Tuesday, July 5, 2022

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RV gadget: The perfect projector for camping

Today I’m reviewing the XGIMI Halo+ projector. Wait, you ask, a projector for an RV gadget? Absolutely! I know there has been at least one article here on RVTravel about people with projectors and, apparently, I’m “one of those” because we love having movie nights when we camp in groups. In fact, as I write this, my wife is at an all-women camping weekend and the projector is with her. 

There’s also a poll where you can weigh in on what genre of movie you most like to watch. 

XGIMI who? 

XGIMI is a company I hadn’t heard of until they reached out and asked if I wanted to try out the Halo+ projector. What got me is that this projector can be operated on either a typical household outlet or on its own internal battery. Sure, I’d love to try one!

Apparently XGIMI is making quite a name for itself in the projector market. Admittedly, my old projector I’ve had for quite some time and I thought I was happy with it. Until I plugged this in. 

Picture quality

The way I tested this is with a screen from a company called DJ Screen, which harkens back to the days when I owned a DJ company in LA that also did things like press conferences, weddings, corporate events and that sort of thing. As such, I kept one of these DJ Screens because essentially it’s a giant piece of stretchy fabric sort of like Spandex which travels very, very well and can be projected upon from front or rear. 

I hang mine on my awning with clips. I have been projecting from the front just because the old projector wasn’t able to adjust to project from the rear and still show an image that was very large. 

So when I kicked this thing on, even before I went through the menus to set it up, my wife and I looked at each other and almost immediately knew the old projector had shown its last movie with us. 

The new XGIMI was incredibly bright with vivid color and great detail. The difference really was night and day. We were hooked. 

Nerdy stuff

While the old projector was just a projector, this new one is a whole smart thingamajig. Like many things, this finds a home on your Internet. As such, it can take advantage of any subscriptions you have to things like Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime and many other services. In fact, almost all of them except Netflix. 

If you’re using an Android phone, you can actually set everything up very easily, apparently, since it’s the same operating system. But we’re on iPhones, so there was a bit more work, but not much. 

Once we signed in to our Google account, it seemed the rest was pretty easy. 

This projector incorporates the Google Home Assistant so you can just ask for things such as “play The Long, Long Trailer” and, next thing you know, you’re entertaining your campsite. 

On the back is an HDMI port, so you could use it with your confuser or a portable DVD player. But, even better, there’s a USB 2.0 port, so you could just load up movies on a memory stick and go that route. 

Which is what we did. In that circumstance, there’s no internet required and you still have your movies plus use the battery that’s built into the projector. But this projector is set up with our FMCA Tech Connect Internet gadget which uses T-Mobile. 

Batteries included

Yep, there’s a battery built into this thing. Specifically, it’s a 59-watt battery that is intended to operate the projector for about two hours. Other than that, you can also power it with shore power (you know, a regular household outlet). I’ve also used my Jackery—yet another reason I’m liking that thing more and more. 

Sounds of the underground

There are also two Harman Kardon speakers built into this device. My old projector, too, had two speakers built in. But those were as effective as most political promises, so we also brought a JBL Bluetooth speaker to provide sound. 

The speakers on the XGIMI actually provide decent sound, and certainly good enough for camping. While I love the rich sound I have at home in our HomePod speakers, for speakers at a campground, these are certainly good enough and provide enough audio so you’re not rewinding the movies over and over just to catch a piece of dialog. 

But the speakers are also not powerful enough to annoy people a few sites over. I think it’s a good balance. 

Further, you can use this device as a Bluetooth speaker, as well. So I’m considering no longer bringing my JBL Flip speaker with me. I like it when one device does multiple things. 

Really cool features 

Once you’ have the projector set up, there are some features that boggled my mind. One of those was the automatic keystone and focus. 

Every time you power up the projector, it goes through a sequence to automatically focus and keystone the image. “Keystone” is adjusting for the angle of the projector so the image doesn’t look skewed. 

Essentially it projects a pattern that reminds me of those old test patterns when you’d watched all the TV you were going to watch and the station was done for the night. There’s a camera on the front of the projector that sees this pattern and adjusts accordingly. 

If you’re not pleased with the projector’s intelligence, you can also do manual adjustments using the remote that comes with the device. 

Other observations

Overall, I think you can tell I’m rather thrilled with this device. But there were other things to know. 

For example, the projector has a standard tripod screw mount in the bottom so if you bring your camera tripod, and I always do, you can just mount the projector to the tripod and not have to worry about finding the ideal place. 

It also has a little flip-out foot on the underside that can be used to lift the projector on the front and adjust the image. 

Technically, the projector is a 1080p FHD with 900 ANSI lumens. That means it’s bright enough for most campgrounds, except those that want to hang those horrible sodium lights and make the campground seem like a crime scene. 

