XGIMI AURA review: An “affordable” 4K UST laser projector with Android TV

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Home theatre projectors are as popular as ever. There is a wide variety to choose from, and like most anything else, you get what you pay for. Higher-priced projectors usually come in the form of an ultra-short-throw 4K laser projector that offers not only great quality but allows you to set them inches from your wall or screen. This allows for an easier setup with no need to mount them to your ceiling. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about people walking in front of the projector while you’re watching something.

Unfortunately, a UST 4K laser projector can cost upwards of US$6500 (or more). Fortunately, there are a few brands that are bringing this cost down without sacrificing quality or options. Our XGIMI AURA review looks at one such relatively affordable UST 4K laser projector with Android TV that offers great picture and sound quality. Read on to see why it was an easy choice for a Top Pick of 2022 here at Techaeris.

Specifications

The XGIMI AURA UST 4K laser projector we reviewed has the following features and specifications:

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  • Razor-Sharp Imagery: 4K UHD, 2400 ANSI lumens, DCI-P3 colour gamut, and HDR10 technology are fused wonderfully to provide staggeringly crisp images and vivid, lifelike colours that seem to jump off the 120” screen. With AURA, you’ll watch every movie the way the director envisioned.
  • Ultra Short Throw Technology: Place AURA 11.7” away from any wall and get a 120” screen size. 8-point keystone correction and 4-point keystone correction lets you manually adjust the projected image for a better viewing experience.
  • Harman/Kardon Sound: Two tweeters and two woofers at 15W each paired with DTS HD and Dolby Audio emit premium room-filling surround sound.
  • ANDROID TV 10.0: Simplified access to 5000+ apps powered by the latest Android TV OS and easily navigable via Google Assistant voice control.
  • Intelligent Eye Protection: The integrated automatic light dimmer, powered by advanced IR sensors, detects any presence and immediately dims the laser, effectively shielding your eyes from damaging radiation.
ProductUST laser projector
Display chip0.47″ DMD
Standard resolution3840 x 2160 (4K)
Compatible resolution2K/4K
Display techniqueDLP
LensHigh light transmission coated lens
Supported FormatsHDR10, HLG
Luminance2400 ANSI lumens
Throw ratio0.233:1
Image size60 – 120″
Lamp life20,000 hours
Keystone correction8-Point Keystone Correction & 4-Point Keystone Correction
Colour gamut80% DCI-P3, 90% REC.709
Colour modesStandard, Bright, Eye-protection, Performance, Custom
Image modesMovie, Football, Office, Game, Custom
WiFiDual-band 2.4/5GHz, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth5.0/BLE
Mirroring displayChromecast built-in, Airscreen
Audio4x Harman/Kardon 15W speakers with DTS Studio Sound, DTS-HD, Dolby Audio, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital+
Input ports1x DC, 3x HDMI 2.0 (1x ARC), 3x USB 2.0, 1x LAN
Output portsMini USB (debug), Headphone, Optical
FunctionsFast boot, low latency, MEMC, eye protection, 3D (frame packing & side by side), HDR10, HLG
FocusManual focus via remote control
Noise level< 32 dB
Projection methodFront, rear, front ceiling, rear ceiling
SystemAndroid 10.0 with 2GB RAM, 32GB storage
PowerAC100-240V, 50/60Hz (350W)
Dimensions (W x D x H)606 x 401 x 139.5mm (23.86 x 15.79 x 5.49″)
Weight11kg (32.91 lbs)

What’s in the box

  • XGIMI AURA 4K Ultra Short Throw Laser Projector
  • Power Plug
  • Bluetooth Remote Control
  • Manual
  • Warranty Card
What's included with the XGIMI AURA 4K UST projector
What’s included with the XGIMI AURA 4K UST laser projector.

Design

Like most 4K UST laser projectors, the XGIMI AURA is a pretty sizeable device. Largely rectangular in design, it is slightly elliptical when viewed from the front, giving it a look that will fit with most home decor. All told, this UST projector measures 23.86 inches wide, 15.79 inches deep, and 5.49 inches in height. As far as weight is concerned, it clocks in at a hefty 32.91 pounds.

The front of the projector is covered in black speaker fabric, giving it a nice finish. It is curved slightly on the top and bottom and angles out slightly toward the front, with a sharp crease along the center. The projector also appears to float slightly due to the base design.

Flipping the projector around, you’ll find several ports across the back. When looking at the back, the ports from left to right are your HDMI 1/ARC, HDMI 2, HDMI 3, 2x USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio, S/PDIF, LAN, and a micro-USB service port. Below the HDMI 1/ARC port is your standard power port.

