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Lifewire / Hayley Prokos
More than an all-in-one small form factor projector, the Anker Nebula Capsule II is a grab-and-go entertainment setup, with speakers and all. Whereas the first-generation model introduced a built-in 5-watt speaker that, for all intents and purposes, was pretty loud for the price, the Capsule II steps that up. This time you can expect an 8-watt built-in speaker for even more power.
But that's not all. The company has also increased the resolution to 1280x720, putting it firmly in the HD realm. This is an upgrade from the 854x480 resolution of the previous-generation Anker Nebula Capsule, which admittedly is still a better bang for your buck. Then again, from the Anker Nebula Capsule II, you’ll get a much sharper image in a more compact package. Anker has also stepped up the brightness to 200 ANSI lumens, meaning you don't need to sit in the dark to enjoy its views.
Plus, with Chromecast capabilities built right in, you can cast content from more than 3,000 apps, making the Nebula Capsule II one of the most versatile options for consuming media on the go.
Lifewire / Claire Cohen
Measuring 3.86 x 3.86 x .87 inches and weighing 1.2 pounds, the Apeman has 120 minutes of battery life courtesy of a 3400mAh battery. It's capable of projecting a screen size up to 100 inches on a wall. The 854 x 480 resolution isn’t quite Full HD quality, but video playback still looks fantastic. The inclusion of dual speakers adds to the audio-visual mix, while noticeably low fan noise allows for complete immersion in whatever is on the screen.
The 25,000 hours of LED life allows for 1,000 days of 24-hour video playback before the bulb will burn out. Adding HDMI cable and MHL support lets the Apeman connect directly to a laptop, smartphone, or tablet for easy plug-and-play use.
Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman
This popular portable projector is a great option for those who want a versatile budget device that can play all kinds of media. Unlike many pricier models, the Vankyo 3 does not have a Wi-Fi connection. Instead, it relies on HDMI and USB connections to play your content. Its simple plug-and-play setup makes it easy to attach a streaming stick, cable box, gaming console, or even a flash drive. You can also connect your smartphone using an HDMI adapter cable (sold separately).
In terms of image size, the Vankyo 3 projects a picture up to 170 inches across. The ideal placement is 6.5 feet from the projection surface, making this an especially good option for smaller rooms. With enhanced brightness and 1920 x 1080 resolution, your media is clear and sharp. But one of the most appealing aspects of a mini projector is its portability, and the Vankyo is designed with this in mind. Weighing less than three pounds, this projector is lighter than many laptops and even comes with its own carrying case for extra portability.
Lifewire / Jordan Provost
Sure, it's expensive, but the Optoma ML750ST is well worth its steep price tag. The LED projector boasts a native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels and can upscale video content to 1080i. With 700 lumens, it yields high color accuracy and produces a beautiful, bright picture.
The ML750ST’s short throw ratio of 0.8:1 is also to thank for its impressive image quality. While many projectors need a 1.2:1 to 1.5:1 ratio to project a large picture, the ML750ST can sit rather close.
The ML750ST has run-of-the-mill connectivity options, including an HDMI port, a USB port, a 3.5mm audio output, and a microSD slot. Its integrated document reader makes it a great pick for business applications, though. You can project PDFs, DOCs, and more from a USB thumb drive, so you don’t need to hook it up to a laptop.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an internal battery, so you do need to stay within reach of a power outlet. When used in an office setting, however, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Lifewire / Hayley Prokos
Another great option in the sub-$100 range is the Elephas GC333. This model doesn’t have the same brand recognition as some of the more expensive products on this list, but it’s a versatile and portable projector that can project a 120-inch image at its best quality, and all the way up to 236 inches with some reduction in clarity.
If you need a small, inexpensive projector that can do just about anything — whether you’re attaching a streaming stick to watch your favorite show, playing games on a console, or mirroring content from a laptop — the Elephas GC333 packs in a ton of flexible features for a budget price. It measures 8.7 x 6.7 x 3.5 inches and weighs a little over a pound, making it easy to transport. The only downside is that it does not have an internal battery, so wherever you take it, you’ll need to plug it in.
The projector’s long-lasting LED lamp delivers up to 3,300 lumens of brightness and a maximum 2000:1 contrast ratio so your media looks clear, sharp, and true to color. It also features Elephas’ revamped cooling system, built-in speakers, and the option to connect a separate speaker via the projector’s 3.5mm audio input for a more cinematic experience.
Design might not seem like a top priority when you’re shopping for a projector, but the ViewSonic M1+ is more than the sum of its looks. It’s tiny (only 5.7 x 5 x 1.6 inches) and has an elegant built-in stand for instant angle adjustments.
But beyond its ultra-streamlined aesthetics, this projector stands out for its integrated smart TV interface, which connects to Wi-Fi so you can stream directly from your favorite services without going through a laptop or mobile device. The M1+ even has 16GB of internal storage to hold about four hours of video for offline viewing. Add to that a six-hour battery life and this projector can be used entirely wirelessly, no power cords or cables needed.
For the times when you don’t have Wi-Fi, the M1+ does have a USB Type-A and USB-C port so you can plug it straight into the device of your choosing (some may require a USB-C adapter, which is not included). It also has integrated Harman Kardon speakers to boost your media soundscape beyond typical built-in speaker quality.
When it comes to miniature form factor, projectors don’t get much smaller than the AAXA P7. This tiny device measures 4.7 x 4.4 x 2.7 inches and weighs less than 1.5 pounds, so if you need a projector that can easily fit in your bag without weighing you down, then the AAXA P7 may be the one for you.
This pint-sized device projects in 1080p resolution and can generate up to a 120-inch image in the right low-light conditions, making it surprisingly powerful for a projector this small. It also includes a rechargeable battery with 90 minutes of runtime for truly on-the-go functionality. The P7 has an array of different inputs to support all kinds of devices. These include USB, HDMI, mini-VGA, composite AV, and a TF card port. Technically there are built-in 2W speakers, but it’s worth connecting a separate Bluetooth speaker for better audio.