Projectors Tests Reviews
XGIMI Horizon Ultra : test / review
Published on: 22-08-2023 / Modified: 16-11-2023
XGIMI launched its Horizon range around 2 years ago, and at that time the XGIMI Horizon FHD and Pro projectors didn't have much competition in the price segment around €1,000. This is obviously no longer the case 2 years later, so XGIMI had to react to reposition itself with a new product, and they've chosen to do just that by launching the XGIMI Horizon Ultra. The official launch is scheduled for September 1, and I can't publish the results of my test before launch day, but if you arrive on this page before the launch, don't hesitate to ask your questions in the comments so that I can answer them by publishing the results of my test. I can already tell you that the result is going to be very interesting.
This new projector in the Horizon range may bear the same name as its predecessors, but it's a rather different projector. XGIMI has abandoned the metallic design that has made the brand such a success, in favor of a much more massive projector. The novelty doesn't stop at the projector's exterior: this XGIMI Horizon Ultra is the first XGIMI projector to use two light sources, an LED and a laser. Why is this interesting? In theory, this combination should make it possible to combine the advantages of both technologies, offering greater brightness, wider color coverage and more faithful colors. So that's the theory, let's see in practice if this innovation brings anything new
It's important that you use my links, as this will enable me to continue testing projectors and obtain exclusive discounts
If the video is not visible here, it may have been blocked because I'm using copyrighted music. In principle, you can watch it directly on YouTube:
Test XGIMI Horizon Ultra / YouTube
Manufacturer web site:
Site where I have bought or received the XGIMI Horizon Ultra: https://shrsl.com/47...
Price XGIMI Horizon UltraThe list below shows the prices for the XGIMI Horizon Ultra from more than 50 sites around the world. If you are not satisfied with any price, you can subscribe to a price alert to be the first to be notified when the price drops.
The above links are affiliate links from companies such as Amazon, Gearbest, Aliexpress,... If you appreciate my work, I would be grateful if you could purchase these products through these links. It costs you absolutely nothing but I get a small commission that allows me to buy the material I test. Thank you very much!
TimelineAugust 10, 2023: projector preview
September 1, 2023: official launch of XGIMI Horizon Ultra
Why this projector?I started testing projectors with an XGIMI (the H1) over 5 years ago, and kept it for a long time because it ticked so many boxes for my type of use. I've since had the opportunity to test other brands and models, but XGIMI is undoubtedly the brand I've tested the most. I should point out, however, that XGIMI never paid me to do these tests. It's a choice I've made because, even though I've sometimes been very critical of some of their models, XGIMI has always managed to launch products offering good value for money.
The biggest criticism I could level at the previous models in the Horizon range was the low contrast inherent in the technology used. The XGIMI Horizon Ultra should take a step in the right direction by combining an LED source with a laser source (dual light system). This light combination should also deliver better color fidelity and higher color coverage (gamut). On paper, then, this projector has plenty of arguments to seduce those who haven't yet taken the plunge because of these weaknesses in previous models.
Dual light should help avoid the image noise of some laser projectors and also eliminate the red/blue contour effect.
Dolby Vision is a kind of enhanced HDR that applies color matching to each image rather than the same match for all images as with HDR. As a result, the dynamic range (the difference between light and dark areas) is enlarged, and image rendering is significantly improved. For this to work, of course, you need to play a Dolby Vision-encoded video.
The XGIMI Horizon Ultra is equipped with a brightness sensor that can adapt the brightness of the image according to the brightness of the room. If you're using the projector in an environment where brightness can change, this feature will come in very handy. It will also improve rendering for daylight use. Contrast adaptation is performed in the same way.
I was quite surprised by the size of the box when I received the XGIMI Horizon Ultra. The box was much larger than the Horizon model, and the whole thing was much heavier. The box measures 38 cm by 28 cm and 26 cm in height
I knew that this projector was the international version of the XGIMI RS3 Pro, so I'd already seen a few images on the internet, but I didn't realize just how big it was. This new Horizon Ultra is considerably more massive than the previous model, measuring 27 cm by 22 cm with a height of 16 cm. You'll need to leave a bit of space at the back for the power connector.