The top of the projector is a grayish/silver colour. Towards the front is where you’ll find the laser lens pointing towards the back of the projector within a recessed cavity. The XGIMI logo is stamped in silver just behind this at about the middle point of the projector. Between the front speaker and laser lens is the Harman/Kardon logo, also centred. An LED status indicator sits under this and indicates what state the projector is in.

As for the sides of the projector, they are pretty non-descript aside from horizontal fins for ventilation. The right side also has a power button with a third, covered, USB 2.0 port underneath it.

The ports on the back of the XGIMI AURA 4K UST projector
The ports on the back of the XGIMI AURA 4K UST laser projector.

The bottom of the projector has four adjustable feet, two towards the front and two closer together towards the back. While there are options in the display settings for ceiling mountable image adjustments, there are no actual mounting points on the bottom of the projector. According to XGIMI, this is because most home users set up UST projectors on a shelf or table in front of their screen. For those that do require a ceiling mount, like bars or restaurants, a third-party installer is usually called in and the use of a mounting bracket for a more secure install is usually utilized.

I’ve reviewed a few XGIMI projectors before and the remote is the same as is found with the HORIZON Pro 4K projector. Again, the included remote has a nice metal finish to it and a nice weight as well. It is small and thin as well, measuring about 6 1/2″ long by 1 1/2″ wide by 1/2″ thick (at its thickest portion). Mostly silver in colour, the top two-thirds of the front is black. From the top working your way down, you have a power button, settings button, and Google Assistant button stacked above the control wheel and action button. Below the wheel is a row of three buttons for the back, menu, and home functions. The – and + buttons are below this row. Finally, a quick focus button is located just below the black piece on the bottom silver portion. The XGIMI logo is printed in black near the bottom as well.

While larger than non-laser projectors, the XGIMI AURA is well designed and looks great sitting on a shelf in whatever room you choose to set it up in.

Setup

Electronics can be daunting to set up at times. With the XGIMI AURA, it is relatively easy, albeit a bit time-consuming. First, you’ll need to find the right position to set it up for the picture size you want. As this is an ultra short throw projector, you will be setting it up close to your screen. Thankfully, there is a handy guide included in the user manual that helps you determine how far away from your wall or screen you should set it up.

The XGIMI AURA placement chart.

Physical Setup

In my case, with a 106″ screen, I set the projector up just under 9 inches away from my screen and about 15 inches below. Depending on how big or small you want to go, you can set this up as close as 4.3-inches and as far as 17.3″ for an 80- to 150-inch image size.

Next comes the usual hookups: plug it into a power outlet and you are good to go. Before I did turn it on, however, I plugged my Xbox Series X into a non-ARC HDMI port and the same with our Nintendo Switch. The reason for plugging them into non-ARC ports is that I did not want them turning on each time I turned on the projector. I did later test the Xbox with the ARC port and it worked as intended. I also used the S/PDIF port to connect the projector to my home theatre sound system. At any rate, once everything was connected, I turned on the projector using the included remote control. 

Software Setup

Once you have placed the projector where you want it, setting up the XGIMI AURA isn’t overly difficult. In fact, the projector walks you through most of it.

  • Press and hold the power button on the projector for 2 seconds
  • When prompted, hold the remote 10cm from the projector and press the back and home buttons until you see a successful pairing message to pair with the projector
  • Select your language
  • Use Quick Setup to transfer your Wi-Fi and Google account settings from your Android device to the projector
  • Open the Google app on your phone, and say “OK Googand le, set up my device”
  • Tap Next on your phone; it should detect the AURA and display a code
  • If the code matches the one on your screen from the projector, tap next
  • Choose your Wi-Fi network on your smartphone
  • Choose to copy your Google Account(s) to the projector
  • Choose which Google Account if you have multiple
  • Confirm your password on your smartphone
  • Complete set up on the AURA
  • Accept Google’s Terms of Service
  • Allow (or disallow) Google from accessing your location
  • Help (or choose no) to improve Android
  • Set up Google Assistant voice control
  • Enable/disable personal results
  • Choose which additional apps to install like Netflix, Disney+, Spotify, Plex, etc. (NOTE: Skip Netflix as the native Netflix app does not work, more on that later)
  • AndroidTV interface launches, install AURA system update (if applicable)

Once you’ve done that, you should be good to go.

Display

For the more technical readers out there, the XGIMI AURA 4K UST projector uses a 0.47″ DMD DLP chip. If you want to read more about this chip size and style, you can do so on the Texas Instruments website.

I’ve tested quite a few 4K projectors over the past few years, and there is no question that the laser projectors offer up a better 4K picture overall. Of course, you won’t notice a difference unless you have two or more projectors set up side by side. While other projectors do offer up more than 80% DCI-P3 and 90% Rec.709 coverage, the XGIMI AURA offers up a nice, crisp 4K display with decent colours and contrast. Based on the price of this projector and the feedback from others watching it, the colours and contrast were more than acceptable.

