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XGIMI is a Chinese company that launched its first projectors through crowdfunding and they have today passed the 4 million projector mark, so it is no longer a small company, it is a major player in the sector . I have tested many projectors of this brand but I still lack two or three models to test, I will fill part of this void by testing the XGIMI Elfin. [b][b] I usually test projectors when they are released, but I missed the release of the Elfin, so I had a backlog to catch up. Fortunately, projectors remain commercially and technically attractive longer than a phone, so my test still has a reason to exist. [b][b]
Black Friday special offer
Price on Xgimi.com 519€ See the offer [b][b]Price on Amazon: 519€ See offer [b] If you appreciate my work, you can support me by buying your products from these links.[b][b][b]
- I usually buy the devices with my own money, so price is just as important as you are! - I keep the devices for at least a few weeks (sometimes more) to see what they are worth in real conditions. - I answer (when possible) your questions to help you decide before you buy - no one pays me to do these reviews, so I'm completely neutral and independent... - My pages are not filled with ads
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Not yet available / tested[b][b]
Why this projector?
The XGIMI Elfin is a portable projector, it is not a projector that corresponds to my use of projectors because apart from some tests, I never move with my projectors. This does not mean that this projector is not interesting, quite the contrary. The Elfin is very small but it has resources! It is a 1080p projector using the DLP DMD 0.33 chipset like the Xiaomi Mi Smart Compact which produces a nice image for a projector of this type. I therefore expect to test a projector capable of producing a beautiful image while keeping a compact format and probably not very energy-intensive. The price positioning of this projector is a little above the Xiaomi Mi Smart Compact, so I will see if this difference is justified.[b]
XGIMI is no longer a small Chinese company that sends its products in recycled cardboard boxes, the Elfin box gives a very good first impression with a feeling of a well-finished product. The box contains the projector, a remote control (without the batteries, you need 2 in AAA format), a power supply with its cable and a large manual.
The remote control doesn't look premium at all, it's fairly basic plastic but in terms of ergonomics, it includes most of the functions needed to manage the projector, XGIMI almost always uses the same features, the buttons are far enough apart not to confuse them, so you will quickly memorize the position of the buttons and be able to use the remote control in the dark.[b]
[b]The XGIMI Elfin runs an official version of Android TV, so you will be able to download apps from the Play Store but like other XGIMI projectors, Netflix will not work natively (at the time of this writing). It's a long story of rights or licensing but even if you can download the app it won't work. The solution? Go through side-loading. You have to find the installation file (APK) of Netflix and install it from a USB key or a network drive. You can probably find the APK in question on sites like APK mirror, but make sure the source is reliable to avoid installing a malicious application on your projector.[b]
XGIMI designs beautiful products, the first projector I tested was an XGIMI H1 and already at the time this projector stood out from the others with a rather unique design. Although the Elfin is simpler and more compact, I find that it also has a pretty good aesthetic. Its dimensions make it easily portable, you just have to remember that it is not equipped with a battery to make it completely autonomous.
The connection at the back is quite limited with a large part of the space at the back dedicated to the evacuation of heat.
On the facade, rather than leaving a plain white surface, XGIMI printed black pixels to break up the monotony of the white surface.
The optical unit is quite discreet and does not interrupt the finesse of the projector. Behind this block hides a DLP DMD 0.33 chip that can be found on many projectors such as the XGIMI Halo or the Xiaomi Mi Smart Compact. This chip has a native resolution of 1366 x 768, it is by image extrapolation (XPR) that XGIMI manages to obtain an image in 1080p.
Below there is a large black circle which allows the heat to be evacuated but which can also diffuse the sound, I will see if this is the case when I turn it on. It is equipped with a standard screw thread to fix it on a tripod.
My 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.
The XGIMI Elfin is not equipped with a battery despite its portable appearance.[b]
The XGIMI Elfin is a projector that will not blow up your electricity bill because the consumption fluctuates between 50 and 60W. The consumption depends on the brightness mode used where for example the performance mode will push the consumption towards 60W and the standard mode will reduce it towards 50W.[b]
The Elfin emits an audible ventilation noise, I measured about 47dB next to the projector and at 1 meter the noise is almost no longer audible. The noise will vary depending on the brightness mode used. If you use the "performance" mode, the projector will make a lot more noise and your image will not look good (poor colorimetry), so I don't advise you to use this mode.[b]
The connection of this projector is reduced to its bare minimum, there is an HDMI input, a USB port and a headphone output on the back. There is nothing else.[b]Image settingsThe XGIMI Elfin offers many adjustment possibilities but these are mostly available in all projectors using Android TV. There are a few specifics for this projector but nothing new. There are two important entries to adjust the quality of the image, there is the "brightness" mode where you can for example put the projector in performance mode to increase the brightness very strongly and there is the image mode where you can Choose settings from several pre-configured settings. If the basic settings aren't to your liking, you can always opt for a custom setup where you either need to have a really good eye or a probe to make sure the changes result in a better image.
