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XGIMI Elfin LED projector review: This tiny projector gets a lot right

XGIMI once again delivers a projector that hits well above its weight.

XGIMI carved out a name for itself in the projector segment with its Halo and Mogo portable projectors, and more recently it has ventured into the high-end 4K projector category with the Horizon Pro. Its latest offering takes the best features from both product lines and combines them in an affordable package.

The Elfin isn't a traditional portable projector in that it misses out on a built-in battery, but the lightweight design makes it easy to carry around, and auto keystone correction means you can set it up in a matter of moments. The biggest differentiator is that at $649, the Elfin retails for $150 less than the Halo, making it that much more enticing if you don't mind the fact that it needs to be plugged in.

So if you're looking for an affordable projector for home use that's easily portable when you need to move it between rooms or carry it to a friend or family's house, the Elfin may just be the ideal choice.

Bottom line: The Elfin offers amazing picture quality in a lightweight form factor that makes it easy to carry around. The auto-focus and keystone correction features make it a breeze to set up and use, you get Android TV with Android 10 out of the box. With HDR10+ and 800 lumen brightness levels, the Elfin is a standout choice for large screen entertainment.

The Good

  • Outstanding picture quality
  • Auto keystone correction and auto-focus
  • Lightweight form factor
  • Great remote
  • HDR10+ and MEMC

The Bad

  • Netflix still doesn't work out of the box
  • No built-in battery

$649 at Amazon $649 at XGIMI

XGIMI Elfin: Price and availability

The XGIMI Elfin was unveiled on August 20, and it is now available in North America from Amazon and XGIMI's website. The Elfin retails for $649, but as a launch incentive, XGIMI is offering a flat $100 off on Amazon if you pick up the projector before September 2. At $549, the Elfin is a standout value for the feature-set on offer. In the UK, you can get your hands on the Elfin for £649 ($890).

XGIMI Elfin: What you'll love

At the outset, the Elfin shares a lot of similarities with XGIMI's portable Halo projector. Both have a 1.2:1 throw ratio, 800 ANSI lumen brightness, 1080p resolution, and a solitary HDMI port. But there are a few key differences: the Elfin comes with dual 3W speakers (the Halo has 2 x 5W), and there's no battery here.

The Elfin combines a sleek design with a powerful lens that delivers excellent image quality.

The lack of a built-in battery limits the outdoor use of the Elfin, unless you're plugging it into a power station like the Anker Powerhouse II (it uses up to 65W). That said, the projector itself is thinner and lighter than the Halo, coming in at 192.1x194.19x48.31 mm and weighing 2.18 lb (0.9kg). The Elfin is clearly designed for home use — the design is evident of that — and the lightweight chassis and sleek form factor means it is easy to move around.

As for the design itself, the Elfin is an exercise in minimalism. While XGIMI's other projectors have a brushed aluminum design, the Elfin stands out with its white exterior coated in plastic — the squarish design and sleek lines resemble that of a Mac mini. The lens is located to the left, with the speaker housing taking up most of the room up front. There's also a time-of-flight sensor for automatic keystone correction and auto-focus, making it a breeze to set up the Elfin.

In fact, the automatic keystone correction give the Elfin a distinct leg up over its rivals — the Anker Nebula Solar is in the same category, and it only has vertical keystone correction. There's also the fact that the auto-focusing feature works incredibly well, and it's this ease-of-use that makes the Elfin a particularly great choice if you want a projector that doesn't need a lot of configuration.

With auto keystone correction and focusing, you can set up the Elfin in any room in under a minute.

I use Xiaomi's ultra short throw Mi Laser Projector in the bedroom, and I set that aside in favor of the Elfin. It took under a minute for the projector to adjust the keystone and dial in the framing, and it works just as well if you're using the projector with a screen or with a bare wall.

In terms of connectivity, you get a single HDMI 2.0 port, one USB 2.0, and a 3.5mm jack. There isn't an exhaustive list of options in this area, and as for wireless connectivity, there is Wi-Fi ac along with Bluetooth 5.0 LE. You'll find vents for cooling at the back and bottom of the projector, and the built-in fan doesn't make too much noise when it is in use.

