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Portable projectors allow you to instantly transform any wall into a movie theatre. Most are equipped with their own rechargeable batteries, speakers, and apps for streaming all of your favourite shows anywhere.
We tested a handful of portable projectors to help you find the best one for your needs and budget. Our picks are easy to operate and pack enough battery life to get through a 2-hour movie, but are still small enough to toss into a bag.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Compact Projector
Best Overall – Whether you’re using it for work or play, this reliable portable projector lets you bring presentations and videos with you anywhere you go. It offers an impressive native resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels and the ability to project an image up to 120 inches.
The projector is equipped with dual 5-watt Dolby-tuned speakers, and all the ports you could possibly want. On the device’s backside, you’ll find an HDMI port, a USB-A port, and a headphone jack. This projector relies on an AC adapter for power, and is not equipped with a battery.
The projector runs one of the most up-to-date versions of Android TV, so you can easily download your favourite apps to stream video and music. It even has Chromecast and the Google Assistant built in for quickly mirroring your smartphone’s display or controlling playback with your voice.
What we love most is that the projector is upward-compatible and doesn’t struggle with streaming 4K HDR content. What this means is that even though it doesn’t output the video in true 4K, you’re still able to play 4K videos without getting a blurry image. And since this projector has a full 1080p resolution and 500 lumens of brightness, it offers some of the best image quality yet.
Nebula Capsule Smart Portable Projector
Best Budget – The Capsule by Anker checks all the boxes for what a portable projector should be. It’s reasonably priced but doesn’t feel cheap. It dishes out a clear image and outstanding sound quality. Plus, it packs 4 hours of battery life, so you won’t ever need to worry about it dying before your movie is over.
Compared to the similar Nebula Capsule II and Nebula Apollo projector, the picture quality from this device isn’t as bright or detailed. Checking in at a resolution of 854 by 480 pixels, it’s not even high definition, and it doesn’t focus automatically like our best picture pick.
However, we think that the image quality is good enough for most users and because of the projector’s cylindrical design, it offers a full 360-degree sound. Out of any projector we’ve tested or researched, this one has the best design. It’s small and lightweight, and its unique soda-can shape and size truly lets you take it anywhere.
Although we wish that it charged using a USB-C port instead of MicroUSB, this projector is still a great buy considering its outstanding balance between price, performance, features, and portability
Anker Nebula Capsule Max
Best Mid-Range- The Nebula Capsule Max is quite similar to the aforementioned Capsule projector, but it’s about 18% thicker and an inch taller. What sets it apart is its picture quality. With this model, you get a 720p resolution image that’s twice as bright. More pixels makes for a much more detailed picture and more immersive experience.
The Capsule Max creates an image up to 100 inches in size, and it features a built-in, 8-watt speaker that’s louder and clearer than other projectors in its price range. And since the projector runs the Android TV operating system, you can easily stream your favourite videos and music from several apps.
Compared to the similarly named Capsule II projector, this one charges using an AC adapter, instead of a USB-C port, meaning it isn’t as versatile or quick to recharge. The Capsule II also has Chromecast tech onboard, meaning you can quickly “cast” videos on YouTube or other streaming apps from your phone to the projector in just seconds — a feature this model lacks.
Overall, the Capsule II Max is a much better buy considering its extreme versatility and portability.
Anker Nebula Mars II Pro Portable Projector
Biggest Sound: Compared to Anker’s Nebula Capsule line, its Mars II Pro portable projector is significantly larger. Fortunately, this one has a convenient leather-like handle for easy transport, as well as a fuller sound and much bigger picture. It packs a 1280-by-720 resolution, a convenient autofocus function, and dual 10-watt audio drivers that deliver a full cinematic sound that’s much louder and clearer than the AAXA P7 projector.
The Mars II Pro is just as versatile as the Nebula Capsule, and features built-in Wi-Fi, an HDMI jack for hooking up video game consoles, and several downloadable apps for quick and easy streaming.
It projects images up to 150 inches and has a battery that lasts just over 3 hours. Although this model costs $50 more than the similar Nebula Mars II, it’s brighter and has better colour accuracy. But if you want more portability without sacrificing resolution or battery life, we recommend going with the Nebula Capsule Max instead.
AAXA P7 Portable Projector
Best for Bright Rooms – The device is capable of projecting a 120-inch HD picture at a bright 600 lumens, making it suitable for use during the day.
Plus, the P7 projector offers a wide range of connectivity options, including HDMI, composite AV, Mini-VGA, USB, and microSD. All these ports will come in handy when you need to share your computer screen in an office setting.
At about 5 inches long and 4 inches wide, the P7 is small enough to toss in a bag, but it doesn’t feature an onboard operating system, which slightly hinders its portability. You’ll have to use a streaming device, connect it to your laptop over HDMI, play files on USB drives, or use a memory card, instead.
But if you want the some of the best image quality possible, this portable projector is still a good bet, though!
Sony MP-CD1 Portable Projector
Most Portable – The MP-CD1 projector from Sony is about the size of a smartphone, making it small enough to fit in your pocket. But don’t let its size fool you, because it can project a 120-inch display on your wall or ceiling. It features a metal housing, so it feels much more robust and premium than other projectors.
The projector has a resolution of 854 by 480 pixels and you can expect 2 hours of use before needing a recharge. Even though battery life isn’t as long as other projectors we mentioned, you can still use the projector while it’s charging, which is a huge plus — especially given that it has a USB-C port that supports fast charging. Besides the USB-C jack, it’s equipped with a 3.5-millimeter audio jack, a HDMI port, and a tiny speaker. We only wish that the audio quality were a bit better and that this portable projector included a remote. – Culled from BEST