Anker Nebula Mars II Pro Review: Petite Portable Projector Performs Proficiently

Anker Nebula Mars II Professional Overview: Petite Transportable Projector Performs Proficiently

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The Nebula Mars II Professional by Anker is a cute, tiny moveable projector.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Anker’s Nebula Mars II Professional is a stunning little moveable mini projector. And I do imply little. It is sufficiently small to cover utterly beneath a six-pack of Coke. With built-in streaming and a battery good for round three and a half hours of projection, the Mars II Professional is a superb companion for a film night time within the yard or someplace farther afield. And along with being a projector, it is also an enormous Bluetooth speaker.

Like


  • Compact measurement


  • Constructed-in battery lasts as much as 3.5 hours


  • Surprisingly loud audio system

Do not like


  • Worse brightness and distinction than dwelling projectors


  • Inaccurate colour


  • Restricted app retailer


  • Requires charging brick

Video high quality might be adequate for a lot of viewers, however in contrast with a equally priced dwelling projector it’s miles dimmer, with worse distinction ratio and colour accuracy. In contrast with different tiny, battery-powered projectors nevertheless, the picture could be very watchable and audio system sound surprisingly highly effective. 

The primary motive to get the Mars II Professional is if you would like ultra-portable video, particularly outdoor. It is easy to place close to a wall or display screen and stream some Netflix inside minutes, wherever. In the event you plan to make use of it recurrently in the identical room inside, nevertheless, you are in all probability higher off with a extra conventional projector.

Editor’s observe, Dec. 1: On account of its efficiency, measurement and worth, we’re giving the Nebula Mars II Professional our Editors’ Alternative award as our favourite moveable projector. Whereas there are newer moveable mini projectors which can be brighter and simpler to make use of, those that outperform this Anker — just like the Xgimi Halo Plus — are additionally dearer. The Mars II Professional is a superb all-around projector for the value.

Primary specs

  • Native decision: 1,280×720 pixels
  • HDR-compatible: No
  • 4K-compatible: No
  • 3D-compatible: No
  • Lumens spec: 500
  • Zoom: None
  • Lens shift: None
  • Lamp life (Regular mode): 30,000 hours

The Mars II Professional is smaller than you may assume. It will match simply inside any backpack with loads of room to spare for a water bottle, hoodie or digicam. Anker may have made the carrying strap out of cheap-feeling plastic, however has a faux-leather high and is mushy beneath. It is good to the touch.

There are buttons on the highest for all the fundamental capabilities, however no controls for zoom or focus. That is logical since there isn’t any zoom and focus is computerized. An built-in slide-open lens cap additionally turns the projector on and off.

To get a 100-inch picture, the Mars II Professional must be about 9 toes from the display screen. Decision is 720p, which is fairly low for a projector nowadays and decrease than the competing ViewSonic M2, which is 1080p. The LED lamp is rated at 30,000 hours. 

Max brightness is a claimed 500 lumens. I measured about 37 nits, which calculates out to about 337 lumens. For comparability, the ViewSonic M2 produces 349 lumens by my measurements, whereas the marginally dearer, however far much less moveable, Optoma HD146X places out round 1,146. 

Anker claims the interior 12,500-mAh battery is sweet for about three and a half hours viewing time, and about that lengthy to cost again up once more. In the event you maintain it within the excessive brightness mode, that drops to 1 and a half hours. In the event you’re simply utilizing the Mars II as a Bluetooth speaker, Anker claims about 30 hours for audio-only playback.

Although not particularly talked about as a characteristic by Anker, some apps deal with the Mars II Professional as a cellular system, so you possibly can really obtain reveals to its 8GB inside storage. 

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Connectivity and comfort

  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • USB port: 1 
  • Audio enter and output: 3.5mm output
  • Digital audio output: None
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Distant: Not backlit

There’s one HDMI enter, which is loads on a projector like this. The USB port enables you to stream content material from a USB reminiscence stick, or you possibly can cost a tool (like your telephone), utilizing the Mars II Professional’s beefy battery. 

That is it for bodily connections, aside from the facility port, which requires a separate energy brick. That is a bummer: I am a hardliner “all the pieces moveable ought to cost through USB.” If you wish to cost the projector away from dwelling, you will must pack the brick too.

The Mars II Professional’s runs Android 7.1, which places all of the streaming functionality contained in the PJ. So all you want is to tether the projector to your telephone or hook up with some accessible Wi-Fi. 

You aren’t getting the complete Google Play Retailer, nevertheless, and even Android TV. As an alternative, it is Aptoide, a form of culled or curated model of the Play Retailer. It is a bit of a legal responsibility with the ViewSonic M2, and it is no higher right here. There’s Netflix, YouTubeAmazon Prime VideoHuluDisney Plus and others it’s possible you’ll or might not acknowledge. There’s HBO Nordic and HBO Go, however no US HBO or HBO Max. Chromecast is just not supported. Total it isn’t dangerous, however you won’t be capable of discover each service you are used to.

The distant is wafer skinny, however not backlit. That is positive since you’re in all probability not going to make use of it. As an alternative, there’s the Anker Join app (Android and iOS), which connects simply and does all the identical issues. In reality, among the apps really require the app. Management within the projector’s menus works positive, however it’s kind of clunky within the Netflix app for example. Not an enormous subject, but it surely could possibly be smoother.

