The Best Portable Projectors in 2020

People’s definition of entertainment has evolved over the years. Nowadays, you can merge home and portable entertainment into one. Nowadays, you don’t need to have a large and expensive television to watch your favorite movies, series, and videos. Instead, you can have a portable projector and have your entertainment system whether you’re staying indoors or outdoors. And not only that, there are 1080p portable projector options that can even give you high-quality videos.

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A few years ago, a portable HD projector was nothing but a dream. But as technologies improved, a small portable projector compact enough to fit your hand is now a reality. Consequently, you have several portable mini projector options in the market. If you are looking for the best projector, it is important to take a closer look at different factors.

The only way to determine the best portable projector 2020 is to test some of the best products in the market today. In this portable projector review, you’ll be getting an unbiased and detailed account of top small portable projector brands in the market today. We tested a variety of portable projector brands to help you find the right one for your needs. Here, you can compare which mini portable projector fits your preference and budget.

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What are Portable Projectors?

Before anything else, what’s a portable projector? A portable projector is a handheld image display device capable of beaming images that can come from different sources. Popular sources include a smartphone, digital cameras, or even a video stored in a USB.

Basic projector portable devices are composed of a few parts including a battery, LED light source, combiner optic, and micromirror devices. How does a portable mini projector work? To simplify the operation of a portable mini projector, its electronic parts turn images into an electric signal which will then be driven to the LED. Unlike bulky projectors, a mini portable projector uses LED to minimize power consumption. If a typical multimedia projector uses 2500 lumens, some of the smallest portable projector models in the market only range around 25 to 1500 ANSI lumens.

Though LEDs in a projector portable minimizes power consumption coming from cooling systems, this can have its drawbacks. Ultimately, a mini portable projector compromises on the image size. It means that you don’t expect to see a small compact portable projector that can match the image size of a wall-mounted projector.

Another downside of the smallest portable projector options is the lack of zoom. It means that you will have to be aware of where you are going to set up the projector.

What Should You Look for When Buying a Portable Projector?

The definition of the best portable projector 2020 differs from one person to the next. After all, it is a personal choice since not all buyers look for the same specifications. Buyers have a different price range and requirement when they buy their projector portable. To make the decision making a lot easier, here are some important factors that you want to consider if you are serious about buying a portable movie projector.

Where do you plan to use the portable projector?

No matter how many portable projector review articles you read, it all boils down to how you plan to use the mini portable projector. The best projector differs from one person to the next mainly because not everyone is going to use it for the same purpose.

Some prefer to have the smallest portable projector since they want to watch movies while they traveling on a plane or when they are outdoors without an actual TV. On the other hand, some are looking for a projector portable unit for their presentations during one on one client meetings.

Once you’ve decided where you plan to use the device, it’s time to take a closer look at the more technical aspect of a portable mini projector.

Throw Distance

The throw distance pertains to the distance between the projected image and your projector. This is an important feature that you have to be very particular with especially if you are looking for the best projector in the market.

Unlike the projectors that are installed in the middle of the room that known for their long-throw capabilities, a portable projector is usually capable of projecting between 0-4 feet.

Screen size

Aside from the regular compact projectors, some even go for portable projector screens to replace TVs and bulky laptops. Here, they can hang these portable projector screens where the image is going to be directed.

Some portable projector screens can reach up to 120 inches. Aside from the screen size of the portable projector screens, you also want to consider a wide variety of formats. Is it capable of showing a 16:9 video format? This is the ideal aspect ratio for a 1080p portable projector. This allows the unit to play HD movies with ease.

Budget

Some of the smallest portable projector options could go up to $500. These premium products are known for 4K video capability and a screen that can reach 200 inches.

Ultimately, the best projector will still depend on what your budget can afford. You will have to consider carefully which projector can give you the best bang for your buck. The cheapest will not always give you the best. However, it goes the same for the most expensive product in the market. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s already the best.

