Setting up a projector in a room entails getting multiple things right. The room’s size, acoustics, and lighting represent one side of the equation. The other side is the projection screen and the projector itself.
Contrary to what a neophyte might believe, casting visuals on a screen using a projector is much more than just placing the projection device on a desk or hanging it by the ceiling and powering it on.
You must take care of specific configurations. For example, putting the optimal settings before you can roll with a projection session.
For instance, making sure the picture fits perfectly on the projection screen is critical, which can take some time and effort if the projector is not intelligent enough to do that on its own.
Luckily, most modern-day projectors have certain automatic features that make using the device easier. One such intuitive functionality is “auto keystone.”
So, what is “auto keystone?” Does it help with picture alignment, or is it meant to do something else? How do projector manufacturers implement the feature?
We are particularly interested in learning how XGIMI goes about it. If you are keen too, keep reading.
What is Automatic Keystone?
“Automatic keystone” is an algorithmic feature that helps correct picture alignment issues through horizontal and/or vertical image manipulation.
In other words, it ensures the image cast on the projection screen squares up perfectly or is a proper rectangle and not some trapezoid.
Auto keystone effects change through a mechanism that self-adjusts the lens.
The projector’s processor has a set of rules built-in that enables lens movement without needing to move the projector physically.
The auto keystone feature kicks in as soon as you turn on a projector. You may always press down the button to enable the function if it doesn’t.
Manual keystone corrections are done using the dial located on the top of the device. But because that can take time and some going back and forth, most projections do the keystone changes themselves.
The image alignment is usually a concern with portable projectors since they are used in different environments or are not fixed.
With home-based or projectors permanently installed in harmony with the screen, alignment problems usually do not exist, provided you took care of the same when setting it up.
Automatic keystone has been a gamechanger for on-the-move projector devices. It’s become so vital to the experience that a portable projector cannot be described as “excellent” if it doesn’t have the auto keystone functionality.
Is auto keystone a must-have in projectors? No, but it’s convenient to have. Manual keystone adjustment works fine and usually takes a few steps to set the screen alignment right.
However, in some scenarios or based on the projection environment, spending a few additional minutes for manual corrections to look perfect is essential.
Does keystone correction impact picture quality? Keystone correction does affect the quality of the image. Since keystone changes are digital, the effect could lead to artifacts, decreased resolution, and image distortion.
You can usually detect the adverse effects at the edges. Most users will not notice those minor imperfections, however.
But suppose you’re a stickler for details and get easily peeved by those insignificant aberrations. In that case, it’s recommended you set up your projector right, negating the need to employ keystone corrections.
XGIMI’s Auto Keystone Functionality: An Overview
Like most other projectors, XGIMI projectors have the auto keystone feature, which comes under the company’s ISA (Intelligent Screen Adaption) technology suite.
ISA intends to simplify the XGIMI projector setup process and boost the user experience. The automatic keystone function plays a role in helping it achieve that goal.
In XGIMI projectors, the auto keystone tech helps line up the picture based on “-/+45” or “-/+40” degree horizontal/vertical angles.
Here is a video demonstrating how XGIMI employs the automatic keystone feature:
The exact keystone correction implementation could vary across models.
The XGIMI Elfin, for instance, is equipped with a 40-degree angle system. The XGIMI Horizon Pro and Halo+ are capable of 45-degree angles.
It’s, however, recommended not to push the angle adjustments to the maximum limit. Generally, the vertical and horizontal keystone corrections shouldn’t be more than six degrees.
The above-discussed impact on picture quality could be significant if the corrections are beyond a certain angle.
If the need to push the picture vertically or sideways is greater, first adjusting the projector’s positioning is recommended.
How is XGIMI auto keystone different? XGIMI did not come up with the auto keystone feature. The company has been in business for less than a decade.
But its implementation is unique in that you can do the keystone corrections horizontally and vertically.
Many non-XGIMI projectors with the feature offer only an upwards or sideways movement option. XGIMI bucks that industry standard. It has designed three auto keystone correction axes into its projectors:
- Upward and downward pitch direction
- Tilt correction, and
- Left-right rotation
This allows XGIMI projectors to implement auto keystone irrespective of projector placement or angle.
Also, the auto keystone correction feature is sensitive enough to trigger automatically each time the projector changes position.
So, if you take your portable XGIMI device from your bedroom to the living room, the device will detect that shift and make changes to the keystone settings automatically.
Is XGIMI’s auto keystone feature foolproof? No. The auto keystone feature on your XGIMI feature works admirably at most times. However, in some rare scenarios, it can falter.
It usually is a system settings problem.
In those cases, head into the auto keystone settings menu and look for the gyroscope setting. But before making any gyroscope correction, ensure the projector is placed on a flat surface, making it easier for the built-in sensors to do their job.
Component damage could also cause auto keystone errors. If that’s the case, contact XGIMI to get the affected part repaired or replaced.
Hardware-related keystone correction issues are complex and require professional assistance.
Therefore, even if you’re pretty handy with electronics, do not try to showcase your DIY skills here unless you’re sure the error is due to a stuck physical keystone button and not a faulty lens assembly or something similar.
Obstacle Avoidance and Intelligent Screen Alignment
Besides the automatic keystone feature, XGIMI also equips its devices with “Intelligent Screen Alignment” and “Intelligent Obstacle Avoidance” features.
Intelligent Obstacle Avoidance identifies objects in the projection space and avoids them by scaling the image.
The tech works in any environment and helps avoid pretty much any object. It detects picture frames, vases, light switches, and even coins.
Here’s a video showcasing how it’s done:
However, the obstacle avoidance tech could decrease the image’s size in its goal to avoid objects.
Intelligent Screen Alignment changes the image size to match the projector screen size. The automatic alignment is based on testing several thousand screen settings and scenes.
As a result, it takes only a few seconds for the tech to detect irregularities in the projected image’s size and make necessary corrections.
Auto keystone, obstacle detection, and intelligent screen alignment make the ISA tech. The features, therefore, come as a package and not individually.
Do all portable projectors have auto keystone?
No. Auto keystone and portable projectors do not always go hand in hand. Although the automatic keystone correction functionality makes it much easier to use compact projectors, the convenience comes at a premium.
Generally, budget projectors or those with fixed lenses tend to skip on the auto keystone feature.
XGIMI’s auto keystone feature comes in handy when using your projector outdoors or when you don’t have significant control over the projection environment.
However, the convenient feature comes with a drawback, a loss in image quality—in the form of jagged edges, pixel loss, or an overall softening of the image.
Therefore, apply the auto keystone or manual keystone correction feature on your XGIMI device sparingly or only when you cannot physically move the projector.
Similarly, employ XGIMI’s obstacle avoidance technology only when you cannot remove the obstructing object.
Long story short, XGIMI’s auto features make using projectors easy. But do not be wholly reliant on them, particularly auto keystone.
Let the function chime in only when things cannot be made right through adjusting the projector’s feet or hinges, changing the ceiling-mounted projector’s angle, or correcting the lens placement itself.
Catherine Tramell has been covering technology as a freelance writer for over a decade. She has been writing for Pointer Clicker for over a year, further expanding her expertise as a tech columnist. Catherine likes spending time with her family and friends and her pastimes are reading books and news articles.