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

Anker_Nebula_Capsule_Soda_Can

The Anker Nebula Capsule is a DLP projector with an LED light source, and is nearly the exact size of a soda can, and weighs in at just slightly over 1 lb.  It was developed following a successful Kickstarter campaign and is certainly an interesting little projector.  It has a native resolution of 480p (852 x 480) so it’s definitely not high definition, but adequate for DVD movie viewing – don’t expect to be wow’ed when streaming Netflix or watching your favorite BluRay, but this is more of a novelty projector than anything else.

Anker Nebula Capsule Specs
Price$349.99
TechnologyDLP with LED light source
Native Resolution854x480
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)100
Contrast400:1
Zoom Lens RatioFixed Focal Length
Lens ShiftNo
Lamp Life20,000 Hours
Weight1 lb
Warranty1 Year
View Full Specifications Here >>

Overview

The Anker Nebula Capsule claims a brightness of 100 lumens.  The Nebula Capsule has an RGB LED light engine, which is typical of these small portable pocket and pico projectors.  It is advertised on the Anker website as having a life span of 30,000 hours, which running 8 hours a day every day gives it a lifespan of right around 10 years.  You don’t need to worry about the much shorter lifespan of lamp based projectors here!

A scene from Moana.
A scene from Moana.

This projector has Android 7.1 installed, and allows the installation of media apps, such as Netflix and YouTube – However, these apps are not pre-installed.  What is pre-installed is something called AptoidTV, which feels like a clunky Android TV OS.  The projector does have built-in WiFi connectivity, which is a plus.  Another word about the downloadable apps – some work and some don’t work so well, and Netflix isn’t compatible with the projector’s supplied remote control!  It requires a smart phone app be used, connected via Bluetooth, to control an app, on the projector.  Seems a little counter-intuitive.

The Anker Nebula Capsule can project images that measure between 20 inches and 100 inches diagonally.  The trade off of course is that as the image gets bigger, it also gets dimmer.  It isn’t bright to begin with, so unless you are going to block out all ambient light or use it in a room with no windows (like a closet) you’re better off waiting until nighttime.  The image below was taken mid-day in my not-too-bright living room.  Anker did something correctly here, though – they never pretended it was super bright in the images used on their website, the effects of ambient light are readily apparent and I appreciate their honesty.

A scene from Moana in ambient light.
A scene from Moana in ambient light.

A word of caution: this model projects straight out in front, which means the bottom of the projector is going to need to be no lower than the bottom of the area you’re planning on projecting on. In the promotional materials, you may notice they are projecting onto a wall or ceiling – they don’t have to worry about trying to get the image placed on to a screen. I had to use a large camera tripod to get it to the right height, because even my Lifetime folding table wasn’t tall enough.

Anker does sell a tripod for the Capsule, for $30; nothing is included to make it likely to even be able to use the vertical keystone correction option and because the Capsule has such a small, round base, it can’t really be propped up with anything to reach a mounted screen. By the way, if you do plan on lying in bed and projecting up on the ceiling, be sure to hold the projector in your hand – laying it down on the bed will block the exhaust vent, potentially damaging the unit.

In the box: Capsule projector, USB-A to Micro USB cable for charging, Power Block, Remote Control, USB-A to Mini USB adapter, Storage Bag, Lens Cloth and User Manual.
In the box: Capsule projector, USB-A to Micro USB cable for charging, Power Block, Remote Control, USB-A to Mini USB adapter, Storage Bag, Lens Cloth and User Manual.

Anker claims a battery life of 4 hours for video and 30 hours when used as a Bluetooth speaker.  It has “360 Sound” driven by a 5-watt speaker. It’s not a wall thumper, but it is loud – we’ll talk about the actual quality later.

Highlights

  • 100 Lumens
  • $349.99 List Price
  • 480p Resolution (854 x 480)
  • LED Technology
  • Light engine life span of up to 30,000 hours
  • 400:1 Contrast Ratio
  • 20” to 100” Diagonal Projection
  • Android 7.1 to download and run Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and more
  • Bluetooth Speaker Mode
  • 4 Hour Battery Life for Video
  • 30 Hour Battery Life as a Bluetooth Speaker
  • Includes Carry Bag and Lens Cloth

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