Best Portable Projector For Outdoor Movies In 2021

Best Portable Projector For Outdoor Movies In 2021

A portable projector is a perfect companion for summer. These tiny marvels allow you to enjoy a movie on the go, in your backyard, or even watch it while camping. These little devices are powered by batteries and can stream Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus without the need for an additional device.

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However, there are some drawbacks. One is that the picture quality is not very bright — you’ll only get a fraction of the brightness of a traditional home theater projector, so if you make the projection size too big, your image will be pretty dim. You may also find your movie difficult to watch if there is too much ambient lighting.

Another is that a pocket projector generally offers a lower resolution. The batteries are not long-lasting. If you’re careful, they should last for one movie. Here are some best portable projector for outdoor movies.

Best Portable Projector For Outdoor Movies In 2021
Sr.ImageNameBrightnessDisplay ResolutionPrice
1.Nebula-by-Anker-Mars-II-Pro-500-ANSI-Lumen-Portable-ProjectorNebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector1500 lumens1920 x 1080Check Price
2.Lg PH30NLg PH30N2500 Lumen4K UHDCheck Price
3.Anker Nebula Solar Portable 1080p ProjectorAnker Nebula Solar Portable 1080p Projector4000 lumens1920×1080Check Price
4.BenQ GV1 Wireless Mini Portable ProjectorBenQ GV1 Wireless Mini Portable Projector2200 lumens3840 x 2160Check Price

Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector
Nebula-by-Anker-Mars-II-Pro-500-ANSI-Lumen-Portable-Projector

Description

Anker’s Nebula Mars II Pro is a surprising little projector. It is very small. You can conceal it completely underneath a six-pack Coke. With built-in streaming and a battery good for around three and a half hours of projection, the Mars II Pro is a great companion for a movie night in the backyard or somewhere farther afield. It’s also a large Bluetooth speaker and projector.

While the video quality is good enough to be enjoyed by many people, it’s not as sharp and accurate as a comparable home projector. The image is much more viewable than other small, battery-powered projectors, and the speakers sound amazing. It is among the best portable projector for outdoor movies.

If you need ultra-portable video, especially outdoors, the Mars II Pro is your main reason for buying it. You can easily place it near a screen or wall and stream Netflix in minutes from anywhere. You might prefer a traditional projector if you intend to use it often in the same room.

Pros

  • Compact size
  • The built-in battery can last up to 3.5 hours
  • Surprisingly loudspeakers

Cons

  • Low contrast and brightness
  • Inaccurate color
  • App Store Limited
  • Charge bricks are required

Specifications

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

You might not be aware of the Mars II Pro’s size. The Mars II Pro would easily fit into any backpack, with ample space for a water bottle or hoodie. Anker could have made this carrying strap from cheap plastic. However, the top is faux leather, and it’s soft beneath. It feels nice to the touch.

The buttons at the top allow you to access the most basic functions. However, there are no controls for zooming or focusing. Since there is no automatic zoom, this is natural. An integrated slide-open lens cap can also turn the projector on and off.

The Mars II Pro must be at least nine feet away from the screen to capture a 100-inch image. Resolution is 720p, which is pretty low for a projector these days and lower than the competing ViewSonic M2, 1080p. The lamp’s life expectancy is 30.000 hours.

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The maximum brightness is 500 lumens. I measured about 37 nits, which calculates out to about 337 lumens. For comparison, the ViewSonic M2 produces 349 lumens by my measurements, while the slightly more expensive but far less portable Optoma HD146X puts out around 1,146.

Anker claims that the 12,500-mAh internal battery can be used for three and a quarter hours of viewing and takes about the same time to recharge. It will last for about one and a quarter hours if you use the high brightness mode. Anker claims that the Mars II can play audio for 30 hours if you use it as a Bluetooth speaker.

Although not explicitly mentioned by Anker as a feature, certain apps treat the Mars II Pro like a mobile device so that you can download shows to its 8GB internal memory. It is among the best portable projector for outdoor movies.

The best budget portable projector

Lg PH30N
Lg PH30N

Description

The LG PH30N portable projector is small and unusual. It can be carried in one hand and almost put in your pocket. This tiny size allows you to create images where other projectors can’t:

  • A second screen on your desk.
  • A TV on the ceiling.
  • YouTube recipes in the kitchen.

Even an internal battery is available. It doesn’t come with any internal apps, which is a big difference from other portable PJs. You will need to connect a streaming device or run HDMI from some place.

