Anker Nebula Capsule II R2-D2 Restricted Version overview: The Drive is robust with this one

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After I heard Anker was popping out with an R2-D2 Restricted Version of its glorious Nebula Capsule II video projector, I hoped it might look precisely just like the illustration on its field, however in shade. Alas, the colour is there, however the R2-D2 therapy is only a paint job on the present projector, making the $120 upsell over the run-of-the-mill Nebula Capsule II—$700 versus $580—slightly laborious to swallow.

Aside from the paint design, the one different characteristic that informs you it is a Star Wars-inspired home-theater machine is the beep-beep-boop sound the projector makes when first powered up. Sure, it sounds precisely just like the loveable droid, however that’s the one time you’ll hear it.

anker nebula r2 d2 box Michael Brown / IDG

I hoped the limited-edition R2-D2 Nebula video projector would look identical to what’s printed on the field, however in shade. The colour is there, however that’s it.

Android TV—and much more

The Nebula II is sort of highly effective for its dimension, particularly when you think about that it’s utterly self-contained, with Android TV 9.0; Google Assistant; Chromecast; a self-amplified, 8-watt speaker; and a Wi-Fi adapter onboard. It may run on AC or battery energy (as much as 2.5 hours within the latter occasion), and its DLP engine delivers as much as a 100-inch picture in 720p decision with a good brightness of 200 lumens. The one factor you’ll want to supply is a projection floor. You’ll need one thing white and non-reflective for that: a mattress sheet or a matte-white-painted wall would do in a pinch; I evaluated its efficiency with a tripod-mounted Epson ELPSC80 projection display screen.

Along with its onboard media sources, the Nebula II additionally an HDMI port with ARC, and a USB port for streaming media from a flash reminiscence machine (drives as much as 2TB are supported). There’s a Bluetooth radio in there, too. Energy is supplied by a USB charging port with Energy Supply to cost its battery extra quickly. A too-short (3-foot) USB-C cable and USB-PD AC adapter are included within the field, as is an infrared distant management. The distant has a directional pad, quantity management, and home-screen buttons for navigating Android TV and the projector’s personal settings, plus a button to summon Google Assistant.

anker nebula remote Michael Brown / IDG

You possibly can summon Google Assisteant with the Anker Nebula II’s distant management.

Utilizing the Nebula II

You possibly can function the projector on a tabletop, however a greater resolution could be to benefit from the 1/4-inch thread mount within the backside of the enclosure and mount it to a tripod. That’s what I did, and it made it a lot simpler to lift the machine to the optimum peak and to degree it (it doesn’t have adjustable toes for that function). Along with entrance projection, the Nebula II will also be configured for rear projection, and it will probably invert the image so you’ll be able to mount it from the ceiling in entrance of or behind the display screen.

I wanted solely eight toes of distance from the display screen to undertaking a 72-inch picture, and I took benefit of the automated focus and keystone changes to ensure the image appeared its greatest.

On startup, the projector’s auto-focus characteristic analyzes its brand projected on the display screen to make the suitable adjustment in about one second. If you happen to’re not pleased with the end result, otherwise you transfer the projector, you’ll be able to name up a extra detailed picture and both focus manually or repeat the auto-focus. Both approach, the main focus is a bit smooth in comparison with a TV, however that’s the character of the know-how—and the decision.

anker nebula threaded mount Michael Brown / IDG

This 1/4-inch thread mount makes it straightforward to put in the Nebula II on a tripod or the ceiling for entrance or rear projection.

There’s an automated keystone-adjustment characteristic as effectively, and it was equally fast to ship the correct setting after I purposely distorted it utilizing the guide controls. I don’t suppose anybody will discover it essential to make guide focus or keystone changes, as a result of the automated instruments work fairly effectively. I might say the identical for the colour temperature changes of “warm,” “normal” (the default), or “cool.” I discovered it troublesome to discern the distinction between the latter two settings, and I didn’t just like the outcomes “warm” delivered.

Video and audio efficiency

Now, 200 lumens of brightness isn’t lots of gentle. You’ll discover no scarcity of AC-powered projectors providing 10 instances the lumens, however they after all don’t run on battery energy and aren’t practically as self-contained. All that mentioned, I examined the projector in my residence theater at night time and was happy with the outcomes.

Watching films on this class of projector is nothing like watching on a high-end TV. The decision is decrease, for one factor, and the Nebula II doesn’t assist any HDR codecs (and it’s not shiny sufficient to ship them anyway). It was mainly unusable in the course of the daytime except I closed the Graber room-darkening motorized shades on the 2 home windows in that room.

In a suitably darkish room, the Nebula II delivered a satisfying image with moderately well-saturated shade. The main focus, as I mentioned earlier, was a bit smooth, however not objectionably so. And even with the Star Wars premium included, getting a 72-inch image this approach is definitely a few thousand {dollars} cheaper than shopping for a equally sized flat-screen TV.

anker nebula r2 d2 ports Michael Brown / IDG

You’ll discover all of the ports you’ll want on the Nebula II, together with HDMI ARC.

However the characteristic that shocked me essentially the most, to be trustworthy, was the projector’s audio high quality. A single speaker plus a passive radiator for enhanced bass response delivered a robustly satisfying audio efficiency with a 270-degree sound area that simply fooled my ears into considering the audio was emanating from the display screen eight toes away and never the projector that was inches from my seating place. And in case you actually wish to get loopy, keep in mind that there’s ARC assist onboard (and you’ll choose up a 15-foot HDMI cable for lower than $15).

The underside line

The Nebula II is a bit dear contemplating its brightness and backbone, however present me an identical machine that delivers the identical mixture of leisure options that can slot in a backpack and function off the grid for greater than two hours. I’d simply award that product 4 stars. However except you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Star Wars fanatic, it’s laborious to justify the upcharge for this R2-D2 mannequin—regardless of how restricted of an version it’s—so I’m docking it a half-star.

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Michael Brown

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