Modern portable tech like smartphones and tablets enable us to create a workspace or a cinema everywhere we go. Riding a bus for a long time day after day has become easier, but unfortunately, the image is limited by the size of our screens. Not quite that cinematic experience we long for nowadays, right?
The devices are exactly what they’re named – projectors that can fit in your pocket and easily connect to your phone, tablet, or laptop. The picture quality isn’t quite IMAX, but it’s much better than watching a movie on a 7” screen of your smartphone. They will project to any surface, although it’s better to choose white smooth ones. But we guess you know it already, so let’s get to the selection!
Best Pocket Projectors 2021
We present to you the 10 best pocket projectors of the year so you can indulge in your favorite movies and popcorn anytime. They have different forms, sizes, and capabilities, so you can choose whichever suits your needs the most.
1. Nebula Capsule by Anker – Best Pocket Video Projector for the Money
How about pocket cinema with Android TV as small as a Cola can, bright enough to project in rather dark rooms, 100% portable because it is lightweight and has embedded battery and it is operating system independence because it has its own. Let’s welcome the original Nebula Capsule here to warm up before reaching the cosmos.
Right Brand with the Right Specs
So, the words have just said about reaching the cosmos because they sounded very weird. They’re related to the new Nebula product which represents the first 4K home cinema projector with 3D audio. Nebula is a subsidiary of Anker a company is so well known for its batteries that they have entered other markets launching quite interesting devices, having the capsule being among the most interesting innovations from their site. Right now the original Nebula Capsule is so well-priced on Amazon that often being discounted. There’s a second-generation which has better specs and some extra features but costs almost twice more.
This device appeared for the first time back in last year and it’s one of the first pocket-size portable projectors that actually work well. Of course, looking at the size of it we should set the expectations right. There’s no way this device to challenge large pro-grade projectors with huge optics, but even at this small size, it can deliver outstanding quality and give you a chance to watch media literally anywhere without having to be surrounded by cables or to use complicated connections. Find a wall or any similar flat surface, make sure it is not too bright and you’re good to go and project.
Inside the Box
Unboxing the Capsule feels great. I’ve always been a fan of the signature of Anker’s way of packaging. There’s a lot of style involved and you will immediately notice a good choice of colors and more importantly, materials. The hardware inside is just fine. Quad-core A7 processor from the Snapdragon 200 series, so it is not blazing fast for gaming but good enough from multimedia. 1GB Ram, 8GB storage, 5200 MAH embedded battery and active cooling because of the optics. Speaking of which the lamp with a life lifespan of 30,000 hours offers 100 ANSI lumens with the resolution of up to 480P that turns the capsule into a good device for people who don’t look for the best picture quality. And despite the lack of HD resolution which is obviously limited by the size of the device, the colors and contrast truly compensate for that absence because the video quality is really good looking.
The .2 inch AFW VGA DLP does a brilliant job and on top of the good video outputs the latency is minor, most of the times not notable at all. The supported projecting size is between 20 and 100 inches and you have to adjust the focus manually. Note that the further you are from the projecting surface the paler the image is going to be especially if there is light in the room. In total darkness, the video is perfectly visible, but when in the room you have lights things are getting different. So your best option is to place the Nebula as close as possible to the wall. For your convenience, there’s the option to Mount on a tripod. The device can act as a speaker too, it can be loud 5W output in total and has not too great frequency response range.
For connectivity, we have the HDMI port and a micro USB port. There’s a convenient remote and physical buttons on the top. Generally, on the inside, the Nebula capsule besides being a portable projector is also very similar to an Android TV box and that sums up the hardware. So let’s take a look at the software features. This is another area where Nebula did an excellent job having integrated most of Androids TV and counting on both Bluetooth and WiFi, our options for connectivity suddenly multiply. The OS is one side not exactly Android, but on the other side with some creativity you can enhance it a lot. The Tower based launcher works great with the remote and I’ve been astonished by the easiness of the operation. Honestly, this is one of the easiest ways to make presentations on the go with almost zero preparation or to quickly show a video to your friends using a large screen because you have things like YouTube and other streaming services are available. Because it is Android TV you can count on Netflix, Amazon prime video, all the multimedia services that you use if you need to quickly access more apps.
Unfortunately, the Google services are missing but you have alternatives. Make sure to have Aptoide or alternatives to Google Play Store. Actually, they let me install way more apps which are marked as supported by smartphones only and usually Play Store doesn’t let you install them on Android TV. And that’s how you can install a lot of games and because Bluetooth four is also part of the supported features, I was able to connect a joystick and play a little. Overall, the experience is very, very good. Minimum latency, performance is just fine. We are having only 480p output is something that the hardware can easily handle. The battery life of the Nebula Capsule is also good you usually get around four, four and a half hours. It’s going to be less if you play games because that stresses the hardware more. For your convenience, there’s a smartphone app which can act as a remote too. Speaking of the remote, the receiving sensory is on the backside of the capsule and sometimes you may find it troubled to use it if you’re not behind, but this is what the smartphone app can compensate.
So, in general, the Capsule is a fantastic solution for running presentations and videos on the go without having to place people in meeting rooms with expensive pro-grade equipment. Keeps things simple and lightweight and perfectly delivers what it is supposed to. If you need slightly better resolution and more brightness, then think about getting the higher models, which appears as a second-generation and is very similar to the original. This is everything important above and Nebula Capsule and besides the few shortcomings, that device is fantastic companion especially for people that have dynamic life and want to be able to stream and present content on the go.
2. Vankyo Leisure 3 LED Portable Projector – Best All-Around Pocket Projector for Any Situation
Now we are going to look at the all-new portable Vankyo Leisure 3 Home Theater LED Projector. If you are like me, looking for an alternative to buying a very big screen TV without spending thousands and thousands of dollars, this thing here is perfect. Vankyo Leisure 3 features 1080p in video resolution, has two built-in home theatre speakers and the LED bulb in there will last up to 40,000 hours. So, meaning if you watch four hours of movies every single day with this one, this projector will last you over 27 years. Needless to say, you will probably never need to change a bulb. How much does this thing cost? It barely costs anything, believe it or not. If you’re looking for something that will shoot huge, huge videos with up to 170 inches and for a very affordable price, you definitely want to consider this to buy.
It comes shipped and delivered in a very nice and professional package. Inside the box we have a very nice fabric carrying bag with the Vankyo brand on the front here, which holds our projector and everything that it comes with. And of course I have a handle for us to easily and conveniently carry this thing anywhere we go. And for the price, this is really a bargain and really great in value. Inside we have our quick start guide and the user manual, and lastly, very nice from Vankyo here, they give you this card in which you can claim your free present.
Inside the Box
So inside our carrying bag, the first thing we have is obviously our mini projector, held very safely and securely with two straps. Package includes projector remote control, the power adapter, audio-video cable, HDMI cable, and a VGA cable. It literally comes with any cable that you really need for the most part. But if you want to use it with your smartphone, you will have to get a separate adapter for the smartphone or you can simply select to get the Amazon Fire Stick. Then you can actually play everything from your phone and shoot it to the Fire Stick and it will play on the projector.
Design and Layout
Now a quick look at the front here we have the lens cover. You can simply take this off, start using it or simply put it up. On a side we have our focus adjuster and the keystone adjuster, this is really just to tilt the screen and a power button. Simply press it once to turn it on and press it twice to turn it off, along with all the other settings control here. And of course, we have the Vankyo brand here. On the left-hand side we have our power input and on the back, we have the speaker, and on the right side, we actually have all of the inputs on the same side here.
In case you want to use your own speaker and don’t want to use the speaker that is built into this projector, you can simply connect it to a built-in input. And we actually have a Micro SD card slot and HDMI input. You can literally collect anything that has HDMI port or A/V input or VGA input from computer or laptop or any of that matter. And lastly, we have a USB input, so if you have a USB memory stick or a flash drive, you can actually just plug it in here and load all your videos, music, or pictures, whatever it is. You can literally play anything you want on this projector, which is very, very nice.
And now at the bottom here we do have this knob or screw here in which you can just unscrew it to slightly tilt the projector, so just like that or you can screw it back in and leave it showing flat on a surface. One thing I really like about this projector is the fan noise. It is very, very subtle and very low. You can barely hear any sound noise at all from the fan, which means you can really hear from the speaker that is built into this projector.
Sound and Speakers
They do have two built-in speakers for this projector, but of course, the speaker is not the top-notch speakers, so you may want to connect an extra speaker if you want to have the same quality as the movie theatre or any higher in speakers. But of course, the speaker on here will do if you use it in a small room or inside. When you go outside with this thing, you definitely want to connect an additional or bigger speaker.
