They say if you build a better mousetrap the world will fight its way to your door, but you can probably be just as successful slapping some Star wars graphics on it instead. This is what Anker did with his Nebula Capsule II mini projector, which now looks like a legless version of R2-D2. The facelift doesn’t add much in terms of functionality aside from making a solid portable projector more appealing to Star Wars fans and X-wing pilots.
As flat-screen TVs have become larger and lighter, they’re minimizing the need for an expensive video projector as a way to get a movie theater-sized screen inside a home. But mini projectors have remained an appealing alternative, making it easy to set up a movie theater almost anywhere, be it a backyard or a campsite. And that’s probably the biggest appeal of the Anker Nebula Capsule II: It’s small, but still manages to squeeze in everything you need to bring the movie theater experience anywhere. All you need to provide is the screen.
There are a few disappointments with the new Anker Nebula Capsule II R2-D2 edition, but the most obvious is that its Artoo facelift really doesn’t add much beyond a bit of novelty. The projector has the same cylindrical shape as the original, which just barely matches R2-D2’s shape. It would have been more fun to see Anker upgrade this version with a rounded dome top and a swivel projector eye like Haier did in 2015 just before realizing how the last three Star wars the movies would be. In addition to the Artoo graphics, the projector plays a few droid-like “beeps” on every startup, but it’s about as much fun. Star wars fans will get by – besides watching Star wars with that.
When it comes to mini projectors, I’ve come to love the box-shaped design of the Nebula Capsule II over the uninspired square rectangle that most projector makers go for. It’s easy to slip into the pocket of a water bottle on a backpack, in part because it’s only a tiny bit bigger than a real can of soda or a bottle of soda. ‘water.
Even more impressive, Anker managed to include a solid speaker in it, with more than enough volume to fill a room with decent bass levels. It obviously can’t compare to what you’d get from a dedicated surround sound setup with a big floor-standing woofer, and although you can connect a larger wireless Bluetooth speaker to the projector for better sound if you prefer, decent sound built-in directly adds to the convenience and portability of this thing.
A rechargeable battery that in my tests usually hits the 3 hour mark before dying completely, is also hidden inside the Nebula II capsule, but you might see a little less depending on the power of the built-in. speaker. That’s more than enough to run an entire movie in the yard without having to use an extension cord at home, and it’s easily the best reason to choose the Nebula Capsule II over the competition.
The taller design of the projector sometimes makes it a bit heavy and it is difficult to stand on a surface that is not completely flat and level. But at the bottom is a standard tripod mount, so if you bring a flexible-legged tripod that can stand on its own or wrap around another solid object, you’ll never have to worry about this thing. never switches.
On the butt of R2-D2 you’ll find an AUX connector for those who only want to use the projector as a speaker, an HDMI port to connect consoles or a streaming device like a Chromecast, a data-only USB port to connect an external drive full of media files and a USB-C port which is only used for powering and charging the battery.
Unlike most projectors which depend on an external video source, the Anker Nebula Capsule II is actually a full Android TV device which when paired with a strong wifi connection can stream content from services. such as Disney +, HBO, and YouTube, all on its own. After using it for a few weeks, you wonder why every projector doesn’t work on Android TV, but there are a few challenges. The projector unfortunately does not meet Netflix’s strict certification process, so you cannot install it natively from the Google Play Store. You can jump through the hoops and load Netflix yourself, or install a special app created by Anker that provides access to the streaming service. While it technically works, navigating the Netflix interface is a bit of a challenge unless you also want to connect your smartphone and use it as a wireless mouse. Unfortunately, this is far from ideal.
If Netflix support is essential for you, you’d better buy and connect an HDMI streaming stick like a $ 50 Chromecast, even if that diminishes the all-in-one benefits of the Nebula Capsule II.
The included Android TV remote is basic and a bit underwhelming, as it doesn’t have the handy playback controls included in the latest Nvidia Shield remote, but it does work. Along with the projector, you’ll also find most of the remote’s functionality replicated via a series of touch-sensitive buttons, which is good if the remote itself becomes MIA. One thing I found extremely frustrating was getting quick access to the projector’s autofocus feature. Just holding down the ‘enter’ button on the remote for a few seconds is supposed to be a shortcut to trigger it quickly, but that doesn’t work, as apparently a recent update broke that feature. Manually enabling autofocus has to be done by going back to the Android TV home screen and enabling it through settings, which is a pain, or by holding the middle button on top. of the projector itself. Hope this is something that can be fixed via a future update.
I haven’t tried the small projectors for a few years, so I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they are to install now. Once fully booted up, the Nebula Capsule II has been automatically fixed for trapezoid issues, although its ability to do so is limited to vertical adjustments, so when setting up a makeshift movie theater you’ll want to make sure that the projector is centered horizontally in front of your screen. The spotlight was also good at focusing on its own using a reference marker that it projects temporarily, but the focus tends to drift as it heats up slowly during use. Sometimes the projector will realize this and re-focus automatically (a built-in motion sensor also detects when it has been moved or repositioned, triggering a refocus) but more often you have to manually trigger an autofocus, which as I said. already mentioned, isn t as simple as it should be.
As for the image quality? Well, that’s probably the biggest downside to the Nebula II capsule. It only projects at 720p, so you’re definitely going to see some irregularities in fine detail, especially with text and on-screen menus. And in order to maximize that rechargeable battery so you can go through an entire movie on a single charge, its brightness levels reach around 200 ANSI lumens. In a very dark room, bright enough to create a 100-inch image and even larger if you really push it, but even at shorter distances, the Nebula Capsule II is virtually unusable during the day, even on a cloudy or overcast day. outside.
If portability is a priority, the Anker Nebula Capsule II is one of the best options, especially for those looking for an easy way to enjoy a backyard movie on a hot summer night or whatever. in “ during ” in a campsite. It’s easy to use, and the built-in battery and speaker mean you don’t need much more than a makeshift screen and a reliable wireless data connection to build a temporary movie theater. . But for $ 700, it’s a tough sell for anyone hoping to use it to replace a big-screen TV as well. Unless you plan to watch TV only at night, you might be disappointed.
We all love R2-D2, but for an extra $ 300 a projector like 1080p, 1000 lumens Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 seems like a better option all around. It lacks the portability and convenience of Capsule II of the Anker Nebula, but you can use it all day and just use your imagination to pretend he’s a staunch droid.