The box contains the projector, a remote control with 2 AAA batteries, a manual, explanations on how to use Netflix and a huge power supply. This is without doubt one of the biggest power supplies of all the projectors I've tested. You'll need to take this into account when placing it, as it's quite heavy and imposing.
XGIMI uses an official version of Android TV, which means that the interface is the same as other projectors using the same operating system, and you can download official applications from the Play Store. You'll find most of the major apps available on Android, but as with other XGIMI projectors, Netflix doesn't work natively with the projector - you need to launch it with the Desktop Manager application.
The main interface is therefore identical to other projectors, but the settings are different. Most of the usual Android TV parameters are present, but XGIMI has adapted the menus to offer a whole range of image settings. In fact, there are a few new features compared to other XGIMI projectors.
You'll find the usual cinema, gaming and other modes, but you'll also find new options like the choice of color space (DCI-P3 or REC709) or automatic color optimization. If all this doesn't ring a bell, you can let the projector automatically choose the most suitable color space.
You can also customize color temperature, but there aren't many settings, and without a colorimetric probe, you probably won't be able to find the right ones.
The XGIMI Horizon Ultra doesn't really resemble the previous model, in fact it's quite a departure from XGIMI's visual identity. Beyond the massive appearance of the projector, XGIMI has not reused the metal frame to cover the projector, the dominant color of this projector is closer to white with a small champagne color effect.
The front panel is partially covered by a protective cloth installed on a removable panel that automatically slides down when the projector is switched on. The XGIMI H1 also had an optics protection mechanism, but the Horizon Ultra goes a step further by offering a large sliding panel that opens and closes automatically. This will prevent you from getting fingerprints on the optics, and when closed, the projector looks like a connected speaker.
The bottom of the optics corresponds to the bottom of the image, so you need to match the bottom of this optics to the bottom of your screen, or flip the projector to the ceiling position to match the bottom of the optics to the top of your screen.
Behind the optical compartment we find the usual DLP DMD 0.47 chip, which was already used in the previous version, as well as in many other projectors from other brands. This chip is capable of generating a 2160p (4k) image by interpolation. This means that it is physically capable of generating a 1080p (full HD) image, but by rapidly combining 4 images, it manages to generate a 2160p image. This isn't a deception or a scam, it's a process that enables a 2160p image to be displayed at a more reasonable price. A true 4k projector costs considerably more for a gain in quality that has yet to be proven.
We also find the usual depth and focus sensors on the front panel, which will help the projector autofocus or detect the presence of obstacles.
The sides are perfectly smooth and uniform, and sound is diffused from the front through the removable fabric-covered panel. The words "sound by Harman Kardon" are clearly visible on the front panel.
At the rear, there's a heat dissipation grille and a fairly complete connectivity package. The power connector is not flexible and is longer than on previous models, so you won't be able to wedge the projector against a wall - you'll have to give it a bit of space.
The upper front panel is nothing remarkable, XGIMI has abandoned the touch-sensitive buttons and for me that's a pretty good thing because I'm used to using this type of projector on my back. In fact, I had a problem with the previous model, because placing the projector on its back tended to activate the keys. This is no longer the case with this one, which is a good thing.
Projection roomMy projection room is rectangular, 4.6m by 2.9m (height 2.2m). I have two projection walls, one white wall 2.9m wide with just white paint with a possible 4m setback. I then have a 133 inch ALR screen on another wall with a possible setback of 2.8m. I mainly use the ALR screen except when the layout or type of projector is not suitable for this situation.
Battery autonomyThis projector is not equipped with a battery.
I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of power consumption for this projector. Bright projectors are often very power-hungry, and I was afraid that with the brightness of this one, consumption would exceed 200 watts. This is far from being the case, as with the factory setting (brightness set to 8 on a scale of 10), consumption fluctuates between 145 and 150 watts. If you're using this projector in total darkness, you can even turn the brightness down for better contrast and lower power consumption.
