Nebula Capsule II Review: Amazing Hardware with disappointing software

by Nicole on May 2, 2020
Anker Nebula Capsule II
Positives
  • It's size and weight at 2.5lbs makes the Nebula Capsule II is handy to create a cinema anywhere you want. It's 3 hours of battery life also give it the versatility that you can watch a full-length movie.
  • Great sound for its size and perfect for living room viewing, but using a Bluetooth speaker extends the battery life to almost 4 hours.
  • Netflix and Amazon worked with a simple sign in
  • Supports Chromecast from several apps if you have the video saved locally on your phone.
  • You can also play video via other means, including sideloaded apps that aren’t available in the Google Play Store for Android TV or directly from video files saved on a USB thumb drive.
  • Has a remote control
  • Autofocus worked perfectly and whenever I bumped the projector it would refocus automatically
  • Has keystone adjustment, which lets you get your not so rectangular projection back into shape.
  • Charges by USB Type C, so you don't need a wall socket to keep it running
  • It's rated at 200 ANSI lumens, which is to say it’s brighter than many other tiny projectors, but nowhere near as bright as a dedicated projector you plugin. I projected it on lots of different surfaces and as long as the surface was flat, it produced a clean and sharp 720p image.
Negatives
  • Getting the screen size right in a new space means that you have to set it up, finding a flat surface to place it on. If you get a tripod this makes using it around town much simpler.
  • The speaker is good but in a large outdoor space you'll want to hook it up to a Bluetooth speaker to make sure everyone can hear comfortably. It's smaller than a JBL speaker, which only does audio, so it's understandable that in a space that also houses a motherboard for the Android operating system, a projector and audio that a separate device for audio would be a good idea in a larger setting.
  • Amazon worked great, but my Amazon Prime is purchased in Germany. I can change the language but the remote wasn't able to easily access the menus to switch the language.
  • Plex worked only half the time, you have to have the patience of a techie to get the app working again.
  • $579 is too expensive for how trying the software can be at times.

The Nebula Capsule II is about the size of a large can of beer and it comes with a solid built-in speaker and a very strong projector. It just comes with a lot of software compromises even though it runs Android.

Nebula Capsule Max control

You can control the Nebula Capsule Max in four different ways. With the remote control, smartphone, mouse and keyboard and on the device itself. For the smartphone you need the Nebula Connect app. Of course, you can’t do much with it because the app primarily serves as a replacement for the remote control. In general, this is of course better than the remote control when you set it up for the first time, since you can type using the keyboard on your smartphone. Otherwise you have to select each letter manually with the remote. The smartphone can also be used as a touchpad. With the smartphone you can do a lot more, because you can use apps like Youtube, Netflix and co. can of course also project the desired content on the projector using a smartphone or a notebook using the Chrome browser.

Mouse and keyboard are of course self-explanatory here. Basically, I would recommend a suitable living room keyboard with integrated touchpad and media control, such as the Corsair K83 Wireless , which I had also tested.

Alternatively, you can control everything directly on the device. At the top “lid” is the media control, where you can switch between content, change volume and navigate through the menus. However, I think it’s really great that the entire surface can be used as a touchpad, which of course makes operation much easier.

Nebula Capsule Max – audio and video

Before we get to the picture, let’s first talk about audio, because I’m amazed at how good the sound is. As already mentioned, I suspect that this is 360 degree sound. The tone for the size is really great. The sound is natural, the bass is not exaggerated or too little and it can get really loud. Except for the volume, it is definitely better than my Megaboom speaker. Well, the Nebula Capsule Max is also more expensive, but it also has a projector and an entire Android system integrated into such a small body. The Nebula Capsule Max can therefore also be used as a pure Bluetooth speaker, where you can link your smartphone or other hardware and practically deactivate the projector. Well, in the end it’s not waterproof, but still better than many Bluetooth speakers, which is also important for the cinema experience itself. As already mentioned, the whole thing goes the other way round. Either via Bluetooth, or via the 3.5 mm jack connection. This means that a large sound system can also be connected here without any problems.

