There is no necessity of unstable projectors on a market, yet many of them aren’t unequivocally good. ‘Nebula’ is a sub-brand from Anker, with usually one product so distant – a Nebula Mars. It’s a intelligent unstable projector that runs Android, with built-in JBL speakers and a battery large adequate to watch a film or twin on a singular charge.
So how does Anker’s initial incursion into projectors finish up? The Nebula Mars is a flattering good product, yet it’s not yet a few faults.
Design and Hardware
The Nebula Mars unequivocally has a distinguished appearance. It’s a dull black cube, with a leather-bound hoop for easy portability. The tip has battery indicator lights and array of controls in box we remove your remote. The behind has an atmosphere outtake, a DC pier for power, an HDMI port, a Type-A USB 3.0 port, an audio out jack, and a tiny reset button. The left and right sides are orator grills, and a front has a projector lens and a JBL logo.
Why is there a JBL logo, we ask? Because this has twin 10W JBL speakers. In my testing, audio on a Nebula Mars sounded great, and a speakers can get unequivocally shrill while still progressing decent quality. we have no complaints with a speakers. But if we would rather use a opposite span of speakers (or headphones), we can always use a audio out jack. Bluetooth audio out is also supported, yet we can’t use a speakers to play audio from another device over Bluetooth.
The projector also comes with a remote, powered by twin CR2032 batteries. Because they’re not a common battery type, like AA or AAA, replacing them competence be somewhat some-more of a pain. The remote has all a navigation and volume controls found on a projector itself, as good as a energy switch and a symbol to adjust focus. If we ever remove a remote (or it dies), we can adjust a concentration by holding down a OK symbol on a projector.
The Nebula Mars has a 3,000 Lumen lamp, that is brighter than many other portable/pico projectors. For example, a RIF6 CUBE projector maxes out during 50 Lumens, as does a Moto Z Insta Share Projector. If you’re wondering how that translates into real-world usage, we should be means to see a projection indoors even if we have some lights on. As a test, we placed a projector in a room with churned windows. The design on a left has all a blinds open while it was balmy outside, and a design on a right is with a blinds closed.
As with any projector, a darker we can make a room, a better. The Nebula Mars also apparently supports DLP 3D playback, yet we don’t have any 3D eyeglasses or calm to exam this with.
I unequivocally usually have one censure with a Nebula’s hardware – there’s no microUSB or Type-C port. we would adore to send videos directly to a projector’s 12GB of inner storage, yet there’s no easy approach to do that.
Performance and battery
The Nebula Mars has a four-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor, clocked during 1.15GHz. The complement menus and enclosed apps all ran usually excellent with well-spoken animations, yet some apps take a while to start up. Plex and Kodi both compulsory about 10 seconds to open in my testing. But media playback was well-spoken with each app and use we tried.
The projector has a 19,500mAh battery, yet as we competence expect, a flare itself is utterly energy hungry. Anker says this should final about 3 hours, and in my testing, a projector falls somewhat next that. It lasted for 2 hours and 30 mins during uninterrupted Netflix streaming, and a same volume of time while examination a 1080p Blu-ray slice from a USB drive.
The program on a Nebula Mars is a churned bag. For starters, it’s regulating a heavily-customized chronicle of Android TV 4.4.4. we have no thought since Anker chose such an aged chronicle of Android – it’s like shopping a new PC with Windows Vista installed. The customary Android TV Leanback launcher is gone, transposed with a tradition chronicle from Nebula. While we would have elite Google’s launcher, this one is usually as quick and responsive.
Nebula includes a few applications with this projector. The HDMI app displays whatever vigilance is entrance by a HDMI port, that worked usually excellent in my testing. There’s also a record manager with shortcuts for video, music, and photos.
You can play media from a USB expostulate by a enclosed record manager.
The record manager allows we to play video, music, and photos from a USB expostulate (there’s a USB 3.0 pier on a Mars). we attempted a few opposite forms of files, including my possess .MKV Blu-ray rips and some .MP4 clips, and they played yet problems. The enclosed video actor is a bit simple yet (there’s no skip section option, for example), yet we can simply open files with another commissioned video actor like Kodi or MX Player.
Another pre-included app is ‘Screen Mirroring,’ that can arrangement a shade of a connected Android/iOS device (or anything else that can use Miracast). Initially, this didn’t work during all for me, yet a bureau reset bound a problem.
This uses a Aptoide TV App Store, not a Google Play Store.
Apps for YouTube and TED are also built-in, as good as an App Store. The store is substantially a biggest obstacle to this projector – it’s not a Google Play Store. Instead, we get the Aptoide TV store. The whole preference consists of 11 applications during a time of writing:
- YouTube for Android TV
- MX Player (with MX Player Codec)
- HBO GO Android TV
- TED TV
- Weather Live Free
- IMDB Movies TV
- Radio Paradise
But it’s not usually a app preference that’s bad, a apps themselves aren’t good either. You can’t pointer in to a YouTube app, since there’s no Google Play Services (I don’t know since they didn’t usually make a coupling for the YouTube TV web app). The Netflix app is a phone version, not a TV interface, so navigation is a bit difficult.
At slightest we can sideload a apps we can’t get from a App store.
On a and side, it’s flattering easy to sideload applications to a Nebula Mars. Just duplicate a preferred APK to a peep drive, block it into a projector, and open it from a record manager. Plex worked usually excellent after we downloaded it from APKMirror (and enabled a TV interface in a app settings).
Unfortunately, sideloading apps is where KitKat’s stipulations turn distant some-more apparent. we attempted to implement a tangible Netflix Android TV app, yet it requires a newer chronicle of Android. Same for a YouTube for Android TV app. Kodi now requires Android 5.0 or higher, so you’re stranded with Kodi v16 (the prior vital release).
If you’re underwhelmed by a program experience, we can always squeeze a Chromecast or Fire TV Stick and block it into a projector’s HDMI port. You can even energy them by a unit’s USB port.
Overall, we enjoyed regulating a Nebula Mars. Yes, it has some issues – we would have unequivocally favourite to have a full Google Play Store and a newer chronicle of Android. But a build peculiarity and speakers are great, and a projection is sharp. Plus, a HDMI submit means that we can use any series of media centers/game consoles/TV boxes to fill in a program gaps.
I don’t consider a $599 MSRP is a good value, yet there doesn’t seem to be any approach competitors to a Nebula Mars. The closest product we can find is the ZTE Spro 2 projector, that is $399 on Amazon right now. The Spro 2 also has an old-fashioned chronicle of Android and twin JBL speakers, yet a outlay is usually 100 Lumens on battery energy (it increases to 200 when plugged in) and it uses a reduce 720p resolution.
If we finish adult shopping a Nebula Mars, we consider you’ll suffer regulating it. But maybe buy it on sale.