If you’re the nomadic type or someone who’s rarely away from the TV, then you’re probably consuming media on a handheld rectangle with crappy speakers and a small screen that’s hard to share. I’m here to tell you there is a better way.
The new MoGo 2 Pro smart projector from Xgimi not only works with 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 turn off the relatively bright LED lamp (and fan). . It has everything you need in a compact little projector — everything but a battery, which you have to provide separately for true portability.
I’ve been living with the MoGo 2 Pro for the past month, using the little guy in a camper across Europe, in a tiny off-grid home in a mud-soaked field, and in a surf shack buffeted by North Sea winds. In all cases, it has proven to be a customizable, all-in-one source of shared 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 every time you want to use it.
The MoGo 2 Pro supports Android Quick Start, which made it easy to copy my Google account and Wi-Fi settings from my Android phone. Android TV then made it easy to sign into each of my streaming services by offering QR codes that could be quickly authenticated by my Android phone without having to type in a bunch of passwords.
I’m glad the 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 entering my credentials into six media services. Netflix needs to be installed via a workaround because only the media giant 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 outside of the Google Play Store. There’s also the option to simply stream Netflix from your phone, as the projector has Chromecast built-in.
Xgimi’s little projector is otherwise perfectly stable, even under load, as the UX often lags presses on the Bluetooth remote. But I don’t often find a $500 projector with a fast interface.
In normal use, the MoGo 2 Pro will boot up in less than five seconds from standby. But reconnect the power source and it boots from zero to Android TV in about 50 seconds, then takes another 10 seconds or so to do all the automated screen adjustments (which can be disabled if you like).
The MoGo 2 Pro has a built-in time-of-flight sensor that can find a flat, unobstructed surface on which to project the image. It then automatically focuses the image and corrects the keystone to create a properly aligned rectangle. It’s not perfect, but it usually finds the surface I’m aiming for, just with less of an image than I want. Fortunately, Xgimi lets you quickly jump into manual adjustment mode to fine-tune the display if you like — without digging through menus.
While the second-generation Xgimi’s screen-adaptive technology isn’t as good as the marketing hype suggests, it’s an improvement over the previous version. It was so useful for the MoGo 2 Pro that I checked the setting to automatically adjust the keystone every time the device was moved—and I moved it a lot. This way I could avoid the cumbersome manual adjustments and just push the spotlight until it produced the desired results.
The projected image is about what you’d expect in this price range: a modest 400 ANSI lumens spread over a 1920 x 1080 image that looks better at 30 inches (when all that light is concentrated) than at 200 inches. And while HDR10 is supported, it serves more as a bullet point on the specs list than anything you’ll notice during viewing.
If you’re not too picky, then you can watch some random YouTube videos in a room saturated with ambient light, but MoGo 2 Pro is best viewed in the darkest possible room. Only then can you see the bright, rich and crisp image that Xgimi’s latest portable projector is capable of producing.
Here’s what it looks like in medium to low light:
To use as a Bluetooth speaker, it is best to first hold down the power button on the remote control and select “Display Off” to turn off the lamp and fan. It then sits silently waiting for a Bluetooth connection to transform the projection box into a passable music speaker with balanced sound from a pair of 8W side-firing speaker drivers.
For its size, the projected image and sound output are reasonably good. I was impressed.
The MoGo 2 Pro always charges in Eco Mode (less bright, less loud), which can be annoying if you’re always near a power outlet. When connected to a 10,000 mAh (40 Wh) battery, the MoGo 2 Pro was able to charge the projector and play the first 40 minutes of Babylon when set to ‘bright’ and ‘film’ presets. When I connected to a power meter, I saw that power consumption averaged around 40W in Eco mode, rising to around 48W on average with Eco mode off. Xgimi lists the power requirement for the MoGo 2 Pro at 65W.
I really find it odd that a projector designed for all-in-one portability lacks any built-in controls other than a simple power button. More than once, I’ve lost the Bluetooth remote, which required me to grab my Apple or Android device to launch the Google Home app remote. It worked well, 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 has said that “the best camera is the one with you,” a sentiment that can be applied to displays, speakers, and media streamers. The MoGo 2 Pro may not be the brightest video projector, the best-sounding Bluetooth speaker, or the most powerful media streamer, but it’s so small and compact that you can easily throw it in your luggage or backpack to carry with yourself 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 by a battery you may 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 around, and the MoGo 2 Pro is an improvement on that in almost every way.
Photography by Thomas Ricker/The Verge