As an image we have an HD resolution, i.e. 1280 x 720 at 60 FPS. This may not sound like a lot, but it is sufficient for a projector and looks very good even as a larger projection. Of course, the picture is sharper the closer you are to the wall. In the specs above you can see how big the picture will be depending on the distance. Even if it fills the bedroom wall, I think the picture is very good and the frames are also constant at 60 FPS. So that’s nice when you play. There are no noticeable delays. The brightness is 200 Ansi Lumens, which is sufficient in most cases, provided you darken the room at least a little. Below is a comparison with the monitor in a relatively well-lit room. What you definitely need is a white area for the best picture. Incidentally, there is a light sensor on the back of the Nebula Capsule Max that detects how light or dark it is in the room. If the automatic brightness is active, it adapts to the room and also saves a little battery.

Front / rear / ceiling front / ceiling rear projection can be selected as projection modes. Accordingly, you can place the Nebula Capsule Max according to how you need it. The keystone correction works very well, as long as you stay within the angular limits specified in the specs so that the image is not distorted. If you place it too far out, it looks like the kitchen picture above. If the keystone correction takes effect, it looks like the picture next to it. Besides, it is interesting to mention here that the image is diffused well enough that you are not blinded by direct radiation or reflections.

Nebula Capsule Max – battery

The battery is 9700 mAh strong and does a really great job. The local playback time is 4 hours. It actually goes very well. With online content and high brightness, I would expect about 3 hours. That is actually enough for almost all films. “The Irishman” is only getting a little tight. This is not really a problem, because you can of course leave the Nebula Capsule Max connected directly to the power supply. Incidentally, the charging itself takes around 2.5 hours.

Nebula Capsule Max – price and availability:

The Nebula Capsule Max is already available through various portals such as Amazon and currently costs 499 euros, which is currently a fairly normal price for this type of projector. Every now and then, however, they are also available, which is why it could of course be worthwhile to check them out every now and then. Otherwise I am quite satisfied with what I get for this price.

Nebula Capsule Max specifications

First of all, the specifications of the Nebula Capsule Max:

  • Scope of delivery and important specifications:
  • The packaging contains the Nebula Capsule Max, a remote control and a power supply.
  • Image resolution: 1280 x 720 at 60 FPS
  • Brightness: 200 ANSI Lumens
  • Life of the light source: 30,000 hours
  • Projection ratio: 100 inches at 3.08m distance; 80 inches at 2.46m distance; 60 inches at 1.73m distance; 40 inches at 1.15 m distance
  • Projection mode: front / rear / ceiling front / ceiling rear projection
  • Keystone correction: Automatic (vertical ± 40 °) and manual (horizontal ± 40 °)
  • Connections: HDMI 1.4 up to 1080p, USB Type-A for storage media, AUX, DC-IN: 15V / 3A
  • CPU: Octa-Core A53 chipset
  • GPU: AdrenoTM 506
  • RAM: 2GB DDR3
  • Internal storage: 16GB eMMC
  • Battery: 9.700mAh
  • Connections: WLAN: 802.11b / g / n / ac (2.4 / 5GHz), Bluetooth BT4.2 dual mode / A2DP
  • Fan volume: <30dB
  • OS: Android 8.1 with Nebula UI
  • Charging time: 2.5 hours with DC-in 15V / 3A
  • Video runtime: 4 hours of local playback
  • Audio format: MPEG-4 AAC, MPEG-4 HE-AAC, MPEG-4 HE, AACv2, AAC ELD, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, FLAC, MP3, MIDI, Vorbis, PCM / WAVE, Opus video formats: H.264 , H.265, VP8, VP9, ​​DivX 4x / 5x / 6x
Rating
Design / 8
Camera / 8
Sound / 8
Performance / 7
Battery Life / 8
Software / 6
Price / 7
Editor's Choice / 8
Hardware / 8
Display / 8
Anker Nebula Capsule II

The Nebula Capsule II is a great piece of hardware that comes with a bunch of software compromises. The form factor is a little expensive but worth it if you primarily want Netflix and Amazon, I couldn't get most 3rd party apps to download and the Nebula app wouldn't connect. The software, like the previous versions, needs a lot of work. It does run native Android, so if you have the patience to sideload your apps in you should be able to get everything working. 

The price tag is just too high to make this an easy product to recommend, but the hardware with its strong 8W speaker with full sound is fantastic. The HDMI port and strong lumens make it a nice piece to kit to keep an eye on if you find on sale at a deep discount. 

7.6
You have rated this