Anker Nebula Capsule Ii Lifestyle HeroSource: Anker

Best Portable Pico Projectors Android Central 2020

Pico projectors come in all shapes and sizes, with some even available as modular attachments for your smartphone. They exist to fill the niche for those who want the ability to project content directly from their phone or tablet to make it easier to share photos or watch movies with friends. Our top recommendation is the LG PH550 CineBeam LED Projector because it uses a reliable and efficient LED lamp to cast up to 100-inch diagonal projections and can connect to virtually any media playing device you own — all while remaining portable enough to take with you wherever you go.

Best Overall: LG PH550 CineBeam LED Projector

LG PH550 CineBeam LifestyleSource: LG

LG's portable projector lets you cast a screen up to 100 inches to replicate a movie theater experience in your home, at the office, or wherever else the mood strikes you.

The LED lamp offers brightness of 550 lumens when plugged in and 160 lumens running off the battery. The built-in wireless mirroring function works with Android smartphones and tablets, and there's also HDMI or AV composite inputs for connecting computers, along with direct input for an over-the-air antenna or cable.

Alternatively, you can use the USB port for flash drives loaded with media files. While the built-in speakers are good enough for private viewing, you'll want to make use of the Bluetooth support for audio output for watching with bigger groups.

Pros:

  • 2.5 hours with internal battery
  • Clean and sleek design
  • Protective carrying pouch
  • HDMI, Digital TV Tuner, Composite (AV) and RGB inputs
  • Wirelessly connects to Android devices and Bluetooth devices

Cons:

  • 550 Lumens won't cut it in well-lit rooms.
  • Power switch location is less than ideal
  • Built-in speaker is underwhelming

Best Overall

LG PH550 CineBeam LED Projector

A portable projector you can rely on

LG has produced a projector that can be connected to practically any device you own via wireless or wired connections.

Best Value: GooDee G500 Mini Video Projector

GooDee G500 Mini Projector LifestyleSource: GooDee

The GooDee G500 may come from a company you are unfamiliar with but this mini projector packs quite the punch in an affordable package. There are a plethora of input options, including HDMI, USB, microSD, and more. With a viewing range of up to 200 inches at 15 feet, this is sure to be a great companion for that movie night on the lawn, or even on the side of a barn.

As for the lamp, GooDee rates this with a 50,000 lamp life, thanks to the inclusion of TFT LCD, which provides lower energy consumption and longer life. There are built-in speakers and a hi-fi stereo system, but we wouldn't rely on this solely for your audio needs. Finally, GooDee provides a five-year warranty for the G500.

Everything sounds just perfect with the GooDee G500, and for the most part that is true. However, there is no way to connect any of your devices wirelessly. This includes smartphones, as you'll need to get a USB-C to HDMI adapter if you want to go from your smartphone or tablet to the G500.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and easy to travel with
  • Offers 50,000 hours of lamp life
  • Inputs for HDMI, USB, and microSD, and more
  • Includes remote, HDMI, and RCA cables

Cons:

  • No wireless connectivity
  • Adapter needed to work with smartphones

Best Value

GooDee G500 Mini Video Projector

Best bang for your buck

At a fraction of the cost of similar models, the GooDee G500 packs a wallop that is tough to match.

Best Short Throw: ASUS ZenBeam S2 Portable Mini Wireless Projector

ASUS ZenBeam S2 LifestyleSource: ASUS

This pocket projector from ASUS is small and mighty, and with a 6,000mAh rechargeable battery, it also doubles as a power bank to keep your mobile devices charged. It uses advanced DLP technology and short-throw projection to create a bright 40-inch screen from just one meter away or up to a 120-inch screen from 3 meters away in a darker room.

There's an HDMI/MHL port in the back that lets you plug in your laptop or video game console, while MHL includes native support for most Samsung and Apple devices. One of the biggest downsides, however, is that the video resolution is limited to just 720p, and you'll need to be using the S2 in a darker room if you want to take advantage of a larger screen.

Pros:

  • Compact size with huge internal battery
  • Features USB-C for input and power delivery
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Doubles as a power bank

Cons:

  • Requires a dark room for larger screen sizes
  • Resolution limited to 720p natively

Best Short Throw

ASUS ZenBeam S2 Portable Mini Wireless Projector

Short-throw projector with a big battery

ASUS offers a light and compact projector that's easy to set up and use from a short distance and even has USB-C.

