Early in 2011, when the Optoma Neo-i iPhone/iPod projector made its debut, the price tag was a stiff $450.
Today only, and while supplies last, Woot has the Optoma Neo-i projector for $219.99, plus $5 for shipping. Unlike much of what Woot peddles, this Neo is new, not refurbished.
The Neo-i combines an iPhone/iPod speaker dock with a 50-ANSI-lumens pico projector. To put that another way, when you plunk your iThing onto the connector and load up your library of, say, "Arrested Development" episodes, the projector beams them onto any available stretch of lightly colored wall.
It's not quite a home theater-caliber experience, but it is ridiculously cool. And if you have a Netflix subscription, you can project all that content as well, not just the stuff you've purchased from iTunes or ripped from DVDs.
Sadly, other streaming apps, like HBO Go and Hulu Plus, aren't compatible owing to annoying content restrictions. But you can always plug in a Roku box or similar device, as the projector sports both HDMI and VGA inputs. Nice.
CNET reviewed the Neo-i back in March, awarding it 3.5 stars and noting that its "semirespectable image and sound quality help put it ahead of many competing small, casual video projectors."
I reviewed it myself last April, and liked its relatively bright picture--though not its muffled-sounding speakers.
Still, you can't expect too much from such a compact and portable projector, and the Neo-i is definitely a great gizmo for bedrooms, dorm rooms, studio apartments, and other smallish spaces. And at half the original price, it's an undeniable bargain.