Moto mod projector review: great for movies and gaming
The Moto Mod Insta-Share projector has already got me thinking of summer.
Watching a movie or baseball game outside at night, a cold beer in hand, is one of the finer points of home ownership.
This offers some tantalizing possibilities for cord cutters.
You can watch Netflix, HBO Go, Kodi, Twitch and YouTube on up to a 70” projection. Gaming with a compatible Bluetooth gamepad is also a lot of fun given the amount of games available on Google Play.
Cable users may not be as satisfied.
The XFINITY TV app does not work with the Moto Mod Insta Share projector. Neither does the NFL Mobile app. Yet the Twitter NFL stream works fine. I suspect the blackouts by XFINITY and the NFL app are due to exclusivity rights or digital rights management coming from the apps.
The projector has some practical uses as well. Let’s say you’re a teacher, and quickly need to show your students an image or video. Bang, throw whatever you need to show them on the wall. They’re fascinated with that cool James Bond-like gizmo on your smartphone.
Need a quick presentation at work to wow? Yes, the Moto Mod projector can do that too. You can even use a Pebble smartwatch with the Tasker app to function as a remote.
Which Moto Z phones work with the projector?
All Moto Z smartphones work with Moto Mods, including the projector. But remember, some Moto Z phones are exclusive to certain cell phone carriers. The Moto Z Force Droid, Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Play Droid are only on Verizon.
Moto Z and Moto Z Play works on AT&T, T-Mobile and compatible GSM networks.
Unlocked versions of Moto Z smartphones allow you to switch carriers just by swapping out the SIM card. I prefer the lower cost option of an unlocked Moto Z or Moto Z Play with a Republic Wireless subscription.
Why? It’s pretty simple.
If you’re only paying only $15 or $20 per month for a smartphone bill, then you have a bit more of a slush fund for your man cave.
5 facts about Moto Insta-Share Projector
- Projects up to 70” screen
- Works with Bluetooth speaker (not included)
- Can use projector while charging
- 480p resolution
- Gaming possible with Bluetooth gamepad
How to use a Moto projector
Adding the projector to your Moto Z smartphone is simple. Just snap it on to the back of your Moto Z smartphone and press the power button next to the lens.
Now you’re casting what’s on the screen of your Moto smartphone.
An auto-keystone feature keeps your projection aligned with wherever you are pointing the Moto projector –whether it’s a wall or bedroom ceiling.
A small stand also comes with the projector.
Moto mods are attached by magnets and the 16-pin attachment at the back of the smartphone. Your Moto Z doesn’t need to be powered off before adding an attachment.
The Moto projector also has its own battery, speakers and fan. One downside is that the Moto mod projector only has about an hour on battery life. But the projector can be used while charging, so if you have an outlet nearby, it’s not much of a problem.
The audio from the projector is a little better than the phone by itself. But if you have a surround sound Bluetooth speaker then you will have a much better experience with watching a movie or gaming.
There was no noticeable latency. You will need to focus the projector yourself. There’s no autofocus. This isn’t really a deal breaker because a number of pico projectors have manual focus.
Moto mod projector vs pico projectors
There are a lot of cool things you can do with the Moto mod projector. But this isn’t for someone expecting an experience equivalent to a slightly more expensive pico projector.
The Insta-Share projector has 50 lumens. To give you some perspective, a decent pico projector – which is slightly larger — should have a minimum of 100 lumens for a decent picture.
The rule of thumb with projectors in general is that more lumens will give you a larger, brighter picture. For a home theater projector, for example, you would want at least 2,000 lumens.
If you’re looking for a portable projector with more than 50 lumens, a pico projector is a better option over the Moto Mod projector.
With a pico projector, you will still be able to project movies and TV shows from your smartphone. But you will also be able to connect to tablets, laptops and PC desktops as well.
I have a few recommendations in case you go the pico projector route. You’ll want to pay close attention to the size of the projector, number of lumens and price point.
I just mentioned that more lumens generally will get you a better picture. The caveat is that more lumens will also cost more.
ASUS S1 Mobile, a budget pick
The ASUS S1 Mobile projector is a LED-based unit, and one of the smallest pico projectors that you can buy.
Its price is close to the Insta-Share as well, and you’ll get a bump to 200 lumens. You will still have a 480p resolution. Resolution is 854 x 480 total.
This projector has a 2-watt speaker meant to prevent you from having to use an external speaker. But you might want to still connect a Bluetooth speaker to your smartphone or tablet while using this. It also has a headphone jack at the rear of the projector.
The screen on ASUS S1 will automatically adjust from portrait mode to landscape when you tilt your smartphone. The Ultra-short throw displays a 41” diagonal projection that’s much different from the style seen with Insta-Share.
The ASUS S1 measures 4 inches by 4.4 inches and weighs under a pound. It has a 22Wh battery that lasts for roughly three hours, which can also double as a power bank for mobile devices.
It has a mount for a tripod, but no tripod is included. It comes with a carrying case, a HDMI cable, a UBS to micro USB cable and a MHL cable, which supports charging and displaying off smartphones and tablets. You should charge the projector for three hours before using it in battery mode for the first time.
AAXA P300 specs, 60 minute long battery life and a much brighter picture
The AAXA P300 is a slightly larger device – about six inches wide — and weighs just under a pound.
It also costs about $100 more than the Insta Share projector on your Moto Z.
You can project up to a 120” display.
The AAXA is just under six inches wide and practically fits one hand. A small tripod, a remote control and built-in lithium battery is included with the P300.
Like the Insta-Share, you will have to focus the projector manually with a dial on the side.
The P300 can easily plug into a smartphone, laptop and other devices. It comes with a HDMI port and VGA adapter in case you have an older laptop. It also has a USB reader.
A MicroSD card reader lets you show movies and photos. The headphone jack allows for private listening if needed. You will get a power adapter, but a battery is sold separately.
The AAXA also has a very short throw distance. You can get an image just under 60” inches with the projector sitting about five feet away. The picture quality was great, and the colors were on point.
So if you’re in a smaller room, this would be the ideal pico projector.
The AAXA P300 has an excellent picture for its price point, and possibly one of the better projectors on the market. If you know a thing or two about pico projectors, leave a comment below and share with your fellow readers.
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble