Projectors have long been waning in popularity with the rise of more advanced multimedia viewing solutions.
Then, in the last few years, more and more people seem to be taking an interest in them and recognizing their benefits. Projector technology has also come a long way to cater to modern-day uses.
Portable mini-projectors are a testament to this evolution.
If you are on the lookout for an immersive and enjoyable audio-visual experience on the go, a portable projector may be just what you need.
Be it for outdoor movie-watching or work presentations that call for a bigger screen, a portable projector can deliver exceptional results, with no elaborate or overly-complicated setup process involved.
Lightweight and small enough to fit in a backpack, these projectors can mimic the look and feel of a big screen — anytime, anywhere.
We take into consideration factors such as sound, image quality, battery life, and a host of other features to give you a complete idea about what each product has to offer.
So, if you are torn about which of these three portable projector models to invest in, here is everything that you need to know to make a decision.
The BenQ GS50, Samsung The Freestyle, and Xgimi Halo all offer well-rounded feature sets and powerful overall performance.
For a quick overview, let us look at the price and resolution of these models as these are the primary deciding factors when looking to purchase a mini portable projector.
All three projectors call for a healthy budget and are on the premium side of the price spectrum.
- The Xgimi Halo is the cheapest option of the three, coming in at a savings of more than $100 compared to the Samsung.
- The GS50 comes in slightly more expensive, but still priced below The Freestyle.
- Lastly, the Freestyle is the truly premium option with an MSRP ~$150 more than the Xgimi and ~$100 more than the BenQ.
The budget definitely reflects the capabilities and overall performance of each model, with the Freestyle providing a more immersive and polished experience than its competitors.
In terms of resolution, all three products stack up well against standard low to mid-range portable projectors. With a 1080p Full HD resolution and the latest DLP technology, you can count on these projectors to produce crisp and sharp images and significantly less pixelation compared to standard LCD projectors.
Going by price and resolution alone, the Xgimi Halo offers a better deal than its competitors, with comparable image quality. However, if you are looking for more features and have the budget to spare, go with the GS50 or the Freestyle.
As an on-the-go casting solution, portable projectors are often used in spaces where it is not possible to regulate ambient lighting. As such, it is crucial to be mindful of the brightness level and quality of projection that a projector is capable of before investing in it.
Remember, just because it is compact does not mean that it has to compromise on quality.
The BenQ GS50 features a 1080p full HD resolution with a maximum brightness of 500 lumens, making it suitable only for a dimly-lit or dark space. While the projection screen size ranges from 30 inches to 110 inches, the recommended size range is between 80 inches and 100 inches for the ideal viewing experience.
The auto-balance brightness feature automatically adjusts the contrast and details of the image according to the brightness of the ambient light and the Picture Mode conveys a wide range of colors with remarkable accuracy.
The autofocus feature spares the hassle of having to manually adjust the focus and ensures that the image is projected with maximum clarity and sharpness. The auto vertical keystone correction and four-corner adjustment feature is also a nice touch, allowing the projector to automatically correct a trapezoidal image into a rectangular one.
Samsung The Freestyle
Moving on to The Freestyle, you get the same 1080p full HD resolution with a slightly higher brightness of 550 lumens.
This means that this model would perform somewhat better in brighter environments but is still not optimal for a well-lit setup. The display size can range from 30 inches to a maximum of 100 inches.
The Freestyle features smart calibration which optimizes the projected image depending on the wall color so that your viewing experience does not take a fall even if your wall is not white.
This model also comes with the autofocus and auto keystone features which immediately address skewed or unclear images as soon as you power it up. It also comes with an auto-leveling feature making for a straight projection even if the device itself is placed on an uneven surface.
The Xgimi Halo also comes with an FHD 1080p resolution, but the maximum brightness is 800 lumens, significantly more than the other two options. This makes the Halo far better equipped to perform well, whether in dimly lit, dark, or bright environments.
The display size can go from 40 inches all the way up to a whopping 200 inches and the HDR decoding enables it to capture the finest of details with enhanced contrast. Like its competitors, the Halo also comes with an autofocus and keystone correction feature.
Having a battery backup option is a crucial feature for portable projectors. This allows you to use the projector even when you are away from a power source.
While BenQ and Xgimi have straightforward solutions to this problem, Samsung has taken a completely different route with The Freestyle.
Both the GS50 and the Halo come with internal batteries.
Since they are self-contained, they are convenient to use and automatically take over when the units turn on without a power source.
- The internal battery of the GS50 charges when the projector has power and has enough on reserve to power the projector, with all its features, for up to 2.5 hours.
- The Halo, on the other hand, has a bigger battery. This can be used to watch up to 3.5 hours of video depending on the situation, or for up to 5 hours of music playback.
Samsung’s The Freestyle projector is the only one of the three that does not contain an internal battery.
While this is a disadvantage, Samsung does offer an interesting external accessory that you can purchase separately — a battery base. The base is designed for exclusive use with the projector, which can be fitted onto it like a stand.
- The base has a very large 32,000 mAh battery built-in that can power the projector for up to 3 hours.
(Don’t plug it into a California socket since you may put the entire state in black out – but this is another topic). Moreover, it doubles up as a power bank, allowing you to charge your devices using the base.
The BenQ GS50 integrates a 2.1 channel speaker setup, with two 5W combo speakers and one 10W woofer, leading to a rewarding audio experience when not using external equipment. It can also double up as a fun Bluetooth speaker, with an in-built DSP chipset for distortion-free audio and a 270-degree audio field.
The Halo improves on this, also using a stereo pair of combination 5W speakers. However, these speakers are specially tuned by Harmann / Kardon, experts in the field of speaker production and calibration. Taking this into account, unlike the GS50, the Halo supports a host of spatial audio codecs, including Dolby Audio, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Digital Plus.
The Freestyle projector also delivers quality, immersive sound, thanks to the 5W premium driver that is Dolby-certified. The speaker provides 360-degree audio with support for adaptive audio protocols and multi-room link.
The BenQ GS50 promises plenty in terms of extra features, with native support for AndroidTV that opens up a host of possibilities. The projector has a built-in Chromecast device and also supports AirPlay, which means that you can stream using any device you have on hand.
AndroidTV allows users to access content on the Google Play Store, including streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The projector also includes a Game Mode, which reduces input lag for a snappy, responsive gaming experience.
The Halo also has integrated AndroidTV, while sweetening the deal even further with native support for Google Assistant. This means that you can use voice commands to operate the projector. Activate the voice assistant from the included remote and you can even control your smart home using your voice.
A standout feature of The Freestyle projector is its Ambient Mode, which uses the device as a light source to serve ambient lighting styles in your space. You can choose between colors, patterns, designs, scenes, and even photos from your collection.
It also supports multiple voice assistants, including Amazon’s Alexa and Samsung’s own Bixby, while also offering TV mirroring and one-touch device mirroring via NFC. However, the projector uses its own proprietary operating system instead of relying on AndroidTV.
Portable projectors are a more compact and versatile alternative to their standard-sized counterparts. But they can deliver an enjoyable viewing experience, nonetheless. Because of their cordless capabilities and auto-focusing modes, portable projectors are growing in popularity for driveway tailgating, backyard movie nights, and a host of other on-the-go uses.
Now that you have a clear idea of what the BenQ GS50, Samsung The Freestyle, and Xgimi Halo are capable of, you can make an astute purchase decision based on your feature requirements and intended uses.
Ultimately, these projectors all match up pretty evenly. If you have a preferred brand between the three, that might tip the scales in one direction. Likewise, if you can find a good sale on any of the three, it might be worth choosing the cheaper option and pocketing the extra cash!