The Batman trailer [b] I'm using this trailer because it's very dark and it helps to better assess the contrast of the projector. After calibration I get a contrast of 390:1, it's not a very high contrast but not abnormal for a projector of this type either. The colorimetry is good and even if you can't see everything in dark scenes, the image is of good quality. Trailer Top Gun Maverick [b] My phone mismanaged the light in the first few seconds but after that you can see that this little projector is capable of producing a very nice image and that the image is perfectly smooth. With the calibration, the colors are faithful both at the level of the faces and for the decorations. [b][b][b]Colorimetry[b]I tested the different modes available to evaluate the accuracy of the colors (with the standard brightness mode) and here is the result: [b] "Movie" mode: dE 9.67, white at 9354K, gamma 1.60 [b] "Football" mode: dE 9.72, white 9365K, gamma 1.61 [b] "Gaming" mode: dE 11.14, white 9294K, gamma 1.49 [b] "Office" mode: dE 6.19, white 6780K, gamma 1.62 [b] If you don't want to spend time in the settings to get a better image, the best solution is to choose the office mode because it is the one that offers the best colorimetry (ideal value dE must be lower to 3). Here is the CIE graph to show the differences:
White is quite close to ideal white (= 6500k) but all colors have a visible color difference (except yellow). [b][b] It is possible to improve the colorimetry with the following settings: [b] Contrast 55 [b] Brightness 42 [b] Color temperature: red 65, blue 40, green 49 [b] With these settings, I get a dE of 4.5, a white of 6650K and a gamma of 2.1 [b][b][b]Brightness[b]The XGIMI Elfin has a brightness of 800 ANSI lumens in theory and for such a small projector that's a performance. In reality, you won't be able to use those 800 lumens unless you're using the projector as a big spotlight. The luminosity announced by the manufacturers is a "technical" luminosity, this means that the projector is in principle capable of emitting this quantity of light but in practice the use of this luminosity strongly degrades the quality of the image. I measured just under 800 lumens in "performance" mode but the colorimetry is really bad with this type of configuration. Fortunately, you can use one of the proposed configurations to improve the colors, but this will be at the expense of the brightness. After calibration, I get a brightness between 550 and 600 lumens and with this level of brightness, you will have to use this projector in a dark room. [b][b] I am often asked the question in relation to the use of projectors in broad daylight, I will use two images to illustrate the consequence of using the projector with another light source. [b][b] Here is an image taken with the light on in the projection room, the room is lit by a white LED lamp which emits a lower brightness than daylight (even in cloudy weather). If you compare this image with the one below, you will already see the difference in the dark areas, the black becomes light gray and the contrast is therefore less important.
In complete darkness, I rather get an image like the one below. The projector's native contrast isn't great, but the difference is still quite visible. The image was 87cm in size, the effect will be even greater on a larger image as the brightness decreases with the square of the distance.
