimi Aura – Placement
UST projectors are placed just in front of the wall, and with its 0.233 projection ratio, the Aura delivers a 100-inch image when it’s 21 cm from the wall. This is calculated from the back of the projector, the front is then 61 cm from the wall. The projector can focus between 11 cm from the wall (80 inch image) to 44 cm from the wall (150 inch image).
Xgimi surprised us last year with a very smart portable projector that aligns itself fully automatically. On the Aura, which is of course intended for a permanent setup, all those options are missing. The focus is motorized, and you can easily adjust it using the remote. But there is no autokeystone or other function that helps you with the drafting.
The lens of the Aura provides excellent focus. The chromatic aberration, a problem we see with most UST projectors, is very limited and once adjusted the focus is almost perfect. If you don’t want any errors in the center of the image, you have to tolerate that the top 10% of the image is slightly out of focus, but after some searching we found a great compromise that was perfectly acceptable.
You also have to eliminate trapezoidal distortion manually. Either by gently moving the projector, or you can eventually reach for the four-point or eight-point correction in the menu. We got the projector placed correctly with some patience without using the keystone correction. In any case, keep in mind that UST projection has not only advantages but also disadvantages .
In the standard lamp modes, we also found the projector to be quite quiet, at least quiet enough not to be disturbing. Only in the ‘performance’ lamp mode the sound is a bit more prominent, but still acceptable.
Xgimi Aura – Ease of Use
The Aura runs on Android TV 10, and uses a quad core Cortex A55 CPU with 2GB RAM and Mali G52 GPU. The interface is fast and responsive and apps open smoothly.
We recognize the menus and remote from the Horizon Pro , and that means that your options to tweak the image are very limited in most image modes. Strangely enough, the laser lamp setting is also in a completely different menu than the image presets. The normal image settings can be reached via the settings button on the remote control, and then select Image Mode. The laser lamp settings can be found by navigating further to All Settings, Projector Settings, Brightness.
If you really want to adjust the image, you should in any case switch to the ‘Custom’ image mode, but even then you can only adjust the basic properties. Selecting a different gamut is not possible, and those who want to adjust the color temperature only get the most basic options.
Xgimi clearly believes that a remote should be as simple as possible. The combination of light metal and black plastic also looks very nice. The slim remote works via Bluetooth, so pointing is unnecessary.
That model already worked great on the Horizon Pro , and is also doing great for this Aura. We would like to see some extra keys on a home cinema projector to quickly tinker with the image, but that is not the strongest side of the Aura in any case, and it is therefore not a loss that the keys are not there.
Thanks to Android TV you have a very wide range of applications. This is a full Android TV experience with all major streaming applications… except Netflix. That app is still absent on the Xgimi (which was also the case on the Horizon Pro last year). Xgimi is still trying to get certification from Netflix. You can still install a Netflix version (via the DesktopManager App), but that turned out to be the Kodi version that definitely doesn’t provide the same user experience. It is of course better than nothing, as an alternative you can hang a ChromeCast on the device. However, it is and remains a cosmetic flaw.
The Xgimi offers its own media player that supports most formats. If a format that you use is missing, you can switch to VLC. The player supports both Dolby (but not Atmos) and DTS.
Xgimi Aura – Image Quality
The Xgimi uses a 0.47 inch DLP chip and displays 4K via pixel shifting. In our background article about projectors read exactly how that works. The result is, as always, an image that delivers somewhere between Full HD and 4K detail.
Despite its higher ambitions as a home cinema projector, we don’t see more image processing options than on portable models. The upscaling is good, but it’s best to switch to the ‘Custom’ picture mode and lower the ‘sharpness’ setting to somewhere between zero and five. The default setting is 50, which is much too sharp with a lot of unnatural detail, especially if there is also some noise in the image. The noise reduction can only moderately eliminate noise, and color bands in soft transitions remain visible, although that was fortunately not too bad in our dark test scene.
Movie images at 24 fps suffer from judder, but you can eliminate that by activating the motion interpolation. Even in the lowest setting, that has a lot of effect because with the disappearance of the shocks, some extra detail becomes visible. Even in the highest setting, it doesn’t cause too many strange image artifacts. Only with very fast pans the processor cannot follow. The medium setting seemed the best choice to us.
