Which pocket projector is best?
Pocket projectors, also known as handheld projectors, are convenient and compact tools used to watch your favorite movies or TV shows on the go. They’re also great for setting up a quick backyard theater or watching a movie on a glamping trip. These devices are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet powerful enough to project a clear image on any flat surface. They don’t require you to connect a device because most use an Android operating system which allows them to download and stream apps straight from the projector itself.
The best pocket projector is the Anker Nebula Capsule which has impressive features including a four-hour playtime, 100-inch image projection and an Android operating system with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities.
What to know before you buy a pocket projector
The main draw of pocket projectors is that they are the most convenient way to stream TV and movies while on the go. These small devices use a combination of portable batteries, LED light sources and built-in electronics, which give them the power to project an image on nearly any flat surface. While traditional projectors may have more power and a brighter image, pocket projectors offer the benefit of convenience and portability over power and brightness.
There have been various iterations of projector sizes over the years. Traditional projectors are large and cumbersome and are designed to be used indoors. They also require an outlet to be powered. When you remove some of the major components you’re able to shrink down the size of the projector itself. As technology gets more and more advanced, these smaller pocket projectors can nearly keep up with their larger counterparts. Most pocket projectors are 2-4 inches in height and weigh less than 2 pounds. While they may not technically fit in your pocket, they can certainly fit in the palm of your hand.
Lumens measure the quality of visible light. They’re often used to give buyers an idea of how bright the bulb will be. When shopping for a pocket projector, it’s important to check the number of Lumens to know how bright your projector will be. An acceptable number to look for would be anywhere between 100-200 Lumens. However, you can find pocket projectors with fairly powerful brightness, up to 600 Lumens.
What to look for in a quality pocket projector
Pocket projectors are designed for portability; therefore ,they always utilize rechargeable batteries. Much like Lumens, these batteries can vary greatly depending on the quality of the pocket projector. Ideally, you want to look for a battery that’s capable of holding a charge for at least 90 minutes. This will give you enough watch time to finish at least one full-length movie. However, high-quality pocket projectors can reach up to four hours of portable battery power, leaving you plenty of time to watch films and stream your favorite television series in one sitting.
Screen mirroring, also known as a casting, is the process of projecting the live image from one device onto another. This is most commonly used on Apple devices, which let you seamlessly mirror your phone’s image to your Apple TV. Many high-quality pocket projectors are capable of screen mirroring, allowing you to live stream the image on your phone directly to the projector. This means you simply use your phone’s apps to stream video instead of downloading and logging in to separate apps on the projector’s operating system.
With the implementation of 4K video on TVs and computer monitors, the lowest anyone should have to settle for is 1080p. The highest quality pocket projectors will support 1080p resolution, which is considered a true high-definition image. The combination of higher Lumens and the 1080p resolution will make your image appear as close to that of television as possible. Crystal clear imagery is especially important on portable projectors that are designed for outdoor use.
How much you can expect to spend on pocket projector
Pocket projectors can cost $290-$380.
Pocket projector FAQ
Can you use your pocket projector while it’s plugged in?
A. Yes. If you are using your pocket projector in your backyard or near an outlet, plugging it in is the best option. This way, you can stream movies without worrying about when the battery may run out. A simple solution is to run an extension cord from your garage or back porch to the projector. You can also purchase a backup battery so you always have a way to power your projector.
How long will a pocket projector last?
A. This depends on two things: how well you take care of your device, and how many hours the lightbulb is designed to last. Some pocket projectors can be delicate, so if it drops on a hard surface, it can affect the internal components. Certain lightbulbs are designed to last tens of thousands of hours.
What’s the best pocket projector to buy?
Top pocket projector
What you need to know: This is one of the most popular pocket projectors on Amazon due to its affordability and premium features.
What you’ll love: Among its most impressive features is its unique soda-can design. It also includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, 100 Lumens and can expand to a 100-inch viewable screen.
What you should consider: The Nebula can only reach four hours of portable runtime before it needs recharging.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top pocket projector for the money
What you need to know: Kodak is no stranger to creating crystal clear images, and its Luma 350 pocket projector is no different.
What you’ll love: This ultra-HD projector features an impressive 350 Lumens and can display a 1080p resolution. It’s also capable of projecting a 200-inch widescreen image and has a built-in app store to download Netflix, Hulu, HBOMax and any other Android-compatible service.
What you should consider: While it does have USB and HDMI support, you will need a connector for a Display Port.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is one of the brightest mini projectors out there and can reach an impressive 600 Lumens with full 1080p resolution.
What you’ll love: The included bulb will stay working through 30,000 hours of watch time.
What you should consider: You will only be able to run the projector for 90 minutes without charging. It has a rechargeable battery, an onboard media player as well as a convenient stand to prop up the projector for portable playability.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jordan Beliles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.