26/10/2020

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Anker Nebula Mars II Pro review: Petite portable projector performs proficiently

The Nebula Mars II Pro by Anker is a sweet, tiny moveable projector.


Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Anker’s Nebula Mars II Pro is a shocking minimal projector. And I do signify minimal. It really is small plenty of to conceal totally below a 6-pack of Coke. With crafted-in streaming and a battery superior for all-around 3 and a 50 percent several hours of projection, the Mars II Pro is a great companion for a movie night in the backyard or somewhere farther afield. And in addition to currently being a projector, it is also a massive Bluetooth speaker.

Like

  • Compact size
  • Developed-in battery lasts up to 3.five several hours
  • Surprisingly loud speakers

Do not Like

  • Bad brightness and distinction
  • Inaccurate coloration
  • Confined application keep
  • Requires charging brick

Video clip high-quality will be superior plenty of for numerous viewers, but as opposed with a similarly priced residence projector it is considerably dimmer, with even worse distinction ratio and coloration accuracy. As opposed with other tiny, battery-powered projectors nevertheless, the image is pretty watchable and speakers sound remarkably powerful. 

The primary cause to get the Mars II Pro is if you want extremely-moveable movie, specifically outside. It really is uncomplicated to place close to a wall or display and stream some Netflix inside of minutes, any where. If you strategy to use it consistently in the similar area within, nevertheless, you happen to be almost certainly much better off with a far more conventional projector.

Primary specs

  • Native resolution: 1,280×720 pixels
  • HDR-compatible: No
  • 4K-compatible: No
  • 3D-compatible: No
  • Lumens spec: five hundred
  • Zoom: None
  • Lens change: None
  • Lamp life (Usual method): thirty,000 several hours

The Mars II Pro is more compact than you could possibly feel. It would fit conveniently within any backpack with lots of area to spare for a h2o bottle, hoodie or digicam. Anker could have produced the carrying strap out of cheap-sensation plastic, but has a fake-leather top and is soft underneath. It really is pleasant to touch.

There are buttons on the top for all the standard features, but no controls for zoom or concentration. This is sensible because there’s no zoom and concentration is automatic. An integrated slide-open lens cap also turns the projector on and off.

To get a one hundred-inch image, the Mars II Pro demands to be about nine toes from the display. Resolution is 720p, which is very reduced for a projector these days and reduce than the competing ViewSonic M2, which is 1080p. The LED lamp is rated at thirty,000 several hours. 

Max brightness is a claimed five hundred lumens. I measured about 37 nits, which calculates out to about 337 lumens. For comparison, the ViewSonic M2 generates 349 lumens by my measurements, even though the a little far more costly, but considerably fewer moveable, Optoma HD146X puts out all-around 1,146. 

Anker claims the inside twelve,five hundred-mAh battery is superior for about 3 and a 50 percent several hours viewing time, and about that prolonged to cost back again up once more. If you continue to keep it in the substantial brightness method, that drops to a single and a 50 percent several hours. If you happen to be just working with the Mars II as a Bluetooth speaker, Anker claims about thirty several hours for audio-only playback.

Though not precisely talked about as a feature by Anker, some applications take care of the Mars II Pro as a cell gadget, so you can really download exhibits to its 8GB inside storage. 

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Connectivity and comfort

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

There is a single HDMI input, which is lots on a projector like this. The USB port lets you stream content material from a USB memory stick, or you can cost a gadget (like your phone), working with the Mars II Pro’s beefy battery. 

That’s it for bodily connections, other than the energy port, which involves a different energy brick. That’s a bummer: I am a hardliner “everything moveable should really cost by way of USB.” If you want to cost the projector absent from residence, you are going to have to pack the brick as well.

The Mars II Pro’s runs Android 7.1, which puts all the streaming ability within the PJ. So all you require is to tether the projector to your phone or hook up to some obtainable Wi-Fi. 

You will not get the comprehensive Google Play Store, nevertheless, or even Android Tv. Alternatively, it is Aptoide, a sort of culled or curated edition of the Play Store. It really is a bit of a legal responsibility with the ViewSonic M2, and it is no much better in this article. You can find Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video clip, Hulu, Disney Plus and other people you might or might not identify. You can find HBO Nordic and HBO Go, but no US HBO or HBO Max. Chromecast is not supported. Overall it is not bad, but you could possibly not be equipped to obtain every services you happen to be utilised to.

The remote is wafer slender, but not backlit. That’s fine mainly because you happen to be almost certainly not heading to use it. Alternatively, there’s the Anker Connect application (Android and iOS), which connects conveniently and does all the similar issues. In simple fact, some of the applications really need the application. Handle in the projector’s menus performs fine, but it is a bit clunky in the Netflix application for instance. Not a massive concern, but it could be smoother.

There are two aspect-firing 10-watt speakers and a rectangular passive radiator in the front. That does not sound like considerably, but it is reasonably loud and the sound high-quality is much better than I envisioned from this kind of a small gadget. This is a single of the couple projectors I have really turned down to accomplish a normal listening stage.