I actually really like it guys. It is so affordable and barely costs anything, and it gives us so much value for our money. So if you’re looking for a projector that is extremely affordable while having all the features of other expensive projectors, this is definitely worth checking out.
3. PTVDISPLAY Pocket Portable Mini Projector – Ultimately Portable Device 1080P Pico Bluetooth Video WiFi
Like a lot of modern companies, New 1 is based online. This allows them to sell gadgets at much lower prices since they don’t have to rent places for brick-and-mortar shops. During these days when everyone is encouraged to stay at home, ordering stuff online is the best option!
New 1 isn’t a low-cost company, so you’ll have to spend some money on their products. But they are so worth it! You’ll get a high-quality picture and more benefits from this pocket-sized projector they offer.
Every model we review here is portable, but this one is especially impressive. You can not only take it anywhere with you, there’s no need for a socket nearby unless your phone isn’t charged. This projector has a rechargeable battery. Charge it, take a powerbank with you in case you’ll need to use the phone and/or projector for long hours, and you’re good to go.
The battery of this New 1 device has 4200 mAh capacity, which means it will work without trouble for about 3 hours. This is one decent movie or two short ones. If needed, there’s an AC adapter as well, and you can always recharge your battery with a powerbank.
Another perk of this New 1 model is that it connects wirelessly to your phone or tablet. Unless you’re charging, there’s no need to carry countless wires anymore. This feature improves the device’s portability even more. Connect it to your phone using NFC (for Android), WiFi, or Bluetooth, and you’ll see the screen on your wall, ceiling, or anywhere the projector is directed.
One seeming drawback overall is that you have to use a separate application to use this projector. While it’s easy to download and install, some users report that it’s not the most convenient and easy-to-use app.
4. RIF6 Cube Mobile Projector – The Tiniest Cinema Cube
A slightly smaller in size and battery capacity, RIF6 Cube Mobile Projector is still a great choice for cozy slumber parties or date nights. You can bring it as a surprise anywhere and turn a regular movie night into something more special. The dimensions of the device are easy to remember – 2”x2”x2”. A perfect fit for any pocket or bag, the projector contains a battery that allows watching 90 minutes of video per charge. With an image resolution of 854×480 and 120” projecting capacity, such a small cube is quite powerful.
This projector supports most devices with HDMI. With the device, you get a tripod for easy placement, a USB cable for charging, MHL and HDMI cables to connect your phone, tablet, or laptop, and a remote for easy control.
With the package, you get a warranty for 1 year, so if there’s something wrong with the device and you didn’t throw it around, the company will provide a replacement or refund. The overall lifespan of this model is about 20,000 hours. That’s about 10,000 standard movies, which is quite impressive.
5. AAXA P4-X Android Wireless Smart Pico Projector – Wired and Wireless Connection
AAXA P4-X for Android smartphones can connect to it using both WiFi and HDMI It also has a rechargeable battery that will last about 90 minutes. Sometimes it’s enough for a movie, but sometimes you’ll have to skip the credits or find a charger really quickly. The device weighs only 6.4 oz and its dimensions are 5.5”x2.8”x1.2”, making it a perfect pocket projector that won’t make your coat or bag look like there’s a pile of bricks inside.
Android phones can be connected to this projector using several applications, including office viewer and streaming apps. The image size it can project is 120” with great quality and 1920×1080 resolution. This is one of the best image resolution picks on this list.
The overall longevity of the device is about 20,000 hours, which can last for years.
This projector offers everything you need from one. Amazing resolution, convenient size, wired and wireless connection, and a battery. 90 minutes doesn’t sound like enough, but if you have a power bank, nothing will stop your cinema!
6. Pico Mini Portable Projector – The Lightest of Them All
We only chose projectors that are light enough for a regular pocket. However, this Pico Video Projector is really lightweight, it weighs a bit more than a phone – only 0.58 lbs. You won’t even feel it, and the dimensions are also quite compact – 5.7”x3.1”x0.71”. As most high-quality models, this one is equipped with a rechargeable battery that will last for 90 minutes on a full charge.
The projector is an Android one and allows fast downloads from Hulu, Netflix, and other streaming services. You can project a 120” image at 854 x 480 resolution. Wireless and wired connections are available, but you can use it as a streamer without any connection as well.
