The $599 Movi, just announced by a tiny San Diego-area startup at CES, doesn’t feel like a projector phone, but it works as promised.
LAS VEGAS—You wouldn’t know the Movi had a projector in it if somebody didn’t tell you. Projector phones have a long history at trade shows, going back to the Samsung Beam phone in 2010 and following through the Galaxy Beam, the LG Expo, the projector Moto Mod and other attempts. They never quite take off.
But the $599 Movi, just announced by a tiny San Diego-area startup at CES, might be the exception, because it doesn’t feel like a projector phone. It’s just a good-looking Android 7.0 smartphone, with a metal back and a 5.5-inch, 1080p screen.
All of its specs are solidly midrange: a Mediatek MT6750 processor, 13-megapixel main camera, 8-megapixel front camera, and thrillingly, support for all four US carriers.
I had to double check that, but Wireless Mobi Solution founder Mohammed Alam insisted it’s true: while his Movi phone hasn’t been approved by Verizon or Sprint, he says it’ll work with a Verizon or Sprint SIM in it. That’s definitely something we’ll want to double check.
But on to the projector. The Movi has a 50-lumen, 720p laser projector in it, and Alam said he’s working on a 70-lumen version. In the demo we saw, it was throwing an image about two feet wide that was certainly visible, if not stunningly bright. The projector mode just mirrors what’s on the screen. The 4000mAh battery can run the projector for about four hours.
I have to throw Alam some respect, because it’s very difficult to start up a new cell phone company without heavy backing, and he appears to be a small operation.
His website is pretty amateurish, with CES placeholder text hanging out and occasional grammatical errors. But the phone exists, and he says it’s shipping right now. It looks and feels good, and the projector works. And it’s a lot less expensive than combining a Moto Z with a projector. Provided he’s actually able to keep up with demand, Movi may become a new name for folks who want to show their movies, web pages or PowerPoints on a big screen from their phones.
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