Technology

Anker Nebula Mars II Pro: Petit portable projector performs proficiently

Anker’s Nebula Mars II Professional is a stunning little projector. And I do imply little. It is sufficiently small to cover fully underneath a six-pack of Coke. With built-in streaming and a battery good for round 3.5 hours of projection, the Mars II Professional is a good companion for a film night time within the yard or someplace farther afield. And along with being a projector, it is also a giant Bluetooth speaker.

Like

  • Compact dimension
  • Constructed-in battery lasts as much as 3.5 hours
  • Surprisingly loud audio system

Do not Like

  • Poor brightness and distinction
  • Inaccurate colour
  • Restricted app retailer
  • Requires charging brick

Video high quality might be ok 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 nonetheless, the picture may be very watchable and audio system sound surprisingly highly effective. 

The primary purpose to get the Mars II Professional is if you’d like ultra-portable video, particularly outside. It is easy to place close to a wall or display screen and stream some Netflix inside minutes, anyplace. For those who plan to make use of it commonly in the identical room inside, nonetheless, you are in all probability higher off with a extra conventional projector.

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


Geoffrey Morrison/PJDM

Fundamental specs

  • Native decision: 1,280×720
  • 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 would possibly suppose. It will match simply inside any backpack with loads of room to spare for a water bottle, hoodie, digicam, and many others. Anker might have made the carrying strap out of cheap-feeling plastic, however has a faux-leather prime and is mushy beneath. Good to the contact.

There are buttons on the highest for all the fundamental capabilities, however no controls for zoom or focus. That is logical since there is not any zoom and focus is automated. 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 lately 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 costlier, however far much less moveable, Optoma HD146X places out round 1,146. 

Anker claims the interior 12,500 mAh battery is nice for about 3.5 hours viewing time, and about that lengthy to cost again up once more. For those who hold it within the excessive brightness mode, that drops to 1.5 hours. For those who’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 cell machine, so you’ll be able to really obtain exhibits to its 8GB inside storage. 

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Geoffrey Morrison/PJDM

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 lots on a projector like this. The USB port permits you to stream content material from a USB reminiscence stick, or you’ll be able to cost a tool (like your telephone), utilizing the Mars II Professional’s beefy battery. 

That is it for bodily connections, apart from the facility port, which requires a separate energy brick. That is a bummer: I am a hardliner “every little thing moveable ought to cost by way of USB.” If you wish to cost the projector away from dwelling, you may should 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 obtainable Wi-Fi. 

You do not get the complete Google Play retailer, nonetheless, and even Android TV. As a substitute, it is Aptoide, a type of culled/curated model of the Play retailer. It’s kind of 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 will not be supported. Total it is not dangerous, however you may not have the ability to discover each service you are used to.

The distant is wafer skinny, however not backlit. That is wonderful since you’re in all probability not going to make use of it. As a substitute, there’s the Anker Join app (Android and iOS), which connects simply and does all the identical issues. In actual fact, among the apps really require the app. Management within the projector’s menus works wonderful, however it is a bit clunky within the Netflix app for example. Not a giant problem, nevertheless it might 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, nevertheless it’s pretty loud and the sound high quality is best than I anticipated from such a small machine. This is likely one of the few projectors I’ve really turned down to attain a traditional listening stage.

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Geoffrey Morrison/PJDM

Image high quality comparisons

I in contrast the Mars II Professional to the Viewsonic M2, one other moveable projector, and the Optoma HD146X, a standard 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 completely different projector, and solely a direct competitor in a single sense: value. 

I’ve a sense the Mars II Professional would possibly entice the eye of somebody not usually inquisitive about projectors, so the Optoma is right here for example of what comparable cash can get you in a non-portable, normal projector. I linked these by way of 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/PJDM

First up is brightness. The M2 and Mars II are remarkably comparable. Their gentle outputs and distinction ratios are principally an identical. In each instances, this quantity is “wonderful.” Contemplating the scale and their capacity to run off batteries, someplace round 300 lumens is appropriate. 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 shifting the Anker nearer, which is able to create a smaller however brighter picture.

The Optoma, alternatively, is considerably brighter than both one. On a similar dimension display screen I measured over 127 nits, which is over 5x brighter than the Mars II. The Optoma is far more watchable at 100-inches. And for those who use the Optoma’s most colour correct mode, it is nonetheless twice as brilliant as the opposite two. 

And we positively 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 3 primary and 3 secondary colors that’s correct. Inexperienced is oversaturated. Yellow is not however is kind of greenish-yellow. Magenta is oversaturated and too blue. The outcome seems to be such as you’ve obtained the colour management a number of ticks above the place it ought to be. It isn’t bizarre, per se, and general it nonetheless seems to be higher than the M2, however general it is positively extra Pace Racer than The Grand Budapest Resort. 

Aspect-by-side with the Optoma, it is night time and day. Or at the very least Technicolor and Kodachrome. The Optoma is not super-accurate itself, and really errs on the aspect of undersaturated, however its colours look way more pure than the Anker.

Not like the Optoma, the Mars II would not have in depth image settings. It has two. You possibly can regulate the color temperature: Regular, Cool and Heat, and even essentially the most correct (Heat) remains to be manner too cool.. You possibly can regulate the lamp settings: Normal, Battery and Auto. Normal is its brightest. Battery is dim however will get you that 3+ 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, and many others. One result’s which you could’t regulate distinction to revive clipped particulars in brilliant whites.

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Geoffrey Morrison/PJDM

Contrast ratio, just like the brightness, is appropriate 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 2-3x that. The excessive finish of that efficiency vary, the BenQ HT2050A is 2,094:1. The Viewsonic is principally 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 would possibly suppose. In actual fact, as a result of the Anker’s black stage is a bit decrease than the M2 it seems to be a bit higher. The M2 may be very barely brighter, which is not noticeable. That black stage 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 giant. For those who shrink the picture right down to 60-80 inches, it seems to be detailed sufficient that it would not look mushy. 

Conclusion

Truthfully, 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 recognized for video gear are likely to miss some essential issues with regards to projectors. As an illustration, image high quality. 

So general I am impressed that Anker obtained lots proper with the Mars II Professional. Nicely, at the very least graded on the curve of value, dimension and battery energy. In contrast with a mean dwelling projector it comes up brief in each efficiency metric, so For those who’re searching for one thing that may by no means stray too removed from an outlet, you are higher off with a extra “conventional” projector. However if you’d like one thing moveable to look at motion pictures outdoors, the Mars II Professional has an amazing design, sounds good, is straightforward to make use of and has a extra watchable picture than the Viewsonic M2 — all for much less cash. 


In addition to masking TV and different show tech, Geoff does photograph excursions of cool museums and locations around the world, together with nuclear submarinesmassive aircraft carriersmedieval castlesairplane graveyards and extra. 

You possibly can comply with 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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Author

Geoffrey Morrison