Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen portable projector review & price

Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen portable projector review & price
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Can you watch Netflix and YouTube from android TV app in Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen portable projector review? Plug and play your favorite HDMI and USB 2.0 devices, including laptops, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and more. DLP IntelliBright technology projects a radiant 500-ANSI-lumen image at razor-sharp 720p for breathtaking video clarity. Know more in Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen portable projector review.

Pros & Cons – Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen portable projector

PROS

  • Android 7.1 built in
  • Excellent speakers
  • Compact and portable
  • Bright images (for its size) with auto keystone/focus
  • Android Apps (Google Play optional)
  • Excellent speakers
  • Built-in battery lasts up to 3.5 hours
  • Good color quality for video and photos
  • AirPlay connectivity for video, photos, and music
  • Tripod connector
  • Large 150-inch maximum display size
  • Native streaming and browsing options

CONS

  • No Google Play Store
  • Some apps not remote compatible (must use Mouse function)
  • Home screen not customizable
  • Carry bag not included
  • Limited app store
  • Requires charging brick

Specs – Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen portable projector

  • Speaker: Dual 10W Speakers
  • Dual Frequency: 2.4 / 5GHz
  • CPU: Quad-Core A7
  • Battery: 12, 500mAh / 3.85V
  • Bluetooth: BT4.0 Dual Mode / A2DP
  • Fan: <32dB
  • DC-IN: 19V, 3A DC-In
  • Control: Physical Buttons
  • HDMI: HDMI 1.4
  • USB: USB 2.0
  • Dedicated App: Nebula Connect for Android and iOS
  • Aspect Ratio: 16: 9
  • Throw Ratio: 100 in at 8.73 ft; 80 in at 6.99 ft; 60 in at 5.22 ft; 40 in at 3.48 ft
  • Offset: 100%
  • Display Technology: 0.3″ DLP
  • Native Resolution: 1280 x 720 (HD)
  • Brightness: 500 ANSI lm
  • Lamp Life: 30,000 Hours
  • Focus Adjustment: Automatic
  • Keystone Correction: Horizontal and Vertical ±40°

Compare Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen portable projector vs Nebula Capsule II

 Nebula Capsule IINebula Mars IINebula Mars II Pro
Color SelectionBlackBlackBlack
Projection TechnologyDLPDLPDLP
Brightness200 ANSI lm300 ANSI lm500 ANSI lm
Resolution1280×720 (16:9, HD)1280×720 (16:9, HD)1280×720 (16:9, HD)
Projection Size20-100 in30-150 in30-150 in
Operating SystemAndroid TV 9.0Android 7.1Android 7.1
Speaker1× 8W (270°)2× 10W2× 10W
Video Playtime2.5 hours4 hours3 hours
ConnectivityHDMI, USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and ChromecastHDMI, USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Screen MirroringHDMI, USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Screen Mirroring
FocusAutomatic (1 second)Automatic (1 second)Automatic

Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen portable projector review

Build

Tub-like, with a matte-black top and steely gray sides, it has a cloth strap to lug it around. It looks rather like a handbasket—I found myself thinking of it as Darth Vader’s lunchbox.

Design

The Anker Nebula Mars II projector looks a bit like a squashed cube, with its edges smoothly curved off.  At 5.4 by 4.8 by 7 inches (HWD) and weighing 3.9 pounds, the Mars II Pro is larger. When not in use, the lens is concealed behind a protective cover. When the cover is pulled down, the projector turns on and the Mars II Pro’s DLP-based light engine—using an LED light source.

  • Length: 7 in
  • Width: 4.8 in
  • Height: 5.43 in
  • Weight: 3.94 lbs

Connectors

In terms of connectivity, the Mars II Pro only has space for the essentials: one HDMI port, so you can connect gadgets like game consoles, a headphone jack in case you do want to connect a better set of speakers, and a USB port, which allows you to play videos off of a flash drive. The relative lack of ports is balanced out by support for AirPlay 2, an Apple-developed technology that allows you to wirelessly stream audio and video from an iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The Mars II Pro even supports Bluetooth, so you can stream music to it and use the projector as a portable speaker.

