Anker Nebula Solar Portable projector: More white dwarf than supernova

The Anker Nebula Photo voltaic Transportable is a 1080p projector with a crafted-in battery and Android Tv set. It really is a complete deal that allows you enjoy movies and Tv set with a big picture just about any place. You can even use it as a Bluetooth speaker. If this sounds vaguely common, it is really for the reason that it is really identical to an additional Nebula projector, the Mars II Pro, which we reviewed a couple of months in the past. The Mars II Pro is our favored transportable projector in general and when the Photo voltaic has its (ahem) brilliant places, it is really just not as superior.

Like

  • Smooth, compact design and style
  • 1080p resolution
  • Built-in battery lasts three hrs

Don’t Like

  • Fairly dim
  • Mediocre distinction
  • Android Tv set is wonky

On paper, the Photo voltaic Transportable addresses two of the problems we experienced with the Mars II Pro: resolution and its application shop. The II Pro is only 720p, and uses a “curated” Google experience known as Aptoide. However, correcting those people two challenges will come with decreased light output. No projector this sizing is specifically brilliant, but the Photo voltaic is about forty% dimmer than the Mars II. Android Tv set beats Aptoide, but it still has some quirks that necessarily mean you may be far better off attaching a streaming stick anyway. Yes, that flat design and style is exclusive, but Anker’s possess Mars II Pro is a far better alternative.

Basic specs

  • Indigenous resolution: 1,920×1,080 pixels
  • HDR-appropriate: Yes
  • 4K-appropriate: Yes
  • 3D-appropriate: No
  • Lumens spec: four hundred ANSI
  • Zoom: No
  • Lens change: No
  • Lamp everyday living (Usual manner): 30,000 hrs

The Photo voltaic accepts HDR10, but is not HDR. It accepts 4K, but is not a 4K projector. Because this projector is incapable of basically exhibiting these better-resolution and superior-dynamic-array indicators, their inclusion looks far more like one thing to beef up a capabilities record on a internet site than just about anything else.

There is no lens change or zoom on the Photo voltaic, but neither is expected in this value array. There is autofocus, however, which operates really effectively. A pivoting foot on the bottom tilts the entrance of the projector upward for a bit far more flexibility in placement.

There is a claimed a few hrs of everyday living from the 20,000-mAh battery. This is a bit odd considering that the brighter Mars II Pro has a more compact battery and nonetheless the exact same volume of play time.

Talking of brightness, Anker claims four hundred lumens. I measured about half that. The Mars II Pro experienced a claimed five hundred, and I measured above three hundred. No projector in this sizing and value array is very brilliant, but facet by facet the Mars II Pro’s image looks significantly brighter, which permits it to seem far better on even larger screens.

You can use the Photo voltaic as a Bluetooth speaker. The two three-watt speakers seem really superior, which is generally a reward in a transportable projector. They are not as loud as the Mars II Pro’s dual 10-watters, however.

If you want to down load some content material to enjoy offline, there is 8GB storage.

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Connectivity and advantage

  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • Computer system input: No
  • USB ports: 2
  • Audio input and output: No
  • Digital audio output: No
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11a, b, g, n, ac
  • 12-volt set off: No
  • RS-232 remote port: No
  • MHL: No
  • Remote: Not backlit

The Solar’s HDMI input is able of accepting HDR and 4K, but considering that the projector is neither, this is a 6-line highway connecting two small towns with no cars and trucks.

The USB-C connection is for charging, and included with the Photo voltaic is a speedy-charger you could use for your phone or pill when you might be not applying or charging the projector. The other USB connection can accept documents or charge a streaming stick. The energy ranking just isn’t specified, but I was able to get a streaming stick functioning on it, so it need to be sufficient.

I like the Android Tv set application shop but sad to say some applications, like Vudu, would only ship the typical-definition versions of their content material. This is disappointing, to say the minimum. It would make the resolution of the projector a lot less suitable. Other people, like Disney As well as, Amazon Prime Video clip and Hulu looked fantastic, however. 

