I just got the H1 and wanted to give people a headsup / quick review, but in short - don't buy it.
Beautifully packaged, this was a good sign!
Build quality is first rate - it's fantastically built, a good weight and solid feeling. The buttons have superb response and the right amount of 'click', and the overall feel and finish is very premium. And it is TINY! I have it sat quite comfortably on a 27cm deep shelf and there's plenty of room to spare, it looks fantastic and way more discreet than usual projectors.
Basically looks like a really cool speaker and its so easy to transport and re-position into different rooms. A big plus on build!
Except the remote control - it's made of aluminium I think, but it's very very lightweight and tinny feeling and the buttons are ok but not great - a bit cheap feeling. Plus it is very unresponsive and inconsistent in use, but I suspect this is a software issue. There is 'wand' capability but it's useless pretty much, frustrating to use. The annoying thing with the control, is that the focussing functionality can only be controlled via the remote control unit - focussing cannot be done on the projector, nor with the app that you can download. The app by the way is ‘ok’ but pretty limited functions.
Booting up for the first time didn't happen. Not sure why, but because there are literally no instructions included (not even quick set-up) I was left scrambling around google to try and fix. This was a real headache as there were not even H1 instructions on the Xgimi site. I eventually found a very scant set of official instructions via their forum, but they're very threadbare. I would have attached them here but the file is too big and I cant shrink t below 1mb sorry. IF you can email me via here I can send them to you.
Ok so once I finally managed to get it booted up, set-up is fairly easy. I have it positioned to the right of my sofa so I jumped into the keystone menu. It’s not automatic, but after some tinkering with each corner of the projected image, you can get the picture where you want it. You can also manually dial back the beam itself on the projector lens, as well as digitally zooming in and out on the control. Image is not effected which is good. What I will say is this, if you have the projector offset (either to the left or right of the viewing angle, or positioned above your head and angled down) you will get a strange beam projection of light itself, i.e although the actual image can be keystoned into the correct shape, you can not correct the light beam itself which is coming in at an angle, so you end up with a rather odd shape on your wall, its not a perfect rectangle of light if you know what I mean.
This may or may not be a distraction for some of you, but I find it a bit annoying - I want a perfect rectangle of light projected onto the wall, not a strange semi rectangle, plus triangular shape! So the only way to rectify this, is to put the projector face on to the wall, parallel to it. This is not a fault of the H1, it will occur with all offset projector configurations where you need to keystone. Just a headsup!
I’d also suggest leaving the projector in position once you’re happy with a keystoned image - if you keep moving it about, you have to keystone every time, gets a bit tiresome.
The image itself is good. Its hard to quantify properly as I haven’t ordered a screen yet so just have it projected onto the wall, a textured wallpaper and it is surprisingly good when the lights are off. The texture wallpaper is subtle and although definitely effects the image (I’ve compared it projected on to plain paper) it is still a very good image. I can’t say its tack sharp yet, so I won’t go into too much detail on image quality, but I would say this - it absolutely alters depending on source material and the production quality of the films your viewing. More in a minute on that. But overall, its a strong and bright image when viewing at night. A TV replacement it absolutely is not though - but then what projector is!. Daytime viewing on an overcast day with curtains closed is do-able, but hardly brilliant. Stick to night time.
Colour is very sketchy indeed. Reds are way over saturated, and general colour I think is overly saturated. I watched ‘star wars the force awakens’, and it almost burnt retinas at some points. Then watching ‘A beautiful mind’ last night, the skin tones were terrible. So, out of the box you need to configure colour - this is the next issue, I can’t. There are custom controls available, but nothing happens. You set it, then save, then resume and nothing has changed in the image. Then when you re-visit the settings, they have reverted back to how they were. And yes, I saved the settings.
Again, no doubt a software issue but its not acceptable. So, you are stuck with colours as they are (unless I have a faulty product, who knows).
Sound - it is EXCELLENT! This is by far the best aspect of the projector and they were very wise to partner with Harman Kardon. The volume that this thing goes to is outstanding - I have it set to half for most films and it easily fills my space with sound (a 5m square room). Also, music playback over spotify and radio listening is mostly good, some music better than others but generally a good balance. The one annoying thing about the speaker though, is that you cannot control it - no ability to control bass or treble, and on some films - i.e more narrative driven, the bass is too heavy and the dialogue gets lost and swamped.
Generally though, if you want a pick up and go projector without the hassle of connecting speakers, I reckon this is currently the best you can get in a package - its super impressive.
I have ordered a set of Raumfeld Stero Cubes to bluetooth up with it, so I will see how they handle. It’s a bit weird having all the sound come at you from the side / rear, so if you’re using this thing more permanently you’re gonna want to pair it up to some speakers.
Oh, just remembered. There were dialogue sync issues when I watched an episode of Top Gear and guess what, you can’t control sync issues with the sound.