We put an emphasis on this model’s portability. It’s incredibly lightweight and the dimensions are extremely convenient. With that come adequate streaming capabilities. The resolution is quite standard, but at the moment, we can’t get 100% cinema quality from such a tiny thing.
7. iCodis Mini Projector – Best Built-in Speakers
The major benefit of iCodis G1 Mini Projector is its built-in speakers. The quality of sound with these 8-watt speakers is high. You’ll hear everything clearly and there will be no distortion to the sound nuances, no matter if it’s classical music, soft voice, or full-on Avengers fight scene.
The projector only weighs 1.1 pounds and its dimensions are 6.9”x4.5”x2.6”. It’s larger than a phone but is still very convenient to carry around. Equipped with a rechargeable battery, this model will show great picture quality for up to 90 minutes per charge.
It has an easy-to-use interface and works on Android OS, which opens a plethora of apps you can connect to. There’s no need to even connect the device to your phone – just go to YouTube, Netflix, or another service and stream right from there.
At best, you can get a 60” image at 800×480 resolution. It’s not the best size but still 10 times larger than a common phone screen. And the model’s amazing sound capabilities compensate for everything.
8. Magnasonic LED Pocket Pico Video Projector – The Smallest Item
This Magnasonic LED Pocket Pico Video Projector will impress you with its portability and size. Its dimensions are only 0.5”x3.9”x3”, which makes this model the smallest on our list. The projector is also equipped with a rechargeable battery that will keep the movie going for 2 hours on one charge. It’s a great option to use outside if you don’t want to carry a portable charger with you.
On the downside, this model doesn’t allow a wireless connection, so you’ll have to use an HDMI cable to connect it to your device. Although it’s super small, the projector can cover a screen of 60” with a resolution of 640×360. It’s less than other options on the list, but considering the size of this model, such qualities are quite impressive.
It can be used with Apple devices as well, but make sure you have an adapter.
9. CiBest Upgraded LED Video Projector – Great Price to Quality Ratio
CiBest is also an online-based company, but its product spectrum doesn’t end on portable projectors. However, we’re only interested in them at this point, so let’s get familiar with their LED Video Projector.
This upgraded model offers premium image correction. If any of you have ever used a portable projector, you know that the picture can be warped since small devices lack keystone correction. CiBest paid attention to that and improved their Upgraded model’s capability to correct the image back and forth by 15 degrees. This is quite impressive given such correction is usually available for much larger devices.
This projector offers great wireless connectivity using WiFi or Bluetooth. You can also connect with a cable, of course. This feature doesn’t show any innovations, but the file extension compatibility does. With some pocket projectors, there’s a difficulty with playing certain files. This model, though, encompasses a wide range, becoming the best option on the list if you need to play rare formats.
10. RAGU Z400 – Longest Lifespan
RAGU products are widely known outside Amazon. The company offers a wide range of consumer electronics, including portable projectors like Z400. It’s a solid device, impressively durable for a portable projector.
One of the most concerning topics about portable projectors is their lamps. This element is very fragile and it’s very easy to damage it. So, if carried around a lot, common 10,000-20,000 hours of lifespan can become 5,000-10,000 hours. RAGU noticed this trend and decided to release a device that would improve this situation. So, RAGU Z400 offers 50,000 hours of lamp life, meaning its construction blocks a certain degree of damage for a longer time.
The lamp, by the way, has an output of 1,800 lumens, which is more than enough for a portable projector.
Another problem with most projectors is that they make a lot of noise. Most of it comes from the cooler, which is vital for the device’s longevity. It can heat up pretty fast, and if the fan isn’t powerful enough, again, the longevity leaves a lot to be desired.
So, RAGU Z400 offers premium ventilation with much less noise. This and other innovations used in its construction make the model one of the best on our list.
11. DR.J – As Bright As a Projector Can Get
It’s fine if you haven’t heard about this company. They are based online and honestly need more recognition, because their projectors are less expensive than the others yet never lose in quality. The company also manufactures other types of consumer tech, but we’ll focus on their portable projector.
THZY DR.J is an impressive device quality-wise. It offers an image of 32” to 176”, which is the largest out of all the previous options on the list. Besides, the lamp of this projectors has an output of 2,000 lumens, which is also the best lumen factor of our selection.
Convenience in use is another major factor for any pocket projector. A great feature of this one is that you don’t have to bring speakers along with it. The sound system of the device is impressive.
It’s also compatible with most file formats, so you don’t have to convert your movie or look for another file, ruining the atmosphere.
