Sometimes you want to watch a series, film or video but you do not have a television at your disposal. A portable projector offers a solution. In this review we look at the Anchor Nebula Apollo, a compact projector that costs 399 euros and runs on Android and can provide you with a large image everywhere.
What is the Anchor Nebula Apollo?
introduced the Nebula Apollo for the Dutch market. With this lightweight projector you can watch videos everywhere. The Nebula Apollo has a built-in battery for up to 4 hours of viewing pleasure, WiFi and Android 7.1.
The Nebula Apollo offers operation in three ways: via the supplied remote control, via the free smartphone app, and also via the control panel on top of the portable projector. The touchscreen includes mouse functions, so that a cursor appears on screen and the portable projector can be operated. Thanks to Android 7.1 you can install and use apps yourself, including YouTube and Netflix.
The portable beamer is not much larger than a can of soda, offers a brightness of 200 ANSI lumens and sound via a 6 Watt. speaker. Thanks to the compact design, you can project videos with a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels at a maximum location of 100 inches at any location. The Nebula Apollo has Digital Light Processing display technology (DLP) which makes this portable projector light, portable and reliable. The Nebula Apollo has a suggested retail price of 399.99 euros.
When we look at the design, it is striking that we are dealing with a very compact device. The Nebula Apollo is only 13 centimeters high, 6.5 centimeters deep and 6.5 centimeters wide. Combine this with the weight of less than 600 grams and you can call it a truly portable model that you can take with you everywhere. The projector is nicely finished, looks sleek and comes with sufficient connection options. For example, we see an HDMI and USB port on the back, and a screw hole on the bottom to mount the projector on a tripod, for example. The top is a touch panel with which the projector can be operated. A speaker grill is placed all the way around the housing so that the sound of the 6 Watt speaker is spread.
Installation, placement and operation
You can operate the Nebula Apollo in three ways: via the touch top panel, the supplied remote control and the Nebula Connect app. Operation via the touch panel is the least user-friendly. It works, but sometimes pressing or sweeping is not fully recognized. You can choose to use your finger as a mouse and therefore send an arrow across the screen, or you can control the projector with touches and swipes. It just depends on the interface where you are in what works fine and not fine, and not all apps support both options. For example, Netflix only supports operation via the arrows (swipes and touches). The application for your smartphone makes operation a bit easier because your smartphone can simply handle touch operation better. The functionality remains the same: you can use your finger as a mouse or control the projector with swipes and touches (up, down, left, right, enter). You do have the option to easily enter text via a keyboard via the app and there are shortcuts for controlling the volume. The most simple is the operation with the supplied remote control. However, this makes entering texts a bit more difficult.
Placing the projector is easy. You can place it 50 cm to 3 meters from the wall for a 20-inch to 100-inch image. You can place the Nebula Apollo loose on a piece of furniture or the floor, or screw it on a tripod. You do not have to place the device completely straight in front of the projection surface since you can also straighten the screen from a small angle through simple keystone correction options.
You can have this done automatically (works well as the angle is quite small) or do it manually (works well if the angle is somewhat larger). However, operating these keystone correction options is somewhat difficult with touch. On the side of the projector there is also a wheel with which you can get the picture sharp at any distance. Finally, there are options to rotate the image vertically (when the projector is hanging upside down) or rotate the image when the projector is projecting from behind a screen.
In terms of settings, you have a lot of options to set the system and the display to your liking. In addition to the keystone correction options, you can set the color temperature and the image mode. You have the choice of car, standard and battery mode. In the first and last mode, the brightness is slightly lowered for 4 hours of battery life. If you want the maximum brightness and 3 hours of viewing pleasure, then choose the standard mode. Nebula Apollo also comes with a number of general settings to, for example, set the language (not Dutch, but English) and the background. You can connect a wireless Bluetooth speaker using the Bluetooth options and the WiFi option lets you connect to your own network. The installation runs quite smoothly, without creating an account.