Ok, so onto the main issue and the reason I will be returning the projector. The reason I got this device, is the ‘one stop shop’ aspect. I wanted a wire free, fuss free, plug and play experience and having looked at the website I was impressed with the offering. On paper, this thing looked great!
Here is what actually happened. The first thing I did, was download the Netflix app on to the projector via the inbuilt ‘apptoid’ app (which is rubbish by the way, because the remote control is as good as useless navigating menus, totally inconsistent). Because I am a Netflix Ultra HD subscriber, I get a handful of 4k content, but I always have access to HD films and series. On my iPad and macbook pro, Netflix works a treat.
So, looking forward to the same HD quality when logging into the Netflix app on the projector, couldn’t have been more disappointed. Firstly, the interface of Netflix is god awful - not helped by the sketchy remote control, but the U.I is clunky and extremely diluted. There is absolutely no ability to go into your account or change any settings whatsoever. You can basically click through available content and select it, thats it.
When I played Star wars, I could see straight away that the playback was in 720p. Play a trailer on Youtube of the film, the HD one and you get a beautiful 1080p image - the difference between that and the Netflix film is night and day!
My macbook is a mid 2010 model so does not have airplay. No matter, I have an iPad Air 2 and an iPhone 5s - both of which stream Netflix in HD, so I thought to myself; Fine, I’ll just airplay netflix via these devices to the projector - the projector that says it can airplay content. Did it work? No, of course it didn’t. The iPad / phone just said that the content could not be played at this time.
I logged onto the Netlix website, made sure that I had linked my devices - all fine. The projector just refused to airplay Netflix.
Things I discovered. Because the inbuilt operating system is basically mobile Android, you can forget about streaming Netflix in HD - it currently will not happen, period so don’t waste your time thinking you will get the onboard Netflix app playing HD - I tried a work around using the onboard chrome web app to log in to Netflix and change settings to HD, which I could do, but then the videos just would not play through the chrome app, nor could I load in ’super netflix’ app. No Dice, so you have to go back to just using the onboard Netflix app, which is like puling teeth - the video loads up with a black screen every time, so you have to jump forward then back in order for the image to load up and play and the selection process is such a headache with that remote control.
Now this is mostly a Netflix issue granted, they’re extremely annoying in the way they control streamed content, but if XGIMI are selling this device as a HD ready (airplay ready!) device, then they need to make it very clear to customers - customers like me who get most of their content on Netflix, that the onboard Netflix app will not play content above 720p and you can NOT use iOS devices to stream Netflix.
What I can do, is buy an apple TV and plug that in. The apple TV can stream 1080HD from its inbuilt Netflix, but then this defeats the point of buying this projector if I start having to add extra devices in order to get HD.
Side note - HULU app did not work, period. Amazon app did not work, Period. I live in Amsterdam, so have no idea if this is a region issue, but what I have here in is basically a very expensive youtube player. Youtube airplay works ok - not perfect transition and a bit glitchy but it does work and plays HD content fine. The onboard youtube app is a headache to use, again because of the remote control, but the interface is (at least) usable unlike Netflix.
Plugging in a USB - this did not work until I realised that the USB absolutely MUST be PC formatted. Headsup. Getting the projector to read videos stored on my network was a headache so I gave up. Got a video to play (a DVD rip) but the quality was rubbish - I suspect more a problem with how I encoded the rip though.
What I would say is this. If you’re happy to plug devices into this thing - a Roku, Apple TV, blue ray player, I expect you could get really fantastic results.
The main let down of this projector, is that they emphasise the portability and the fact that its at the top of its game when it comes to HD and streaming / connect ability. This simply is not true. I was expecting to be able to get immediate HD content via the onboard apps, and was also expecting a fuss free experience streaming my iOS devices to the projector. Neither of these things happened.
The image quality, certainly having seen 4k youtube content has the potential to be outstanding for a projector at this price, but unless your source material is easy to access I don’t really see the point of this thing. I could get a much cheaper, brighter projector if it means I have to plug stuff into it - granted the H1 has a fantastic bulb life, but at what general performance cost?
In short, if you’re not so fussed about perfect HD quality and want something that you can just use all over the house, with a fantastic on board sound system - plus you have money to burn! This is a projector worth looking at.
For me, I have totally given up on the idea that any manufacturer can deliver a single device solution that can wirelessly stream decent HD, either via onboard apps (Netflix control this output way too much, for instance) or via connected devices. Certainly Air Play is a headache at the best of times.
LG just released that new model at CES with similar specs to the H1, but having used the H1 I expect exactly the same issues with the LG (which will no doubt cost a lot more too). But at least I expect the LG to function a but better - their U.I is award winning and having used it, I can say its a way better experience that the H1.
I have the up to date firmware loaded onto the H1, so who knows if I just have a faulty product, but for €900 I am going to return it and probably just get a Benq w1070 plus apple TV to plug in. The speaker issue I’ll just have to figure out.
Going fully wireless just aint gonna happen at the moment folks.
Hope that helps, if any of you are undecided!