Xgimi Aura UST Projector Review

hcchighreccomendOn the evidence of this UST PJ, John Archer feels newcomer Xgimi is ready to take on the AV big boys

Xgimi is the latest in a growing line of relatively new Chinese brands on a mission to shake up the home entertainment market – and if its new Aura ultra-short-throw projector is anything to go by, it'll soon find plenty of fans. Priced £2,399, this beamer feels like serious value for money.

That price is eye-catchingly little for what, as we'll see, is a very well specified home entertainment machine, yet the Aura also looks unexpectedly premium. Somewhat reminiscent of BenQ's V7000i model in size and shape, although curvier, it flaunts a striking mix of brushed metal top edge and black felt-covered speaker section. This faces out of the projector's rear, which in the UST case means directly out towards your seating position.

Images are projected through a slit in the top of the chassis, and can stretch to 150in (from a throw distance of 17.3in), although Xgimi suggests a max size of 120in is preferable for image quality. As usual with UST projectors, the Aura doesn't carry any zoom, so its picture size is entirely dependent on how close to your wall/screen you place it.

If your installation leaves the image with angled sides, an eight-point keystone correction system is provided to help you straighten things out. There are more comprehensive keystone tools out there, but actually I found the Xgimi easier to set up than many rivals.


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Laser Phosphor
Under the lid are laser DLP optics, using the 'ALPD 3.0 laser phosphor system' from Chinese corp Appotronics. Xgimi claims this can cover off 80% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut standard, and hit a peak brightness of 2,400 Lumens. Rear-facing connections include three HDMI inputs – when most projectors only manage two – as well as a trio of USBs. The HDMIs tackle 4K and HDR10, but as their bandwidth is limited to 18Gbps there are no 4K/120Hz or variable refresh rate gaming facilities. A missed trick? Possibly.

The Aura carries built-in Wi-Fi to feed an Android TV smart system, a key feature in Xgimi's bid to position the projector as a realistic alternative to a super-size TV. This Android interface does not, however, currently support the BBC iPlayer, All4 or Freeview Play apps. Also, the Netflix app, while present, doesn't work properly. Xgimi says it's in discussions with Netflix, but there's no potential fix date yet.

Blaze Of Glory
While inevitably not without its compromises and limitations, for the most part the Xgimi Aura is a startlingly effective performer. It really is bright. Even using my usual neutral-gain projection screen (many buyers may just aim it at a white wall, of course), the Aura crafts visuals in a blaze of HDR glory, hitting brightness heights in both peak light areas and across the screen that make the company's 2,400 Lumens output claim look conservative. The ultra-short-throw 'beam' distance also helps it efficiently combat ambient light. Sure, there's still some compromise with viewing in daylight conditions compared with a true TV experience, particularly in dark areas of the image. But the Aura fares better in this regard than I'd usually expect from a projector setup.

Xgimi Aura