[b]Sharpness[b]When I turned on the projector for the first time, I immediately found the particularity of the XGIMI images with a really very pronounced sharpness. This sharpness gives the impression of having an ultra-detailed image and may even be a little too much to the point of seeing too many details. Fortunately, it is possible to decrease the sharpness to reduce this misleading effect. If I look at the sharpness on the entire screen, I see that the peripheral areas are much less sharp than the center as in the following example:
The lines with a deviation of one pixel are perfectly visible in the center, the delimitation is very clear even if the excess optimization is clearly visible. It is especially at the level of the corners that the drop in brightness is visible. This obviously isn't too much of a problem for watching a movie as most of the action is concentrated in the middle of the frame.[b]Contrast[b]Contrast is also a topic I get a lot of questions about. Manufacturers rarely announce correct values and often rely on dynamic contrast, which gives no indication of the projector's ability to deal with dark areas. The XGIMI Elfin is a small projector with DLP DMD 0.33 chip, so you will never get extraordinary contrast from this kind of projector. The "games" and "football" modes are those where you will obtain the best contrast (about 500:1) but this will be at the expense of colorimetry, the image will be too cold overall. It is the "office" mode which has the best basic colorimetry but with a contrast of 350:1. [b][b] Contrast / setting: [b] Movie / 470:1 [b] Football / 490:1 [b] Game / 500:1 [b] Office / 350:1 [b] After calibration: 390:1 [b][b] The contrast is especially useful in dark scenes (eg Batman), for bright scenes the problem does not arise really.[b]Motion compensation[b] The XGIMI Elfin offers 3 levels of movement improvements, I tested the 3 levels on this video where you can clearly see the improvement in lateral movements (see the top block) with compensation enabled. This enhancement causes an 80s soap effect that you can reduce by using the lowest level of compensation.[b]
Image size and projection distance
The Elfin has a throw ratio of 1.2, this translates to an image approximately 80cm wide with a distance of 1m (in theory). When I made my measurements I obtained an image of 87cm wide with a distance of 104cm. With a rule of 3 I get a width of 83cm per meter of distance. However, there is a small gap due to the gray border surrounding the image (about 1cm on each side).[b]
To give you an idea of the sound quality, I played a few random songs on Spotify going through several snippets to vary the sound and voice type a bit. If you can't see this video, it's because Youtube has decided to block it because of copyright, but I think it can be read on YouTube directly. The XGIMI Elfin produce an average quality sound, I can't say that the sound is bad because at medium volume, most frequencies are well represented but the sound lacks depth and as soon as you increase the volume above 50, I find that the sound saturates quite quickly. I really have the impression that the sound does not manage to extricate itself correctly from the housing of the projector but a priori this is not abnormal for a projector of this type. I would even say that for a portable projector the XGIMI Elfin produces good quality sound but it cannot compete with a projector like the XGIMI Horizon.[b]
To test the "gaming" mode of this projector I use Shadowrunner because this game is free but also because it is a game which requires a quick reaction and which is therefore particularly sensitive to input lag. The XGIMI Elfin has a game mode with an additional Boost mode that reduces input lag to an unnoticeable level. I didn't experience any latency when playing Shadowrunner and the image quality combined with reduced input lag makes this projector a good alternative to dedicated gaming projectors. To be perfect, this projector should have been able to go beyond 60hz, but to find this kind of LED projector, you have to go to a higher price range (eg Fengmi V10).[b]
Update: [b] As I wrote above, Netflix does not work on this projector or at least not natively. A solution to work around the problem is to download the "Desktopmanager" application from the Play Store which will allow you to access Netflix. However, be sure to uninstall the Netflix application from the projector before reinstalling it using the other application.[b]
Test / Review conclusion
I have tested several XGIMI projectors and I have so far always been satisfied with the result and this in quite different price ranges. The XGIMI Elfin confirms once again that XGIMI has once again succeeded in producing a quality projector. Keep in mind that this projector is designed for mobile use and therefore the contrast and brightness will not be at the level of other lamp (or LED) projectors in the same price range, but it has many other advantages to assert. [b][b] The image quality of this Elfin is surprising for a portable projector because even if the contrast is not very high, it is on the same level as more expensive projectors like the XGIMI Horizon or the Xiaomi Mi Smart 2 Pro. The brightness won't allow the projector to be used in daylight but for a projector of this size, the brightness is really good. The sharpness of the image is also obvious but it is a little too pronounced, it is fortunately possible to soften the image a little from the settings. The colorimetry is quite variable depending on the mode chosen, but with a few adjustments, the accuracy of the colors is also there. [b][b] The positive points don't stop there, I would also add low power consumption, operating noise (in standard mode), motion compensation, reduced input lag for gaming , automatic image adaptation (keyston), the presence of native Android TV and a pretty cool design. [b][b] The ideal projector? Maybe, but my test would not be complete without mentioning its weaknesses. Sound quality is good for a portable projector but not comparable to what a home cinema projector is capable of delivering. The brightness does not allow use in a too bright room and the contrast is not ideal for dark films (eg Batman, Alien,...). The lack of a battery could be a problem for a mobile audience or outdoor use without access to electricity. [b][b][b][b]Strengths[b]- compact size [b] - finish/design [b] - colorimetry [b] - input lag for gaming [b] - motion compensation [b] - low power consumption [b] - discrete in standard mode [b][b][b]Weaknesses[b]- average sound [b] - no native compatibility with Netflix [b] - can get noisy in performance mode [b] - no battery [b][b][b]
Laurent Willen Instead of watching nonsense on TV or YouTube, I spend my time in the evenings testing products and sharing my passion for technology, travel and photography.
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