1. DecAway's Avatar



    If you’ve ever checked out the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, then this will sound really familiar to you; the phrase “And now, for something completely different.” This product was on my wish list for a little while, and Anker came through and was kind enough to send it out for me to review. I’ve reviewed quite a few Anker products before, and this is by far the pinnacle of items that I’ve had the opportunity to review (Nebula is made by Anker). For starters, the Nebula Mars II is $499 (might as well call it $500), but it also represents something else… the largest departure from phones and phone related accessories that I’ve had to date. However, I’m pretty excited about it – wouldn’t you be? This projector puts out some serious quality video, especially considering the fact that it’s portable, DLP, has dual 10W speakers, and playback for up to 4 hours! Now that’s something.

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    The Look: I have had one portable projector before, and I have to say that it wasn’t’ impressive, at all. I thought it would be cool to have one, so I went to Best Buy and picked it up, but when I got home the performance wasn’t nearly on-par with what my expectations were. I ended up taking it back because it didn’t suit my needs, but it didn’t crush my desire to have a better projector – I have to return this one, but it’s definitely filled a void in my projector filled heart for the time being. I love all things electronic, and this manifestation of new products with excellent specs and capabilities is always something that piques my interest. Pairing well with the features and capabilities of this projector are its stylish looks. The exterior is a hard-plastic, with ventilated sides for heat dissipation, and well-placed buttons/controls on the top and the back. I only really looked at the front of the projector from the pictures up until I received this review unit in the mail, so I was pleasantly surprised when I grabbed the felt-lined leather strap to pull it out of the package. From the top to the bottom, this projector is made well, and it feels like a quality product!

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    Picture Quality: The picture quality on the Mars II is bright, rich, and goes on for days – really, it stretches out to 150”. I first tested it out on the solid white wall in my kitchen for my demonstration, but I quickly took it into my bedroom and set it up on one of the larger walls for a larger viewing experience. I wish that I had a projector screen to test it out with, but a solid white wall is good enough for all intents and purposes. An additional feature of this projector is that it has a camera mount on the bottom of the projector, so you can mount it on a sturdy tripod for added elevation, angle and stability. One of the best features that impacts overall display quality is the one-second auto-focus feature. Manual adjustments are in the past when it comes to the Mars II. All you have to do is set the projector down where you want to set it up, and the projector will fine-tine the picture to the projection surface by automatically adjusting the focus for the optimal viewing experience. As briefly mentioned above, this is a DLP projector, which from my research seems to be better than its LCD or LED counterparts. DLP projectors put out a little more heat than LEDs and LCDS, and the bulb life seems to be lower (2,000 – 5000 hrs based off of an article I read), but the overall picture saturation and response time are top-notch. The projector brightness comes in at 300 ANSI lumens, which is more than adequate for low-light to dark settings. As with all projectors, display quality and picture are going to be greatly affected by the brightness of the room/area that you’re using the projector in; the darker the atmosphere the better. Adjusting the screen size on the picture is easily done in the settings and can accommodate a screen size of 30” to 150”. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use shorter projection distances or smaller areas, but the ideal range is 30-150”. The 720p resolution is crisp and looks really good for a projector. Of course, a television is the ideal experience inside your home because of size, convenience and refresh rate, but for a $499 DLP projector, the Mars II creates a solid viewing experience whether you’re inside or outside (yes… you can project this on the side of your house for family movie night or some Monday night football while you entertain guests!)

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    Sound Quality: As Anker does, the sound quality on this projector is fantastic. Anker makes a wide variety of portable power sources and sound devices, so it’s only natural that they would be able to incorporate this technology into a portable projector. The projector has dual 10W speakers that put out crisp sound, with balanced bass. If you watch the video demonstration that I have included, you can see that even with the microphone that I’m using to record the sound, that the overall quality and volume of the projector seems to be excellent. On the projector that I had previously, the sound quality, and volume were completely “meh”, which didn’t sit well with me when it came to portable projector impressions. However, once I got a chance to tinker around with the Mars II, I was highly impressed. The speakers create a very enjoyable audio experience, which is even further bolstered by the fact that the projector is so versatile – and the sound quality isn’t lost when operating on battery mode.

