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Nebula Capsule 3 Laser Portable Projector Review - Performance

Posted on February 27, 2023 by Kam Valentine

Going into PROJECTOR SETTINGS and clicking PICTURE, you will find user-selected picture modes:STANDARD, MOVIE, GAME, and PICTURE CUSTOM. STANDARD mode provided a good balance between brightness and color reproduction. MOVIE mode was too warm (reddish brown) in my viewing environment. It made the Murideo and ISF Skin Tone Test Pattern participants look like they had an unnatural glow and sunburns. GAME mode, which only appeared as a menu option when I connected my PS5 via the HDMI port, is noticeably less bright than the other modes. 

 

PICTURE CUSTOM mode has the following adjustments to tune your image to suit your viewing environment: Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness, Color Temperature, Wall Color, and Gamma. PICTURE CUSTOM mode looked the best in my projector lab with complete ambient light control.

BRIGHTNESS

Nebula advertises the brightness of the Capsule 3 Laser at 300 ANSI lumens. To be thorough, I also measured the Capsule 3 Laser’s brightness. To measure the brightness, I set the projector’s PICTURE MODE to PICTURE CUSTOM and then set the BRIGHTNESS slider to 100, which together are the projector’s brightest settings. I then took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the center of the lens.

At maximum brightness and while plugged into an AC power source, the Capsule 3 Laser measured 344 ANSI lumens, pleasantly above the Nebula Capsule 3 Laser published 300 ANSI lumens specification. However, when the Capsule 3 Laser is unplugged and only running on battery power, the maximum brightness drops down to 126 ANSI lumens which I found to be enough as long as there’s not a hint of ambient light in the area. I measured all four available picture modes while plugged into AC power; my measurements are below.

 Nebula Capsule 3 Laser Brightness

Picture ModeBrightness Measured (ANSI Lumens)
Standard311
Movie206
Game138
Picture Custom344

The Capsule 3 Laser supports HDR10. To display HDR content on a projector, the projector must have a high enough contrast ratio and brightness to be able to display the expanded range of brightness and color that HDR content offers. The projector must also be compatible with the HDR format used by the content, such as HDR10.

It's important to note that HDR content requires more processing power than SDR content and generally requires a high-end projector to even try to display it properly. Additionally, the ambient lighting conditions in the room can also affect the perceived quality of HDR content, as the increased brightness and contrast can be affected by any ambient light in the room. That said, the Capsule 3 Laser performed better with HDR content than I thought it would. For example, look at the 4K HDR Mad Max: Fury Road images I took above. I’d say that’s pretty good for a 300 ANSI lumen portable projector.

SOUND QUALITY

Nebula Capsule 3 Projector With Dolby Sound - Projector Reviews - Image
The Nebula Capsule 3 Laser has an integrated 8-watt speaker.

The Capsule 3 Laser includes a surprisingly good for its size sound system. As I previously mentioned, the built-in 8-watt speaker plays loud enough to comfortably listen to movies and TV shows in a bedroom or outside at a campsite. You can even use the projector as a standalone Bluetooth speaker because the Capsule 3 Laser has an integrated Bluetooth receiver and a transmitter. You can also transmit audio from an HDMI-connected source or the projector’s built-in streaming apps to Bluetooth headphones. This a fantastic feature if you want to watch a movie late at night without disturbing others.

The Capsule 3 Laser’s HDMI 2.1 port includes support for eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), which allows for higher-quality audio to be sent from the projector to an external audio device, such as a soundbar or home theater system. Additionally, HDMI 2.1 supports Auto Low Latency Mode, which can reduce input lag and improve the overall gaming experience. I connected the Capsule 3 Laser to my Polk MagniFi Max AX sound bar system, which includes a 10” wireless subwoofer, and enjoyed a more expansive soundstage.

GAMING

Under the PICTURE menu, the Capsule 3 Laser has a PICTURE MODE setting called GAME. If a projector claims they have a gaming mode, the gamer in me makes it mandatory for me to test it out for you all. From Projector Reviews’ “Best Games To Play On A Projector” series, I played Hogwarts Legacy and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. GAME mode was a bit low on lumens for my liking, but I still had fun and would not have a problem traveling to a friend’s house for a low-key, casual gaming session with the Nebula Capsule 3 Laser.

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