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HomeTechAnker Nebula Mars 3 Air Review: The New Portable Projector to Beat

Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air Review: The New Portable Projector to Beat

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For the previous couple of years, we have repeatedly praised the Anker Nebula Mars II Professional as one of many greatest transportable projectors. In the identical breath, we additionally defined that this was regardless of some points: The streaming interface wasn’t nice, its shade was a bit off and it wasn’t significantly vibrant (though just like its competitors). We had been let down when the Mars 3 appeared and it was a radically totally different projector.

Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air

8.1

Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air

Like


  • Nice measurement

  • Google TV streaming

  • Respectable shade and distinction for a conveyable

Don’t love


  • A bit of expensive

  • Shorter battery life

Seems Anker forked the Mars line and the true alternative to the II Professional is the three Air. It has the identical total design, the next decision and makes use of Google TV for its streaming interface; all doubtlessly stable enhancements. The battery life is down somewhat, as are the claimed lumens. How a lot of an improve it was remained to be seen (pun supposed). 

After working it by way of our regular testing, the Mars 3 Air is a reasonably stable improve total. The picture is improved and the streaming interface is considerably higher. The one main downgrade is the worth, which is a full 20% greater than its predecessor. When you’re searching for a conveyable projector that is doubtless the perfect all-around choice.

Some specs and such

Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air

The Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air is very transportable, with a built-in battery, Google TV streaming and audio system.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

  • Native decision: 1080p
  • HDR-compatible: No
  • 4K-compatible: No
  • 3D-compatible: No
  • Lumens spec: 400
  • Zoom: No
  • Lens shift: No
  • Lamp life: LED, so the lifetime of the projector

One of many greatest modifications between the Mars 3 Air and its predecessor, the Mars II Professional, is the rise in decision to 1080p from 720p. Extra pixels is just about at all times factor with projectors since mentioned pixels are going to be large. 

Anker lists the three Air as having 400 ANSI lumens. In essentially the most correct mode, I measured roughly 252 lumens. Within the much less correct, and visibly inexperienced, Shiny mode, I received 354 lumens. Given the variances and errors in any measurement methodology, I would say that is fairly shut. It is also pretty common for transportable projectors, though far decrease than conventional, battery-free house theater projectors — even at across the similar value. As an illustration, the brightest projector we have ever examined was simply $30 greater than the three Air however 8x brighter (though in all equity, the Epson EpiqVision Flex CO-FH02 had different shortcomings). 

As is typical with transportable projectors, there is no lens shift or zoom. If you need a much bigger or smaller picture, you simply want to maneuver the projector farther or nearer to the display screen. There may be digital focus which prompts robotically, or you may activate it from the distant. You may modify focus within the menu as effectively. There’s additionally computerized keystone correction, however I suggest you flip that off and simply do your greatest to line up the projector perpendicular to the display screen or wall.

Battery life is a claimed 2.5 hours, 1 hour lower than the Mars II Professional. That is within the Eco brightness mode, which is roughly 30% as vibrant as the conventional mode (roughly 97 lumens within the correct mode). There is no ranking for the lamp life, however it’s LEDs so I would anticipate them to final the lifetime of the projector. 

Inputs and streaming

Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air

You may as well recharge your telephone or energy an exterior machine through the USB output. As an illustration, you can join a Roku streaming stick and energy it through USB.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • USB port: 1
  • Audio output: Headphone output
  • Web: 2.4/5GHz
  • Distant: Not backlit

A single HDMI enables you to join an exterior supply like a sport console or further streaming media machine. If mentioned machine is sufficiently small, you may energy it from the USB connection. The inner audio system are respectable and you should use the three Air as a Bluetooth speaker. If you wish to join one thing else like headphones, there’s an analog output for that as effectively.

