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HomeBest ReviewsAnker Nebula Mars II Pro Review: Petite Portable Projector Performs Proficiently

Anker Nebula Mars II Pro Review: Petite Portable Projector Performs Proficiently

Video high quality shall 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 colour accuracy. Compared with different tiny, battery-powered projectors nonetheless, the picture may be very watchable and audio system sound surprisingly highly effective. 

The important purpose to get the Mars II Pro is in order for you ultra-portable video, particularly outdoor. It’s simple to place close to a wall or display screen and stream some Netflix inside minutes, anyplace. If you intend to make use of it usually in the identical room inside, nonetheless, you are in all probability higher off with a extra conventional projector.

Editor’s observe, Dec. 1: Due to its efficiency, measurement and worth, we’re giving the Nebula Mars II Pro our Editors’ Choice award as our favourite transportable projector. While there are newer transportable mini projectors which are brighter and simpler to make use of, those that outperform this Anker — just like the Xgimi Halo Plus — are additionally dearer. The Mars II Pro is a good all-around projector for the worth.

Basic specs

  • Native decision: 1,280×720 pixels
  • HDR-compatible: No
  • 4K-compatible: No
  • 3D-compatible: No
  • Lumens spec: 500
  • Zoom: None
  • Lens shift: None
  • Lamp life (Normal mode): 30,000 hours

The Mars II Pro is smaller than you would possibly suppose. It would match simply inside any backpack with loads of room to spare for a water bottle, hoodie or digicam. Anker might have made the carrying strap out of cheap-feeling plastic, however has a faux-leather high and is mushy beneath. It’s good to the touch.

There are buttons on the highest for all the essential features, however no controls for zoom or focus. This is logical since there is no zoom and focus is automated. An built-in slide-open lens cap additionally turns the projector on and off.

To get a 100-inch picture, the Mars II Pro must be about 9 ft from the display screen. Resolution is 720p, which is fairly low for a projector lately 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. If you retain it within the excessive brightness mode, that drops to 1 and a half hours. If you are simply utilizing the Mars II as a Bluetooth speaker, Anker claims about 30 hours for audio-only playback.

Though not particularly talked about as a characteristic by Anker, some apps deal with the Mars II Pro as a cellular system, so you possibly can truly obtain reveals to its 8GB inside storage. 


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
  • Remote: Not backlit

There is one HDMI enter, which is loads on a projector like this. The USB port helps you to stream content material from a USB reminiscence stick, or you possibly can cost a tool (like your telephone), utilizing the Mars II Pro’s beefy battery. 

That’s it for bodily connections, aside from the facility port, which requires a separate energy brick. That’s a bummer: I’m a hardliner “every thing transportable ought to cost by way of USB.” If you wish to cost the projector away from house, you may should pack the brick too.

The Mars II Pro’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 out there Wi-Fi. 

You do not get the total Google Play Store, nonetheless, and even Android TV. Instead, it is Aptoide, a kind of culled or curated model of the Play Store. It’s a little 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 you could or might not acknowledge. There’s HBO Nordic and HBO Go, however no US HBO or HBO Max. Chromecast shouldn’t be supported. Overall it is not 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’s advantageous since you’re in all probability not going to make use of it. Instead, there’s the Anker Connect app (Android and iOS), which connects simply and does all the identical issues. In truth, among the apps truly require the app. Control within the projector’s menus works advantageous, however it’s kind of clunky within the Netflix app as an illustration. Not a giant subject, however it might be smoother.

There are two side-firing 10-watt audio system and an oblong passive radiator within the entrance. That would not sound like a lot, however it’s pretty loud and the sound high quality is best than I anticipated from such a small system. This is without doubt one of the few projectors I’ve truly turned down to realize a traditional listening stage.


Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Picture high quality comparisons

I in contrast the Mars II Pro 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 in addition 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 Pro would possibly entice the eye of somebody not usually interested by projectors, so the Optoma is right here for instance of what comparable cash can get you in a non-portable, normal 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.


Top view with carrying strap

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

First up is brightness. The M2 and Mars II are remarkably comparable. Their gentle outputs and distinction ratios are principally an identical. In each instances, this quantity is “advantageous.” Considering the scale and their capacity to run off batteries, someplace round 300 lumens is suitable. When making a 100-inch picture that equates to about 37 nits. That’s sufficient for a watchable, albeit dim, picture. You’re 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 measurement display screen I measured over 127 nits, which is over 5 occasions brighter than the Mars II. The Optoma is way more watchable at 100 inches. And in the event you use the Optoma’s most colour correct mode, it is nonetheless twice as vibrant as the opposite two. 

And we positively want to speak about colour. The Mars II Pro has among the least correct colours of any projector I’ve ever reviewed. Blue is the one colour out of the three main and three secondary colours that’s correct. Green is oversaturated. Yellow is not however is sort of greenish-yellow. Magenta is oversaturated and too blue. The outcome appears such as you’ve bought the colour management just a few ticks above the place it needs to be. It’s not bizarre, per se, and general it nonetheless appears higher than the M2, however general it is positively extra Speed Racer than The Grand Budapest Hotel. 

Side by aspect with the Optoma, it is night time and day. Or a minimum of Technicolor and Kodachrome. The Optoma is not tremendous correct itself, and really errs on the aspect of being undersaturated, however its colours look much more pure than the Anker.

Unlike the Optoma, the Mars II would not have intensive image settings. It has two. You can alter the colour temperature: Normal, Cool and Warm, and even essentially the most correct (Warm) remains to be means too cool. You can alter the lamp settings: Standard, Battery and Auto. Standard 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’s it. No brightness, distinction, tint. One result’s you can’t alter distinction to revive clipped particulars in vibrant whites.


Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Contrast 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 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 would possibly suppose. In truth, as a result of the Anker’s black stage is a bit of decrease than the M2 it appears a bit of higher. The M2 may be very barely brighter, which is not noticeable. That black stage is even decrease than the Optoma, however that projector is a lot brighter this edge is not related. 

Lastly we come to element. Both the M2 and HD146X are 1080p to the Anker’s 720p. On a 100-inch display screen that is most noticeable in the event you’re shut sufficient to note the person pixels, that are pretty giant. If you shrink the picture right down to 60-80 inches, it appears detailed sufficient that it would not look mushy. 


Honestly, I wasn’t anticipating a lot from the Mars II Pro. I’ve 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 relating to projectors. For occasion, image high quality. 

Overall I’m impressed that Anker bought rather a lot proper with the Mars II Pro. At least when graded on the curve of worth, measurement and battery energy. Compared with a mean house projector it comes up brief in each efficiency metric, so If you are searching for one thing that can by no means stray too removed from an outlet, you are higher off with a extra “conventional” projector. But in order for you one thing transportable to observe motion pictures outdoors, the Mars II Pro has an amazing design, sounds good, is simple to make use of and has a extra watchable picture than the ViewSonic M2 — all for much less cash.

As nicely as protecting 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 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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