Projector tech is getting good. I continue to be amazed at the big-screen power that comes from a device not much larger than a box of Pop-Tarts. Xgimi’s Mogo and Halo models, for example, deliver native 1080p resolution, baked-in Android TV, Harman/Kardon speakers and hours of battery-backed play time.
And right now, three of them are on sale. I recently spent some time test-driving the Mogo Pro Plus, so I’ll start there. Take a look below for thoughts on which projector might be the best fit for you.
Note that the Mogo Pro and Mogo Halo are discounted today only as part of an Amazon sale (at near-historic-low prices, by the way). The Mogo Pro Plus discount comes from a CNET-exclusive promo code and should be available for a couple days.
The Mogo Pro Plus offers native 1080p resolution (and not just “supported” 1080p, which is a fallacious projector claim) and 300 ANSI lumens, meaning it’s sufficiently bright as long as your room is sufficiently dark. I did a bit of informal testing with a 100-inch screen and found images to be crisp and colorful — but at that size you really do want almost full darkness.
Although it makes a fair bit of fan noise when starting up, it’s almost completely silent when operating. That’s good, because while the built-in speaker sounds decent overall, there’s only so loud it can get. I’m glad it doesn’t have to compete with the fan.
There’s good news and bad news on the OS front: It runs Android TV 9.0, which is 95% great. Right out of the box you can install and stream from just about any app, or you can use Chromecast to stream from your phone, tablet or laptop.
However, Netflix isn’t supported — period. Not in this version of Android TV and not via Chromecast. Apparently there’s a workaround via a third-party app, but it’s an annoyance all the same. The only good workaround is to plug in a Fire TV or Roku streaming stick.
That will also help compensate for the incomplete remote, which includes a Google Assistant button for voice commands but lacks play-pause, repeat and skip buttons.
The Pro Plus weighs just 2 pounds and can run for up to 4 hours on a charge, according to Xgimi. However, it ships without a case, and there’s no lens cover. On the bottom, there’s a small fold-out stand that can adjust the vertical angle up to 30 degrees. There’s also a threaded hole for use with a tripod (not included).
More good news and bad news: The projector offers auto-focus (which works well) and auto-keystone (which doesn’t). In my tests, I had to manually adjust the four corners to fit my screen — but from there it was smooth sailing.
There’s a similar projector, the Anker Nebula Capsule II, that sells for $580. It also runs Android 9.0 (and has the same Netflix limitation), but tops out at 720p resolution and 200 ANSI lumens. It does only vertical keystone and lasts only about 2.5 hours on a charge.
So although the Pro Plus has some issues, at $629 it’s head and shoulders above many projectors in the same category. But see below regarding the Halo and Mogo Pro.
The Mogo Pro is only a slight step down from the Pro Plus in terms of features. It has a smaller battery (good for about 2.5 hours, according to Xgimi) and no stand built into the bottom. Other than that, everything is pretty similar. And if you add a mini tripod like this one (which is good to have regardless), who cares about the stand?
So, yeah, if you like what the Pro Plus has to offer and don’t mind shorter battery life, this is the deal to grab.
The Halo offers only 2 hours of operation on a charge, and its auto-keystone capabilities are limited to vertical; horizontal adjustments must be made manually. (As noted above, you may end up doing all your keystone tweaks manually anyway.)
So why choose this model? In a word: brightness. The Halo delivers an impressive 800 ANSI lumens, nearly triple what the Mogos can do. In most other respects it’s the same.
Ironically, the model I actually tested is my least favorite of the three here. I think the Mogo Pro is the best buy, but the Halo is worth extra if you can’t always watch in a dark room.
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