I measured the operating noise of the projector with a brightness of 8 out of 10, the decibel meter doesn't even go off, the residual noise in the room sometimes exceeds the noise of the projector. The projector emits an almost imperceptible hum. It's noisier when you turn the brightness up to maximum, but the image isn't of good quality in this configuration, so you shouldn't hear this projector even in moments of silence
The XGIMI Horizon Ultra is generous in terms of connectivity. It is equipped with an ethernet port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 2 HDMI 2.1 ports, 1 of which is eARC, a digital audio output (SPDIF) and a headphone output.
This projector has two levels of image settings. The first level is in the "projector settings" section, where you can adjust brightness, color space and color temperature. There's a second level from the remote control, which offers several display modes that don't affect the first-level settings, but include parameters such as local contrast, HDR, motion compensation, etc.
Beyond this fairly classic type of configuration, this projector allows you to select the color space - the first time I've seen this on a projector of this type. You can of course leave the color space in automatic mode, but this will certainly satisfy the demands of more demanding users.
The projector also offers several other color adjustment possibilities, such as automatic optimization, environment detection (especially for light), dynamic iris and optical zoom.
All these elements put together make this projector quite complete for anyone who wants to go in search of finer tuning. Fortunately, for the average consumer, you can leave everything on automatic and the result will already be of a good standard.
I'll come back to these points later in this test.
Image qualityAs with every test, I use the same YouTube trailers to show what the projector is capable of. I used the "cinema" mode for each video (brightness 8 out of 10) and I used the following camera settings: 80 iso (except for Batman where I used 400 iso), 1/60, 5800k.
Why are these settings important? The use of 80 iso shows that this fixture is very bright, except for Batman where I had to increase the ISO to reflect reality. This will allow you to compare these videos with the other models I've tested.
This projector offers excellent colorimetry in factory configuration (cinema mode). I'll come back to this point later in the test, but it's the first time I've obtained such a good result without making any changes to the settings.
Here it's the same as for the previous video, colors are more accurate and I find the level of detail is really good. If you freeze-frame when Ed Harris is talking to Tom Cruise, you'll see that the level of detail on his skin is really good.
I use this trailer because it's very dark and it quickly puts the projectors to shame if the contrast isn't good enough. The XGIMI Horizon Ultra isn't a champion when it comes to contrast - I'll come back to that later - but contrast is improving on previous models. Dark scenes are therefore quite watchable, even if this projector can't yet compete with a UST laser projector.
I'm using this video to check HDR compatibility, and I didn't find any problems - scenes are very bright throughout. This wasn't the case with the previous generation, where HDR videos were far too dark.
Dolby Vision compatibility is a big new feature at XGIMI. If you don't know what that means, I'll quickly explain why it's interesting. Think of Dolby Vision as enhanced HDR. HDR works with a kind of pre-established mapping table that will convert the normal image into an HDR image. This mapping table works in the same way for the entire film. With Dolby Vision, each image is matched to the other, so the final rendering is much better. However, the film must be available in Dolby Vision. A "normal" film is not going to be transformed into Dolby Vision by the projector.
HDR and Dolby Vision increase image dynamics, with greater gaps between light and dark areas.
I have a video that I haven't yet been able to use very often, as few projectors are Dolby Vision compatible, but you'll see that image dynamics in Dolby Vision are really excellent.
I measured the colorimetry on the various image modes available and was very surprised to see that the delta E was so low without having to modify anything. I often obtain a delta E between 7 and 10 with the factory settings, and with this kind of value, the human eye is able to perceive the difference with true colors. Ideally, delta E should be below 3.
Here are the results of the measurements:
Cinema mode: 4.38
Bright mode: 6.62
Vivid mode: 6.60
Cinema mode is therefore quite close to 3, and this is the first time I've obtained such a low value without having to do anything. With this configuration, I've got a delta E of 4.38 on white, with a temperature of 6348. The white is therefore a little too warm, but this can be corrected by adjusting the settings.
In terms of color space, XGIMI has not lied. I can clearly see that DCI-P3 has been reached and even surpassed. Manufacturers often tend to exaggerate their color space performance, which is not the case with this projector.
I made a few changes in the settings to lower the delta E to around 3 and bring the white down to a delta E of 0.7 and a temperature of 6490k:
Choice of "cinema" in global parameters
Choice of "custom" in display parameters:
Color temperature: custom
These settings work for my screen, so they won't necessarily work for your screen, but they should give you a basis for improving your colorimetry. As a reminder, I have a neutral white screen with a brightness gain.