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Photo high-quality comparisons

I as opposed the Mars II Pro to the ViewSonic M2, a further moveable projector, and the Optoma HD146X, a conventional plug-in PJ. The M2 is pretty equivalent to the Anker, can run off a battery and also runs applications from the Aptoide keep. The Optoma is a pretty unique projector, and only a immediate competitor in a single feeling: rate. 

I have a sensation the Mars II Pro could possibly draw in the focus of somebody not normally intrigued in projectors, so the Optoma is in this article as an example of what equivalent dollars can get you in a non-moveable, typical projector. I linked these by way of a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier and considered all on a 102-inch 1.-acquire display.

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Top rated check out with carrying strap


Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Initially up is brightness. The M2 and Mars II are remarkably equivalent. Their light outputs and distinction ratios are basically similar. In both equally instances, this quantity is “fine.” Considering the size and their ability to run off batteries, somewhere all-around three hundred lumens is acceptable. When building a one hundred-inch image that equates to about 37 nits. That’s plenty of for a watchable, albeit dim, image. You’re much better off transferring the Anker closer, which will develop a more compact but brighter image.

The Optoma, on the other hand, is noticeably brighter than either a single. On a similar size display I measured above 127 nits, which is above 5 times brighter than the Mars II. The Optoma is considerably far more watchable at one hundred inches. And if you use the Optoma’s most coloration exact method, it is nevertheless 2 times as brilliant as the other two. 

And we undoubtedly require to discuss about coloration. The Mars II Pro has some of the least exact hues of any projector I have ever reviewed. Blue is the only coloration out of the 3 main and 3 secondary hues that is exact. Eco-friendly is oversaturated. Yellow isn’t really but is very greenish-yellow. Magenta is oversaturated and as well blue. The outcome appears to be like you’ve bought the coloration management a couple ticks over in which it should really be. It really is not weird, for each se, and overall it nevertheless appears to be much better than the M2, but overall it is undoubtedly far more Velocity Racer than The Grand Budapest Hotel. 

Aspect by aspect with the Optoma, it is night and day. Or at least Technicolor and Kodachrome. The Optoma isn’t really super exact itself, and really errs on the aspect of currently being undersaturated, but its hues search considerably far more pure than the Anker.

Compared with the Optoma, the Mars II does not have substantial picture options. It has two. You can regulate the coloration temperature: Usual, Cool and Heat, and even the most exact (Heat) is nevertheless way as well cool. You can regulate the lamp options: Normal, Battery and Car. Normal is its brightest. Battery is dim but gets you that 3-plus hour check out time. Car switches in between the two other modes based on regardless of whether or not the projector is plugged in. That’s it. No brightness, distinction, tint. 1 outcome is that you cannot regulate distinction to restore clipped specifics in brilliant whites.

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Contrast ratio, like the brightness, is acceptable supplied the group. I measured an normal of 354:1 throughout all modes. That appears reduced, and it is, but the vast majority of sub-$1,000 projectors are only two or 3 times that. The substantial end of that performance selection, the BenQ HT2050A is two,094:1. The ViewSonic is basically the similar as the Anker, at 376:1. The Optoma is 568:1. 

The Anker’s image lacks punch but not as considerably as you could possibly feel. In simple fact, mainly because the Anker’s black stage is a minimal reduce than the M2 it appears to be a minimal much better. The M2 is pretty a little brighter, which isn’t really noticeable. That black stage is even reduce than the Optoma, but that projector is so considerably brighter this edge isn’t really appropriate. 

Lastly we come to depth. Equally the M2 and HD146X are 1080p to the Anker’s 720p. On a one hundred-inch display this is most noticeable if you happen to be near plenty of to recognize the particular person pixels, which are reasonably substantial. If you shrink the image down to sixty-80 inches, it appears to be detailed plenty of that it does not search soft. 

Summary

Honestly, I was not expecting considerably from the Mars II Pro. I have been underwhelmed with most battery-powered moveable projectors I have reviewed. I have also found that corporations not recognised for movie gear have a tendency to pass up some important issues when it comes to projectors. For instance, picture high-quality. 

Overall I am impressed that Anker bought a great deal appropriate with the Mars II Pro. At least when graded on the curve of rate, size and battery energy. As opposed with an normal residence projector it comes up small in every performance metric, so If you happen to be seeking for some thing that will hardly ever stray as well considerably from an outlet, you happen to be much better off with a far more “conventional” projector. But if you want some thing moveable to enjoy flicks outside the house, the Mars II Pro has a great design, seems superior, is uncomplicated to use and has a far more watchable image than the ViewSonic M2 — all for fewer dollars.


As effectively as covering Tv and other screen tech, Geoff does photograph tours of cool museums and locations all-around the entire world, including nuclear submarinesenormous aircraft carriersmedieval castlesplane graveyards and far more. 

You can adhere to his exploits on Instagram and YouTube, and on his journey site, BaldNomad. He also wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel about city-sized submarines, along with a sequel.