As someone who has moved around a lot in the last few years, the idea of buying a
MAKE ANYTHING A SCREEN
From the start, it has to be said that the Capsule 3 Laser is no TV. It can’t match the brightness nor the color accuracy of feature-rich OLED TVs. On the other hand, you can’t exactly pick up and transport your expensive TV into another room at will. Theoretically, you could mount your TV to the ceiling for hours-long binge sessions in your bed — you’d be crazy, but you could do it — but Anker Nebula’s projector is a much better solution to that problem.
After having spent a few days with the Capsule 3 Laser, I was reminded of how much more of an experience it is to watch things on a larger screen, even YouTube videos. I could use any of my white walls as a screen and get up to a 120-inch image if I wanted.
Most times, I settled for a roughly 32-inch image near my bed, but I would bump it up to a roughly 72-inch display on the empty wall behind my desk for a more home theater feel. However, once you start approaching the 100-inch image, you’ll start to get the screen-door effect where you can see the individual pixels if you’re looking close enough. The Capsule 3 Laser tops out at 1080p so don’t expect cinema-level quality, but that’s more than enough resolution to watch Netflix and play Nintendo Switch games.
Even though it gets as bright as 300 ANSI lumens, it still feels fairly unwatchable indoors when it’s particularly sunny outside. Even being in a basement where there’s less ambient light from outside and pumping up the brightness to 100, I still had to turn off the lights to get a halfway decent picture. I wouldn’t consider using it outside during the day.
And while it’s more an issue with the software than the projector itself, it’s worth noting that there is no native Netflix app built into the Capsule 3 Laser. Instead, a workaround requires opening a clunky version of Netflix through the Anker Nebula Play app on the projector’s OS in a short, but tedious process.
PORTABILITY IS POWER
For something that packs a decent image, the Capsule 3 Laser is no bigger than a Nalgene water bottle and weighs around two pounds. I can start an episode of Demon Slayer in my bedroom, then bring it to the kitchen and switch off to a YouTube cooking video to follow along. If I want to binge the entire season of Beef by projecting it onto my ceiling and watching from my bed, I can do that. Or if I want to bring the Capsule 3 Laser along for my camping trip and project music videos onto someone’s tent, I can do that, too.
As you inevitably move it from spot to spot, there’s a rubber bottom that helps anchor the portable projector down. Anker even included a threaded insert at the bottom of the Capsule 3 Laser so you can attach a tripod to it and have even more mobility when setting up the image.
Anker also made it easy to set up and adjust for a clear image, since there’s auto-keystoning that corrects for a flush image for whatever you’re projecting onto and auto-focus for when you inevitably pick this thing up and move it somewhere else. It only takes about three seconds and can adapt to most surfaces. You should turn off auto-keystoning though, since any decent jiggle or bump can retrigger the projector into readjusting.
The onboard 8W Dolby Digital speakers wrap around the Capsule 3 Laser, projecting audio in every direction. Compared to listening to music or watching a movie on a MacBook Pro or iPhone, the Capsule 3 Laser speakers have more depth when it comes to lower, bassier frequencies. If you’re feeling fancy, you can use the 3.5mm AUX port and attach actual speakers for a more immersive cinema experience. The projector even has an HDMI port so you can connect any device (like a console!) to it.
Anker says you’ll get roughly 2.5 hours of video playback with the Capsule 3 Laser, but if you have the brightness turned up to max like me, you’ll likely get closer to just below two hours of playtime. There’s also a Bluetooth speaker mode that offers 10 hours of listening. This was a welcome feature since I’d often switch off of whatever I was watching in the kitchen and play mellow music while cooking more involved recipes.
Fun For Movie Night
As portable as the Capsule 3 Laser is, it comes with a serious price: $799.99. That’s not much cheaper than a solid TV and there are some similarly priced projectors like the BenQ HT2060 or the Epson Home Cinema 1080 that give you a much better cinema experience. However, you’re really paying for the convenience of having an untethered, battery-powered projector that can go anywhere.
Even with some downsides, the Capsule 3 Laser still feels like the right pick for someone who’s constantly on the go but wants to keep up with their shows on a huge screen in a portable fashion. I wouldn’t use it as a replacement for a traditional TV, but it does make for a fun and large viewing experience for a nice movie night.