The original Nebula Capsule projector, and recently released Capsule II (2), are the most compact micro (also called mini, pico, tiny, or pocket) projectors packed with features to turn your living room, bedroom, office or even a outdoor garage wall into a 100-inch cinema grade viewing experience.
These projectors are the size of a 12-ounce soda can, a similar size as Alexa smart speaker, and can project up to a 100-inch image.
Anker Nebula Capsule – Original
We prefer the original Nebula Capsule, about $300, for it’s low price and the features. Here’s why…
The projection resolution, at 854 x 480, provides a good picture for watching movies or doing presentations. This might be a little “grainy” for some people, especially when blow up to the full 100-inches. Just keep in mind this is not a 65-inch 4K television screen.
The built-in 5W speaker, which also connects through Bluetooth, gives quality sound at decent volumes.
Expect about 4 hours of video playtime, or 30 hours of music, on a single charge, or you can play while it’s plugged in.
The 5200 mAh battery goes from dead to a full charge in about 2.5 Hours using the included Quick Charger 2.0 (2A @ 9V). You can also use any standard USB charger to plug into the Capsule micro-USB port.
The one drawback with most battery-powered portable pocket-projectors is the light output. The Nebula Capsule is best in a dim or dark room, and can be faded out in sunlight. The LED output is rated at 100 ANSI lumens.
What we like best about the original Anker Nebula Capsule is the access to all the streaming services. The devices runs on Android 7.1, and has been certified compatible by the major content providers.
This means you can access your video libraries on your subscription services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more. For music, you can stream from Pandora, Spotify and Apple. Just remember that the Capsule doesn’t include any of these subscriptions, you still need to have signed up / paid for them just as you would with watching on your TV, computer or mobile devices.
There are a couple of ways to get content onto the Capsule, and also to control the features.
It has a standard HDMI 1.4 port which supports up to 1080p inputs – but will still only project at 854 x 480 resolution. Here’s our review of HDMI cables for some suggestions.
But with a portable projector, you’ll most likely want to go wireless. And there are a couple of options here to choose from. You can stream through an open Wi-Fi network, with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands supported over standard 802.11a/b/g/n. With the 5GHz band, and a high-speed internet provider, you can expect 100 Mbps with no issues. That’s more than enough for any videos.
If you don’t have Wi-Fi, for instance if you are camping or at a beach party, you can easily broadcast anything that’s on your phone to the projector over either AirPlay or Miracast. Bluetooth BT4.0 Dual Mode/A2DP is fully supported.
Now that you have your content, let’s talk about how you control the Capsule. There is a basic IR remote which works well (just remember it needs an un-obstructed line of sight between the remote and the projector). It works in either the basic D-Pad or Mouse modes.
On the projector itself, you’ll find buttons for Power, Volume, and Mode selection.
Some quick facts on the Capsule: It weighs in at just 14.8 oz, and is only 2.67 inches around and 4.72 inches high. Yup, just like a can of soda.
The Lamp is rated at 30,000 usable hours. That’s about 2-1/2 years of watching a movie everyday! It has a built in fan to keep things cool, which extends the life of the unit. It’s quiet at less than 30dB at 3 feet.
Another thing we like is that there is a standard camera tripod screw hole at the base of the Capsule. So it’s compatible with a 1/4 inch mounting screw. This is great when you don’t want to just but it on the ground or a table.
There isn’t any zoom feature – you just move the Capsule to get the screen size projection you want from 20-inches up to 100-inches. For reference, the “throw ratios” are around:
- 100 inches @ 10 feet
- 80 inches @ 8 feet
- 60 inches @ 5.5 feet
- 40 inches @ 3.5 feet
- 20 inches @ 2 feet
It does have a manual focus adjustment, and automatic Keystone Correction (vertical ±40°).
Here’s a short video from Nebula on the new Capsule
Get more details or order one with our Amazon link – Anker Nebula Capsule (original) , and you can bring the party with you wherever you go!
Anker Nebula Capsule II
Here’s the quick run down on what changed from the original Capsule to Capsule 2:
- Price – $300 for the original, $580 for Capsule II
- Resolution – increases from 480p to 720p
- Brightness – increases from 100 ANSI lumens to 200 ANSI lumens
- Sound – speaker output increases from 5W to 8W
- Autofocus – enabled on Capsule II
- Charging – micro-USB changed to USB-C
- OS – Capsule 1 uses Android 7.1, Capsule II runs Android TV 9.0
- Mirroring – Capsule 1 supports Apple Airplay and Miracast, Capsule 2 supports Chomecast.
It’s these last 2 changes that can make all the difference for choosing the better performing Capsule 2 over the original.
Before we get too far into reviewing the Anker Nebula Capsule II, you should know some of the limitations due to the Android TV OS.
Netflix can work with Capsule, but it’s currently a multi-step configuration process. This is mainly because Capsule is not yet on their certified equipment list. Hopefully this will get resolved soon, but in the meantime be warned Netflix doesn’t simply plug-and-play.
There is a great article from the How-To-Geeks for instructions on side-loading Netflix onto Android TV .
Amazon Prime Video, our second most used streaming service, is not compatible with this device.
Airplay from Apple devices also doesn’t work.
The good news is the built-in Android TV offers thousands of movies, shows, and games from Google Play, YouTube, and other streaming apps. It’s very easy to watch movies, use Sling, access your paid subscription services (HBO, Showtime, CBS All-Access, etc.). We were happy that Hulu is directly supported.
It still connects up to the music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.
What we do like about the new version is the boost in the resolution and the brightness.
Capsule 2 provides 720p (1,280-by-720-pixel) native resolution at a 16:9 aspect ratio suitable for widescreen video. Anker rates the brightness at 200 lumens, which means you can use this is brighter lit areas and that it’s even better when used in darkened rooms.
In addition to the upgraded an 8-watt sound system, there is also an audio jack you can use for headphones or powered external speakers.
We are happy to see there is still a USB Type-A port (for USB Flash Drive, external USB hard disk drive, USB mouse, or a keyboard).
The charging port is now USB Type-C, which is becoming more prevalent.
Another addition is a game-pad and includes titles like Zombie Age 2, BombSquad, Mars: Mars, Air Attack 2, Orbia: Tap and Relax, Hungry Shark, BombSquad Pro.
You can do more than just Android games. Capsule II supports 1080p @ 60fps input, which is compatible with Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox.
You still have a remote, but now it has voice recognition with Google Assistant built in. It takes a little getting used to, but it does make it easier to search, find and play your content across multiple services.
Here’s a 30-second video to show what comes in the box
Everything else is about the same including the battery life (about 2.5 hours video / 30 hours music) and the app controls. The dimensions are a little larger – 9 x 5.3 x 4.5 inches – so more like a pint-glass than a soda-can. The styling and buttons have been updated for a more sleek look.
That wraps up our review for the two mini-projectors from Anker. You can decide which of these will best suit your budget and how you want to use it.
Please click on either of our Amazon links below to get more information or to order:
Anker Nebula Capsule (original) , about $300
Anker Nebula Capsule II , about $580