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    Functionality: The buttons and operation of the Mars II are straight-forward and intuitive. The projector is running Android 7.1, which is pretty darn fantastic for a projector. The software starts up quickly and involves minimal setup. All you have to do is select the language and connect to your Wi-Fi source and you’re ready to go. Amazon, YouTube and Netflix are already on the home screen once you get the projector started up, but you still have to download and install them to use them. There is a wide variety of apps to choose from for video content, which is nice. One downside to the YouTube app is that it’s for viewing only, meaning that you can’t login to your YouTube account to access YouTube Red, or your own history or video content. You have to search for everything manually or browse under a pre-installed video category. Netflix works well and is easy to navigate, which is a plus. As I mentioned, the button scheme is very intuitive if you’re an Android user. There is a home button, menu button and options button on both the remote control and the top of the projector, which is the same as pretty much every Android phone on the market today. The volume buttons are self-explanatory, and there is a dedicated “mouse” button on the remote. What this does is crate a little digital pointer finger on the display surface, so you can navigate through menus or select items that are displayed. The pointer is controlled by the control pad (up/down/left/right). Once you’re done using the pointer, simply hit the “mouse” button again and it will go away and revert back to windowed based navigation. Another nice feature is the ability to connect a device to the projector VIA Bluetooth, which enables you to use the projector as a portable speaker. Last but not least, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ability to connect your phone or tablet to the projector (iOS and Android). All you have to do is go into the settings and you can connect your device VIA Miracast or iOS AirPlay (see included Boom Beach picture – yes… I still play it). In addition to screen sharing, you can download the Nebula Connect App and use your phone as the remote for the projector.

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    Specs:
    - 300 ANSI lumens of brightness
    - 1280x720p display
    - 30” to 150” projection size
    - Running Android 7.1
    - Ability to download video content apps like YouTube, Netflix, etc… (smart TV functionality)
    - Dual 10W integrated speakers
    - A 12,500mAh battery for up to 4hrs of continuous video playback with sound
    - Connectivity: HDMI, USB, BlueTooth, Wi-Fi, and Wireless Screen Cast
    o Does not support Google Chromecast
    - 1-second Autofocus

    Conclusion: The Nebula Mars II is super fancy! The autofocus works like a champ, and has no issues adjusting the display on various projection surfaces. The sound is top-notch, especially considering they’re built into the projector and run off of the same power source. There are a multitude of connection options, to include Miracast and AirPlay, which is a great option if you want to see your apps or games on a gigantic screen while you play - the display lag is manageable as well. The overall experience that this projector creates is definitely memorable, especially considering the price point ($499). I am definitely not an expert when it comes to projectors but based off of tech expertise and individual experience with this projector, I can definitely say that I have enjoyed it and it seems well worth the investment if you’re in the market for a portable projector.

    If you’re interested in picking up one of these super sweet projectors, you can pick up the Nebula Mars II on Amazon for $499, and it also qualifies for Amazon Prime 2-day shipping - https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Portabl...pUvbUpU3754423 - As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them down in the comments section.
    Last edited by DecAway; 07-30-2018 at 09:11 AM.
    Laura Knotek and Guytronic like this.
    07-29-2018 11:30 PM
  2. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    Nice review. I've always liked Anker products.
    Guytronic likes this.
    07-30-2018 01:02 AM
  3. DecAway's Avatar
    Thank you! I appreciate it. And yes, they do.
    Guytronic likes this.
    07-30-2018 10:30 AM
  4. pkcable's Avatar
    Is that Boom Beach? I'm not a player, BUT I'm like totally addicted to Clash of Clans! (I'm probably playing when you all read this! lol)
    07-31-2018 02:11 PM
  5. DecAway's Avatar
    Yup. I'm still playing boom beach. Hahaha
    08-01-2018 12:19 AM
  6. lagaiphone's Avatar
    Great review! I've always liked Anker products...
    08-10-2018 11:07 AM

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