There are two side-firing 10-watt audio system and an oblong passive radiator within the entrance. That does not sound like a lot, but it surely’s pretty loud and the sound high quality is best than I anticipated from such a small system. This is without doubt one of the few projectors I’ve really turned down to attain a standard listening degree.

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Image high quality comparisons

I in contrast the Mars II Professional to the ViewSonic M2, one other moveable projector, and the Optoma HD146X, a conventional plug-in PJ. The M2 is similar to the Anker, can run off a battery and likewise runs apps from the Aptoide retailer. The Optoma is a really totally different projector, and solely a direct competitor in a single sense: worth. 

I’ve a sense the Mars II Professional may entice the eye of somebody not sometimes fascinated with projectors, so the Optoma is right here for instance of what related cash can get you in a non-portable, customary projector. I linked these through a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier and considered all on a 102-inch 1.0-gain display screen.

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High view with carrying strap

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

First up is brightness. The M2 and Mars II are remarkably related. Their mild outputs and distinction ratios are mainly an identical. In each circumstances, this quantity is “positive.” Contemplating the scale and their capacity to run off batteries, someplace round 300 lumens is suitable. When making a 100-inch picture that equates to about 37 nits. That is sufficient for a watchable, albeit dim, picture. You are higher off transferring the Anker nearer, which can create a smaller however brighter picture.

The Optoma, however, is considerably brighter than both one. On a identical measurement display screen I measured over 127 nits, which is over 5 occasions brighter than the Mars II. The Optoma is rather more watchable at 100 inches. And for those who use the Optoma’s most colour correct mode, it is nonetheless twice as vivid as the opposite two. 

And we undoubtedly want to speak about colour. The Mars II Professional has among the least correct colours of any projector I’ve ever reviewed. Blue is the one colour out of the three main and three secondary colours that’s correct. Inexperienced is oversaturated. Yellow is not however is kind of greenish-yellow. Magenta is oversaturated and too blue. The end result seems to be such as you’ve obtained the colour management a couple of ticks above the place it needs to be. It isn’t bizarre, per se, and total it nonetheless seems to be higher than the M2, however total it is undoubtedly extra Pace Racer than The Grand Budapest Resort. 

Aspect by facet with the Optoma, it is night time and day. Or no less than Technicolor and Kodachrome. The Optoma is not tremendous correct itself, and truly errs on the facet of being undersaturated, however its colours look way more pure than the Anker.

In contrast to the Optoma, the Mars II does not have intensive image settings. It has two. You’ll be able to modify the colour temperature: Regular, Cool and Heat, and even probably the most correct (Heat) continues to be manner too cool. You’ll be able to modify the lamp settings: Customary, Battery and Auto. Customary is its brightest. Battery is dim however will get you that three-plus hour view time. Auto switches between the 2 different modes relying on whether or not or not the projector is plugged in. That is it. No brightness, distinction, tint. One result’s which you could’t modify distinction to revive clipped particulars in vivid whites.

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Distinction ratio, just like the brightness, is suitable given the class. I measured a mean of 354:1 throughout all modes. That appears low, and it’s, however the majority of sub-$1,000 projectors are solely two or thrice that. The excessive finish of that efficiency vary, the BenQ HT2050A is 2,094:1. The ViewSonic is mainly the identical because the Anker, at 376:1. The Optoma is 568:1. 

The Anker’s picture lacks punch however not as a lot as you may assume. In reality, as a result of the Anker’s black degree is a bit of decrease than the M2 it seems to be a bit of higher. The M2 could be very barely brighter, which is not noticeable. That black degree is even decrease than the Optoma, however that projector is a lot brighter this edge is not related. 

Lastly we come to element. Each the M2 and HD146X are 1080p to the Anker’s 720p. On a 100-inch display screen that is most noticeable for those who’re shut sufficient to note the person pixels, that are pretty massive. In the event you shrink the picture all the way down to 60-80 inches, it seems to be detailed sufficient that it does not look mushy. 

Conclusion

Actually, I wasn’t anticipating a lot from the Mars II Professional. I have been underwhelmed with most battery-powered moveable projectors I’ve reviewed. I’ve additionally discovered that firms not identified for video gear are likely to miss some essential issues on the subject of projectors. For example, image high quality. 

Total I am impressed that Anker obtained rather a lot proper with the Mars II Professional. No less than when graded on the curve of worth, measurement and battery energy. In contrast with a mean dwelling projector it comes up quick in each efficiency metric, so In the event you’re searching for one thing that can by no means stray too removed from an outlet, you are higher off with a extra “conventional” projector. However if you would like one thing moveable to observe films outdoors, the Mars II Professional has a fantastic design, sounds good, is simple to make use of and has a extra watchable picture than the ViewSonic M2 — all for much less cash.


In addition to overlaying TV and different show tech, Geoff does photograph excursions of cool museums and places around the globe, together with nuclear submarineshuge plane carriersmedieval castlesairplane graveyards and extra. 

You’ll be able to observe his exploits on Instagram and YouTube, and on his journey weblog, BaldNomad. He additionally wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel about city-sized submarines, together with a sequel.



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