Projector Reviews

Anker Nebula Capsule Projector – The Crowd Funded Soda Can Projector Review – Page 3

Anker Nebula Capsule Projector Review – Page 3: Performance, Summary, Pros, Cons

Performance

Color Mode Lumens
Normal - Standard 82
Normal - Battery 67
Cool - Standard 80
Warm - Standard 79

Anker makes a claim of 100 lumens for their Nebula Capsule projector, and it comes pretty close. At its best, I measured 82 lumens, which is only 18% below claim and well within the range of what is considered an acceptable deviation, and in Battery Mode, Normal still came in at 67 lumens, which is a small but noticeable drop in brightness – you don’t lose a whole lot by operating it on battery. Having such a low level of brightness, this is not something you’re going to expect to use during daylight hours, unless you are in a completely darkened room; the slightest bit of ambient light washes out the image in an extreme way.

What I have to say I found disappointing in the way of performance was the audio quality. Anker makes a big deal about the quality of the audio here and, while it is loud, there are far too many crackles and pops in the sound while watching movies to be acceptable. Bass is of course lacking, but that is to be expected, and there is a definite distortion in louder moments.

I originally could not get any of the apps to download or install, so the smart aspect of this projector was completely useless at first. After trying again two days later, it magically worked – I have no explanation. But, it seems reliability may not be a strong point of the Nebula Capsule.  Perhaps there will be a firmware upgrade in the near future to fix this? One could only hope.

The Anker Nebula Capsule claims a battery life of 4 hours when watching videos in Battery Mode, and 30 hours when operating as a Bluetooth speaker.  I tested the battery life for video, and it came in under claim at 3 hours 36 minutes.  Not as long as we had hoped, but still plenty of time to watch a complete movie.

As a Gaming Projector

In thinking this projector would find potential use as a portable gaming projector, I decided to run a test to measure input latency.  Using a Leo Bodner lag measuring device, I found the Anker Nebula Capsule projector has an input lag that measured anywhere from 87ms to 94ms.  I ran this bit of info by Nikki, one of our reviewers (who happens to also be my sister,) her response: “That’s ghastly!”  Why such a harsh response?  A decent projector suitable for gaming is expected to have a lag of no more than 16ms.  If you plan on using this for gaming – don’t.  Find something else.

Summary

The Anker Nebula Capsule projector with its unique, award winning design.
The Anker Nebula Capsule projector with its unique, award winning design.

The Anker Nebula Capsule is a cool looking projector, but its lack of brightness, poor audio quality and lack of reliability when it comes to downloading apps give me serious concerns about actually purchasing this unit – after not being able to run apps on it the first day I would likely have returned it if it was something I had purchased. If they can improve the reliability via firmware updates, it could be a viable little projector for watching streamed content on the go.  The color was decent and the picture quality wasn’t horrible – though it is only 480p standard resolution.

Vivid colors in this scene from Moana, as projected by the Anker Nebula Capsule in a fully darkened room.
Vivid colors in this scene from Moana, as projected by the Anker Nebula Capsule in a fully darkened room.

Due to the issues I had with the audio and apps, I can honestly say that I am less than impressed. For a list price of $349.99, I would have expected it to work properly from the start.  It’s not a smart projector, so you’ll need at attach a device for streaming content such as the NVIDIA Shield.

Let’s talk competition! The ViewSonic M1 pocket projector has the same resolution, and while it doesn’t have the capability to act as a Bluetooth speaker, it does have quite a bit of internal storage and can play music without running the light engine – and with twin Harmon Kardon speakers, it has some nice audio quality. Not bad for a pocket projector with a list price of $337. Two other projectors to consider as an alternative are the $295 720p AAXA P300 Neo, and even the $200 Acer C200. These two don’t have the audio quality the M1 has, but they’re decent alternatives none-the-less.

Pros

    • 82 Lumens – Bright enough for night-time use
    • 480p Resolution (854 x 480)
    • LED Light Source
    • Light Source Lifespan up to 30,000 hours
    • Cool design – the size of a soda can!
    • Images up to 100 inches
    • On-board media player
    • Decent battery life at 3.5 hours, measured

Cons

  • Did not meet brightness claim
  • Apps via AptoidTV wouldn’t install in the beginning and only installed two days later – no changes were made to any settings
  • Must be mounted on a tri-pod if projecting upward at all
  • Audio, while loud, has too many cracks and pops
  • 87ms – 94ms measured lag!

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