Projectors have always been the preferred way to get a truly big-screen movie theatre experience at home, but their size and steep price tags have always made them solutions for home theatre fanatics. A lot has changed in the past few years, and while Anker’s new Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K projector isn’t cheap, it’s without a doubt the easiest way to set up a private movie theatre anywhere inside or outside your home.
As with its chargers, backup batteries, and even wireless earbuds, Anker is a brand that’s become synonymous with quality and performance at a very competitive price. That carries through to the company’s Nebula-branded projector line, which includes portable projectors the size of soup cans that deliver a solid big-screen experience for around $US700 ($966) — assuming you can wait until it’s dark enough to use them. The Anker Nebula Capsule II R2-D2 Edition Projector we tested last year was a highly portable all-in-one solution, but with just 200 ANSI lumens of brightness, you needed a very dark room to create an image larger than most TVs.
For 2022, Anker is rolling out what might the ultimate portable home movie theatre solution: the new Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K projector. Looking like a car battery in a sleek housing with a handle on top, the Cosmos uses ALPD 3.0 laser technology to produce an image with 4K resolution and 2,400 ANSI lumens of brightness. That’s the same amount of brightness as the XGIMI Aura Short-Throw Laser Projector, which in our testing enabled it to create an image more than 150 inches in size on a wall which was still visible in the middle of the day. The results might be a little less bright and intense with the new Nebula Cosmos, given it needs to project from across a room, but you can still expect to be able to use it even when a room is illuminated with natural light from outside.
To streamline its setup, the Nebula Cosmos will automatically perform keystone and alignment corrections to produce a perfectly rectangular image, and adjust focus all on its own in just three seconds time. Not having to perform manual calibrations every time you relocate it to another room is a big plus.
The projector can be connected to a proper surround sound speaker setup, but it also includes a pair of side-firing 30-watt speakers so additional speakers aren’t always needed. It also runs on Android TV 10 so users can install the apps for their favourite games or streaming services. One of the challenges of Anker’s projectors is that they’re not officially approved Netflix devices, so users need to jump through hoops or rely on other streaming hardware to use the service. But with the Nebula Cosmos Anker is apparently including a 4K streaming dongle to, uh, solve that problem.
As for pricing, one day we might be able to buy 4K laser projectors for less than a grand, but that day hasn’t come yet. The Nebula Cosmos will sell for $US2,200 ($3,036) ($US300 ($414) less than the XGIMI Aura), but at launch you won’t be able to get it through Anker’s website. The company is instead crowdfunding the Nebula Cosmos through a Kickstarter campaign launching on Jan. 11, although it sounds like Anker is using the platform more as a way to collect preorders because shipping doesn’t begin until March.