The Elfin uses the same DLP chipset as the Halo, and it has 800 ANSI lumen brightness, making it a great choice for any time of day. The projector has a 1080p native resolution, but it takes 4K sources, and you get MEMC for smoother video playback when streaming sports content. You can get up to a 200-inch projection with the lens, and you also get HDR10 as well as HDR10+.

Colors look great out of the box, with the Elfin delivering a vibrant picture with excellent brightness levels. You can use this projector during the day without any issues, and there are five brightness presets to choose from. There's also the option to adjust the color balance to your preferences.

The image quality on offer makes the Elfin a standout option if you want a large screen for movies or sports. While not aimed at gamers, the Elfin holds up particularly well in this area as well, provided you're interested in casual games. With a latency of just under 28ms, the Elfin is a decent choice for gaming on a large screen.

Another feature in the projector's favor is the software. The Elfin has Android TV out of the box (based on Android 10), and it takes under five minutes to set it up. The interface should be immediately familiar if you've used Android TV in the past, and you can download your favorite streaming services from the Play Store.

Because the Elfin is designed with portability in mind, it has two 3W speakers located at the front. The sound out of the projector is decent enough for streaming content, but it isn't as detailed or loud as some of XGIMI's other offerings. If you're looking to get this projector primarily for movies, you'll need to get a soundbar.

The Elfin's bundled remote is one of the best in this category, second only to the NVIDIA Shield TV. XGIMI also went with a wedge-style design for the remote that makes it comfortable to hold, and while it isn't entirely triangular, it is great to use. The minimal design is carried over to the remote as well, with the white paint job contrasting with the buttons.

You get a dedicated button for invoking Google Assistant as well as the usual navigation and menu buttons, and there's a nifty toggle at the bottom that lets you use the volume buttons for adjusting the volume or the focus.

XGIMI Elfin: What needs work

While the Elfin gets a lot right, there are a few downsides. The first issue with the projector is the fact that Netflix still doesn't work out of the box. You will need to use an Android TV box like the Shield TV or cast content from your phone to the TV. This was the case on the Horizon Pro as well, and XGIMI really needs to sort out the issue.

And as much as I like the remote, it doesn't have backlit buttons, so you have to fumble in the dark for a few days before you figure out where the back and home buttons are located.

As I said earlier, a built-in battery would have made the Elfin that much more versatile, but doing so would have inevitably made the projector heavier and added to the cost, encroaching on the Mogo+ and the Halo.

XGIMI Elfin: The competition

There's no shortage of choice if you're looking for a portable projector. The WEMAX Dice is a good option in this category, offering a lens that goes up to 700 lumen brightness, portable design with three-hour battery life, Android TV, and auto keystone correction, all for $629.

The Anker Nebula Solar is a good alternative as well, offering a three-hour battery life, 1080p resolution, and up to 400 lumen brightness. The lower brightness level means you're better off using the projector at night, and you miss out on 4-point keystone correction.

XGIMI Elfin: Should you buy it?

You should buy this if ...

  • You want a projector that's portable
  • You're looking for a projector that's easy to set up and use
  • You need a projector that gets bright enough for daytime use
  • You want the extensibility of Android TV

You shouldn't buy this if...

  • You want to use the projector outdoors
  • You need a built-in battery

The design of the Elfin makes it easy to move around, so if you're in need of a projector that is portable while still giving you a great picture quality, it is a great option to consider. The automatic keystone correction is the star of the show here, and the 800 lumen brightness means you can use the projector in daylight without any issues.

4 out of 5

Sure, there's no built-in battery here, and it's obvious that XGIMI is positioning the projector as a thin-and-light option that's aimed at home use. It may not be suitable as a primary TV, but if you're hosting a party and want to stream a movie in the backyard or are interested in getting a large screen for streaming your favorite sports, the Elfin is a fantastic overall choice.

Bottom line: The Elfin offers amazing picture quality in a lightweight form factor that makes it easy to carry around. The auto-focus and keystone correction features make it a breeze to set up and use, you get Android TV with Android 10 out of the box. With HDR10+ and 800 lumen brightness levels, the Elfin is a standout choice for large screen entertainment.

$649 at Amazon $649 at XGIMI

Source: androidcentral

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