Portable, nano, or pico projectors have been a rising trend in consumer tech goods over the recent years, and they can be useful in all types of situations – sharing a business PowerPoint on the fly, watching a movie in a remote location where your normal streaming box or TV can’t follow, and so forth. However, the main thing that has kept me from jumping on board is that they tend to lack versatility for streaming your personal media or accessing your favorite streaming services.
Anker, makers of the Nebula line of projectors, have attempted to address this with a very modern portable projector roughly the size of a can of Coca-Cola – with support for all of your favorite streaming services included.
We’ll be taking a look at Anker’s original entry into the field of portable entertainment projectors – the Capsule.
The Capsule is a solid cross between a nano projector and a smart TV. It includes a built-in assortment of streaming apps for services such as Amazon and Netflix, and includes access to a built in App Store (although not the Google Play store on this model) to download a large assortment of additional apps that are not built in.
The device comes with everything you need to get started, including a two-foot charging cable and a wall adapter, and comes attractively packaged in a very tight retail presentation. Setting up the device takes only a few minutes, and the device includes plenty of options for adjusting the projection mode (including front versus rear projection, and top-down projection for suspending from a ceiling).
In considering the overall experience of the device, there are a number of important factors that need to be taken into consideration. One of these is app support, and what is and is not supported by the Capsule.
One of the device’s weak points – which, in fairness, does not entirely fall upon Anker as a company, is the lack of Google Play support in the original model of the Capsule. This can make things a little bit challenging, as users may not have the full range of Android apps that they expect to function correctly on the site. Fortunately, however, this has been addressed by the Capsule II, which is the newest model of the device.
Another aspect of this is the lack of support for Google Services, such as making apps aware of your location, which can diminish the functionality of many apps, and can even make some unusable.
AirPlay and streaming limitations
While users accustomed to using an Apple TV or certain Google-approved streaming devices will be pleased to know that the Capsule supports both AirPlay and screen mirroring from Google devices through casting, it only supports this for non-copyrighted content due to DRM and legal restrictions – again, while this is not the fault of Anker in any way, it does make the projector’s streaming features a little bit less handy overall, having to rely on the available apps from the included App Store to stream any protected content.
Value and Convenience
Easily the strongest claim to make about the Capsule is that, for $300, it is an excellent way to add a convenient second screen to your home. Its extreme level of portability also makes it easy to toss in a bag to take on the go for business presentations, an on-the-go movie night (it has up to four hours battery life), or take it anywhere else where you want to take portable video with you.
Mounting it on a basic tripod also makes it a fantastic way to add a viewing screen to, for instance, a bedroom ceiling (I am a bachelor so this appealed to me very nicely, and works very well).
One further note is that the speakers on the capsule are exceptional – and the fact that it doubles as a Bluetooth speaker only adds further to the overall value and usability of the device – it makes a great audio streamer!
In conclusion, while the Capsule does have some unintended weaknesses, and is limited to 480P resolution, it serves as an excellent solution for quickly adding a second screen to your home, streaming audio using its Bluetooth speaker mode, or quickly taking audio and video on the go wherever you need. It’s simplicity and ease of setup also make it a very convenient solution for handling portable media in any situation.
Overall, I give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars for its value and versatility. The Capsule is available for purchase on Amazon for $299.
- Affordable ($299)
- Easy to set up and use
- Wide variety of settings for adjusting the keystone
- Excellent built in speaker
- Doubles as a wireless Bluetooth speaker
- Includes popular streaming apps build it and includes its own App Store
- Has an exceptional remote app for both Android and iOS
- No Google Play support (although the newer and more expensive Capsule II addresses this)
- Lack of support for SD cards
- Limited on-board storage for managing streaming video and available apps
- Remote is infrared based and can be difficult to use from non standard angles
- Limited resolution
- Limited brightness (100 lumens)
- Fan is a bit on the noisy side