12. GooDee YG500 – A Great All-in-One Projector
GooDee is the youngest company we’ve reviewed. It also isn’t focused solely on visual tech, so you might think their projectors wouldn’t be special. We also thought that before trying one, but even the first impression was like from a solid-built, high-quality device.
One of the best features of GooDee YG500 is the sound quality of its in-built speakers. A lot of people forget about sound at all when buying a projector. Finding out it’s poor, they have to buy a set of speakers and connect them. Sounds like a lot of work and a fair amount of disappointment.
Ease of Use
This projector offers multiple connectivity modes and great longevity. You also won’t be interrupted by the noise of its cooling system. It’s powerful yet quiet, comparing to most common devices.
13. LESHP Projector – Great Compatibility
The LESHP Mini Projector is a full package in terms of compatibility. It’s supported by all Android and Apple devices, as well as to most PCs. You should use an HDMI cable to connect it to the device.
It weighs 2.3 pounds and the dimensions are 7.4”x5.9”x 2.3”. Comparing to other options on the list, this one isn’t very compact, but there are no complaints yet as to the ease of carrying it. This model maybe isn’t for your jacket pocket, but putting it in a bag won’t be a problem.
This projector will show an image of 37” to 130” with a resolution of 800×480. This is pretty adequate, especially the screen size. You won’t be able to use it in a well-lit room, but this LESHP device is great for a movie night. Also, it’s important to remember it’s a device for an inside use since it has to be plugged and doesn’t require a battery.
You can see why it’s the last option on the list, but we couldn’t help but recommending it as well. While it doesn’t have WiFi or battery, the image quality is still great!
Pocket Projector Buyer’s Guide: What to Think About Before Buying
Let’s see what you should consider before choosing your ideal pocket projector:
Look at your pockets and think where you could fit a projector to carry it with you at all times. Most portable devices are fine for regular pockets, but we recommend choosing one that is close to your phone size.
Think about the size of the image you want as a result. There are projectors that deliver 15”, 30”, 60”, 120”, 150”, and other sizes. Don’t opt for the largest if you don’t need it. Choose according to your screen or wall.
If you’re going to take this projector with you outside, battery life means a lot. Some offer 90 minutes, some 3 and more hours. In case you’re buying one for home use, battery life shouldn’t be your first priority. But of course, more is better.
The final quality of your movie will greatly depend on the resolution your projector offers. The standard is 854×480, but you can find a better option as well. Think which factor is a top priority for you and choose a projector according to your standards.
How to Get the Best Image from Your Pocket Projector?
To get the most out of your pocket projector, it’s important to find the best surface to put the image on. The best choice is a plain white wall without any ornaments or another type of décor. If you don’t have one, find a special screen online. You can put it anywhere and no matter the interior, there will always be plain white space to watch movies on.
If this isn’t an option as well, just try to find anything white and smooth. It can be a sheet or a large piece of paper. Make sure it’s white, though, because a different color will still show a nice picture, but the colors of the movie will be distorted.
Why Buy a Portable Projector?
Here are some perks of buying a pocket projector:
- It gives great ideas for parties.
Want to host a girls’ night? Get some popcorn and make it a movie night. You don’t have to sit near a laptop altogether to try and see the details of the shot. Make space for a large screen and use your pocket projector.
- It helps with work.
If you need to work with images, seeing them in more detail on a large screen might provide a fresh look. Drawing can also become easier since you’ll see the big picture (literally) right away.
- It helps with learning.
It might get too boring watching lectures on your phone or tablet. Also, your eyes must hurt so much! But with a projector, not only it will be more fun, but you’ll get that cinema vibe that will make any lecture more relaxing to watch. And with the right brightness, your eyes will finally have a rest.
There’s a piece of technology for almost anything these days. Tired of cleaning your house? There’s a vacuum that moves by itself. Want to see a movie but the screen of your phone doesn’t give the vibe of a movie theater? No problem, there’s a projector that can help you create a cinema at home. Do you want to bring that kind of tech with you anywhere? Well, there’s a solution for that as well.
Portable projectors are the latest innovation in this niche. You can connect it wirelessly and some models don’t even need a phone, tablet, or laptop to work. Just switch it on, connect to WiFi, and stream whatever you want. It will make a slumber party or a date more special, and even if you just want a relaxing evening for yourself, a big screen will create the right atmosphere!