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“Instant big screen” is the promise of most portable projectors, but the good ones are usually pretty hefty and tiny ones deliver a poor viewing experience. For the most part, you’d be better off using your laptop to view your own media, or stick with your regular flatscreen.
The Capsule offers a third option.
It’s a tiny projector coming from the minds of Nebula, the offshoot of the popular electronics company Anker.
A DLP projector, the Capsule is about the size of a soda can and can display a picture up to 100″. Utilizing Android 7.1 and doubling as a 360-degree Bluetooth speaker, it also has a four-hour battery life (you can also charge while you play) and promises a bright and vivid picture.
The Capsule is still not going to replace your 4K TV, but it’s certainly not marketed that way (if you want a projector that’s going to run your home theater, we have a suggestion). Between its minute stature, ease-of-use and modest price, it’s ideal for road trips, camping and any occasion needing an extra big screen quickly.
We played around with the Capsule for a weekend, and our thoughts are below. Meanwhile, skip to the end if you want a discount code to use between now and July 4th.
Note: You’ll want to place the projector between 23″ and 121” away on a flat, white surface (while our home wall was off-white/beige, the picture was still solid), which will give you an image of 20” to 100”. The light in the room will definitely determine the size of your screen, as we’ll note later on.
- 100 ANSI lumen bulb
- Runs on Android 7.1
- 854 x 480 native resolution
- 16.6 oz.
- 4.72” in height, 2.67” diameter (it really does look like a soda can)
- A hard carrying case and an adjustable tripod are available separately
- Two inputs: One for HDMI, one for power or for connecting to a USB flash drive (via an included OTG cable)
- Four projector modes, depending on where your device is located (front or behind projection surface, and on the ceiling)
- Besides HDMI and the built-in apps, you can mirror content from your devices via Airplay or Chromecast
What you’ll like:
- Great sound: There’s a reason you can use the Capsule as a standalone Bluetooth speaker, as the 360-degree sound here can easily fill a room. You can switch between the two modes with a single button tap.
- Unlike most projectors, the fan on the device is pretty quiet.
- If you connect your device to wifi, you’ll be up on Netflix, Spotify or YouTube in seconds through the built-in apps.
- While the resolution isn’t up to the average budget flatscreen, plugging in our cable feed (via an HDMI cord) resulted in a relatively sharp picture.
What you might not like:
- You’re definitely not going to see a 100” picture if there’s any light in the room. You’ll pretty much need near pitch-black conditions or you’ll be forced to watch a screen that’s a bit larger than your laptop.
- The included remote works decently enough for the built-in apps (like scrolling through Netflix), but is sluggish and hard to use otherwise. The Capsule Control app for your phone is a far better option for navigating (and definitely for using the included web browser), as it works as both a trackpad and a virtual keyboard.
- Our fully-charged Capsule lost about 40% of its power in just minutes, but then seemed to stabilize. You should be able to get up to four hours of video playback (and 30 hours on audio mode), but we’d recommend keeping the unit plugged in while in use, if possible.
- To adjust screen size, you’ll need to physically move the unit closer or further from the viewing surface (there is no zoom)
What others are saying:
If you want a portable projector with semi-decent speakers and Android built in, then the Nebula Capsule is the one to go for. — TechRadar
No other [Android-powered portable projector] comes close to the Capsule’s build quality and software experience. But if you just want a dummy projector to use with a Chromecast/Fire TV Stick, it’s probably not worth the added cost. — Android Police
In terms of diversity of uses and quality of viewing and listening experience, the Nebula triumphs. — Wired UK
The Capsule isn’t going to replace your home theater, and it’s certainly not going to be the device you use to watch your fancy Blu-rays. For the same cost, you can probably find a budget 55” 4K TV that’ll offer a better home theater viewing experience.
(Note: A more powerful but far more expensive version, the Capsule II, was recently introduced. It’s twice the price, offers a bit less viewing time per charge but does feature a superior picture and voice control.)
However, as a quick plug-n-play option or a road trip accessory, this is a great machine, particularly if you want to access your own media. Great for camping, hotel stays where the in-room TV choices are inadequate or for your (dark, windowless) office conference room.
Click below to buy, and save $40 if you use the discount JUNECOM1 (available through July 4th).
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