  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • USB port: 1 
  • Audio input and output: 3.5mm output
  • Digital audio output: None
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Remote: Not backlit

Display

To get a 100-inch image, the Mars II Pro needs to be about nine feet from the screen. You’ll get roughly ten-inches of screen size for every foot-or-so the projector is away from the surface its projecting on, up to an ultimate limit of 150-inches. You’ll find the sweetspot between size and projection clarity somewhere between 80 and 100-inches however we found, with performance best as you’d expect when in as close to pitch-black darkness as you can manage. 

Brightness

It comes with 300 ANSI lumens. In a dark room, the Mars II Pro’s maximum usable size proved to be about 80 inches, and about 48 inches with the introduction of ambient light.

Resolution

Its native resolution is a healthy 720p (1,280 by 720 pixels), matching the Anker Nebula Capsule II and exceeding the Anker Nebula Apollo’s and Kodak Luma 350’s 480p (854 by 480 pixels), while falling short of the Acer C250i’s 1080p (1,920 by 1,080 pixels). The Mars II Pro uses autofocus; sometimes it would take five or more seconds to engage, but when it achieved focus, it was crisp.

Keystone

There’s automatic focusing and keystone correction, to further speed things up, so all you need do is point the Nebula Mars 2 at a wall and it does the rest. We recommend turning off auto keystone correction and applying it manually, though. As always, it effectively distorts the raw image, reducing image quality.

Battery life

The Mars II Pro has a built-in rechargeable battery with a massive 12,500mAh capacity. This is good for up to three hours of movie playback, according to Anker. 

Audio

The speakers built in are enjoyable too. Using two 10W drivers and bass radiators of Anker’s own design, they go impressively loud and sound reasonably clear too. That’s particularly handy given the projector can be used as a standalone Bluetooth speaker too, where it’ll blast 30-odd hours of tunes on a single charge.

To enter Bluetooth Speaker mode, you depress the Bluetooth button for about five seconds, when you will hear the words “Entering Bluetooth Speaker Mode.” You can then pair the speaker with a phone or tablet, and stream music to it.

Control

A panel on top of the projector includes a four-arrow controller with a central OK button, plus Bluetooth, backspace, and plus and minus volume-control buttons. A handheld remote has a slightly larger selection of controls. You can also run the projector from a mobile device through the Nebula Connect app for iOS or Android.

Streaming

you can run preloaded Android apps and download new ones from the App Store over a Wi-Fi connection, as well as tweak a variety of settings as you would on a smartphone. The home screen includes buttons for (downloadable) apps for Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Netflix, plus a link to the App Store, as well as Settings, Network, App Manager, File Manager, and HDMI buttons. From File Manager, you can run files from a USB thumb drive, or from the projector’s 8GB of internal memory.

How to setup Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen portable projector?

Place Mars II Pro on a stable, flat foundation in front of the projection surface. For the best results, the projection surface should be white and flat. The distance between the projector and the projection surface must be a minimum of 1 meter (39.4 inches) and a maximum of 3 meters (118 inches).

For first-time use, remove the plastic battery insulation tab to activate the remote control batteries. To replace the battery, slide off the battery compartment backplate to open the battery compartment, insert new batteries (matching the polarity (+/-) indicated), and close the battery compartment.

Fully charge the built-in battery before using for the first time. Connect the projector to the outlet by using the provided power adapter and power cord, the built-in battery will be charged and the LED indicators will light on.

Then slide down the lens cover, and the projector will automatically turn on. When the projector is in standby mode, you can also press on the remote control to turn it on. Angle the projector towards a suitable projection surface or wall. To focus the image, slightly move the projector to engage autofocus or press and hold the on the remote control to manually adjust. For first time use, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the basic set-up.

