The perfect portable projector has yet to be invented, but the new Xgimi Mogo Pro comes close. I'll explain why below, but first here's the deal: For a limited time, you can save $50 on the Mogo Pro 1080p projector with promo code 2020MOGOPRORICK. That brings the $550 price down to $500 -- still a lot, I know, but keep in mind this is a brand-new model, and that's the only discount I know of anywhere.
The Mogo Pro stands about 6 inches high and can play for up to four hours (in energy-saving mode) thanks to its rechargeable battery. Its built-in Harman Kardon speakers sound great, and they're loud enough for the likes of a bedroom -- but don't expect them to fill a living room, basement or other home-theater space.
Similarly, don't expect to use it in a brightly lit room. Although I found overall image quality to be excellent -- razor-sharp and admirably vibrant -- the LED light source manages just 300 ANSI lumens. That's more than most projectors of this size, but it still means you need dim or no ambient lighting to really enjoy the show.
The projector offers two standout features, starting with native 1080p (meaning 1,920 x 1080) resolution. A lot of less expensive projectors tout "1080p support," but that just means they can accommodate 1080p sources. The actual native resolution is usually lower -- sometimes quite a bit lower, like 858x480. Even the popular Nebula Mars II ($500) tops out at 720p.
The Mogo Pro also runs the Android TV operating system. Not just Android, which is what you find in some models (like the aforementioned Mars II) but Android TV -- and that makes all the difference. It's a remote-friendly UI that comes with some popular streaming apps (like Hulu and YouTube) baked in and others available. Would I prefer Fire TV or Roku? Absolutely, but this is definitely one of the best projector interfaces I've tried.
That said, I did encounter an issue with Hulu freezing up -- something Mogo is aware of and working to address. Thankfully, because the projector also supports Chromecast, it's a simple matter to stream video from just about any app that's on your phone or tablet.
With one irksome exception: Netflix. Here it doesn't support mirroring or mobile Chromecast, and there's no Android TV app for it. You can Chromecast from the Chrome browser on your computer or plug any kind of streaming stick into the projector's HDMI port. There are a few hacky workaround options as well, but they're a hassle.
Many, if not most, projectors have similar streaming issues or limitations, which is why I'm dying for Amazon or Roku to get into the game. My only other complaint with the Mogo Pro is that while it automatically makes vertical keystone adjustments, horizontal ones must be done manually -- and getting into the proper menu is kind of a drag.
That said, this is one of the best portable projectors I've tried, for a price that's on par with what you'd pay for a full-size non-smart non-portable model.
The $250 JBL Link 300 wireless speaker with Google Assistant is just $60 today
JBL was responsible for some of the best speaker deals of 2019, and while this particular sale comes from a third party, not JBL proper, the trend continues. For a limited time, and while supplies last, A4C has the JBL Link 300 wireless voice-activated speaker (white) for $59.95. It currently sells for $250 and even $300 at some stores.
The Link 300 supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. It has both Google Assistant and Google Chromecast built in, so you can issue voice commands like to any Google Home speaker and stream audio from nearly any phone or tablet app. It's multi-room compatible as well.
So how does it sound? For that I'll turn you over to David Carnoy's JBL Link 500; it, too, sounds excellent. (Interestingly, Carnoy said he actually prefers the sound of the Link 300 to that of the 500!). TL;DR? "It delivers excellent sound for its size." For the record, I own the slightly larger
At this price you'd tend to expect a refurb, but A4C lists these as new. If you're in the market for a speaker like this, grab one before they're gone.
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