Then there is Netflix, which necessitates a number of steps to get mounted on the Photo voltaic. You need to have to install the Nebula Supervisor application, which then permits you to down load the mobile version of the Netflix application. To enjoy Netflix after you install it, you need to have to go to the Supervisor application and then Netflix. Which, even after all those people steps, looks exceptionally smooth. Because it is really the mobile version, it also implies it is really not built to function with a conventional remote, so you need to have to use the Nebula Link application on your phone to navigate. 

These problems spoil the goodness of crafted-in Android Tv set to a specified extent, but as I pointed out an uncomplicated option is attaching an exterior streamer. 

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Image quality comparisons

The Mars II Pro and the PH30N are the two direct opponents to the Photo voltaic. To review the a few I ended up applying a blend of inside applications, exterior streaming sticks and a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier thanks to the distinct resolutions of the projectors, and the fact that the Photo voltaic accepts 4K (and for some irritating rationale that turned the default when linked to the Monoprice). I viewed anything on a 102-inch 1.-gain display.

The most apparent change was light output. The Mars II Pro was effortlessly the brightest, followed by the Photo voltaic and the LG. Brightness is not the only critical component in a projector’s picture quality but it is really a big aspect. Not only does it identify how persuasive the picture is in general, but it also decides how significant an picture you can make that is still watchable. This is one particular of the factors I preferred the Mars II Pro: It really is very brilliant for its sizing and value. The Solar’s image looks dim in comparison, and the LG’s is the dimmest of the a few. 

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Contrast ratio is weak throughout the board compared with one thing like the BenQ HT2050, but that is par for the study course. No reasonably priced projector has a superior distinction ratio. The Photo voltaic is technically far better than the Mars II right here, at 407:1 compared with 354:1, but that is much too shut to see even facet by facet and is barely outside the array of ordinary measurement mistake. This small distinction ratio is fantastic on the Mars II, as it is really fairly brilliant, but on the Photo voltaic it implies the picture is flat. Not entirely washed out, but it would not impress either. The LG is lower still, but once more, it is really all in the exact same ballpark.

With the added distraction of its undefeatable cleaning soap opera outcome, I put the LG aside and concentrated on the two Ankers.

Lover sound on the Photo voltaic is significantly quieter than the Mars II, which is welcome when you might be sitting shut.

When I welcome the switch to Android Tv set above the troublesome Aptoide shop, there is a glaring problem: Hd. With some applications the content material you get is SD-only. So what then is the position of the Solar’s 1080p resolution? This could be an Android/Google problem, but it would not really matter in which the challenge is, the consequence is that the least complicated way to get content material on the projector implies having a hit in image quality. 

Applying an exterior streaming stick the extra detail is obvious. Just after you flip down the sharpness handle, that is, which is set really superior out of the box (as usual, large quantities of edge improvement mask actual detail). Now it is really the Mars II Pro’s flip to seem smooth, lacking fantastic detail on things like hair and beards. Having said that, the Solar’s increased resolution, even when configured effectively, is not sufficient to acquire out above the Mars II Pro’s far better brightness.

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Summary

The adage goes “Two steps forward, one particular move back again.” In this case, it is really far more like two steps forward, two somewhat more compact steps back again. With their big images, projectors undoubtedly see a large benefit from increased resolution, so the Solar’s 1080p need to be an apparent improvement above the Mars II Pro’s 720p. But with SD inside applications, that improvement is negated. Even worse, the lower brightness implies its picture is significantly a lot less persuasive. The even larger battery looks superior on paper, but claimed viewing time is about the exact same. Even the Solar’s speakers are a lot less powerful.

All that, blended with a better MSRP, and I’m not absolutely sure what the Photo voltaic has to give above the Mars II Pro. That projector is a very little gem, and the Photo voltaic is still left to play capture-up.

Rosa G. Rose

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