XGIMI Elfin XL03A Review 1080p Android Projector With Game Mode & Harman Kardon Speakers

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

For those looking for a gaming and movie viewing solution, the XGIMI Elfin XL03A projector could be just the ticket! Amongst many features, the Elfin XL03A projector supports low latency game mode, native 1080p resolution, Google Assistant voice control, dual Harman Kardon speakers (3 watts each) and DLP projection with an led lamp capable of 800 lumens output.

The XGIMI Elfin XL03A projector weighs 983 grams and has a perfect square shape (19cm x 19cm) with a thick tall frame about 5cm high. The Elfin XL03A projector has an interesting design reminiscent of a portable induction hob cooker with a flat top and round perforated base. The Elfin XL03A is made entirely of plastic and features a plastic rear facing plate housing a large ventilation grille fin and several connectivity ports: HDMI 2.0 (with ARC support), USB-A port, 3.5mm aux port and DC input port. 

The power button is also rear facing next to the HDMI port. The USB-A port is dual purpose for charging + video playback via an external drive (up to 4 terrabyte). As well as external storage support, the Elfin projector comes with 32GB of internal storage space, although most of it is already used up out of the box, leaving you with just 8.9GB of internal storage remaining. 
The Elfin XL03A projector lens is recessed behind a glass cover, which makes the front of the projector entirely flat while keeping the lens protected. The round perforated base is made of plastic and features a tripod mount in the centre, as well as thick tall grippy rubber feet, which provide solid stability and elevation to prevent blocking the bottom ventilation. On the front of the Elfin XL03A projector, there is the motorized projector lens and an ultrasonic sensor next to it, which allows the lens to be able to focus the image automatically. The motorized lens is very quiet and focus the image almost instantly within a few seconds. 
Upon powering on the Elfin projector machine, you will hear a soothing startup sound during setup, which nice and relaxing. Initial setup is easy and quick - even quicker if you have an Android phone as this allows the Elfin projector to copy your phone's Wifi and Google account login credentials so, you don't have to enter them manually. During setup, you are also given the opportunity to install some apps, including Netflix, Kodi, MagiCast, MX Player, etc. 
The Elfin XL03A projector user interface is the same Android ecosystem you get with an Android phone/tablet; hence easy to navigate if you already own an Android device. Like with most projectors, you have the ability to manually adjust the picture quality (e.g. brightness, color temperature, contrast) and sound. There are also preset modes for image and sound to choose from. The Elfin XL03A projector has a few extra settings that you won't find on all projectors such as focus settings and keystone correction where you can enable/disable autofocus and auto keystone correction. 
You can also enable "auto power on", which allows you to turn off the Elfin XL03A projector when connected to an HDMI device. A few other settings you won't find on a lot of projectors include gyro calibration, focus calibration and keystone calibration, as well as sound effects, 3D video settings, DTS sound and sound out HDMI ARC (audio return channel)
HDMI ARC enables the Elfin XL03A projector to send and receive audio through a single HDMI cable. This means, when the Elfin XL03A projector is connected to a Blu-ray player or gaming console, the Elfin XL03A projector is capable of channeling all the audio outputs to the external speaker that is connected to the projector. The only catch is that the external speaker must also support HDMI-ARC. As far as gaming lag (ms) without gaming mode turned on, it is 120ms (without keystone correction) and 150ms with keystone correction. If you want to connect an HDMI device, it is best enabling Game mode.

A physical plastic remote control is included with clicky hard plastic buttons. The dimensions of the remote are 15cm long x 3.5cm wide x 2.5cm thick and 42 grams. The IR remote works really well. It has long wireless range and signal strength, allowing you to be anywhere in the room and even aiming at the wall and the IR remote still works. XGIMI Elfin XL03A also supports wireless screen mirror from an Android, computer and iOS device via the Google Home app (Android), Google Chrome browser (computer and Airscreen app (iOS)

Potential deal breakers
  • Google Assistant is not supported in all countries
  • Looks like a portable electric hob
  • No on-board buttons for controlling the projector - a problem when you run out of batteries or lose the remote
  • Mains power only - hence no rechargeable battery on-board the projector
  • Cannot use the Netflix app natively unless you sideload it via the Desktop Manager app
  • 3D mode is not supported when keystone correction is turned on
  • Does not support optical zooming, which does not degrade image quality, unlike digital zoom effect.
  • Runs Android TV 10 version, which is behind Android TV 11 and Android TV 12 (latest). The Android TV 12 is not only newer but also has better upgrades too, supporting static and dynamic frame rate switching, as well as HDMI CEC 2.0 - none of these supported on Android TV 10 or Android TV 11.  
  • No bluetooth speaker mode, which is a useful feature that turns off the led bulb turning the projector into a bluetooth speaker 
  • Uses single chip DLP - not as bright as single chip LCD
  • No storage case
  • Enabling game mode disables keystoning

Selling points for the Elfin XL03A projector
  • Supports 1080p resolution natively
  • The HDMI port supports ARC, which means you can connect the Elfin projector to a soundbar speaker without additional cables
  • Uses HDMI 2.0 which supports streaming TV dongles (e.g. amazon Fire TV and Apple TV), as well as true 4K 60Hz playback, unlike HDMI 1.4 only capable of 4K 30Hz
  • The Android TV OS is natively built-in to the XGIMI Elfin projector. This is worth pointing since some Android TV projectors work via a plugable Android TV dongle
  • Supports manual focus and automatic focus adjustment
  • 19V power supply included with long cable (2.8 meters)
  • The projector can be controlled via physical remote and phone by downloading the Android TV app
  • Supports 3D films - 3D glasses not included 
  • 25,000 hour runtime led bulb
  • Accepts 4k input source
  • Very good picture quality - clear and bright (between 600 - 800 ANSI Lumens)
  • Supports digital zooming
  • Quiet fan operation
  • Supports wired speakers and bluetooth speakers (SBC and AAC supported)
  • Does not overheat
  • Supports automatic and manual keystone correction up to ±40° vertical and horizontal. Keystone adjustment is very useful. The wider the range the better, allowing you to place the projector on the floor and project onto the wall
  • Google Assistant voice control is built-in to the remote, which allows you to search for movies with your voice
  • Can be mounted onto a ceiling
  • Supports automatic projector screen alignment, which is useful when using a projector screen. When enabled the projector automatically matches the projector screen size
  • The USB-A port supports powerbank mode for charging external devices (5V/0.5A max output)
  • Tripod mountable - standard 1/4 inch thread
  • You can cast video via the projector's built-in Chromecast feature
  • The USB-A port supports FAT32, exFAT and NTFS external drives up to 4 terrabyte
  • Supports external speakers - both wired speakers (via 3.5mm port and HDMI) and bluetooth speakers
  • Supports DTS sound (virtual surround)
  • Sound tuned by Harman Kardon
  • Runs Android software with Google Play services for downloading apps
  • Capable of creating an image size between 20 inches and 200 inches
  • Supports low latency game mode (26.5ms) 
  • Can be connected to a set-top box (including Sky Q Mini)
  • Expensive but better specs than more expensive projectors
 Accessories included with the Elfin projector: an XGIMI branded IR remote control (AAA batteries not included), detachable C5 cloverleaf power cord (1.7 meters), laptop style power brick (weighs 366 grams) with fixed DC barrel cable (1 meter). Total weight of the AC adapter and projector is 1.3kg. You can buy the XGIMI Elfin projector model XL03A from XGIMI and amazon

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