While I originally thought this was an odd shape for a projector, it actually works out pretty well with the speakers on the side and the actual projecting lens up at the top. There are pause and play buttons on the projector itself. And the remote that comes with it allows you to activate more features, including a Google voice assistant. 

The major downside is that there are only about two hours of battery life. You know you’ll be watching something that’s like two hours and seven minutes long and the party will end right as the movie comes to a crashing climax. 

I’m also sure that there’s a lot to the Google software that I’m not using, as I’ve been a die-hard IOS user since my former employer announced the first iPhone. But, rest assured, I’m going to continue to use this thing quite regularly. 

Oh, and if you see us at a campground, please come over and share movie night with us. 

The XGIMI Halo+ projector is available on Amazon.

Updated thoughts:

A lot of you have written about not liking projectors or how rude it would be to have a projector going in a campground.

I didn’t mean to advocate that we ever use the projector unless we have a large group with all the spots around us being taken and we don’t annoy others. At no point do I want my own activities to infringe on others’ enjoyment of the space.

You can’t hear my music, I don’t leave lights on if I’m not outside and never after 10 or whatever the “quiet/dark” hours are, and I don’t bring a generator either.

Note, too, that a lot of RVs nowadays come with outdoor TVs and speakers and I’ve seen lots of these used to the detriment of others. Being a good neighbor is being a good neighbor under all circumstances.

RVers who complain about light and sound also have noisy, stinky generators should know that those are as annoying to me as someone watching some game with the volume on full blast in the next space over. Or, God forbid, television “news.” Yikes.

I agree. Part of being a good camper means not infringing on how others wish to enjoy their camping experience. Projectors are great for groups, gatherings and other circumstances where being away from others is part of the equation.

##RVT1047

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Bruce McDonald
2 months ago

I am glad that you clarified how you use your projector Tony. I am firmly in the “camp” of no projectors, no TVs, no speakers, no generators, etc. outside of trailers. I really want dark, quiet places when I camp. I would like outside lights on campers that are aimed down and are shut off as soon as they are not needed. And Please do not shine your flashlight at me. When I am outside at night, I make an effort to get my eyes dark adapted.

Lomo
2 months ago

I agree , watch your movies inside. To be outside is to enjoy nature.
people who have projectors are rude, go to the movies or go home

Nancy M.
2 months ago

Sorry, another vote for NO projectors! Just plain rude.

David Scheeler
2 months ago

IMO, the best projector to use while camping is the local movie theater. Like many others who commented, I detest those who make their “camping experience” a multimedia, Broadway experience.

Carl Jones
2 months ago

The price is a bit steep for me at $999.00 on Amazon!

Janet
2 months ago

Gotta say I totally agree with those below. I hate people’s TVs on the outsides of their RVs. I don’t want to hear your movie or TV show from my campsite. If you’re out boondocking with no one else around, fine, but consider your fellow campers. The same with outside lights people leave on all night. How rude!!

Richard
2 months ago

I agree with all the below. LEAVE YOUR STINKIN’ PROJECTOR AT HOME!! How TOTALLY..TOTALLY RUDE!!

KellyR
2 months ago

Oh my gosh! This is like in the 1950s and ’60s, when people would invite us to their house to look at their vacation slides on the screen. I didn’t care then and I don’t now. Please keep your home movies IN your home

Jopa
2 months ago

This article is a disservice for those who want to enjoy the peace and quiet of night. Stay home if you want to watch movies or watch them quietly inside your RV.

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago

We were accosted at a recent visit to the Reno RV and Home Show by a guy trying to sell me a gadget that attached to my phone that would extend the battery life. I finally convinced him I didn’t need/want it. But, we still couldn’t walk away. His next pitch was for a gadget that attached to my phone that would project movies or videos onto a wall in huge scale. I finally convinced him I wanted that even less. Another unsuspecting couple wandered up and pretty much saved us. I agree with those who say we don’t need big-screen anything while out RV’ing. Old fogies, I guess.

Marty
2 months ago

Nothing like ruining getting out of the city or burb to enjoy a quiet night under the stars in front of a campfire.

david
2 months ago

Video the 2/3/4/5 barking dogs of the camper that pulled in next to me and play them back all night long with a boom box, nice idea, thanks!

Rod B
2 months ago

If you want to watch movies-STAY HOME!!!!

TIM MCRAE
2 months ago

What is the max ‘screen’ size and distance from the screen?

I can’t find it anywhere in the article or the specs.

$300 more for 2200 lumens. Is it bright enough? More is better, bigger picture?

Larry
2 months ago

The best projector is the one nowhere near me

Ron
2 months ago

Outside projectors should be banned. The people that have them are disrespectable, rude and obnoxious.

Donald N Wright
2 months ago

I have had bad neighbors, noisy, dogs loose, etc. Thinking of using this projector on the side of my airstream, monster movies, educational movies about fleas and ticks, M.S.T. 2000 movies…No sound. More fun than “tree tanglefoot”.

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