I am a massive movie buff and honestly spend more time watching movies and studying filmmaking than I do on video games. Movies were integral to my childhood and have followed me through my entire life. I picked it up from my father originally, I remember sneaking out of my room at night after bed as he watched movies in the living room, trying to remain undetected so I could watch what he was watching. As I grew older, he further fostered that love for movies and it became a huge part of our relationship. He was also a big fan of DVDs and was an early adopter of that media, which in turn manifested itself as Blu-Ray collecting for me. I have over 2000 movies on Blu-Ray, and that number increases every week.
I say all of that because it should give you a decent idea of just how much time, money, and energy I invest in watching movies. With that in mind, I pay a lot of attention to how I am watching those movies. At my old house, I was lucky enough to be able to install a full theater in my basement. I had a 4k projector run to a dedicated screen on the wall, a fantastic surround sound system, theater seating, the works. Unfortunately, this most recent move has brought me to a part of the country with no basements, and no way to build a full-scale theater at this time. Unwilling to simply return to using a large TV and calling it a day, I have been seeking an effective projector that sits at the proper crossroads of quality and price. When XGIMI reached out to me about taking on the Horizon Pro 4K for review, it almost seemed too good to be true.
Immediately apparent upon opening the box is the sleek form factor and the care that XGIMI put into both creating and packaging the Horizon Pro 4K. The projector itself is a dark, gun-metal gray cube. The projector is wrapped securely in thick foam inside the box, which was shipped to me in a larger box full of dense bubble packaging.
Set up is so simple, calling it ?easy? seems like an understatement. The AI in the Horizon Pro is absolute tech sorcery. You turn the projector on and the AI will do the rest, reading both the wall it is projecting onto and any obstacles in the way, allowing for the best picture for your setup, all in less than 30 seconds. This not only makes setting it up for long-term placement a breeze but allows it to be a truly portable projector, without any hassle when moving it from place to place. I took it outside and projected it onto my garage door and it immediately adjusted the image and placed it perfectly within the bounds of the door. Returning inside, it will read and adjust to whatever room you place it in. If for whatever reason the adjustment is not to your liking (which I never found in my months with the projector) you can go in and make manual adjustments as well. The more extreme your angle is, the more light shadows you will notice, so be careful if you want to use any extreme angles (40 degrees offset or more).
Let?s talk about viewing conditions. Every projector out there is going to have a necessary ?optimal? condition for viewing. The reality is, that in a brightly lit room, a projected image just can?t keep up with an actual OLED screen in terms of viewability and image quality. That being said, I found the Horizon Pro to be more than capable of handling the Louisiana sunshine, so long as it wasn?t shining directly into the room I was viewing it in. Even in the middle of the day, if I shut the blinds in my room I could comfortably watch whatever I wanted. My primary use of the Horizon Pro was in my home gym, which was once a 2 car garage with door windows and windows on the side of the building. This allows quite a bit of light in, and I have no blinds to compensate for that. Even in these conditions, I was able to comfortably watch content while working out, in particular brightly lit content like Anime or brighter shows. Trying to watch something extremely dark was difficult to be sure, but still not unwatchable.
At night is when the Horizon Pro really shines. Solid color contrast and well-displayed HDR content were on full display, even on my 120-inch projector screen. I did take it out and give the full 300-inch display a go, and honestly, even that wasn?t bad. It needs to sit around 30 feet away from where you want it projected for an image that large to work, and you are certainly no longer seeing a ?4K? image at that point, but it is still an incredibly impressive display. Neighborhood movie night for the kids has become a staple on the weekends around me, all because I can carry out the Horizon Pro 4k and play movies on the side of a building with almost no setup required.
The Horizon Pro runs on Android 10 and is pretty simple to set up and run. With a built-in Chromecast, using apps or casting from a phone is an absolute breeze. In addition to the AI setup, there are four pre-installed settings for your overall picture. Movie mode, Football (Sports) mode, Office mode, and Game mode. I spent all of my casual use time in Movie mode or Game mode, and although Game mode does reduce latency, it is still nowhere near good enough for competitive gaming, sitting at 30ms of input lag, but for casual games, it is just fine.
In addition to all of the fantastic features surrounding the actual picture and setup, the Horizon Pro also houses two 8W Harman Kardon speakers, which produce incredible sound for the size of the projector. Now, no speakers housed inside ANY projector (or any other device for that matter) can come close to matching true, in-home theater sound, but the Harman Kardon speakers more than fit the bill for standard audio. I found the projector audio to perform beyond any of my TV speakers and even some of the cheaper soundbars I have around the house. It generates a depth of sound typically not found in such devices and avoids the tinnier audio that a lot of smaller speakers struggle with.
All in all, coming in at $1600 the Horizon Pro 4k isn?t cheap by any means, but it is an incredible value for the money. If you are looking for an easy-to-use, on-the-go projector that will work in just about any environment with very little user input required, look no further. The Horizon Pro 4k is the best projector I have ever owned, and I will get various degrees of use out of it for the next several years.
Note: XGIMI provided us with a Horizon Pro 4K Projector for review purposes.