With this configuration I get perfect grayscale with a delta E of 0.52 on average and a gamma of 2.23.
I think that by spending a little more time on color calibration, I should be able to lower the delta on some colors, but since the average is already good, I haven't spent any more time trying to do better.
This projector is very bright and it shows as soon as you switch it on. The basic setting is 8/10 brightness, but I find this too high for a dark room. You'll have to find the ideal value for your situation, but I had to lower the brightness for the following reasons:
- I use the projector in complete darkness
- the minimum black level was too high
- the brightness bothered me because it was too strong
Brightness is obviously important to enable you to exceed ambient brightness and obtain a good image, but you have to be aware that when you increase the brightness of the projector, you also increase the brightness of the black. As a result, the black becomes increasingly gray. With a brightness of 8 out of 10, I measured a black between 10 and 15 cd/m², and I think that's too much. With a luminosity of 5, I get a black at around 5 cd!m2. This is already much better, but still not at the level of an ust laser projector
This projector is therefore theoretically capable of producing a very high luminosity (just under 3000 lumens), but to get a good image, you have to lower this luminosity a little. I obtained around 1500 lumens in cinema mode with the brightness set to 5 out of 10.
If you want to use the projector in a room with light, here's an example of what it looks like with and without light. The image is clearly visible, but at the cost of a loss of contrast. This won't be a problem for light scenes, but for dark scenes you'll lose a lot of detail.
Brightness also has an effect on grayscale and gamma. Gamma should ideally be close to 2.2, and I've achieved 2.23 in cinema mode with brightness at 5. Here I get a black at 4 cd/m² (between 10 and 15 at the base) and a delta E of 2.7 on the gray scale.
Sharpness is excellent without changing settings. You can see for yourself in the following images that sharpness is good at the periphery and center, lines separated by one pixel are perfectly visible and there is no chromatic aberration
The use of two light sources is a first for XGIMI, and I was curious to see the result in terms of contrast. LED models all suffer from low contrast (500:1 or even less), but this new technology should make up for that.
So, has the gamble paid off? Yes and no. I did notice an improvement in contrast, but not enough to overshadow laser projectors such as the Xiaomi Laser Cinema 2 or the Wemax Nova.
By lowering the brightness in cinema mode (5 out of 10), I obtained an FOFO contrast of 825:1 and an ANSI contrast of 159:1. That's twice as good as the Horizon Pro. XGIMI also uses dynamic contrast (with different levels of intervention) which can also improve rendering. I can see an impact on the image by activating dynamic contrast, but using it doesn't alter the measurements I've taken
XGIMI projectors are almost all equipped with a motion compensation system, so this test was supposed to be a routine one to confirm that everything was working as usual, but I was surprised that it wasn't.
I tested the usual video by varying the various image modes, but the correction doesn't seem to be working. I have submitted the problem to XGIMI for analysis.
XGIMI has reacted quickly, the motion compensation will be corrected in one of the next updates scheduled for September 2023.
Image size and projection distanceThe XGIMI Horizon Ultra has a projection ratio of 1.2, which can be reduced to 1.5 using the optical zoom. With a projection ratio of 1.2, you get an image with a width of around 80 cm per meter of distance from the screen. You'll lose a few centimetres on each side due to a grey edge that is present on all projectors using this DLP chip.
This projection ratio is quite classic, but it's the optical zoom that will bring a plus to those who are obliged to place the projector quite far from the screen. Without optical zoom, too great a distance would force you to use digital zoom to reduce image size, and this zoom has an effect on image quality. With optical zoom, this problem can be significantly reduced
Audio qualityXGIMI and Harman Kardon is a story that began a few years ago, and I believe that XGIMI was the first projector to be equipped with speakers from a major brand. It's quite subjective, but I've always found XGIMI to be a step ahead when it comes to sound on this type of projector, and this new integration with Harman Kardon is without doubt the best I've tested so far.
The sound is a little less powerful than on the previous model, where I got over 110 db with the volume at maximum, I got just over 100 db with the Horizon Ultra. That's more than enough for a projector, and of course the quality still has to be up to scratch at such volume levels.
