If you’re the nomadic type or someone who’s rarely within casting distance of a television, then you’re likely consuming media on a handheld rectangle with lousy speakers and a tiny screen that’s tough to share. I’m here to tell you there’s a better way.
Not only does the new MoGo 2 Pro smart projector from Xgimi run Android TV version 11.0 to stream all your favorite videos over fast Wi-Fi but it also doubles as a Bluetooth speaker when you shut off the reasonably bright LED lamp (and fan). It’s got everything you need inside a compact little beamer — everything but a battery that you must provide separately for true portability.
I’ve lived with a MoGo 2 Pro for the last month, using the little guy in a campervan around Europe, in a tiny off-grid home on a mud-soaked field, and in a surf shack buffeted by North Sea winds. In all cases, it’s proven itself to be an adaptable all-in-one source of shareable entertainment that rarely disappoints.
One of the best things about the MoGo 2 Pro is how easy it is to set up, both initially and each time you want to use it.
The MoGo 2 Pro supports Android Quick Start, which made it dead simple to copy my Google account and Wi-Fi settings from my Android phone. Android TV then made it easy to log in to each of my streaming services by offering up QR codes that can quickly be authenticated by my Android phone without having to type in a bunch of passwords.
I’m glad initial setup was quick because I had to factory reset the MoGo 2 Pro once after upgrading to firmware version 2.8.147. It takes about 10 minutes to go from factory settings to having my credentials entered into six media services. Netflix must be installed via a workaround since the media giant only officially supports a handful of projectors. While it’s relatively easy to perform the simple hack, most people won’t feel comfortable installing the app from outside the Google Play Store. There’s also the option to just cast Netflix from your phone since the projector has Chromecast built-in.
Xgimi’s little projector has otherwise been perfectly stable, if plodding, as the UX often lags presses on the Bluetooth remote control. But it’s not often I find a $500-ish projector with a speedy interface.
Under normal use, the MoGo 2 Pro will start in less than five seconds from standby. But reattach the power source, and it boots from zero to Android TV in about 50 seconds, then takes another 10 seconds or so to perform all the automated screen adjustments (which can be disabled if you want).
The MoGo 2 Pro has a built-in time-of-flight sensor that can find a flat, obstacle-free surface to project the image onto. It then automatically focuses the image and corrects the keystone to create a properly aligned rectangle. It’s not perfect, but it does usually find the surface I’m aiming at, only with a smaller image than I want. Fortunately, Xgimi gives you the option to quickly jump into manual adjustment mode to fine-tune the display if you want — no hunting through menus.
While Xgimi’s second-generation screen adaptation tech isn’t as good as the marketing promotions suggest, it’s an improvement over the previous version. It was so useful on the MoGo 2 Pro that I ticked the setting to automatically adjust the keystone every time the device was moved — and I moved it a lot. In this way, I could avoid the cumbersome manual adjustments and just give the beamer a nudge until it produced the desired results.
The projected image is about what you’d expect at this price range: a modest 400 ANSI lumens spread across a 1920 x 1080 image that looks better at 30 inches (when all that light is concentrated) than it does at 200 inches. And while HDR10 is supported, it serves more as a bullet point on a spec sheet than anything you’ll notice during viewing.
If you’re not too fussy, then you can watch some casual YouTube videos in a room saturated by ambient light, but the MoGo 2 Pro is best viewed in the darkest room possible. It’s only then that you can see the bright, rich, and crisp image that Xgimi’s latest portable projector is capable of producing.
Here’s how it looks in medium to low lighting:
For use as a Bluetooth speaker, it’s best to first hold the power button down on the remote control and select “Display Off” to shut off the lamp and fan. Then, it sits silently waiting for a Bluetooth connection to transform the projection box into a passable speaker for music with reasonably balanced sound from a pair of 8W side-firing speaker drivers.
For its size, the projected image and sound produced are reasonably good. I was impressed.
The MoGo 2 Pro always boots into Eco Mode (less bright, less loud), which can be annoying if you’re always near a power socket. When connected to a 10,000mAh (40Wh) battery, the MoGo 2 Pro was able to boot the projector and play the first 40 minutes of Babylon when set to “bright” and “movie” presets. When connected to a power meter, I could see that power draw averages around 40W in Eco mode, which climbs to about 48W on average with Eco mode turned off. Xgimi lists the required power for the MoGo 2 Pro at 65W.
I do find it odd that a projector designed for all-in-one portability lacks any onboard controls beyond a simple power button. More than once, I misplaced the Bluetooth remote, requiring me to grab my Apple or Android device to launch the Google Home app’s remote control. It worked fine, but I was usually sitting so close to the MoGo 2 Pro that built-in playback and volume controls would have been more convenient.
Photographer Chase Jarvis is credited with saying “the best camera is the one that’s with you,” a sentiment that can be applied to displays, speakers, and media streamers. The MoGo 2 Pro might not be the brightest video projector, best-sounding Bluetooth speaker, or most powerful media streamer, but it’s so small and compact that you can easily toss it in your luggage or backpack to take with you wherever you go.
Yes, the MoGo 2 Pro ditched the internal battery from the original MoGo Pro in favor of a better speaker. But it can still be powered from a battery pack you might already own. For most people, I think Xgimi made the right decision.
At $599 / €599, the Xgimi MoGo 2 Pro undercuts Samsung’s disappointing Freestyle portable projector by almost $300. The original MoGo Pro was already one of the best portable projectors, and the MoGo 2 Pro is an improvement upon that in almost every way.
Photography by Thomas Ricker / The Verge
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