I find the PH30N a strange product, and it’s hard to recommend. The PH30N isn’t as good as the ViewSonic M2 or Anker Nebular Mar II Pro portable projectors, nor does it perform well enough.

Overall it’s not bad, and I liked it better overall than the (slightly cheaper, way cuter) BenQ GV1, but in both cases, my advice is to spend a little more for a much better projector. The PH30N is a great option if you have a tight budget or need something small.

Pros

  • Very little
  • 720p resolution
  • Built-in battery

Cons

  • Not so bright
  • The projector is almost half the size of a power brick.

Specifications

  • Native resolution: 1,280×720 pixels
  • HDR-compatible No
  • 4K-compatible No
  • 3D-compatible No
  • Lumens spec: 250 ANSI
  • Zoom
  • Lens shift: None
  • Lamp life (Normal mode: Up to 30.000 hours)

HD resolution means that the PH30N can produce large images at 1,280×720 pixels before you see pixels. Although not as large as a 1080p projector or 4K projectors, the 720p resolution is quite good considering its price and size. For example, the BenQ GV1 is a similar price, and in fact, it’s larger than the GV1, but only 480p.

It doesn’t have a lot of lighting. It is rated at 250 lumens, and I measured 143 when it was set to produce a decent color temperature. It’s very dim and, in its extreme battery-saving mode, it’s only half as bright. A traditional projector, even a cheaper one, would produce ten times as much light.

There is no zoom or lens shift. The manual focus lever is sufficient.

Connectivity and convenience

  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • No input from PC
  • USB port: 1 (0.5A power)
  • Audio input and output: Headphones 3.5mm output
  • Digital audio output: None
  • Wi-Fi
  • Miracast: Yes
  • Remote not backlit

It is quite surprising that there are no internal apps. It would be reasonable to think that LG would have billions of “smart television” chips leftover in a container they could have used. Instead, we have a “BYOStreaming” solution that can be frustrating for something so portable.

Anker Nebula Solar Portable 1080p Projector
Anker Nebula Solar Portable 1080p Projector

Description

Anker Nebula Solar portable is a 1080p projector that includes a battery and Android TV. This package allows you to enjoy large-format TV and movies from anywhere. You can even use it as a Bluetooth speaker.

If this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it’s similar to another Nebula projector, the Mars II Pro, which we reviewed a few months ago. While the Mars II Pro is our preferred portable projector overall, the Solar doesn’t have as many (ahem) bright spots.

On paper, the Solar Portable addresses two of the issues we had with the Mars II Pro: resolution and its app store. The II Pro costs 720p and offers a “curated” Google experience called Aptoide. Unfortunately, fixing those two problems comes with decreased light output.

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The Solar projector is 40% brighter than the Mars II, and no other projector of this size is very bright. Android TV beats Aptoide, but it still has some quirks that mean you might be better off attaching a streaming stick anyway. Although the flat design is unique, Anker’s Mars II Pro is a better option.

Pros

  • Sleek, compact design
  • 1080p resolution
  • Built-in battery lasts for 3 hours

Cons

  • Very dim
  • Mediocre contrast
  • Android TV is a mess

Specifications

  • Native resolution: 1,920×1,080 pixels
  • HDR-compatible
  • 4K compatible
  • No 3D-compatible
  • Lumens spec: 400 ANSI
  • Zoom No
  • Lens shift: No
  • Lamp life (Normal mode: 30,000 hours)

The Solar accepts HDR10 but is not HDR. The Solar can accept 4K, but it is not a projector for 4K. These higher-resolution signals and high-dynamic-range signals are not possible to display on this projector. It is more of a feature list enhancement than anything.

The Solar doesn’t have a zoom or lens shift, but they are expected to do so in this price range. However, autofocus works well. The bottom pivoting foot tilts the front of your projector up for more flexibility.

The 20,000-mAh battery is claimed to provide three hours of use. It is somewhat odd that the Mars II Pro, which is brighter, has a smaller battery but offers the same playtime.

Anker claims that 400 lumens is the brightness. I measured half of that. I measured more than 300, while the Mars II Proclaimed to have 500. The Mars II Pro is brighter than any other projector of this price and size. However, it looks better on larger screens.

Connectivity and convenience

  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • No input from PC
  • USB ports: 2
  • Audio input and audio output
  • Digital audio output: No
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11a. b. g. n. ac
  • 12-volt trigger No
  • RS-232 remote port: No
  • MHL: No
  • Remote not backlit

The Solar’s HDMI input can accept HDR and 4K. However, since the projector cannot handle either, this is a 6-line highway that connects two small towns without cars.