I carried out two sound tests, one with the basic cinema mode and the other with the DTS Virtual X option. The sound is of very good quality in both cases, the type of sound is a little different. I had placed my phone above the projector to record this video, and you'll notice that the sound is so punchy that the phone gets a jolt with every push in the bass. The highs are also very well rendered, and voices are perfectly audible
So here you have a fairly versatile projector for sound, producing good sound for watching films but it can also be used to listen to music like a connected speaker.
DTS Virtual X mode:
XGIMI has never produced a gaming-oriented projector, but their projectors are often equipped with a BOOST mode for games that reduces latency to an acceptable level for playing fast FPS.
I've measured latency in cinema mode and it's over 100 ms, which is too high a value to expect to play fast games. With gaming mode and BOOST, this input lag falls well below the 30 ms needed to play in very good conditions. I should point out, however, that colorimetry is not as good in gaming mode.
As usual, I used the Shadowrunner game to demonstrate the projector's capabilities. I had absolutely no trouble playing, and the few times I mess up in the game it's because I'm not very good with a controller. The visual experience is really good and the almost non-existent latency makes this an excellent projector to combine with a games console
Encoutered bugsI haven't encountered any bugs, the only shortcoming of the XGIMI is the lack of native Netflix support, but it's possible to work around this. Amazon Prime Video works without a hitch.
ALR/CLR Projection screenAre you looking for a good ALR/CLR screen for your projector? I may have what you need:
ALR/CLR NothingProjector Screen
Test / Review conclusionI've tested almost every XGIMI model sold in Europe except the Aura, and this new XGIMI Horizon Ultra is clearly the best XGIMI projector I've tested. That's all there is to it, but as I'm a talkative person, I'm going to go into a bit more detail in my conclusion:
There are three things that positively surprised me from the very first minutes of use. Firstly, the brightness, then the color fidelity and finally the sound quality. These first positive impressions were then confirmed by my measurements.
XGIMI had launched the Horizon Pro for around €1,600, this new Horizon Ultra will come out in the same price range, but this new model is clearly superior to the previous model. As much as I was rather critical of the price positioning of the Pro model, I think the Ultra version is better positioned. Of course, there's plenty of competition in this price range, but this projector holds its own.
I was expecting an improvement in contrast, and it's there, but not yet at the level of a laser UST. The image quality is excellent, however, and if you play with the brightness to reduce the brightness of the black, the contrast will be even better
There are a few other interesting points to add to this conclusion. For example, there's the performance for playing video games, with the game mode having very low latency. There's the optical zoom, the ability to adapt light to the environment, the protection of the optical block, Dolby Vision compatibility, DCI-P3 space coverage, low power consumption, reduced noise level, ... These features exist on other projectors too but the XGIMI Horizon Ultra brings them all together
I recently tested the JMGO N1 Ultra and I'm sure I'll be asked to compare the two. I'll probably add a comparison video later in this article, but in the meantime, here's what a comparison might look like:
Colorimetry (without calibration): XGIMI Horizon Ultra
Contrast: JMGO N1 Ultra
Sharpness: XGIMI Horizon Ultra
Brightness: XGIMI Horizon Ultra
Finish/Format: JMGO N1 Ultra
Sound quality: XGIMI Horizon Ultra
Gaming: XGIMI Horizon Ultra
Power consumption: JMGO N1 Ultra
Operating noise: XGIMI Horizon Ultra
The XGIMI Horizon Ultra fares better on most points, and what's more it's available for a lower price so unless JMGO radically drops its price, the XGIMI is the winner of this duel
Update September 30, 2023:
A new version is available and brings a few new features. The motion compensation problem has been corrected, and movements are now perfectly fluid. Image settings have been simplified, with a single entry point and a simpler choice of configuration. Cinema mode becomes film mode, and this is the mode to choose for the best image.
- colorimetry without calibration
- color space
- sound quality
- latency for gaming
- optical zoom
- power consumption
- operating noise
- Dolby Vision compatibility
- slow cold start
- Netflix compatible
- heavy and bulky
- low contrast compared to laser projectors