The streaming interface is commonplace Google TV, which is an efficient factor. Older, and lots of cheaper, transportable projectors have both a model of Android or an irregular streaming setup. When you permit Google to take action, they will do a reasonably frighteningly correct job of displaying you content material you are focused on throughout a number of streaming companies. The one draw back to the Google TV interface is it hides and scatters pretty commonplace projector changes throughout a number of menus. It may be a little bit of a problem to arrange. Worse, there is a minimal of changes available usually. So even primary image changes like “brightness” aren’t out there. Thankfully, I discovered it was already arrange pretty effectively from the manufacturing unit, although extra changes would doubtless enhance the picture somewhat.

Image high quality comparisons

Anker Mars II Professional

Xgimi Halo Plus

Logically I in contrast the Mars 3 Air to its predecessor, the Mars II Professional. I additionally in contrast it to the Xgimi Halo Plus, which is roughly the identical measurement, and has comparable specs, however is a bit more costly. I linked them to a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier and seen them side-by-side on a 102-inch 1.0-gain display screen.

First up, Anker vs Anker. The uncooked numbers suggest these ought to look pretty comparable. I measured roughly 337 lumens on the II Professional with a distinction ratio of 354:1. The three Air was somewhat dimmer at 252 with a barely greater distinction ratio at 405:1. The three Air did look somewhat dimmer, however the distinction ratio appeared greater than that small distinction implied. That is doubtless as a result of 3 Air’s skill to regulate the gamma and maybe higher total picture tuning. Neither projector has a full suite of picture changes. The colour temperature was way more correct and pure on the three Air, far hotter than the cool-toned II Professional. Shade was a little bit of a combined bag total, neither was significantly correct and an argument might be made for “in another way dangerous,” however total I most well-liked the look of the three Air. 

Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air

You may as well use the Mars 3 Air as a Bluetooth speaker.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The extra decision of the newer mannequin might be the largest distinction. Whereas I at all times level out that decision is only one side of a picture, and never a very essential one, stepping up from 720p to 1080p for a projector is a sizeable leap. From a traditional viewing distance, keen-eyed viewers will be capable of see the pixels of a 100-inch 720p picture. With 1080p you’d must be sitting nearer or need to create a picture that is a lot bigger. 

Subsequent up: the Xgimi Halo Plus. Specs-wise, the Mars 3 Air and the Halo Plus are very comparable. Xgimi claimed its projector able to 900 lumens, however that proved to be a selected reward for fiction. I measured 284, which is principally what the three Air produces. Distinction too was principally the identical, at 368:1. In contrast to the Mars 2 Professional pairing, these two projectors appeared extra comparable visually, with a slight edge to the three Air. Essentially the most notable distinction was the Xgimi’s slight pink tint, making the three Air look extra pure total. 

Even when they had been the identical value, the Mars 3 Air seems to be fractionally higher than the Xgimi. They do not value the identical, with the Halo Plus costing a further $150, or about 20%, as of this writing. That’s to say, the Mars 3 Air wins this comparability, even when it would not accomplish that with an enormous efficiency enchancment.

Moveable for a value

Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air and the Anker Nebula Capsule 3

The Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air and the Anker Nebula Capsule 3 (overview coming quickly).

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Regardless of a loss of some lumens, the Mars 3 Air is a stable improve over the Mars II Professional. It is simpler to make use of, and it seems to be somewhat higher whereas preserving the good measurement of its predecessor. My solely situation is that it is creeping up in value. $600 is encroaching on the costs of some precise house theater projectors which all vastly outperform the three Air.

When you do not want a battery, these are higher choices. If binging some exhibits or watching a film nowhere close to an outlet is your factor, the Mars 3 Air is the best choice total. Is it well worth the $100 premium over the II Professional? Sure, however barely.


In addition to protecting audio and show tech, Geoff does picture excursions of cool museums and areas world wide, together with nuclear submarines, huge plane carriers, medieval castles, epic 10,000-mile street journeys and extra.

He wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel about city-size submarines, and likewise Budget Travel for Dummies. You may comply with him on Instagram and YouTube



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