Software (Android TV)
As soon as you switch on the Nebula Apollo you immediately see that you are dealing with Android, even if it is an older version with Android 7.1. A number of apps are installed as standard, including YouTube, Amazon Video and Netflix. What also immediately stood out when we started looking for more apps is that you cannot get access to the official Google Play Store. You have to do it with Aptoid TV and that is just a skinny-filled app store. You do not expect popular apps from Videoland, the NPO or Pathé Thuis here. Spotify, Plex and VLC apps did come by, but then you have had it. You can view other video services via detours (for example via Chromecast), but this device is especially interesting for those who watch YouTube, Netflix, locally stored videos or material from their own network. Most people will not connect a source via HDMI with a portable projector.
Incidentally, there is still a screen mirror function, via Apple AirPlay for iOS users and Google Cast for Android users. Very nice, but the restriction applies that protected content cannot be streamed. So a video from Apple TV + for example via the projector is not possible.
The Android software on the Nebula Apollo works smoothly and quickly, there is nothing to complain about. It is a familiar interface that everyone can find their way through. The only downside is simply the lack of applications to really get the most out of the projector.
Image and audio quality
During the review period we mainly focused on YouTube and Netflix, which fortunately are the two services. which we normally use the most. And when setting up and placing the Nebula Apollo we were immediately impressed by the image, especially considering the size of the projector.
Despite the low brightness of 200 lumens on paper, the projector gives a clear picture again. Yes, it must be a bit dark in the room for a really good image, but if you don't make the image too large (40-50 inches, for example), then it can be done even in ambient light. The somewhat low resolution of 480p is not really noticeable on that format. If you go towards the 100-inch, it becomes a lot clearer that you are dealing with a low resolution and low brightness. But you can still watch a series or film well. Images are displayed smoothly and the viewing experience is quite comfortable despite the lesser specs on paper.
As mentioned, you still have some setting options for the display, and we are particularly impressed with that. of the keystone correction. In one set-up, we placed the projector next to the bed to project an image of about 40-inch at an angle to the wall. With some adjustments to the keystone options, however, a (almost) perfect picture could quickly be made of it.
You don't have to worry about the color temperature, and if 3 hours is enough, we recommend it anyway use the standard image mode. This uses the maximum brightness, which provides a clearly better image. Incidentally, in our case that 3 hours was 2.5 hours, and in battery mode the battery runtime was just under 4 hours.
Finally, we still have the sound. The built-in 6 Watt speaker offers a striking volume and also sounds nice. Dialogues come out well and the speaker is not distracted too quickly. This built-in speaker is more than sufficient to watch your film or series in most situations. If you still need a bit more volume, you can easily connect an external bluetooth speaker. The projector itself also makes some noise. So do not place it too close to the viewing position. Finally, you can also use the Nebula Apollo as a pure Bluetooth speaker during a party or on holiday. Then the battery lasts about 30 hours.
After using the projector for a few weeks, we also came to the conclusion that it is an interesting proposition for business users. These place a little less value on resolution and apps, but can easily connect a laptop and actually give a presentation at any (to be darkened) location. for it. We do not recommend using this projector as the screen for daily use, because it lacks quality and capabilities in terms of software and image performance. Also those who like the 4K resolution, deep black levels and high contrasts can look further. But, for a children's room, on the road, on vacation, for a party or in the evening in bed, it is a great projector that can be used flexibly. You can project an image up to 100-inch, but keep in mind that the larger you go, the darker it should be and the clearer the low resolution becomes. However, the balance is easy to find, making the image absolutely comfortable to view. Add to that a built-in speaker with quite a bit of volume and you have a nice projector for 399 euros with which you can watch videos, films or your favorite series everywhere. Please note; The most important flaw is that you do not have access to the Google Play Store, so you have to rely on a limited number of popular apps. The price is somewhat on the high side. For us, 300 euros had been the sweetspot .