Xgimi Elfin portable projector review
Most people are still confused about portable projectors, and rightly so. The brands haven’t done much in terms of marketing or highlighting the usefulness of the product, which makes portable projectors largely alien to the wider tech landscape. But I know portable projectors deliver the most when you figure out what they do best and where they fumble. The Xgimi Elfin offers a portable 1080p projector and Android TV streaming device in one device. Does it deliver, and why should I pay Rs 75,999 for a portable projector on a big screen TV? Here is my opinion.
Xgimi Elfin portable projector review: Rs 75,999
Xgimi Elfin portable projector review: Design and aesthetics
I will admit something. At first glance, the Xgimi Elfin can easily be mistaken for a Mac mini desktop computer. I wonder if Xgimi’s designers were clearly tasked with designing a portable projector that looks like a Mac mini. Anyway, the body is milled plastic with a white finish and four rounded corners. The projector is small, compact and doesn’t take up much space in your bedroom or living room. However, it lacks the built-in battery holder, something I wish this type of device had come with. The Elfin also doesn’t come with a carrying case, but luckily a transparent window protects the lens from damage. The bottom has three rubber feet and a socket for the tripod screw.
You will only find a few ports on the Elfin. There’s a power button, power and audio jack, and ports for HDMI and USB. The two Harman Kardon 3W speakers are powerful and surprisingly clear. Music and movies sounded more realistic – and less tinny. While watching Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein, I didn’t feel the need to use external speakers. If you prefer external speakers, the HDMI connection supports ARC, or use a pair of Bluetooth speakers or opt for headphones. The projector recognizes DTS and Dolby tracks.
The Elfin projector supports Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5 GHz are supported) and is controlled by remote control. Since this mini projector does not have a built-in control mechanism, each adjustment must be made via a supplied remote control. The remote control is simple and the layout is familiar. You’ll find an on/off button, a button for the main Android TV home screen, buttons to select the HDMI input, a button to use Google Assistant and a volume rocker button. The remote uses two standard AAA batteries.
Xgimi Elfin portable projector review: performance and software
The Elfin is one of the best performing portable projectors I’ve reviewed in recent months. It’s an 800 ANSI lumen projector – and its LED lamp is rated to last 30,000 hours, which translates to 10 hours of use for eight hours a day. It can project an image up to 200 inches, which means you get a fantastic picture no matter where you’re sitting. The projector can be easily mounted on the ceiling, on a shelf or in front or behind the screen.
Like many other portable projectors, the Elfin has no zoom. It’s a little frustrating because every time I have to manually move the projector closer or further away from the screen to get the best image quality. However, the projector offers an auto-correction function for horizontal and vertical keystone correction that can handle up or down tilt up to 45 degrees. Both work well. So every time you move the projector, the image is automatically corrected. The throw distance of the Elfin is 1:2:1, similar to other portable projectors. To project a 55 inch image, I had to hold the projector 58 inches from the screen.
I was impressed with the image quality of Elfin. Although you won’t get 4K UHD, 1080p delivers an image with exceptional detail and sharpness. The 800 lumens are brilliant for a device like this, but it will struggle in bright light conditions. In my tests in a dark to moderately dark room, colors in videos I watched looked incredibly crisp and vibrant, and black levels were crisp. Watching HDR videos impressed me, but somewhere I felt the image was washed out. The projector gives you the ability to adjust brightness levels as well as switch to different modes.
Setting up the projector was easy and it only took me 10-15 minutes to get this unit up and running. All I did was link the projector to my home Wi-Fi network, pair the Bluetooth remote to the device, link my Google account, then start downloading apps from the Play Store .
The Elfin is powered by Android 10 and you have access to the Google Play Store. The user interface is familiar (it’s exactly the same as on any Android TV-powered smart TV) and there’s no learning curve. Access to all major streaming apps is available, such as Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar Disney Plus and Apple TV+. Unfortunately Netflix is missing and there is no provision to use the Chromecast feature to stream Netflix from your smartphone.
Xgimi Elfin portable projector review: should you buy it?
A portable projector combines the best of both worlds, the convenience of carrying a projector anywhere and picture quality that rivals a big screen TV. All told, I still think we’re nowhere near the idea of a portable projector delivering the same level of picture quality as my TV or matching a traditional home projector in performance. The Elfin, priced at Rs 75,999, comes close to what I expect from a portable projector. The 1080p portable projector is far better than similar offerings from competing brands, and it looks like Xgimi is listening to user feedback. The Elfin is small, compact and offers great image quality. I wish it had an internal battery and a lower starting price.