For the record, I use a standard very light grey fixed projector screen and it worked well enough in my basement setting. An ALR (ambient light rejecting) screen is suggested for ultra short throw projectors and would presumably make the already great image just that much better, especially in a more brightly lit room. This 4 UST projector also has HDR10 support for better colours and 60Hz motion compensation technology (MEMC) for smoother framerates while watching sports or other content with a lot of action.

The XGIMI AURA 4K UST projector in use outside with a portable screen
The XGIMI AURA 4K UST laser projector in use outside with a portable screen.

While 2400 lumens isn’t the brightest out there, it is equal to or brighter than a lot of other 4K projectors, making it suitable for different locations. My main setup is in my basement so it’s not a huge issue. While we typically watch movies or TV with the lights dimmed, the AURA was bright enough for comfortable viewing even with all the lights on. Over the summer, we used this a lot outside on the back deck with a portable projector screen. While faint in direct sunlight (as almost all projectors are), once the sun disappeared behind a cloud or the house next door, the image was easier to see. At dusk and when the sun went down completely, the image outdoors was easily viewable.

The projector should last you for years as well based on the 20,000-hour light source life span. If you were to use the XGIMI AURA for 4 hours a day, it should last you just over 13 years. Lasers are also dangerous for the human eye and the AURA also has an integrated automatic light dimmer, powered by advanced IR sensors, detects any presence over the light source and immediately dims the laser, effectively shielding your eyes from damaging radiation.

Display Settings

While I stuck with the default settings given the excellent out-of-box quality, there are plenty of settings that you can access and change to get the picture exactly right for you. There are two spots to access these. The first is the Android TV settings accessed by the on-screen settings cog, the second is in the projector settings itself accessed from the settings button on the remote. Android TV image brightness settings include Standard, Bright, Eye Protection, Performance, and Custom. Adjustable display settings for the projector itself include: 

  • Image Mode: Movie, Football, Office, Game, Custom
    • Movie: Local Contrast (Off, Weak, Medium, Strong), HDR (Auto, Off), Motion Compensation (Off, Weak, Medium, Strong)
    • Football: HDR (Auto, Off)
    • Office: HDR (Auto, Off)
    • Game: Only available via HDMI source (i.e. console hookup)
    • Custom: Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness, Noise Reduction (Auto, Off, Low, Medium, Strong), Color Temperature (Standard, Cold, Warm, Custom (Red/Blue/Green)), Local Contrast (Off, Weak, Medium, Strong), HDR (Auto, Off), Motion Compensation (Off, Weak, Medium, Strong)

As you can see, there are plenty of options for fine-tuning the picture quality to your environment and preferences.

Screen Adjustment

While most projectors offer up 4-point or angled keystone correction, the XGIMI AURA has 4- and 8-point correction, based on your needs. The typical 4-point correction allows you to adjust the image by each corner which is usually fine for most cases. If you need more fine-tuned correction, the 8-point correction option adds four more points, one in the middle of each edge of the image. I found that the 8-point correction was easier to use as opposed to fiddling around with the feet to get a precise rectangular image on my screen. While I could get close with the feet and angle of the projector, having eight points to further adjust the keystone made it super easy to get a nice rectangular image.

Software

While the XGIMI AURA is powered by Android TV, there are three aspects to the software: Android TV (of course), Chromecast, and Netflix.

Android TV

The XGIMI AURA ships with Android TV 10.0. Initially, it runs the outdated Android TV interface, however, after a few days it updated to the new Android TV interface. The Home page displays new content from your installed streaming services. Across the top are options for Search, Home, Discover, and Apps. On the upper right are icons for Source, Battery, Settings, and the current Time.

The settings section lets you adjust everything from system updates to connected devices, projector settings, HDMI, network settings, device preferences, and more. Overall, it’s pretty straightforward to navigate.

The latest Android TV interface (courtesy Google).
The latest Android TV interface (courtesy Google).

As for apps, you can install almost any app that’s available in the Google Play Store. Almost. While Disney+, Plex, Prime Video, Spotify, and most others work just fine, the native Netflix app does not work as the device is unsupported. There is a workaround, however, which I’ll discuss below.

Chromecast

The AURA also has Chromecast built-in, and it worked great for casting images and other supported apps like Disney+ or Spotify to the projector from my smartphone. However, when trying to cast Netflix, the projector throws an error, stating that the device is incompatible with the Netflix app.

Netflix

As you can’t cast Netflix to the projector, you can hook up a laptop via HDMI or use a TV stick. Using a laptop worked just fine, and using the Chromecast with Google TV worked as well. While neither solution is ideal, it is doable. However, there is a way to install the app as well, it just takes a few steps.

