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XGIMI Elfin projector review

XGIMI Elfin Design

XGIMI may not be quite as big of a name as the likes of BenQ and Canon, but they’ve been slowly but surely building out their projector lineup over the past few years. The XGIMI Elfin is built to be high-quality, yet still very portable. That puts it in direct competition with newer products from BenQ, Anker, and more.

At $649, the XGIMI Elfin isn’t necessarily cheap, but it’s not overly pricey either. It’s affordable for those who don’t need or want the highest-end 4K projectors, but still want something that they can use every now and then for movie nights and events. But is this the projector to beat in its price range? I’ve been using the XGIMI Elfin projector for a while now to find out.

XGIMI Elfin Projector

Rating: 3.5 Stars
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Pros

  • Compact
  • Vivid colors
  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Black levels aren't super deep
  • No battery

XGIMI Elfin design

The first thing to notice when you look at the XGIMI Elfin is the fact that it’s thin, light, and portable. The projector is essentially a flat square, measuring around 7.5 inches wide, and 1.9 inches tall. The overall design, size, and shape seem to be modeled on the Mac Mini, which is far from a bad thing.

XGIMI Elfin MainImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The projector comes in white, which looks fine. It might have been nice to have a black option too, but the white still looks and feels relatively premium, and should fit well in any environment. On the front of the projector, you’ll find the lens and speaker grille, while on the back is where you’ll get the ports. The projector is a little limited in that sense. It only offers an HDMI 2.0 port, a USB2.0 port, and a 3.5mm audio output.

The remote is pretty simple and well-designed, mainly just offering software controls. The remote is built from the same plastic as the projector itself, and it feels fine. I didn’t use it long enough to find out if the remote got dirty easily, but I can imagine it might, given the white finish.

XGIMI Elfin features and software

The XGIMI Elfin has Android TV built right into it, and that means that you’ll easily be able to access all your favorite streamable content, as long as you have an internet connection. Unlike BenQ’s recent projectors, all the apps you would expect are available. That includes Netflix, though you will get a note saying that the device is not “optimized” for Netflix.

XGIMI Elfin BackImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Android TV on the Elfin works just as you would expect. The interface is split up into rows of content with a row of apps at the top. It’s easy to navigate, especially for those who have used Android TV in the past. Android TV also seemed to be pretty responsive here. In the past, Android TV has been heavy and slow, especially on lower-end TVs and projectors. Recently, that has been changing. Even things like Google Assistant seemed responsive and fast.

Apart from Android TV, the projector is a little bare-bones. That’s not a huge deal — it has most of what you’ll need built right into it. But without an internet connection, you may have to resort to using the HDMI port.

It’s important to note that unlike some portable projectors, the XGIMI Elfin does not have a battery built into it. That means that you’ll need to use it in places where power is available.

XGIMI Elfin performance

The XGIMI Elfin has is an LED projector with up to 800 nits ANSI brightness, and a 1,080p resolution. In other words, it isn’t groundbreaking when it comes to image quality, but it actually looks very good for a projector in its size and price range.

Because the projector has a 1,080p resolution, at larger sizes it can feel a little pixelated. But in most usage, images look crisp and detailed enough for an enjoyable experience.

XGIMI Elfin LensImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Colors are relatively vibrant and bright, at least in darker environments. You’ll want to make sure that you mostly use this projector in areas with little ambient light. Even in darker environments, however, the projector struggles a little to produce really deep black levels, and images aren’t super detailed in dark scenes. It’s expected from products in this price range, but still something to note.

That issue aside, I actually quite like the image quality on offer here, especially at smaller image sizes.

XGIMI Elfin audio

XGIMI Elfin RemoteImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The XGIMI Elfin has two 3W speakers built right into it, and as you might expect, they’re not going to create a super immersive audio experience. That said, they are surprisingly powerful for a projector this size, and can get loud enough for most situations. They don’t offer a ton of bass, nor a ton of detail, but they’ll work well in a pinch.

Conclusions

The XGIMI Elfin is an excellent portable projector. While the lack of battery does kind of defeat the purpose of being portable, for those who want something they can stow away most of the time, and pull out for the odd movie night, the Elfin is a great way to go. It’s definitely best-suited for smaller, darker rooms though — which is something to keep in mind.

The competition

Perhaps the best alternative comes from XGIMI itself. The XGIMI Halo is a great option for those who want a similar image quality, with a battery built-in. Alternatively, it’s worth considering the BenQ GV30, which also has a battery built into it.

Should I buy the XGIMI Elfin projector?

Yes. If you want a slim, portable projector, then the XGIMI Elfin is an excellent option.

Christian de Looper was born in Canberra, Australia, where he lived until the age of 14. After his father got a job in Paris, France, Christian lived there for five years, after which he moved to Minnesota for college. During college, Christian developed a passion for consumer technology by writing for tech blogs. Christian now lives in sunny Santa Cruz, California.