We Put Cinemood TV’s $900 Portable Projector to the Test

For a mini projector, it does a really good job. But is it worth $900?

DESIGN BY MAGGIE ROSSETTI FOR THRILLIST
DESIGN BY MAGGIE ROSSETTI FOR THRILLIST
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The thing I miss the most from my pre-pandemic life is being able to go to the movies on a regular basis. I did go the other day to see Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (an incredible movie, by the way) but I had to be really strategic about the time and movie theater I chose to avoid a crowded room. Although I managed to avoid people, it’s something that I can’t randomly do on a regular basis if I want to be safe. That’s where a projector comes in—it can give you a cinematic experience in the comfort of your home. All you need is a big white wall. And snacks.

I decided to give the new Cinemood TV a try, as it's touted as a smart device that offers the most theater-like picture quality compared to other mini projectors. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to project such a clear picture, but I do have thoughts about the overall experience. Keep reading to find out if it’s worth it.

The Snapshot

What it is: Cinemood TV is a handheld, portable projector that offers LTE wireless connectivity and 264 GB of memory for pre-loaded content.

What it costs: $849.95

Why it’s great: In addition to allowing you to pre-load hours of content, it works with popular streaming services like ESPN+, Hulu, Disney+, Netflix, YouTube, and more. Everything can be projected on a white surface up to 12 feet wide and it’s small and lightweight enough to carry it anywhere.

What would make it even better: Although it’s a great projector and has a beautiful design, there are still some technical elements that need improvement like its user interface (on the app and the projector), and battery life.

About the Brand

Cinemood is a company based in San Francisco and Moscow that develops portable mini cinema projectors. They’ve also integrated games and streaming services in their projectors.

Quality Check

As soon as I opened the box, I was totally impressed with how the projector looked. It has a look and feel that’s similar to Apple products: sleek, elegant, and clearly made with quality materials. It is lightweight enough to travel with but it’s also solid so it doesn’t feel as though it would break easily. The device has built-in buttons on top to control functions (you can also download the Cinemood app to use your phone as a remote), a quiet cooling system, a USB-C port, slot for SIM card and and SD card, built in speaker and mic (for Zoom calls and forthcoming voice assistance integration), and side buttons for manual focus adjustments.

How to Use It

The first thing you have to do is set up your device, which requires connecting to Wi-Fi and creating an account. It already comes with streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and YouTube, so all you have to do is log in to your accounts. But first, I would recommend downloading the Cinemood app, which makes it easier to type in your information and browse through the device’s apps and settings.

The first time I used it was in the afternoon because I wanted to test if what they claimed about using it during the day was real. I positioned the projector about four feet away from a white wall, which gave me a decent projection size to watch a video on YouTube. Before I played the video, I made sure to use the manual focus settings to adjust the sharpness of the image which was pretty easy to do.

The Results

I managed to set up the device and try playing a video in just a few minutes. However, I have to say that the user interface of the app and the projector was pretty wonky. It’s slow and takes so much time to get used to since the buttons’ functionalities are not clear. I did notice that the Netflix app in particular was hard to navigate and can sometimes crash, which is annoying when you’re trying to decide what to watch. To avoid this, I would decide on the content I wanted to watch beforehand and just use the search option to find it. As I mentioned, I wanted to test it out during the day since it promised to deliver the brightest projection for daylight use compared to competitors, but it did not offer the cinematic quality I was looking for. The projection looked washed out, which is obviously not ideal when you’re trying to watch anything. However, the projection during the night is *chef’s kiss*! Everything is in vivid color and the sharpness is perfect, allowing you to enjoy every detail of the picture.

The Cinemood TV has a pretty decent speaker compared to other projectors I’ve used in the past, but if you like to go all out while watching a movie, you can also connect it to a speaker via Bluetooth. Another thing I noticed is that it’s really quiet. With other projectors, I always get annoyed by the sound of the cooling fan. This one is equipped with technology that allows it to not overheat while also avoiding the loud noise. That said, the biggest downside of this projector is the limited battery life, which really takes away from the fact that it is a portable device. I had to make sure there was an outlet close to where I positioned it before playing a movie.

Our Verdict

If I have to give this projector a rating, I would give it three out of five stars. The three stars are for the quality of the device itself and the projection capabilities. That also considers the fact that it can be pre-loaded with 264 GB worth of content, works with Wi-Fi, and is small enough to take anywhere. However, I can’t give it five stars due to the battery life issue and its user interface. Also, I would love for it to have a device mirroring option, that way I can easily choose content from my phone or laptop to project on the wall.

I think for a $900 mini projector, I expected to have a better navigation system and a battery that could last through at least a whole movie. If you have that money to spare, then this is a decent option but, if you’re looking for more affordable options, I tracked down more budget-friendly offerings with glowing reviews on Amazon. Find them below.

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