TVs have gotten exponentially bigger and better since the beginning of the HD era in 2000, and picked up significantly since 4K TVs have become mainstream, but projectors still provide a better home theater experience.
Projectors have two big advantages over TVs: They can produce a much larger picture, and take up less space. All you’ll need to make the most out of a projector is a blank wall, or projector screen. If you want to set up a home theater anywhere, your best option is getting a battery-powered projector.
This category of projector has become attractive because technology has advanced enough that you don’t have to sacrifice picture quality for the sake of size.
What Are the Best Battery-Powered Projectors?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best battery-powered projector for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Battery life: Battery-powered projectors have to balance brightness, speaker size, weight, and resolution all play a part in how much time you’ll get to use them per charge. Most have different screen brightness settings, or a low-power mode, which gives you some control their power efficiency, but in general you should expect to get through one or two movies without much trouble.
Native Resolution: A lot of projectors accept HD content, but most of them can’t actually produce an HD image. Many of them use a technology called “downsampling,” which means it takes a high resolution image, and scrunches it down to a lower quality one. Think of it this way: You could play a Blu-ray on an old tube TV, but the picture quality will look poor. Most of our battery-powered projector picks have an HD native resolution, which guarantees you’ll get a crisp image.
Brightness: The image thrown by a projector is highly susceptible to light pollution, which will dim its image before it hits your screen or wall. The brighter the projector, the more it’s able to overcome light pollution. Unfortunately, the brighter the projector, the lower the battery life. If you plan on using your projector at night, brightness won’t be as big of a factor, but it’s something to consider if you’re going to use it to replace your TV in a well-lit room.
Weight: The biggest upside to having a battery-powered is its portability, so it’s important to factor in weight. All of the projectors on our list weigh less than five pounds, and will fit in a backpack, but this is definitely a factor to consider if you’re planning on carrying your projector around a lot.
Ports: Battery-powered projectors are typically smaller than the ones used in home theater systems, which means they don’t have as much room for ports. Ports let you connect computers, game consoles, phones, or tablets to the projector, so the more ports the better.
Speakers: All of the battery-powered projectors on this list have built-in speakers, so you don’t have to carry a pair around with you to watch a movie. That said, the speakers are generally smaller, and less powerful because of space restraints, and can add to power consumption.
1. BenQ GV30
BenQ just released its GV30 projector, but it’s already taken the top spot in our guide thanks in large part to its innovative design.
The circular-shaped projector sits on a flat stand, and allows you to easily adjust the angle of your screen by rotating it frontward or backward. Most projectors rely on height-adjustable feet for this task, but the GV30’s system is a lot better. Another design tweak we appreciate is the slot on its side that holds the remote. We’ve gotten to check out the GV30 for ourselves, and it’s definitely the sleekest battery-powered projector we’ve seen.
BenQ isn’t forthright about the GV30’s battery life, but you should have no problem getting through one movie and a TV show or two without needing to top it up. The projector produces a nice 720p picture, with solid color reproduction. Its 300 Lumen screen can get a little washed out in bright rooms, though.
The GV30 excels when it comes to connectivity: It’s equipped with an HDMI port, USB-C port, and comes preloaded with Android, which allows you to get direct access to streaming apps without requiring you to plug in a media streamer. You can also send media to the projector wirelessly over Google’s Chromecast or Apple’s AirPlay. You won’t have any trouble watching your favorite TV shows or movies on this projector.
The G30’s most impressive technical feature its 2.1 audio system, which includes stereo speakers and a built-in subwoofer. You won’t need to hook up any speakers to this projector for an immersive experience, trust us.
BenQ’s GV30 weighs in at 3.53 pounds, which makes it the heaviest battery-powered projector we’re recommending, but it’s worth every ounce. You’re getting a high quality projector jam-packed with premium hardware and software. If we could only recommend one battery-powered projector for most people, this would be it.
2. Nebula Capsule
Nebula’s Capsule busts the myth that you need to spend a lot of money to get a great battery-powered projector.
For $250 you’re getting a projector that gets up to four hours of battery, has a built-in speaker, runs Android, includes an HDMI port, and weighs less than one pound. These are features you’d expect from a much higher-end projector.
The two caveats to picking up the Nebula Capsule is its native resolution (480p; non-HD) and 100 Lumen brightness. These specs mean you should only use the Nebula Capsule in extremely dark rooms for casual viewing. It’s the perfect choice if you want to throw a projector in your bag before a camping trip.
If you have basic needs for a projector for work or home use, the Nebula Capsule is the right choice.
3. AAXA P7 Mini
AAXA’s P7 Mini proves that you don’t need to make big sacrifices to get a battery-powered projector.
The ultra-portable projector has a native 1080p (full-HD) native resolution, 600 Lumens of brightness, and comes HDMI, USB, MicroSD, AV, and mini VGA ports. AAXA focused on optimizing video quality above all else, which is what matters when you’re watching a movie or TV show. Note: The projector tamps down to 450 Lumens when it’s on battery power.
At 4.7-inches tall, 4.4-inches wide, and 2.7-inches deep this is the smallest projector in our guide. Its small size makes it easy to carry around anywhere, but does come with a couple of drawbacks. The P7 Mini is only designed to last about 90 minutes per charge, and its 2W speaker isn’t too powerful. You can connect an external pair of speakers through its headphone jack to fix one of those issues, but that cuts into the projector’s overall portability.
This is also the only projector in our guide not to run an operating system that has built-in apps. AAXA’s approach was to build in every commonly used port into the projector, and have you supply the streaming hardware. This approach is fine, but something to think about if you don’t already have a media streamer.
If you want a battery-powered projector that’ll deliver an excellent-looking picture anywhere you go, AAXA’s P7 Mini gets our highest recommendation.
4. XGIMI Halo True
If you want a truly no-compromise battery-powered projector, XGIMI’s Halo True is the one to get.
The projector can create a full, 1080P image, has a maximum brightness of 800 Lumens, and lasts up to four hours per charge. It’s got an HDMI port (with ARC if you want to hook it up to a surround sound system), USB port, and headphone jack. It also runs Android, has a built-in Chromecast, and was designed with enough storage and memory that you’ll have no problem streaming your favorite TV shows and movies without any stuttering.
The Halo True’s video and connectivity specs are rounded out by a stereo speaker system that comes courtesy of Harmon and Kardon, one of the most respected audio companies in the world. This is also the only projector in our guide that supports HDR (high dynamic range) a video technology that ensures you’ll get the highest quality color reproduction when streaming new TV shows and movies.
If you want to have the truest home theater system with you everywhere you go, XGIMI’s Halo True is the only battery-powered projector you should get.