The one thing that cancels out the joys of watching stuff with a projector has always been the setup: The beamer needs to be far enough away from the wall, connected to a laptop, which in turn has to connect to speakers that are also close to the wall. It sucks – and yeah, I’m sure there’s some wireless lifehack you can apply that solves all these woes, but I’m not patient enough for that. So spare me.
My attitude changed when we got sent over the XGIMI CC Aurora. I’d never heard of the brand before, even though its name sounds like a cool cyberpunk dwarf, but apparently they make pretty decent beamers.
Like many newer electronics brands out of China, XGIMI crowdfunded the kickoff of three of their latest beamers, the latest one of which is the CC Aurora.
The beamer is a compact cube, with sides measuring about 13 centimeters, but it packs everything I’d humanly want from a beamer: A projector with a 720p output that’s easily visible during the day, a decent sounding set of stereo JBL speakers, autofocus, and a battery that easily outlasted the two-and-a-half-hour-long atrocity of a film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Man, that movie was bad.
The quality of projection was pretty good though. The colors are vivid and clear, it outputs enough light to watch with the living room lights on, and doesn’t look fuzzy in the corners. But the most surprising is the sound quality of the speakers. For such a tiny box they put out an impressive amount of bass, and stay clear throughout.
The beauty of it is also that the sound is projected at the wall, so it bounces back at you and tricks your brain into believing the sound is coming from the picture.
We also got a pair of active shutter glasses for the CC Aurora’s 3D support, but I didn’t try those out because fuck watching stuff in 3D.
Promotional pics around the CC Aurora show it in pretty unrealistic outdoorsy situations – people out camping in a cave who just happened to bring along a portable projector screen – but I found the portability ideal for more in-house situations. When moving from couch to bed, I could just move the beamer with me.
I can also imagine the portability to be a boon for traveling salesmen – if those still exist. Setting up the beamer and keystoning it is a piece of cake, and probably beats wrangling with projector setups in most meeting rooms.
On the less positive side, its Android-based software is still full of flaws. XGIMI promises the possibility of installing apps, but that doesn’t seem to be working in Version 1.1.
The company also promises support for all kinds of over-the-air streaming (AirPlay, DLNA, Miracast) but none of those work – yet. I’ve mostly used the HDMI port to connect my laptop or Chromecast, which works fine for me.
But then again, I didn’t pay the pretty steep $ 599 XGIMI is asking on Amazon now – although you can snag one for $ 399 on Indiegogo too. For those prices, you’d expect the device to work flawlessly out of the box. Here’s hoping software updates solve the teething issues.
On the whole, I’m super happy with it, and would definitely recommend if you’re someone who moves around their furniture a lot and hates dealing with cables.
PS. The more boring tech specs are as follows:
- 1280 x 720 native resolution
- 350 ANSI Lumen
- 5000:1 contrast ratio
- up to 180″ projection
- JBL stereo speakers
- GMUI based on Android 5.1.1
- 4 hours video playback
- 3.5mm audio port, HDMI, USB 2.0
- (Pretty slick) Bluetooth remote included
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