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Anker’s portable projector lets you watch movies or play a video game in a theater that goes everywhere with you. The Nebula Capsule is the size of a can of soda, has a built-in battery, and can project a 100-inch picture. It packs quite a punch for a device that fits in your hand, with four hours of video playtime and 30 hours when used as a Bluetooth speaker. The Nebula Capsule isn’t as bright as a full-size home projector, but at $299, it’s not as expensive either.
The compact design and portability are the most compelling features in the tiny device. Built on an Android platform with smart TV features, the handy device runs streaming and media apps flawlessly.
The projector has built-in smart TV software that runs channels like Netflix and YouTube when it has a WiFi connection, or you can directly connect with an HDMI cord. You can watch your favorite content from a video streaming app, play a video game, or use it as a Bluetooth speaker for music or video. For serious portability, plug in a Roku Stick or Fire TV Stick and use public WiFi or a personal hotspot to create a theatre on the go.
It’s the perfect size to take on a sales call. Use your phone or tablet to mirror your screen using Apple AirPlay or Android MirrorCast for a slideshow or presentation. Simply position the projector a few feet from a screen and share a clear, projected picture of up to 100-inches.
The portable projector truly is the size and weight of a 12-ounce can. The projector and included remote come with a carry bag and charging accessories.
The Nebula Capsule stands on its own, but you can also pop it on any standard tripod for a bit more stability or direction control. It’s easy to set the capsule up in front or behind a screen to project a picture with an impressive 100 ANSI lumens in SD at 16:9 resolution.
The remote has directional buttons, selection buttons, volume controls, and a power button to control the device, but many customer reviews question the integrity of the remote. Luckily, there are also basic controls on top of the seamless aluminum canister. Installing and using the app is the recommended workaround.
The projector works with direct power or on battery and comes with a 3-inch female USB to male micro-USB cord for charging. The micro-USB and HDMI ports are on the side along with the lens and omnidirectional speaker.
The projector displays a clear picture from .5 to 3m from the screen with a throw ratio of 100 inches at 3.08 m; 80 inches at 2.46 m; 60 inches at 1.73 m; and 40 inches at 1.15 m.
The projector runs a version of Android that doesn’t require you to sign in to Google, so it’s easy to loan it to a friend or share amongst a department. Each user can install the Capsule Control app from Google Play or the App Store.
If the projector is for personal use, the Nebula Capsule is very easy to customize for those familiar with Android. You can sideload KODI or any other app on it using the built-in file manager by downloading the APK for your favorite apps to install them.
One drawback that limits convenience is that you can’t mirror or screencast copyrighted content from Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go, or any other streaming service. You can download and install the apps directly on the Nebula Capsule to stream, or use the HDMI port to directly connect to an external device.
The Nebula Capsule delivers up to 4 hours of continuous video on a single charge and will only set you back about 2 hours to quick charge it back to fully charged status. If you’ve got an outlet nearby, the projector also works on direct power by plugging in the included micro-USB cable and displays a green light once completely charged.
It charges via the micro-USB slot, so you can’t simultaneously charge it and watch a video from a USB flash drive because they’ll both need access to the single port. An easy workaround for this is streaming from a handheld device and mirroring your screen or using the HDMI port to directly connect.
For a tiny device, this powerful omnidirectional speaker can deliver a lot of sound. The Nebula Capsule has a cooling fan that sounds a bit loud on startup, but the unit is more than loud enough to compensate for fan noise. The built-in 3600 Bluetooth speaker pumps out surprisingly good sound in every direction – at least as good the Amazon Echo.
Anker’s Nebula Capsule is a DLP that uses IntelliBright algorithms to provide a radiant 100 ANSI lumen picture. The native resolution is a slightly disappointing standard definition 854x480, but it’s made slightly better with an aspect ratio of 16:9. You’ll get the most reliable picture and performance using the HDMI with up to 1080p input. There is a manual focus adjustment near the lens to help you get the best possible picture.
The 100 ANSI lumens provide just enough brightness and clarity for use in a dark room but aren’t up to the task of daytime projection. As a reference, 100 ANSI lumens is approximately 1/5 as strong as a professional-grade projector. The projector displays a picture up to 100-inches, but at that distance, the resolution and brightness suffer. The 30,000-hour lamp life should last plenty long for new technology to replace it in a few years.
The mini canister adjusts for wall angle all on its own with automated keystone correction. The capsule corrects trapezoids vertically to adjust for a tilted-up projector angle (±40°), but not horizontally, so you can’t angle the projector sideways. The trapezoid correction is digital, not optical so that may cause a slight loss of quality.
Enjoy stunning picture and sound wherever you want in a theater that goes everywhere with you. The portable, adorable Anker Nebula Capsule features a four-hour battery life, displays up to 100-inch picture, and fills your room with sound. All of this in a package that fits in your backpack. It isn’t as bright as some full-size projectors, but you’d be hard pressed to find another projector this good under $300.
Megan Southard is a writer, mom, technology enthusiast, and movie junkie. She dreads the day her kids have to explain gadgets to her and is old enough to say, "I was the remote for our TV growing up."
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