Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air Review: The New Portable Projector to Beat

For the previous few years, we have repeatedly praised the Anker Nebula Mars II Professional as one of many greatest moveable projectors. In the identical breath, we additionally defined that this was regardless of some points: The streaming interface wasn’t nice, its colour was a bit off and it wasn’t notably vibrant (though much like its competitors). We have been let down when the Mars 3 appeared and it was a radically totally different projector.

Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air

8.1

Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air

Like


  • Nice measurement

  • Google TV streaming

  • Respectable colour and distinction for a conveyable

Do not like


  • Slightly expensive

  • Shorter battery life

Seems Anker forked the Mars line and the true substitute to the II Professional is the three Air. It has the identical general design, the next decision and makes use of Google TV for its streaming interface; all probably strong enhancements. The battery life is down somewhat, as are the claimed lumens. How a lot of an improve it was remained to be seen (pun meant). 

After working it by way of our regular testing, the Mars 3 Air is a fairly strong improve general. The picture is improved and the streaming interface is considerably higher. The one main downgrade is the worth, which is a full 20% greater than its predecessor. In the event you’re on the lookout for a conveyable projector that is probably the very best all-around possibility.

Some specs and such

Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air

The Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air is very moveable, with a built-in battery, Google TV streaming and audio system.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

  • Native decision: 1080p
  • HDR-compatible: No
  • 4K-compatible: No
  • 3D-compatible: No
  • Lumens spec: 400
  • Zoom: No
  • Lens shift: No
  • Lamp life: LED, so the lifetime of the projector

One of many greatest adjustments between the Mars 3 Air and its predecessor, the Mars II Professional, is the rise in decision to 1080p from 720p. Extra pixels is just about all the time a great factor with projectors since mentioned pixels are going to be large. 

Anker lists the three Air as having 400 ANSI lumens. In probably the most correct mode, I measured roughly 252 lumens. Within the much less correct, and visibly inexperienced, Vibrant mode, I received 354 lumens. Given the variances and errors in any measurement technique, I would say that is fairly shut. It is also pretty common for moveable projectors, though far decrease than conventional, battery-free dwelling theater projectors — even at across the similar value. For example, the brightest projector we have ever examined was simply $30 greater than the three Air however 8x brighter (though in all equity, the Epson EpiqVision Flex CO-FH02 had different shortcomings). 

As is typical with moveable projectors, there is not any lens shift or zoom. In order for you an even bigger or smaller picture, you simply want to maneuver the projector farther or nearer to the display screen. There may be digital focus which prompts routinely, or you possibly can activate it from the distant. You possibly can alter focus within the menu as effectively. There’s additionally automated keystone correction, however I advocate you flip that off and simply do your greatest to line up the projector perpendicular to the display screen or wall.

Battery life is a claimed 2.5 hours, 1 hour lower than the Mars II Professional. That is within the Eco brightness mode, which is roughly 30% as vibrant as the traditional mode (roughly 97 lumens within the correct mode). There isn’t any ranking for the lamp life, but it surely’s LEDs so I would anticipate them to final the lifetime of the projector. 

Inputs and streaming

Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air

You can even recharge your telephone or energy an exterior gadget through the USB output. For example, you could possibly join a Roku streaming stick and energy it through USB.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • USB port: 1
  • Audio output: Headphone output
  • Web: 2.4/5GHz
  • Distant: Not backlit

A single HDMI allows you to join an exterior supply like a recreation console or further streaming media gadget. If mentioned gadget is sufficiently small, you possibly can energy it from the USB connection. The interior audio system are first rate and you should utilize the three Air as a Bluetooth speaker. If you wish to join one thing else like headphones, there’s an analog output for that as effectively.

