Projectors are a great way to get a massive theater-like screen in your home, but sometimes it’s inconvenient to mount them or place them at the back of a room where anyone walking around can block the image. That’s where ultra-short throw or UST projectors like the XGIMI Aura come in handy. A 4K laser projector, the Aura sits below a screen on a TV stand to create up to a 150” display while only being about a foot away from the wall and packing 2400 ANSI lumens, integrated Harman Kardon audio, and Android TV OS 10.0. While $2,500 is a lot, a competing TV panel would cost much more for the same size. Be sure to hit the video below to see all of the details.
Overall the Aura has a modern, pleasing design to it. Some UST projectors can get a little funky like the GT5600 from Optoma. The Aura, though, looks more like a sizable center channel for a surround sound system than a projector. And sizable it is measuring nearly 24 in. x 16 in. x 5.5 in. tall and weighing 22 lbs.
On the front is a cloth cover over internal Harman Karon 15W speakers. On the right side are the power button and a single USB-A port.
On the bottom are four adjustable feet to dial in the angle of the projector. Typically three feet would be easier to adjust, but perhaps because of the size, XGIMI decided to use four feet.
XGIMI Aura: Video
For connections on the back, the XGIMI Aura features three HDMI 2.0 ports, one of which being ARC, two USB ports, a 3.5mm port, Optical audio, ethernet, and a service port.
Instead of mounting the projector on a ceiling or in a location that people can walk in front of, the UST design lets it rest directly under the screen. Ideally, the Aura is placed on a short TV stand for the best placement. There is also a handy eye protection that can detect when something is near and will dim the laser to protect the eyes of little ones or anyone setting up the projector.
The only downside of a UST projector is the setup. Because of the precision from the lens, even the smallest adjustment can have a big impact. This can mean that you need to readjust a screen or move a TV stand to get the optimal image. For me, I wanted to try to use the digital image adjustment as little as possible, so I took my time making small micro-adjustments to get it as close as possible on the projector screen I was using.
But, if you can’t get it perfectly square for your screen, the Aura does have an eight-point correction to really dial in the image.
You also almost always will need a dedicated screen rather than projecting it on a wall. Because of the upward-firing angle of the projected image, any and all imperfections will show up in the image. While you may think that your drywall is smooth, this is an easy way to put that to the test.
Premium screens come at a premium price, but there are some relatively affordable options from Elite Screens. I went with the Sable Frame 2 100-inch screen and have been very pleased with it so far. It took about 30-45 minutes to set up, but the rigid frame keeps the screen smooth and flat and was light and easy to hang on the wall.
XGIMI Halo: Features
With a price rivaling 75-inch QLED TVs, the spec sheet has better be pretty impressive on the XGIMI Aura. Packing 2,400 lumens, the Aura can project screen sizes from 80 inches up to 150 inches. It’s using Android TV OS 10.0 to connect apps and stream media, but also has an HDMI ARC port. So when connected to my Denon receiver, the two work seamlessly together and will power on and off together when I power on the projector.
XGIMI Aura: How’s the image?
With all of the lights turned on in our basement room, the image can start to get washed out. But when the lights are dim or off, this projector looks incredible. The colors are vivid and the contrast is impressive.
When watching Dune, the jumps from dark to bright scenes were shocking. Explosions were vivid and the 3840 x 160 image was sharp overall. It’s been a real treat to watch movies on this projector.
It can also support 4K60 so playing games like Forza Horizon 5 or Microsoft Flight Sim 2020 are a lot of fun on a screen this size.
Projectors usually only last a certain amount of time, and the Aura is rated to 25,000 hours. That will last you 17 years if the projector runs for four hours a day, every day.
Harman Kardon Audio
While the Aura does have built-in audio, if you’re spending $2,500 on a projector and at least a few hundred on a screen for a theater-like experience, I’d suggest getting a sound system as well. We’ve reviewed some great options like the Focal Sib Evo 5.1.2 system, but one seamless option might be the Enclave CinemaHome II wireless surround sound system, which will get you a 5.1 setup without running any wires.
The projector itself does let off a little bit of noise, but once you start playing anything it isn’t noticeable. I’ve also never heard it ramp up with loud fans even after multiple hours of use.
XGIMI Aura: In-Use
So far, I am loving the XGIMI Aura. If I had to nit-pick, I would love to see better support for Netflix as that is a streaming app we use often, and I would also like to see less input lag for gaming. While it’s great for casual games, and I’ve been playing quite a bit of Forza Horizon 5 on the Aura, it’s too much lag for me to play any FPS games. If gaming is your focus, you may want to check out the BenQ TH685 or the Optoma UHD35.
I also wish there was the ability to adjust audio delay as sometimes I feel like it isn’t perfectly synced up.
While other projectors in XGIMI’s portfolio use a black and white plastic remote, the Aura has a premium-looking and feeling metal remote. Navigating the menu is a breeze with the remote, and it’s also easy to call up and use the remote to search for items with voice commands.
Android TV OS 10
For the most part, controlling the XGIMI Aura with Android TV OS 10.0 is seamless. It’s easy to connect all of your favorite streaming accounts like Hulu, HBO, and Disney+, the only issue is when it comes to Netflix. You can’t use the app natively, but you can download a separate to install and run Netflix. The app that is installed is made for touch or mouse input, though, and is hard to navigate. But, I’ve been using an Xbox Series X to watch media and play games, or you could use any other media streamer like the super affordable Fire Stick 4K Max.
I’ve been loving my time with the XGIMI Aura projector. It’s great to have a massive screen that can be easily seen from anywhere in my basement. While a dedicated panel at this size would probably look better, that would be quite a bit more expensive. Even when factoring in a decent screen, it’s hard to argue the value of the XGIMI Aura.
While other traditional projectors might be a great choice as well, for me, the UST-style projector is a better fit for my current needs.
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