Size

Next, you also have to consider the size of the portable mini projector. Portable movie projector options vary in size. Some can fit in your hands while other small portable projector models are comparable to the size of your regular portable speaker.

Resolution

Are you happy watching in 720p? Or maybe, you prefer to watch in 4K? Remember that over the last years, HD has become the minimum video resolution for videos. As a rule of thumb, you want projectors capable of at least doing 720p. This way, you can enjoy movies better. The good news is that some of the best options for the best portable projector 2020 have 4K capability.

Brightness

When picking portable projector screens, you have to be very particular about brightness. One main difference between a portable movie projector and the projector that you set up in a classroom is that the latter have high luminosity.

The reason for the low brightness on a portable movie projector is the fact that it runs on a battery. The higher the lumens, the more that you will need a cooling mechanism for the projector.

Volume

Of course, you are not just watching a silent film. You will have to be particular about the speakers and the sound quality that you get from the portable movie projector. Though it is going to be subjective, this is where a portable projector review can come in handy. A portable projector review can give you an idea about the first-hand experience of users especially when it is all about the sound quality of the portable projector.

How many speakers does the projector have? Also, does it offer a special technology that can enhance the sound of the unit?

Contrast ratio

Another factor that can affect your movie-watching experience is the contrast ratio of your portable movie projector. Let’s assume that a projector has a contrast ratio of 2,500:1. It means that the white image is 2,500 times brighter than a black image. As a rule of thumb when buying for the best projector, choose a small portable projector that has a high contrast ratio. It means that you can see colors and details better when watching the video.

What are the main differences between a portable and non-portable projector?

If you are serious about having the best projector, you have to know the difference between a portable projector and a full-size projector. One of the key differences between a portable projector and a full-sized projector is the price range. A high-end portable HD projector costs around $500. If you are on a tight budget, a good 1080p portable projector could cost around $300 to $400.

On the other hand, a full-sized projector costs twice or even thrice of the best portable projector brands. Full-sized projectors could cost above the $1,000 range. Apart from the price, as the name suggests, the best mini projector brands can easily fit in your hands. You can keep it in your luggage and have the portable HD projector with you while traveling.

But there are some areas where a portable HD projector couldn’t compete against a full-sized projector. For instance, full-sized projectors have better contrast ratio and brightness than any of the best mini projector brands. The reason why even the best portable projector can’t compete in these areas against a full-sized projector is due to the limitation in its size. By design, a small portable projector makes use of LED to illuminate the image. Compared to a full-sized projector, even the best mini projector is no match to what a full-sized projector can do when it comes to brightness.

But since it only makes use of LEDs, a battery is enough to power an entire projector portable unit. In some instances, there are portable HD projector brands that have rechargeable batteries that you can power using a USB port.

How do you use a portable projector?

Using a mini projector is quite simple. There are a few differences between each projector portable brand. However, in essence, every small portable projector in the market has more or less the same operation.

Typically, it has different ports such as HDMI and USB to give users the option where the video is coming from. The HDMI allows you to connect the unit on your laptop. From there, you can focus the lens of your mini portable projector on the wall until you get a clear image.

Also, you can mirror videos on your phone and have it shown via the projector. However, there are some units that don’t allow users to mirror apps such as Netflix and Hulu. Instead, you will have to download the app via the projector.

What are the best portable projectors?

The debate for the best portable projector 2020 continues online. Depending on the portable projector review that you will read, different sites will give you different insights as to the best small portable projector in the market.

As for the best projector that fits in small spaces, there are a lot of small portable projector options in the table today. Each has its pros and cons. The following projector portable products that we’ll mention fit in different categories.

Best Overall Projector – Nebula Capsule

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Nebula Capsule, by Anker, Smart Wi-Fi Mini Projector, Black, 100 ANSI Lumen...

