Of course, any TOP is always subjective and depends on the opinion of experts. Nevertheless, most successful models are present in many lists, which, of course, testifies to the objectivity of their assessment. This article offers several such models, including:
– Anker Nebula Mars II;
– Optoma ML750ST;
– Asus ZenBeam E1;
– ViewSonic M1;
– Vivitek Qumi Q3 Plus;
– AAXA P2-A.
This list does not include the new 2019 models and does not correspond to the list of the best mini-projectors according to consumers. But this situation is natural, as experts analyze first of all objective specs. In turn, the opinion of consumers depends on the price and positive feedback from other consumers to a much greater extent. This review may be useful for those buyers who prefer to choose the optimal mini projector based on their real specs.
Anker Nebula Mars II
As known, Anker is the global leader in charging technology, including wireless charging, car charging, etc. In addition, in past few years, this company produces smart projectors under the Nebula brand. Today, the line of their portable models includes the Nebula Mars and Nebula Capsule series.
In the spring of 2018, the company introduced Nebula Mars Lite and Nebula Mars II. They have the same design, size and weight (14 cm x 12 cm x 18 cm and 3.3 lbs).
Both projectors provide brightness of 300 ANSI Lm at 1280 x 720 (16:9, HD) resolution with contrast of 1,000:1 (full on/off). In addition, they have powerful 10.0 W × 2 speakers.
According to the company, their Throw Ratio (1.20:1(D:W)) includes: 100″ @3.08 m; 80″ @2.46 m; 60″ @1.73 m; 40″ @1.15 m.) On the other hand, the company indicates a range Projection Size 30 -150 in, but warns that 150″ is the maximum picture size and will only be clear and saturated in very low-lighting.
Additionally, both models provide single-second autofocus and vertical Auto Keystone Correction ±40°.
Moreover, Nebula Mars II is a smart model (Android 7.1) and supports Miracast, Streaming Apps, etc. Of course, Android 7.1 OS which comes with popular streaming apps, including Amazon Video, Netflix, and Youtube, is its significant pros.
The list of its connectivity contains HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, WiFi-enabled with Android 7.1 and a 3.5 mm audio jack.
12,500mAh battery provides roughly four hours of video playtime.
Unfortunately, Mars II will not be able to provide high quality in a well-lit room, but in a dark room its brightness provides an excellent result.
Today Nebula Mars II costs $ 500.
This legendary miniature projector of 2016 continues to be in most of the TOPs from various experts, despite the rather high price (just under $ 500).
Of course, throw ratio of 0.80: 1 – this is its main advantage. In fact, this model was the first portable Short Throw projector. The “ST” in its name stands for “short throw”. A projector only needs a 56″ distance for 80″ image.
In addition, it has the contrast of 20,000: 1 (full on / off) and low audible noise (22.0 dB). Additionally, the company reduced the input lag of the model to an unprecedented 16ms (minimum), in fact, creating a gamer model.
ML750ST provides a standard set of connections, including HDMI/MHL, USB, Bluetooth and has 3.5 mm audio jack.
1280 × 800 WXGA resolution provides clear image from a distance of around 10 ft. Of course, the brightness of the 700 ANSI lm is very high for the pico projector. However, its contrast anyway substantially depends on the ambient light and requires dimming.
Unfortunately, the model does not have an on-board battery and runs on an AC power cord. Of course, this greatly limits its use, for example, in the yard.
In addition, the low power 1 W speaker is significantly inferior to competitors, for example, 10 W audio drivers of Nebula Mars II.
Given these factors, today Anker Nebula Mars II seems more preferable.
Asus ZenBeam E1
This sleek, metallic pocket projector is also very popular for over 3 years. It has a size of only W4.3 x H1.1 x D3.3 inches and weighs only 0.68 pounds. Compact and successful form factor making it one of the most travel-friendly projectors.
Asus ZenBeam E1 has HDMI/MHL (HDMI cable is included), USB, and 3.5mm audio jack.
The model provides a brightness of 150 ANSI lm, 854 x 480 resolution (with 1080p / 4K auto conversion to WVGA), and contrast of 3,500: 1 (full on / off).