Nebula App

To easily control the projector, we recommend you to download the devoted Nebula App, Nebula Connect. Using this app, you can use your smartphone’s keyboard to input text and control the projector by operating a mouse on the screen.

  • Download the Nebula Connect app from the App Store (iOS devices) or Google Play (Android devices).
  • Enable Bluetooth on your smartphone and select [Nebula] as the device to be connected.
  • Open the Nebula Connect app and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the connection setup

Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen portable projector customer review


Great backyard projector

We bought this to do backyard movies and television. We live in a garden home neighborhood, which means we’re close to our neighbors and their lights and have plenty of streetlights and other light pollution. Even with all that, once the sun sets, this projector does a fabulous job. We often have the fire pit going or the lights on in the gazebo, and there’s still a great clear picture. The only time you really need a truly dark environment is with shows or movies that have a very dark ambience– for some episodes of the Mandalorian, for example, we needed to kill the gazebo lights to see it well. Finding Nemo did not need such considerations. We do typically run the projector in the brighter mode since we have the ability to run power to it in our backyard. We have tested it on battery power and got about 2 hours of viewing. Even on battery power, there’s plenty of brightness in the picture if you’re using it after dark.

I highly recommend setting up all your accounts in the projector ahead of time. It makes it SO much easier to deal with logging into all the accounts and typing in your passwords if you’re just shining it on the wall in your living room the night before movie night instead of trying to set everything up while everyone stares at you! Some of those apps are a pain to navigate, and there’s a bit of a learning curve to using the remote and/or phone app. You get used to it, but it takes a minute.

Our setup:

We project onto a projector screen (just the 100″ Amazon Basic one)– we attached projector screen mounting brackets with to our house under the eaves and attached a set of carabiners rated for 75 pounds (extreme overkill) on each end of the projector screen. My husband can pull the screen out from the storage closet and clip the it onto the hooks in the mounting brackets in less than a minute. We have a set of ground anchors near the wall, and we use two bungee cords (I used a pair of pliers to widen the hooks a bit) so that they loop around the bottom ends of the projector screen and then connect to the anchors. They’re long enough that they only have a tiny bit of tension on the screen– just enough to keep the screen from blowing, twisting, and kinking if there’s a breeze.

When we’re not using the screen, we disconnect the bungees and roll it up, where it’s safely tucked away under the eaves. We leave it up during good weather but can easily unhook it and put it away if rain threatens.

We paired our projector with a cheap tripod from Walmart and a couple orange traffic cones from Home Depot so that the kids don’t run into the tripod in the dark. Like some others have commented, the tripod mounting hole is a little shallow, so it can make the projector feel unstable on a tripod mount. Thanks to those commenters, I anticipated having the same problem and was armed with supplies to solve it. We bought a couple neoprene washers from Home Depot and placed them between the projector and the tripod mount. That made it a snug fit and eliminated any wobble. We leave the tripod mount attached all the time and just store the whole unit in its bag. (It does NOT come with any kind of storage bag, by the way– we ordered the Anker one off Amazon because I disliked having to put it back in the cardboard box each time we used it.)

We often sit back a good ways from the projector, and while the built-in sound is fine for me, my husband is kind of hard of hearing. We pair the projector via Bluetooth with an Anker Soundcore Flare 2 speaker we already owned and sit the speaker right next to us. They play together fabulously. There’s no sound lag at all, at least none I can discern. We did discover that it helps to turn the speaker on a few seconds before turning the projector on. They pair quicker and more easily when the speaker is turned on first. And as we already have an actual bluetooth speaker, we’ve never really tried to use our projector as a bluetooth speaker. The Soundcore Flare 2 is a lot cheaper and more durable if my kids get a little too crazy with their elementary dance parties.

We’ve had this thing for going on three months and love it. I did a lot of research and agonized over which portable projector to buy, and I’m really happy with the choice I made for my family. If that changes, I’ll update this review, but I don’t suspect I’ll need to.

By Misty C. at Nebula

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