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Last update was on: April 7, 2020 12:44 am

Specs and Details 

  • 100 ANSI Lumens
  • Quality: 854×480 (16:9)
  • 360-degree speakers
  • 4-hour playing time
  • 100-inch picture
  • HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Screen Mirroring

Features 

The Nebula Capsule* is considered by many as the best portable projector for good reasons. It features great visuals and audio that can give users remarkable viewing experience. Among other portable movie projector options, this unit makes use of DLP’s advanced IntelliBright Algorithm. With 100 ANSI lumens, it is relatively brighter than most small portable projector brands in today’s market. Plus, The Nebula Capsule has an image projection that is 100 inches big.

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Though it isn’t the smallest portable projector in the market, it weighs 15oz which isn’t bad for a portable movie projector. And in terms of performance, this small portable projector can run smoothly with its Android 7.1 OS.

But what sets this apart from other portable movie projector products is its overall construction. It is made of aluminum which means that it can take a few bumps considering that a lot of users prefer to bring their portable mini projector with them wherever they go.

What it can be used for?

It can be used to watch YouTube, Netflix, and other apps. The Nebula Capsule is perfect not only for watching videos but also for gaming. And for this mini portable projector, given its size, many are using the Nebula Capsule projector as their entertainment when going outdoors.

FAQ

  1. How long does it charge?

The Nebula Capsule needs 2.5 hours to get fully charged.

  1. How long can it last playing continuously?

If you are going to play music, the unit can last up to 30 hours. As for videos, the Nebula Capsule can last for up to 4 hours.

  1. Does it allow screen mirroring Netflix and other premium content?

Unlike other 1080p portable projector options in the market, you can’t mirror apps such as Hulu and Netflix. Instead, you will have to download the app on the Nebula Capsule.

  1. How much does it weigh?

It weighs 15oz or around less than half a pound.

  1. Does it have an app?

The Nebula Capsule has a dedicated app that you can download from Google Play and App Store that makes it easier to use the portable HD projector unit.

The Premium Option – Nebula Mars II Pro

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Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector, Black,...

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Last update was on: April 7, 2020 12:44 am

Specs and Details 

  • 500 ANSI Lumens
  • HD picture quality  (1280×720 (16:9, HD))
  • 2 10W speakers
  • Android 7.1 OS
  • Autofocus technology
  • HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Screen Mirroring
  • 3 hours playing time

Features

If you wish to have the best portable projector, don’t forget to include the Nebula Mars II Pro* on your list. The Nebula Mars II Pro could easily be the best projector in the market today if you will consider compatibility and image quality.

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Though it isn’t exactly the smallest portable projector, it’s a favorite even among critics when it comes to the best portable projector 2020. What makes it worthy to be part of the best portable projector 2020 lists online?

First, it’s no secret that brightness matters. It makes use of an LED lamp that has a brightness rating of 500 ANSI lumens. In addition to this, the Nebula Mars II Pro offers the ideal angle with its horizontal and vertical keystoning. It simply means that you get a stable image at any angle. Next, it’s a runaway winner for the best portable projector 2020 in most websites simply because of its razor-sharp high definition image (1280×720 (16:9, HD)). As a 720p portable projector, you get to see a huge difference between mediocre small projectors and this particular product.

Apart from video quality, users also enjoy the great sound of this HD portable projector thanks to the dual 10W speakers on the Nebula Mars II Pro. And lastly, it’s a favorite by critics on their portable projector review articles because of the extensive compatibility that this unit has. You get to enjoy videos using HDMI, USB or choose to mirror content using your phone.

What it can be used for?

It is one of the best portable projector units in the market today simply because it offers high-quality video and audio. It offers a great leap compared to other portable projector screens. If you will read a portable projector review, you’ll notice that usual brightness runs from 100 to 200 ANSI lumens. This isn’t the case with the Nebula Mars II Pro. One reason why it’s being considered by some critics as the best portable projector 2020 is the fact that you can enjoy 500 ANSI lumens plus superior audio quality from this unit.

It’s a perfect portable projector for those who live in small spaces. Also, it’s a great handy portable projector for users who plan to travel or go outdoors.

FAQ

  1. How many hours does it last?

Once fully charged, the unit can last for 3 hours.