The USB-C connector is used for charging and is included with the Solar. It can also be used to charge your tablet or phone when it is not being used. Another USB connection is available to accept files and charge streaming sticks. Although the power rating isn’t stated, I could get a streaming device running on it.

Although I love the Android TV app store, some apps like Vudu would only send standard-definition versions. It isn’t very pleasant. It makes the resolution of your projector less important. Other channels, such as Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, looked great.

Then there’s Netflix, which requires several steps to get installed on the Solar. Install the Nebula Manager app to be able to download the mobile version. After you have installed Netflix, go to the Manager app.

Then click Netflix. Even after these steps, it still looks extremely soft. It’s mobile, which means it can’t be used with a traditional remote. To navigate, you will need to use the Nebula Connect App on your phone.

These issues can affect the quality of the built-in Android TV, but I have already mentioned that attaching an external streamer is an easy way to fix them. It is among the best portable projector for outdoor movies.

BenQ GV1 Wireless Mini Portable Projector
BenQ GV1 Wireless Mini Portable Projector

Description

BenQ’s GV1 portable projection system looks like a robot in a Pixar movie. Or in the real world, like a Bluetooth speaker. Although it’s cheap, the resolution is not high-quality, and the image brightness is low. There isn’t even a real HDMI input, though it does come with a dongle so that you can connect HDMI sources.

The pipsqueak’s unique design is the reason I love it. It’s so cute I couldn’t help but introduce it to my Domo-Kun — they’re roughly the same size at just 6 inches tall, and during my review period, the two became fast friends. It is among the best portable projector for outdoor movies.

Domo didn’t know what I felt about the GV1. BenQ packed a lot of old tech in a small, cute box. I like that there’s a built-in battery, but the overall package is far outmatched by other portable projectors that cost just a bit more.

The poor picture quality and usability issues that I encountered during testing led me to want an upgraded version. As it stands now, the GV1 is hard to recommend even at its low price — it’s better to save up for something like the Anker Nebula Mars II Pro.

Pros

  • Adorable
  • Compact and affordable
  • Did I mention adorable?

Cons

  • Low resolution
  • Not so bright
  • Weak built-in app store

Specifications

  • Native resolution: 854×480 pixels
  • HDR-compatible No
  • 4K-compatible No
  • 3D-compatible No
  • Lumens spec: 200
  • Zoom
  • Lens Shift: Only Tilt
  • Lamp life (Normal mode: 20,000 hours)

The standard resolution is only available on the most expensive projectors. The 480p image is visible as large pixels that you can see even when projected images are small.

The GV1’s “screen door” effect is visible from all distances except the most distant. This effect has been something I haven’t seen in real projectors for over a decade. If you’re used to 1080p projectors or 4K TVs, the image from the GV1 is going to look like it’s made from Lego.

Although the claimed lumens of 200 are quite low, other battery-powered projectors such as the Anker with around 500 lumens are more expensive. It’s okay as long as the image is small.

Although the internal battery, 3,000-mAh, has a 3-hour runtime, battery mode reduces the lumens by approximately half.

The small and plastic focus wheel is located on the side of your head. It feels cheap. Because of its small diameter, it isn’t easy to focus precisely.

Connectivity and convenience

  • HDMI inputs: 1 (via included USB C dongle).
  • No input from PC
  • USB port: 1 (the sole input).
  • Audio input and audio output
  • Digital audio output: None
  • Wi-Fi: A/b/g/n 2.5/5Ghz
  • Remote not backlit

The GV1’s biggest connectivity problem is its lack of an HDMI input. Instead, the GV1 has USB-C and a USB-C to-HDMI dongle. It is a limit of 1080p30.

However, this could be an issue for many sources where the default setting is 1080p60. Although theoretically, the source and projector should agree that 1080p30 is best for everyone, this dependence on HDMI handshakes to make work is dangerous.

The small case houses a 5-watt speaker, but it is tinny. It’s not very loud. Although the remote is small and functional, it can sometimes be difficult to navigate certain apps. The BenQ app (iOS, Android) is compatible with the GV1 thanks to its keyboard. It is among the best portable projector for outdoor movies.

Another liability of the GV1 is the Aptoide shop, a “curated” section of the Google Play Store. Aptoide has always annoyed me when I have reviewed projectors. It isn’t well-organized, there are many missing apps, and sometimes the ones you do find don’t work. Warning! It was a major problem in our review, as we’ll see.

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