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Anker Nebula Mars II Professional overview: Petite transportable projector performs proficiently


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

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Anker’s Nebula Mars II Professional is a shocking little projector. And I do imply little. It is sufficiently small to cover fully 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.

LikeCompact sizeBuilt-in battery lasts as much as 3.5 hoursSurprisingly loud audio system

Do not LikePoor brightness and contrastInaccurate colorLimited app storeRequires charging brick

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

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

Primary specs Native decision: 1,280×720 pixelsHDR-compatible: No4K-compatible: No3D-compatible: NoLumens spec: 500Zoom: NoneLens shift: NoneLamp life (Regular mode): 30,000 hours

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

There are buttons on the highest for all the essential capabilities, however no controls for zoom or focus. That is logical since there is no 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 ft from the display. Decision is 720p, which is fairly low for a projector as of late 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 transportable, Optoma HD146X places out round 1,146. 

Anker claims the inner 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 case you hold it within the excessive brightness mode, that drops to 1 and a half hours. In case 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 function by Anker, some apps deal with the Mars II Professional as a cell machine, so you possibly can really obtain reveals to its 8GB inside storage. 

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Connectivity and comfort HDMI inputs: 1USB port: 1 Audio enter and output: 3.5mm outputDigital audio output: NoneWi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/nRemote: Not backlit

There may be one HDMI enter, which is lots 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, apart from the ability port, which requires a separate energy brick. That is a bummer: I am a hardliner “every thing transportable ought to cost through USB.” If you wish to cost the projector away from house, you may need to 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 do not get 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, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney Plus and others you might or could not acknowledge. There’s HBO Nordic and HBO Go, however no US HBO or HBO Max. Chromecast isn’t supported. Total it isn’t 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 tremendous since you’re most likely 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 actual fact, a number of the apps really require the app. Management within the projector’s menus works tremendous, however it is a bit clunky within the Netflix app as an illustration. Not an enormous difficulty, however it 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, however 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 realize a traditional listening degree.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Image high quality comparisons

I in contrast the Mars II Professional to the ViewSonic M2, one other transportable 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 inquisitive about projectors, so the Optoma is right here for example of what comparable cash can get you in a non-portable, commonplace projector. I linked these through a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier and seen all on a 102-inch 1.0-gain display.

Prime view with carrying strap

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

First up is brightness. The M2 and Mars II are remarkably comparable. Their mild outputs and distinction ratios are principally equivalent. In each circumstances, this quantity is “tremendous.” Contemplating the dimensions and their capability 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 transferring the Anker nearer, which can create a smaller however brighter picture.

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

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

Aspect by aspect with the Optoma, it is night time and day. Or not less than Technicolor and Kodachrome. The Optoma is not tremendous correct itself, and truly errs on the aspect of being 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’ll be able to modify the colour temperature: Regular, Cool and Heat, and even probably the most correct (Heat) continues to be approach too cool. You’ll be able to modify the lamp settings: Commonplace, Battery and Auto. Commonplace 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 that you would be able to’t modify distinction to revive clipped particulars in brilliant whites.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Distinction 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 two or thrice 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 may suppose. In actual fact, as a result of the Anker’s black degree is somewhat decrease than the M2 it appears somewhat 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 that is most noticeable should you’re shut sufficient to note the person pixels, that are pretty giant. In case you shrink the picture all the way down to 60-80 inches, it appears detailed sufficient that it would not look tender. 

Conclusion

Truthfully, I wasn’t anticipating a lot from the Mars II Professional. I have been underwhelmed with most battery-powered transportable projectors I’ve reviewed. I’ve additionally discovered that firms not recognized for video gear are inclined to miss some essential issues on the subject of projectors. As an illustration, image high quality. 

Total I am impressed that Anker obtained lots proper with the Mars II Professional. No less than when graded on the curve of worth, dimension and battery energy. In contrast with a mean house projector it comes up brief in each efficiency metric, so In case you’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 would like one thing transportable to observe films outdoors, the Mars II Professional has an ideal 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 areas around the globe, together with nuclear submarines, huge plane carriers, medieval castles, airplane 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.

About the author: SubSellKaro

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