  1. What is its projection size?

The projection size ranges from 30 to 150 inches

  1. Can you mirror Netflix and Hulu on Nebula Mars II Pro?

No. It doesn’t mirror Netflix or Hulu. You will have to have the app on the Nebula Mars II Pro to use premium content.

  1. Does it offer 500 ANSI Lumens even if it isn’t plugged?

It offers 500 ANSI lumens if the battery is above 20% or if it is plugged into a power source. It reverts to 200 ANSI lumens if the battery is below 20%.

  1. How much does it weigh?

The unit weighs close to 4 pounds.

The Budget Option – Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini Projector

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VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector, 1080P and 170'' Display Supported, 3600L Portable...

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Last update was on: April 7, 2020 12:44 am

$92.99 $99.99

Specs and Details

  • Supports 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Powered by MStar Advanced Color Engine
  • Projection size up to 170”
  • A maximum projection distance of 16.4 feet
  • HDMI
  • 3600 lumens

Features

The Vankyo Leisure 3 LED Portable Projector* has been praised in many portable projector review articles. It is considered one of the best projector options for those with a small budget. But it doesn’t mean that you’ll have to lag in performance. The Vankyo Leisure 3 LED Portable Projector made it on our list because of its ability to provide vivid videos and superior sound quality.

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With its MStar Advanced Color Engine, it beats the competition by adding plus 60% brightness. It has a contrast ratio of 2000:1 which is quite impressive for a small projector. Another reason why it’s in our list of the best projector units is because of its long lamp life. This unit is advertised to have a lamp life of 40,000 hours.

The Vankyo Leisure 3 LED Portable Projector is also considered as one of the best portable projectors given the projection size range of 33 to 170 inches. It is also known for its straightforward plug and play functionality.

Unfortunately, their speakers are really sub-par. We recommend to use external speaker systems and plug them via AUX (3.5mm jack) into the projector. Make sure you have DD (Dolby Digital) turned off on your device since the projector does not support it.

What it can be used for?

The Vankyo Leisure 3 LED Portable Projector is considered by many as one of the best mini projector units for small spaces and for those who plan on traveling with their entertainment system. Apart from the features, it is considered as the best mini projector since it has a carrying bag and tripod that makes storage easy for its users.

It is considered by some as the best portable projector for first-time owners since it has a straight forward design when it comes to its operations. At times, the need to download an app for some of the best mini projector products ruin the fun for those who aren’t techy or those who don’t want to read the manual anymore.

FAQ

  1. Does it have an app?

The Vankyo Leisure 3 LED Portable Projector is a straight forward device that doesn’t have any app.

  1. What is the projection size range for the Vankyo Leisure 3 LED Portable Projector?

It has a range of projection size range of 33 to 170 inches.

  1. Is it in HD?

Yes, it supports 1080P HD.

  1. Can you use USB?

You will need to have an adapter to HDMI to be able to use the projector.

  1. How do you play videos on your phone?

If you are using an Android, you will need to have a micro USB/USB to HDMI adapter. If you are an iPhone user, you will need to have a Lightning to HDMI adapter.

Best Ultra Portable – Cinemood Portable Movie Theater

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CINEMOOD Portable Movie Theater - Includes Educational Disney Content, Streams Netflix, Amazon...

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Last update was on: April 7, 2020 12:44 am

Specs and Details

  • 5 pounds
  • With Disney content included
  • 8GB storage space
  • 5 hours running time
  • Up to 12-foot projection. 1080p supported. 800×480 output

Features 

If your idea of the best portable projector is its size, the Cinemood Portable Movie Theater* fits the description of a compact projector. Weighing half a pound and measuring only three inches, it is one of the smallest options that you can go for if you are very particular about the size of your projector.

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But more than its size, Cinemood Portable Movie Theater offers more to be a top contender for the best portable projector. It is a handy tool to have in your bag especially if you are someone who constantly travels but doesn’t want to compromise on his or her entertainment (looking at your fellow parents). It can run for 5 straight hours before you have to charge its battery. It’s the perfect travel companion for families with kids.