From a distance of 5 ft, the projector provides a 50″ image diagonally and 70 nits (recommended image brightness) for rooms with low ambient light and Screen Gain = 1.
Built-in 22mAh rechargeable battery provides up to 5 hours of playtime.
Asus ZenBeam E1 uses DLP IntelliBright technology and supports Auto Keystone Correction. Set-up is very simple and fast.
Unfortunately, the relatively low brightness requires a thorough dimming of the room. Otherwise, the image is very dim. But its low price nearly $ 269 partially compensates for this drawback.
Compact ViewSonic M1 of 2018 with rounded corners uses swiveling lens cover as a stand.
Of course, the built-in Dual Harman Kardon speakers are another advantage of the model, providing high quality audio playback.
A built-in battery provides up to 6 hours of power. Moreover, the model has USB – C, in addition to traditional HDMI, USB – A, microSD, and 3.5 mm audio jack. Moreover, auto-keystone software does a fine job correcting for off-angles.
The projector provides a brightness of 250 ANSI lm, 854 x 480 native resolution, and dinamic contrast of 120,000:1.
Throw Ratio of 1.20: 1 (D: W) provides a 60″ image diagonally and 50 nits (recommended image brightness) from a distance of 5 ft for rooms with low ambient light and Screen Gain = 1.
Unfortunately, further enlarging the screen significantly reduces image quality.
Remote control is another model issue. The passage of his commands is unstable and requires a clear sightline from the remote to the projector’s receiver.
Today, this model costs $ 300.
Vivitek Qumi Q3 Plus
This stylish and colorful projector with glossy finish is also very popular for over 3 years.
Qumi Q3 Plus has HDMI, 2 x USB (Type A), microSD, Bluetooth, WiFi-enabled with Android 4.4, and 3.5 mm audio jack.
Projector uses quad-core CPU at 1.5GHz and an Android V.4.42 OS.
In addition, the projector uses an 8,000mAh lithium-ion battery and a small remote control.
Model has HD 720p (1280 x 720) native resolution with HD 1080p compatibility. Its brightness reaches 500 lm at contrast of 5, 000: 1 (full on/off).
Throw Ratio of 1.66:1 (D: W) provides a 85″ image diagonally and 80 nits (recommended image brightness) from a distance of 10 ft for rooms with low ambient light and Screen Gain = 1.
In addition, Vivitek Qumi Q3 Plus also provides digital auto keystone correction with motorized focus, which greatly simplifies its setting.
Unfortunately, the Qumi Q3 Plus doesn’t have any navigational buttons on the unit itself, and the remote is not very reliable. Therefore, its breakdown requires immediate replacement. At the same time, many users complain about the difficulty of acquiring it on the Internet. Of course, this aspect significantly reduces its competitiveness.
Today it costs nearly $ 220.
In in 2017, the company introduced the AAXA P2-A Android Smart Full HD LED Pico Projector with WiFi and Bluetooth. Today this is one of the smallest projectors.
The P2-A runs uses a 1,800mAh battery, but its low capacity significantly limits its capabilities, providing only 2,5 hours of playtime. As known, many modern models provide 4 or more hours.
It uses a powerful quad-core 1.3 GHz processor powering its Android 5.1 OS. In addition, P2-A uses Vibrant Color Technology.
Unfortunately, projector provides only 130 Ansi lm at 854 x 480 resolution with contrast of 1,000:1 (full on/off). The cubic form factor with dimensions of 6 cm x 7 cm x 7 cm and a weight of 0.6 lbs is fully consistent with the Pico classification. Throw Ratio of 1.20:1 (D:W) provides 40″@42 inch for optimal 111 nits at Screen Gain of 1,2 (low ambient light).
In addition, the model provides connections Mini-HDMI, Micro-USB, USB (Type A), WiFi-enabled with Android 5.1, and has 3.5 mm audio jack. Of course, model has a tripod.
This projector costs nearly $ 200, which, of course, is a bit for these specs.
The video offers a demonstration of its capabilities.