Anker Nebula Mars II Professional: Petit transportable 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 utterly beneath 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 an enormous 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 coloration
  • Restricted app retailer
  • Requires charging brick

Video high quality shall be ok for a lot of viewers, however in contrast with a equally priced residence projector it is dimmer, with worse distinction ratio and coloration accuracy. In contrast with different tiny, battery-powered projectors nonetheless, the picture could be very watchable and audio system sound surprisingly highly effective. 

The primary cause to get the Mars II Professional is in order for you ultra-portable video, particularly outside. It is simple to place close to a wall or display screen and stream some Netflix inside minutes, wherever. For those who plan to make use of it commonly in the identical room inside, nonetheless, you are most likely higher off with a extra conventional projector.

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


Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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 assume. It might match simply inside any backpack with loads of room to spare for a water bottle, hoodie, digital camera, and so forth. Anker may have made the carrying strap out of cheap-feeling plastic, however has a faux-leather high and is mushy beneath. Good to the contact.

There are buttons on the highest for all the essential features, however no controls for zoom or focus. That is logical since there is not any 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 screen. Decision is 720p, which is fairly low for a projector today 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 nice for about 3.5 hours viewing time, and about that lengthy to cost again up once more. For those who maintain 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 system, so you may really obtain exhibits to its 8GB inner storage. 

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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 may be one HDMI enter, which is lots on a projector like this. The USB port allows you to stream content material from a USB reminiscence stick, or you may cost a tool (like your cellphone), utilizing the Mars II Professional’s beefy battery. 

That is it for bodily connections, aside from the ability port, which requires a separate energy brick. That is a bummer: I am a hardliner “all the things transportable ought to cost by way of USB.” If you wish to cost the projector away from residence, you will 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 cellphone or connect with some out there Wi-Fi. 

You do not get the total Google Play retailer, nonetheless, and even Android TV. As an alternative, it is Aptoide, a type of culled/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, 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 is just not supported. General 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 wonderful 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, 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 as an example. Not an enormous situation, but it surely 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, but it surely’s pretty loud and the sound high quality is healthier than I anticipated from such a small system. This is likely one of the few projectors I’ve really turned down to attain a standard listening degree.

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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 would possibly entice the eye of somebody not sometimes all for projectors, so the Optoma is right here for instance of what related cash can get you in a non-portable, customary projector. I related these by way of a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier and seen all on a 102-inch 1.0-gain display screen.

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High view with carrying strap


Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

First up is brightness. The M2 and Mars II are remarkably related. Their mild outputs and distinction ratios are mainly similar. In each circumstances, this quantity is “wonderful.” Contemplating the dimensions and their capability to run off batteries, someplace round 300 lumens is suitable. 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 can create a smaller however brighter picture.

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

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

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

Not like the Optoma, the Mars II would not have intensive image settings. It has two. You possibly can modify the coloration temperature: Regular, Cool and Heat, and even essentially the most correct (Heat) remains to be manner too cool.. You possibly can modify the lamp settings: Commonplace, Battery and Auto. Commonplace 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 so forth. One result’s you can’t modify distinction to revive clipped particulars in vivid whites.

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Distinction ratio, just like the brightness, is suitable 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 mainly 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 assume. In actual fact, as a result of the Anker’s black degree is a bit of decrease than the M2 it appears to be like a bit of 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 screen that is most noticeable for those who’re shut sufficient to note the person pixels, that are pretty massive. For those who shrink the picture all the way down to 60-80 inches, it appears to be like 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 transportable projectors I’ve reviewed. I’ve additionally discovered that corporations not identified for video gear are inclined to miss some essential issues in the case of projectors. As an example, image high quality. 

So total I am impressed that Anker received rather a lot proper with the Mars II Professional. Effectively, not less than graded on the curve of worth, dimension and battery energy. In contrast with a mean residence projector it comes up quick in each efficiency metric, so For those who’re in search of one thing that may by no means stray too removed from an outlet, you are higher off with a extra “conventional” projector. However in order for you one thing transportable to observe films exterior, the Mars II Professional has an important 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 picture excursions of cool museums and places world wide, together with nuclear submarineslarge plane carriersmedieval castlesairplane graveyards and extra. 

You possibly can 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.





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