Best Built-in Sound: Anker Nebula Capsule II

Anker Nebula Capsule II HeroSource: Android Central

From Anker comes the Nebula Capsule II, a portable projector that is one of the more unique projectors on the list. While it's not as easy to slip into your pocket, it is still compact and comparable to a can of soda. As the name suggests, the Nebula Capsule II is the second in the line of can-sized projectors that have been designed with a sturdy base and include a 360-degree speaker.

This one runs on Android 9.0, which means you get access to most of your favorite streaming apps like YouTube, Hulu, and Twitch, along with Google Assistant and Chromecast capabilities baked right in. Beyond the inclusion of built-in Android software, there's also HDMI input as well as a USB dongle for loading up your favorite media on a flash drive.

Pros:

  • Award-winning design looks cool as hell
  • Runs on Android 9.0
  • 360-degree sound is impressive for size
  • Super easy to set up and use
  • Up to 4 hours of video playback

Cons:

  • Some issues with app availability on Google Play Store
  • Might not be as portable as other options
  • Expensive compared to older option

Best Built-in Sound

Anker Nebula Capsule II

A can-sized projector for any situation

The cylinder design here is unique compared to the other products on our list as it looks downright futuristic.

Best for Portability: KODAK Luma 150 Portable Projector

Kodak Luma 150 LifestyleSource: Kodak

Kodak offers a palm-sized projector that is capable of projecting an image up to 100 inches diagonally at 1080p HD quality. You're free to plug in a microSD or USB drive filled with media or plug in your preferred video game console, PC, or anything else that uses HDMI.

Along with an on-board media player and built-in speakers, you get a 3.5mm input jack for plugging in headphones or your own set of speakers. There's a standard tripod mount on the bottom and the whole thing is powered by an internal battery that delivers up to two hours and is rechargeable via microUSB.

Pros:

  • Ultra compact size
  • Includes on-board media player
  • Vertical keystone correction lets you cast onto any surface

Cons:

  • 25 Ansi lumens brightness is lacking
  • No wireless connectivity

Best for Portability

KODAK Luma 150 Portable Projector

A supremely portable projector

Measuring in at just 3 square inches, this is the most compact projector that's also available at a great price.

Best All-In-One: AAXA Technologies P7 Mini Pico Projector

AAXA P7 Mini LifestyleSource: AAXA

The AAXA P7 Mini is a fully capable projector that includes a built-in media player and convenient controls right on top. It uses a 600 LED Lumen optical engine to deliver a native 1920x1080 HD resolution at up to 120 inches diagonally. The lithium-ion battery gets you over an hour of presentation time running, while the included power supply is available for movie binging.

You're able to connect virtually any device using the HDMI, VGA, microSD, composite AV, and a USB port that can read flash drives and external hard drives via the media player. In that way, it really provides all you need from a portable projector with the flexibility to run media off a laptop or more portable storage devices. It would also function well as a more permanent projector left plugged in at home.

Pros:

  • Portable and professional design
  • LED lamp is more efficient with no warm up time
  • Easy to set up and use anywhere
  • Up to 120-inch projections

Cons:

  • Battery life is not as long as others
  • Brightness goes down while running on battery
  • 2W speaker a little small

Best All-In-One

AAXA Technologies P7 Mini Pico Projector

A complete package

The P7 Mini offers everything needed to pull off an effortless movie theater experience at home.

Bottom line

Pico projectors are not for everyone, but once you've gotten a taste of life with one, it's pretty hard to turn back. They let you conveniently share photos at a backyard party or let you save a rainy camping trip with an impromptu movie night projected right onto the side of your tent. Depending on the portability of the one you buy, you could easily keep it in any bag and be ready to project your laptop for any occasion.

The LG projector is our top pick, but we'd be remiss without giving a closing nod to the Anker Nebula Capsule II which is an obvious stand out around these parts because it runs on Android, meaning you can stream content from your favorite apps with just a Wi-Fi connection or cast from your phone using Chromecast.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Marc Lagace is the Apps and Games Editor at Android Central. He's been a gamer for most of his life and actually took a university course on Video Game Theory — which he aced! You can reach out to him on Twitter @spacelagace.

Andrew Myrick is a regular freelancer at Android Central and iMore. He has been a tech enthusiast ever since the original iPhone was released and continues to flip-flop between devices. You might as well hook him up to an IV filled with coffee to get him through the day. If you have any questions, you can find him on Twitter, and he'll get back to you.

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