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When you think of projectors, your mind might go straight to the bulky, cumbersome devices that stay screwed into your ceiling, never to be moved again. However, in this day in age, due to huge advancements in technology, some projectors couldn’t be more portable, being so small in size that you can literally slot them into your pocket.
XGIMI is one company that has been focussing on creating portable and lightweight home projector ranges that have all the benefits of the traditional large-bodied classics. Now, as multiple of its creations have been pushed to market, they’ve blessed us with yet another device that looks to bridge the gap between on-the-go technology and something that you’d typically see in a home theater.
The projector we’re talking about here is the Elfin, a 1080p smart projector that is essentially a shrunken down version of the projectors we know and love, packing in an impressive array of features in a compact form factor.
Here’s our review, touching on all aspects of the Elfin, and hopefully giving you everything you need to know on whether you should pick it up for your projection needs.
During our tests, the picture quality we experienced from the Elfin was pretty much what was anticipated – a 1080p image that’s sharp, with crisp colors, but ultimately struggles with dark portions of video.
While watching movies, it more than does the job compared to other ‘portable’ options and the distortion of the blacks wasn’t overly distracting. The 800-lumen bulb is its saving grace both creating a bright image that can be seen in a lit room, as well as allowing for those vivid colors to break through. Even at its huge 200 inch projected image, the brightness stays true and while there’s some jaggedness that enters the fray, we wouldn’t say its immersion breaking.
If you’re thinking about gaming, however, we really wouldn’t recommend the Elfin. When there was an image with lots of singular color or if you’re entering something like a dark cave within your favorite game, we noticed a bunch of pixelation due to the aforementioned distortion. It also maxes out at 1080p too so if you’re a next-gen console owner, you really won’t be seeing its true capabilities. On the flip side though, there is HDR10+ built-in which can offer up better ‘pops’ of color, along with the ‘Game Mode’ reducing latency to 26.5ms so it’s not the worst projector we’ve come across when thinking about getting your game on.
Moving to connectivity, this is something that the Elfin excels at. Built on Android 10 software, it utilizes Chromecast to effortlessly cast your favorite movies, TV shows, and more from whatever Apple or Android device you own up onto the big screen. Additionally, there’s Bluetooth integration too. This will allow you to quickly stream your favorite YouTube videos straight from your phone to the projector and ensure you to catch up on your go-to influencer’s videos almost instantaneously.
If wireless isn’t your thing, you can make use of the HDMI port to connect your laptop or other devices to transfer your media to the big screen. This is the more traditional route and keeps you tethered to the Elfin so we’d recommend using that Chromecast feature over inserting any wires if you can.
Looking at the other features within the Elfin, it certainly isn’t lacking.
For sound, you’ll be able to utilize the two 3W built-in speakers created by harmon/kardon to create a truly cinematic experience at home. No peaks or distortion here, even the loudest booms from your favorite 90s crime film should be kept at a pleasant-sounding level, and maximize that immersion from the comfort of your couch.
To increase that projection quality, making it as simple as possible for you, the Elfin also has a bunch of smart features to truly make optimal playback a smooth process. Here’s a full list of what’s included:
Finally, with 16GB of onboard storage, you’ll be able to download and install some great apps from the Google Play Store. This will mitigate you having to connect any other device to the Elfin and stream content using your WiFi connection. It does, however, not have Netflix support so if you want to utilize this service, you will have to connect another piece of kit to do so.
The body of the Elfin is certainly slim and lightweight but it’s not portable in the traditional sense. What we mean by this is that, unfortunately, there’s no battery inside the device. This renders it almost useless for those wanting to take it on camping trips way out in the woods as you’re not going to find an outlet laying around.
This is pretty unfortunate considering that other XGIMI projectors come with batteries installed but it’s something that’s probably not a deal-breaker for most because really, there aren’t too many cases when you’re going to be quickly breaking out the projector while on your travels. Although, if you are looking for a projector with those qualities, as alluded to previously, XGIMI does produce the Halo+ and MOGO PRO+ which both come with pre-installed battery packs.
It does, however, come in at 192.1 x 194.19 x 48.31 mm and weighing just 1.98 lbs so if you’re someone who has enough white walls to get your projection going in multiple rooms, you can quickly switch it up even with little space.
So, with all this great functionality packed into a lightweight, semi-portable device, how much is it going to set you back? Well, we certainly wouldn’t class it as a budget projector.
The XGIMI Elfin currently comes in at $649 making it a pretty pricey purchase for most and something that might catch you off guard considering you’re able to pick up a generic, basic alternative for around $200. But, it does have a bunch of intelligent features, onboard storage with Android 10 for app installation, and much more, so comparing a low-cost option to something of this ilk is a bit of a mismatch in our eyes.
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All in all, the XGIMI Elfin is a mini projector that will tick a lot of boxes for most people. It’s small, lightweight, and has solid connectivity that allows for easy communication between your devices.
The picture quality, while not spectacular, does the job and does it well, especially with the inclusion of the 800-lumen bulb. It does fall down with dark images and it lacks the on-the-go portability that other XGIMI projectors have but ultimately, these are small downfalls in an otherwise solid new entry into XGIMI’s projector lineup.
If you want to experience the XGIMI Elfin for yourself and you’re willing to drop over $600 on it, you can pick it up from XGIMI directly or through your favorite e-retailer Amazon.