For cord cutters out there uninterested in buying a TV and the set-top box to go with it (or even those who just want a TV screen they can take on their travels), ZTE has the projector for you. ZTE just announced the Spro 2 at CES today, a mini projector that runs on Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat and can project 1080p video onto any nearby wall you need. And while projecting movies, it can be used as an LTE hotspot for nearby devices or to queue up new content.
Project 1080p video onto any nearby wall
Aside from including an LTE connection, what makes the Spro 2 more interesting than the average projector is that it's running a customized version of Android that's meant to let you easily find movies, TV shows, or presentations that you want to show. Spro's Android has been customized, and while that's usually a bad thing, it's fairly stylish here and actually makes a lot of sense: you probably don't want to use standard Kit Kat on a projector. On the Spro 2, the touch buttons are big and colorful, and it's pretty easy to quickly access projection settings.
The Spro 2 is a step up from last year's Spro projector, which debuted at CES 2014 and didn't have Android customizations or act as a hot spot. This model also comes with a remote. The Spro 2 is small enough to fit in most overnight bags, measuring 5.1 by 5.2 by 1.5 inches. Within that, it has a 5-inch touchscreen for controlling Android — you can even access the Play Store and download apps, games, and communication tools. The Spro 2 can project images up to 120 inches — though, with a native resolution of 1280 x 720, we're not sure how clear the picture will be at that size. At the smaller projection sizes that we saw, it looked good (just don't bump the table, or it'll start autofocusing again). As a mobile hotspot, it can support up to eight devices over 4G LTE, and features carrier aggregation for faster speeds.
The Spro 2 should be available this winter on two major US carriers. Though ZTE declined to say which, The Verge can confirm that it AT&T will provide service. That also means that it's going to be sold on contract because of its LTE connection, which means that this is probably going to be a bit of an office investment. ZTE says that it will be priced in the "affordable premium" range, clarifying that as over $600 and maybe close to $1,000. That price will likely be subsidized, however, because it's being sold on contract.