It is also something that people with strained eyes can take advantage of. Cinemood Portable Movie Theater can eliminate the blue light that typically emits on tablets and phones.

What it can be used for?

It can be used for watching movies given its ability to run for five straight hours. You can also download Netflix and other apps directly on the unit. It means that you don’t need to drain your phone’s battery anymore in case you want to watch. Also, this is a child-friendly compact projector. It includes Disney e-books and some cartoons.

FAQ 

  1. Does it have a warranty?

If you don’t like the Cinemood Portable Movie Theater, you can return it within 30 days. Also, it has a 1-year worry-free guarantee.

  1. How much does it weigh?

It only weighs 0.5 pounds.

  1. What type of kid-friendly content does it have?

It contains both ebooks and child-friendly videos. It includes 120 hours worth of kid-friendly entertainment.

  1. How long does it last without the need to charge the battery?

The unit can last for five hours without charging the unit

  1. Does it have screen mirroring capability?

It does have screen mirroring capability but only with iOS.

Best Portable Projector Screen – P-Jing Portable Video Screen

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120 Inch 16:9 HD Projector Screen, P-JING Portable Video Screen Widescreen Foldable...

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Last update was on: April 7, 2020 12:44 am

$29.97 $39.99

Specs and Details 

  • 2 pounds
  • Suited for all types of projectors
  • Foldable
  • 120 inches in size
  • 1080p full HD

Features 

Made of polyester fabric and weighing only 2.2 pounds the P-Jing Portable Video Screen* has a compact foldable design that allows users to have their entertainment with them anywhere they go. It is considered by many as one of the best portable projector screens in the market.

Compared to other portable projector screens, you can enjoy the screen from different angles. And also, compared with other portable projector screens, P-Jing Portable Video Screen lets you enjoy movies with a lot of people since it is 120 inches in size.

With a smooth surface, you get to enjoy movies without creases from the P-Jing Portable Video Screen. Among other portable projector screens, this product is easy to clean. All you need to do is to wipe the dust if it’s dirty and you can get to enjoy a clear image. Included is 16-pack steel along with stick hooks and 2 by 5-meter ropes.

How to set it up? 

Portable projector screens vary in terms of design. Setting up the P-Jing Portable Video Screen is quite straight forward. But unlike other portable projector screens that have a stand, all you need to do is to hook the screen on the hooks to have the P-Jing Portable Video Screen stretched out. However, once you’ve opened the box, don’t get surprised if it has a few wrinkles. All you need to do is to put something heavy on it and it will stretch without any problem.

FAQ

  1. How do you clean the P-Jing Portable Video Screen?

All you need to do is to get a wet towel and wipe the dust off the screen.

  1. Can you use a rear projector?

Yes, you can use both the rear and front projector.

  1. Can it play HD videos?

Yes, it does support HD videos. It offers 104” x 58” viewing area.

  1. How heavy is the P-Jing Portable Video Screen?

It only weighs around 2.2 pounds.

  1. Does it come with a stand?

Unlike other portable projector screens, it doesn’t have a stand. Instead, it comes with hooks and ropes that will hold the unit.

Conclusion

Each person has a different reason why they prefer to have a projector. Some invest in portable versions mainly because they have a small space while others prefer to buy the mini projectors to have portable entertainment whenever they are traveling. Also, there are people with different preferences when it comes to their projector.

The good news is that you have a variety of options when it comes to buying a portable projector or a portable projector screen. You can select based on your budget, requirements, and your personal preference especially when it comes to their specs.

For instance, some users prefer to have a projector that can have an app such as Netflix installed in the unit. On the other hand, other users think size matters the most. Try to compare each product to make sure that you get the best choice. This way, you will have a clearer picture of what you should buy. If you enjoyed this article, you might be interested in our article on portable document scanners and portable monitors.

Here are all the featured products again:

Last updated: 29.02.2020