The streaming interface is normal Google TV, which is an effective factor. Older, and lots of cheaper, moveable projectors have both a model of Android or an irregular streaming setup. In the event you permit Google to take action, they’re going to do a slightly frighteningly correct job of exhibiting you content material you are fascinated about throughout a number of streaming companies. The one draw back to the Google TV interface is it hides and scatters pretty normal projector changes throughout a number of menus. It may be a little bit of a problem to arrange. Worse, there is a minimal of changes available typically. So even fundamental image changes like “brightness” aren’t obtainable. Luckily, I discovered it was already arrange pretty effectively from the manufacturing facility, although extra changes would probably enhance the picture somewhat.

Image high quality comparisons

Anker Mars II Professional

Xgimi Halo Plus

Logically I in contrast the Mars 3 Air to its predecessor, the Mars II Professional. I additionally in contrast it to the Xgimi Halo Plus, which is roughly the identical measurement, and has related specs, however is a bit more costly. I linked them to a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier and considered them side-by-side on a 102-inch 1.0-gain display screen.

First up, Anker vs Anker. The uncooked numbers indicate these ought to look pretty related. I measured roughly 337 lumens on the II Professional with a distinction ratio of 354:1. The three Air was somewhat dimmer at 252 with a barely greater distinction ratio at 405:1. The three Air did look somewhat dimmer, however the distinction ratio appeared greater than that small distinction implied. That is probably because of the 3 Air’s skill to regulate the gamma and maybe higher general picture tuning. Neither projector has a full suite of picture changes. The colour temperature was much more correct and pure on the three Air, far hotter than the cool-toned II Professional. Shade was a little bit of a combined bag general, neither was notably correct and an argument could possibly be made for “in another way unhealthy,” however general I most popular the look of the three Air. 

Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air

You can even use the Mars 3 Air as a Bluetooth speaker.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The extra decision of the newer mannequin might be the most important distinction. Whereas I all the time level out that decision is only one side of a picture, and never a very vital one, stepping up from 720p to 1080p for a projector is a sizeable soar. From a traditional viewing distance, keen-eyed viewers will be capable of see the pixels of a 100-inch 720p picture. With 1080p you’d should be sitting nearer or need to create a picture that is a lot bigger. 

Subsequent up: the Xgimi Halo Plus. Specs-wise, the Mars 3 Air and the Halo Plus are very related. Xgimi claimed its projector able to 900 lumens, however that proved to be a specific reward for fiction. I measured 284, which is mainly what the three Air produces. Distinction too was mainly the identical, at 368:1. Not like the Mars 2 Professional pairing, these two projectors seemed extra related visually, with a slight edge to the three Air. Essentially the most notable distinction was the Xgimi’s slight pink tint, making the three Air look extra pure general. 

Even when they have been the identical value, the Mars 3 Air appears to be like fractionally higher than the Xgimi. They do not price the identical, with the Halo Plus costing an extra $150, or about 20%, as of this writing. That’s to say, the Mars 3 Air wins this comparability, even when it does not achieve this with a large efficiency enchancment.

Moveable for a value

Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air and the Anker Nebula Capsule 3

The Anker Nebula Mars 3 Air and the Anker Nebula Capsule 3 (overview coming quickly).

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Regardless of a loss of some lumens, the Mars 3 Air is a strong improve over the Mars II Professional. It is simpler to make use of, and it appears to be like somewhat higher whereas protecting the good measurement of its predecessor. My solely situation is that it is creeping up in value. $600 is encroaching on the costs of some precise dwelling theater projectors which all vastly outperform the three Air.

In the event you do not want a battery, these are higher choices. If binging some exhibits or watching a film nowhere close to an outlet is your factor, the Mars 3 Air is the most suitable choice general. Is it definitely worth the $100 premium over the II Professional? Sure, however barely.


In addition to protecting audio and show tech, Geoff does photograph excursions of cool museums and places all over the world, together with nuclear submarines, large plane carriers, medieval castles, epic 10,000-mile highway journeys and extra.

He wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel about city-size submarines, and likewise Funds Journey for Dummies. You possibly can comply with him on Instagram and YouTube. 

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