Forget the popcorn, cold beer and big screen TV, the best way to throw a movie night at home these days is with a portable projector. Today’s projectors cast theater-quality images onto any available wall (or white sheet) and are packed with powerful performance features, all in portable, palm-sized packages. Whether you’re screening a film, watching a big game, or want to take your gaming experience to the next level, these projectors pair easily with your phones, media players, consoles and computers to deliver a full-sized viewing experience that beats crowding around a television set. Artists and companies have touted the virtues of these mini projectors too, using them for everything from conferences and presentations, to merch tents and ticket booths.
We’ve rounded up six of the best portable projectors in the market today, based on picture quality, ease of use and portability. The only thing you need is a screen, simple sheet or blank wall. Well, and maybe some cold beer too.
1. VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector
This value-packed projector is one of the best-reviewed devices online, with customers praising its easy setup and solid picture quality, which holds up even in daylight and bright conditions. The system supports a 1920×1080 resolution, with a 2000:1 contrast ratio, for clear, accurate images. Position the projector anywhere from 5 feet to 16 feet away from your wall or screen to get an image size up to 176 inches. Two built-in speakers are loud enough that you don’t need to connect to a soundbar or receiver (though you’ll still need to do that if you want surround sound), while the projector’s cooling technology keeps the box cool without fan noise cutting into your movie or show. Purchase: $89.99 on Amazon.com.
2. AEHR Mini Portable Projector
Need a projector to take to your next business conference or presentation at work? This mini projector is no bigger than an iPhone 8 and slips easily into your jacket or bag when it’s not delivering rich, bright, high-contrast images. Its powerful quad-core processor delivers fast, reliable connectivity, while its lamp life gets up to 30,000 hours of use. The projector casts an image size of up to 120 inches (from a distance of 1-3 meters), though reviewers say its best picture quality is around the 60-inch mark. While it’s great for the boardroom, this portable projector is also great for around the house; connect it to your devices via WiFi or with the included USB cable to stream your favorite content with use. Purchase: $268.00 on Amazon.com.
3. ViewSonic M1 Portable Projector
This palm-sized projector packs a ton of features, including built-in, dual Harman Kardon speakers, and a built-in battery that provides up to six hours of power and more than 30,000 hours of total use. The projector’s shorter throw lens casts a screen up to 100 inches from as little as eight feet away – great for people who live in apartments or small spaces. The included smart stand lets you position the projector for more proportionate images, while the auto keystone feature actively works to correct distortion – no more fuzzy viewing here. The ViewSonic M1 features 16GB of internal storage, plug-and-play setup and a three-year limited warranty that covers parts and labor (and one year of light-source coverage). Purchase: $269.99 on Amazon.com.
4. Anker Nebula Capsule Mini Projector
Connect this soda can-sized projector to your devices to stream content from Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and all your favorite apps onto a screen or wall up to 100 inches wide. The Capsule’s unique design lets it project images from the front, back and up to the ceiling, while the omni-directional 360° speaker mimics a surround sound experience. Super-easy to stash in your bag to take on the road, this portable projector weighs less than 15 oz. while its durable aluminum shell can sustain bumps and bruises without causing any internal damage. The Capsule gets you up to four hours of video in a single charge; Anker’s “Quick Charge” technology gets you a full charge in under 2.5 hours. Purchase: $309.99 on Amazon.com.
5. Epson Home Cinema 3LCD Projector
A great option for movie night at home, this Epson projector features a whopping 3300 lumens of color/white brightness, giving you vivid, more accurate images. The powerful projector casts life-sized images up to 25 times larger than a 60 inch TV, and the HDMI connectivity makes it a cinch to pair with your cable box, Blu-ray player, gaming console or device. At 12 x 9 inches and roughly 5.5 pounds, this is one of the “larger” models on this list, but it’s still easy to move and carry around as needed. We especially like the “Instant Off” feature, which lets you power down the system and pack it up without needing any cool down time. Purchase: $349.99 on Amazon.com.
6. Optoma ML750 WXGA Portable LED Projector
This tiny, pocket-sized projector weighs about the same as the iPhone XS Max but packs a powerful punch when it comes to performance. The projector’s DLP Technology (from Texas Instruments) maximizes response times to eliminate any lagging, while the LED light source casts sharp, consistent colors for more than 20,000 hours (also: no more bulbs to replace!) With a brightness of 700 lumens, the pictures are vivid and the details easy to make out – great for gaming enthusiasts who need to see every corner of the screen. Reviewers love the HDMI/MHL connectivity and the microSD slot, which lets you easily pair your videos or presentations – no matter where they’re stored – with the device. Purchase: $473.98 on Amazon.com.
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