XGIMI now uses the Desktop Manager app available from the Google Play Store. Once installed, launch the app, select the Install button under Netflix, allow installation from unknown sources, and Netflix will install. The great news here is that it appears to be a full version of Netflix, not the mobile version, so the remote works perfectly with it. Once installed in this manner, I had no issues logging into and using Netflix. The caveat here, of course, is that Netflix is limited to 1080p when used in this manner so if you’re after 4K HDR, you’re better off using a Chromecast. In the past, XGIMI did mention that they are “actively in conversations with Netflix to integrate and run the streaming service directly and locally in our projectors,” however, that has yet to materialize.

Performance

Like the company’s other offerings, once set up, the projector boots up in about 12 seconds, which is relatively quick for this type of projector. Once on, the interface is responsive as one would expect. It is also pretty quiet while in use — partly likely because the projector is a decent distance in front of you as opposed to beside or overhead. While there is no auto-focus on this model, the XGIMI AURA is easy to adjust the focus and once you have it set up, you’re likely not moving it around anyways.

The AURA also has a dedicated gaming mode with lower latency. While not ideal for competitive gaming, I had no issues with using the projector for casual gaming and didn’t notice any real lag in games like Forza Horizon 5 or even Call of Duty: Warzone while playing on my Xbox Series X.

If you’re into 3D, the XGIMI AURA also supports frame packing & side by side 3D but we didn’t test either due to not having any easily accessible content or 3D glasses to do so with.

Sound Quality

While I was impressed with the 8W Harman/Kardon speakers in the HORIZON Pro, the XGIMI AURA features four 15W Harman/Kardon speakers: two tweeters and two woofers. In addition, it supports  DTS Studio Sound, DTS-HD, Dolby Audio, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Digital+. As a result, this is by far one of the best sounding projectors I’ve heard to date. XGIMI isn’t incorrect when it states that this projector delivers “crisp highs, dynamic midranges, and ample bass.” The audio that this projector pushes out is crisp, punchy, and pretty detailed.

The remote included with the XGIMI AURA 4K UST projector
The remote that comes with the XGIMI AURA 4K UST laser projector.

Normally, I use a projector with my home theatre system but we had ample opportunity to test and use this for evening movie nights on the back deck over the summer. With other projectors we’ve used in the past for this, the sound was acceptable but often a bit tinny/low on the bass end and a bit quiet. Not so with the AURA. While it doesn’t beat a home theatre surround sound system, the audio was more than adequate if you don’t have a sound system setup or are using it in a different locatWhilewhile watching movies on Disney+ or Crave, we found that setting the volume to about 1/3 was more than ample for us to enjoy content while outside.

There are some sound settings that you can adjust by selecting the settings button on the remote. These include:

  • Sound Effects: Movie, Music, Sport
  • DTS Studio Sound: On, Off
  • Volume Balance: On, Off
  • Sound Output: Internal Speaker, S/PDIF, HDMI-eARC
  • Output Format (if Internal Speaker is not selected): PCM, Auto, Passthrough

While minimal, there is a slight difference between the Movie, Music, and Sport modes for the internal speakers, especially when you play around with the DTS Studio Sound and Volume Balance toggles.

Finally, you can also pair a device to the speaker via Bluetooth to stream music, however, it’s just as easy to do so from the projector itself depending on what app you use. In the case of Spotify, installing the Android app and logging in provided another avenue to listen to music while hanging out in the basement or the backyard when the projector was set up there.

Price/Value

At US$2799 on the XGIMI website, the XGIMI AURA is less than half of some of the more expensive models. Even better, if you sign up for the XGIMI Community, you can save an extra 10% off this already affordable 4K UST laser projector. This projector easily offers up an exceptional value for your hard-earned dollar.

Wrap-up

If you’re looking to up your home theatre game and are after a 4K UST laser projector, the XGIMI AURA is a great model that you should consider, lack of native Netflix support aside. With plenty of ports, great quality onboard sound, and Android TV to access most of your streaming service content natively, you really can’t go wrong with this Techaeris Top Pick of 2022.

Last Updated on September 19, 2022.

XGIMI AURA

US$2799

Design

10.0/10

Setup

9.0/10

Display

9.5/10

Software

9.0/10

Performance

9.5/10

Sound Quality

9.5/10

Price/Value

10.0/10

Nailed it

  • Sleek design
  • Decent 4K picture quality
  • Fairly bright 2400 lumens
  • Great sound quality
  • Easy setup and streaming service access with Android TV
  • Boots up quickly
  • Three HDMI ports
  • Affordably priced compared to many other 4K UST projectors

Needs work

  • No native Netflix support
  • Only 80% DCI-P3 and 90% REC.709 coverage
  • No auto keystone like other XGIMI offereings
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