On paper, the projector delivers 2,400 ANSI lumens, but in practice we get a maximum of 1,585 lumens (in Performance Lamp mode, and Movie image mode). Many projectors are tinted too green, but this one is too cool (light blue overtone) and that is much less disturbing. As a result, you can use this mode if there is a lot of ambient light, for example, it still fills a 100 to 120 inch image. If we look for a mode that is a bit warmer, the projector still delivers 1,100-1,300 lumens (Eye Protection lamp mode and film image mode, or Standard Lamp mode and Office image mode). That’s still enough for 110 inches in ambient light. The contrast performance is very good. There we achieve 2,500 – 2,600:1 in almost all image modes. Those who turn off the lights can really enjoy dark scenes, our tests with Gravity, Star Wars and Game Of Thrones looked very good.
Whichever image mode we choose, the Xgimi Aura strongly leans towards cool color temperatures. The best modes are Standard Lamp Brightness with the Office picture mode. But then you can’t tinker with anything. An alternative is the ‘Custom’ lamp mode with the color temperature set to Warm. Another option is the ‘Eye Protection’ lamp brightness mode, which you can combine with the ‘Custom’ image mode with color temperature Standard.
Whatever you choose, the result is solid. The projector delivers good contrast, with sufficient black detail and decent colours. Certainly in ambient light, that slightly cooler shade is not so bad, but you will notice it with blackout. Anyway, it should be clear that the Xgimi could get a better calibration. But given the limited options in the menu, it is not certain whether you can actually get more out of them.
Xgimi Aura – HDR
The Aura has a color range of 78% P3 (57% Rec.2020) and that is not enough to show really strong HDR colors. There is sufficient light and contrast, so a lot depends on how good the tone mapping of the projector is. And we can best describe it as mediocre. The projector seems to ignore all metadata. The tone mapping always goes up to 10,000 nits, and he tries to keep all white detail visible. As long as the HDR images are not mastered too brightly (1000-2000 nits), the result is still quite good. You miss the impact of the colors, and a little black detail is missing, but thanks to its solid contrast and sufficient light, the images are still quite good. You will also notice the too cool color temperature in HDR.
With very clear mastered images (4000 nits), the Aura makes the image much too faded. Colors fade, and in spite of everything white detail disappears. How your HDR experience is will therefore largely depend on your content, but unfortunately it is never a real HDR experience.
In game mode, the Xgimi achieves an input lag of 38.6 ms, just enough for most gamers. HDMI 2.1 features and support for 2K120 are missing, the maximum input is 4K60.
Xgimi Aura – Sound Quality
The audio equipment carries a Harman Kardon badge, and is very generously sized with 4x 15 Watts. You will hear that immediately, the projector has a lot of volume on surplus. The generous portion of bass is surprising, it gives your movie soundtracks a nice boost. The sound is generally very good, but just like with the image settings, we find few options to adjust the sound. The ‘Music’ and ‘Film’ sound presets sound good. For music, the bass can be a bit intense at times. Those who want slightly less pronounced bass can switch off ‘DTS studio sound’. The surround experience is good, and voices are clear, so the Xgimi scores well in that area. Feel free to use the projector as a Bluetooth speaker, it has plenty of sound quality for that.
Xgimi Aura – Conclusion
Ultra Short Throw projectors are well established by now, and that raises the bar a little higher. The Xgimi has a lot to offer, but also has a number of points of interest. First of all, the lack of the Netflix app, that remains a shame. You can install a different version of the app via a detour, but that remains an inferior solution. More attention should also be paid to calibration. The Aura is systematically too cool, and due to the limited calibration options, it is not certain that you can correct this correctly. The color space is too limited for HDR, and the tone mapping could be better, especially for clearly mastered content.
The Aura mainly gives you a lot of image and sound for a competitive price. The laser light source easily fills a 100 to 120 inch screen, or even larger if you darken. And thanks to an excellent contrast, the images also have a lot of depth. You do not have to view dark scenes in diluted gray, the Aura has solid black for a projector with sufficient shadow nuances. You get used to the somewhat cool color temperature, especially in SDR the results can still be seen. Throw in the excellent Harman Kardon audio, and before you know it you’ll be really enjoying the movie.
- Very good Harman Kardon audio
- Excellent contrast
- Laser light source with decent light output
- Solid calibration (for SDR)
- Android TV
- No official Netflix app
- Color temperature always too cool
- Very limited calibration options
- Mediocre HDR results