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I replaced my TV with this 4K projector for a month — here’s what happened

XGIMI HORIZON Pro projector with remote
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Like it or not, the ongoing pandemic has changed our relationship with movie theaters. While nothing will ever beat the charm of watching a blockbuster film like Spider-Man: No Way Home in a sold-out venue, the temptation to go on a Christmas movie marathon from the comfort of your own bed can be surprisingly difficult to resist. 

In the article below, I’ll let you in on how I ditched my 4K Hisense smart TV in favor of the XGIMI HORIZON Pro 4K projector, which helped me turn my bedroom into a full-blown home cinema for a month. 

Full disclosure: retailing at $1,699 (opens in new tab) (£1,499 (opens in new tab)), the XGIMI HORIZON Pro 4K projector isn’t exactly the cheapest option available on the market, especially when you compare it to some of the best 4K TVs. However, projectors like this have a clear advantage over TVs: adjustable image size. Provided you have a room and wall large enough, you can comfortably adjust your projector to display an image equivalent to a 150” inch TV (which would cost more than $300,000). With the XGIMI HORIZON Pro 4K, you could even go up to a 300” inch screen.

Turning my bedroom into a home cinema 

Setting up the XGIMI HORIZON Pro on my bedside table was incredibly easy. All-in-all, the process of unboxing, connecting it to power and signing into my Google account took no more than several minutes. The device is also light and portable enough to be carried from room to room without any issues, meaning you won’t necessarily find yourself restricted to using it in the same place forever.

Prior to set-up, I was concerned about whether I would be able to station the projector on the side of my bed while ensuring that the image would perfectly align on the wall opposite. However, the projector’s Intelligent Screen Alignment (ISA) technology made short work of this, preventing any sort of image distortion by automatically aligning and focusing the screen while also avoiding obstacles such as the heating radiator that’s situated on the wall I was projecting to. 

Once the projector was up and running, I was able to download apps like Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube and Twitch from the Google Store and jump straight into some of my favorite shows and movies. With a resolution of up to 3840 x 2160 and over 8.29 million pixels, the jump in image quality between the XGIMI HORIZON Pro and my Hisense 4K TV was immediately noticeable, particularly in terms of how crisp objects looked and how more vibrant colors appeared on the projector.

XGIMI HORIZON Pro projecting the Amazing Spider-Man movie

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The XGIMI HORIZON Pro’s built-in 8W Harman Kardon speakers also did a decent job in helping the projector deliver a cinematic feel in terms of audio. Given both speakers are positioned on either side of the device, the sound emitting from them comes surprisingly close to recreating a full surround sound experience that you’d normally expect from a much more spaced out audio system. 

Another feature that really impressed me was the XGIMI HORIZON Pro’s motion compensation, which minimizes motion blur and makes sudden movements in sports and video games look much smoother compared to my Hisense 65” 4K TV. To test this, as well as the projector’s latency, I hooked up my PS4 Pro and played through various parts of Marvel’s Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn. Overall, the projector did well throughout numerous gaming sessions.

In terms of its software, the XGIMI HORIZON Pro has one very notable drawback - at the moment, the projector does not natively support Netflix. Even though you can download and run the app from the Google Store, you won’t be able to watch any Netflix films or shows on this projector. 

Fortunately, I figured out a simple workaround by connecting a Google Chromecast via the projector’s HDMI port and casting the Netflix app from my smartphone. It’s a tad annoying that it takes a $49 (opens in new tab) third-party device to be able to watch Netflix on a projector this expensive, particularly when it appears that this issue is something that XGIMI has had for a while now. 

Replacing your TV with a projector may be easy, but is it right for you? 

Boxing up your TV and building a home theater that revolves around a 4K projector can sound tempting, but you’ll need to consider your own needs to figure out whether it’s a viable solution for you.

One of the first things you’ll need to consider is whether or not the room you’re planning to use the projector in has a clear, preferably white wall for you to use as a screen. Then, you can position the projector as far away as you want from the wall, depending on how much free space you have and how large you’d like the screen to be. This will largely depend on your projector of choice; with the XGIMI HORIZON Pro, for example, to achieve a 100” screen you’d need to place the projector about 10 feet away from the wall. 

Another area of concern when considering replacing your TV with a projector is whether or not you’d be able to use it effectively during the day without the screen bleeding and appearing washed out due to the surrounding light. The XGIMI HORIZON Pro’s ultra-bright projection lens allowed me to use the projector at any time of day, though admittedly, I can’t say that my flat receives much natural light for it to be an issue in the first place (thanks, London).

Speaking of adopting the projector life, LG's new laser projector could have you considering ditching your TV completely.

Denise Primbet
Denise Primbet

Denise is a Life Reporter at Newsweek, covering everything lifestyle-related, including health, relationships, personal finance, beauty and more. She was formerly a news writer at Tom’s Guide, regularly producing stories on all things tech, gaming software/hardware, fitness, streaming, and more. Her published content ranges from short-form news articles to long-form pieces, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not playing horror games, she can be found exploring East London with her adorable puppy. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen.