How much do you have to spend to get a usable projector? We looked at five small projectors with and without battery between 50 and 500 euros.
Meanwhile there are also TVs with a diagonal of 75 inches for under 1000 euros. However, when it comes to image size, projectors are unbeaten. With them, even image sizes beyond 100 inches are no problem. The cheapest projectors cost less than 50 euros. If you want a really good 4k projector, you can easily spend 5000 euros for it.
Anyone who wants to get a really fat picture just a few centimeters away from the wall / screen should take a look at the category of short-distance projectors. The comparison test: four short-distance beamer on the test bench shows devices between 700 and 1500 euros. The projectors are fantastic, but for many simply too expensive.
One category among them are stationary projectors with Full HD and conventional lens optics. For those who need a 100-inch image a distance of several meters to the screen. Here is a brief overview: Four full HD projectors in a comparison test. They all cost between 450 and 550 euros and do a good job.
But what about the very cheap representatives, who at the same time promise high mobility? We tried the following models and show who the right projector is for.
- 30 – 50 euros: Mini Beamer YG300
- 75 – 100 euros: Scenelight LB-8300
- 110 – 130 euros: Scenelight LB-9100
- 350 – 370 euros: Benq GV1 Mini Beamer
- 400 – 500 euros: Nebula Capsule Max
Mini Beamer YG300
Cheap, cheaper, YG300. This could be the motto of the U50 Euro Mini-Beamer. At first glance, it looks really chic with its golden-yellow / white look. The first impression lasts just as long, until you take the YG300 in hand. Because the hand-sized projector weighs with its 246 g less than a packet of butter from the supermarket. Much technology can not be in the low weight in it.
Accordingly, it offers a meager resolution of 320 × 240 pixels and projects in 4: 3 ratio the image on the wall. It features an HDMI, a 3.5mm AV, a USB A port and a micro SD card slot. In addition, users can tap into audio via 3.5 mm jack plug. A good idea, because the sound of the YG300 is worse than the sound of many smartphones, for example, the entry-level phones Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T (review) for just 150 euros.
Six buttons on the top allow extensive operation of the YG300 and are an alternative to the very good, enclosed remote control. On the side is a manual focus wheel, which is pleasantly large. However, it needs at least a distance of almost one meter to the screen before the image is sharp.
The brightness of the projector is catastrophically low. It is usable only in absolute darkness. Our measurement showed that it provides only 5 percent of the brightness of a Benq GV1 or Nebula Capsule Max. This means that the better models offer 20 times the light output here in comparison. This puts the YG300 in the category toy, To watch cartoons under the blanket, in the tent or on the nursery, or to play retro games (leaderboards: the best retro consoles) is just enough. There is not much more. Incidentally, the YG300 accepts not only the supplied power supply as a power supply, but also battery packs via the micro USB port. Then the maximum brightness is even lower. Even so low that you can put your eye on the lens and see the mirrored image in the projector. In addition to the low brightness annoys the low 240p resolution, which is usually too little even for Youtube movies. Feels like the image consists of fingernail-sized pixels.
He is cheap for that. Regularly it costs about 50 euros, then has from time to time a battery that does not exist in our design. If you are looking for something, you also get it for significantly less money.
YG300 mini projector
YG300 mini projector
YG300 mini projector
Pearl offers a lot of projectors under the own brand Scenelights. The Scenelights LB-8300 costs about 100 euros and is one of the cheapest projectors of the dealer. It offers a resolution of 800 × 480 pixels. That's not much, but it is enough to watch one or the other moving image. However, writing is washed out with this low resolution.
In terms of brightness, we have at least a threefold light output compared to the YG300. This makes it easy to use in absolute darkness, even a picture with a diagonal of two meters is then in it. However, the center of the picture is much brighter than the edge. The 2-watt stereo speakers are quite loud but low in bass.
The Scenelight's LB-8300 provides HDMI input on interfaces, twice USB, AV input, Micro SD card slot, 3.5mm jack and IR receiver. The fan is whirring away in a high-frequency manner, but elegantly retains its nerve factor. A peculiarity of the projector concerns its remote control. This works well enough and has 22 individual buttons – so far, so common. Out of line is her look: she looks like a relic from the 80s.
In addition to the focus wheel, the user can make a simple optical keystone correction. The distribution of sharpness is mixed: If the middle is crisp, the edges blur and vice versa. This is hardly noticeable in videos. Overall, the Scenelights LB-8300 is well usable.
A whole corner more potent, but not really much more expensive than the 100-Euro Scenelights LB-8300, is the Scenelights LB-9100 currently 130 euros. He resolves the picture natively with 1280 × 720 pixels, which is quite enough for a rather sharp representation of films. Subtitles are also easy to read.
But the LB-9100 makes a big leap in terms of brightness. He is about five times brighter than the LB-8300 and only slightly darker than the much more expensive Benq GV1 and Nebula Capsule Max. His picture is therefore still okay with dimmed room lighting or screen diagonal of almost three meters. Less great is the brightness distribution in the picture. He illuminates the center of the image more than twice as bright as its edges.
The more brightness also produces more waste heat. The small fan has to nutter and annoying fast, especially if you sit near the beamer. The two integrated speakers, each with 3 watts RMS, are fine and drown out the fan in case of doubt.
On interfaces it offers two HDMI, VGA as well as 3.5 mm AV in and 3.5 mm audio out. The cheap beamer YG300 quasi identical remote works without problems. Sharpness and optical keystone correction can be finely adjusted via large rings. However, a clear sharpness difference is visible. This can be minimized by omitting the optical keystone correction.
The Scenelights LB-9100 can connect to the WLAN and reflects contents of devices via Miracast and Airplay. And he knows apps, at least two. So Youtube and Koala TV are pre-installed, you can not add more. Incidentally, Koala TV is not, as we initially suspected, a webcam from the Australian jungle, but rather a lesser-known streaming provider.
Overall, the Scenelight LB-9100 offers a coherent overall package in which annoying only the loud fan. Otherwise it is sufficiently bright, dissolves in view of the low price with 720p reasonable, sounds good and offers in addition to many ports also Miracast / Airplay. The LB-9100 is our price-performance-tip.
The Benq makes everything right regarding processing and optics. It is largely made of metal, which makes it feel heavy and valuable. Visually striking is his head, in the middle of which the lens sits like the eye of a Cyclops. This head can be tilted to about 20 degrees to adjust the projection image in height. Inclined, the Benq GV1 shows teasing yellow at the neck.
At its top are a physical power button and three touch-sensitive buttons for volume control and connection to a Bluetooth source. The Benq GV1 can also be used as a 5 watt BT box. Still a pity that there are no more buttons. So you are always dependent on the remote control for use. If you do not find it, you have a problem.
The image quality of the 854 × 480 projector is good, the maximum brightness high and the brightness distribution even. A problem we have with the too small advised focus wheel on the side of the head. It is not only too sensitive, but also has game. Focusing becomes a test of patience. Also, the resolution would like to have been a bit higher, subtitles always look a bit washed out despite the perfect focus. The fan of the beamer does not bother.
The Benq GV1 is a connection minimaist. In addition to a narrow round hollow connector input for the power supply, can be found on the projector only a USB-C port. With the right cables and adapters you can easily plug in your smartphone or computer. However, for example, if you do not have a USB-C to HDMI cable and whose notebook does not output the video signal via USB-C, first look into the tube. After all, the beamer understands Miracast and Airplay.
The highlight of the Benq GV1 is its built-in rechargeable battery, with which the beamer can last just under three hours independent of the mains. Unfortunately, the maximum brightness is reduced by about a third. This can not be avoided either.
Overall, the Benq GV1 is a good projector, but we find it a bit too expensive. For its price, we would have liked a higher resolution, more connections and a separate App Store.
USB-C to HDMI
Nebula Capsule Max
The Nebula Capsule Max is the king among mobile beamers with battery. But that has its price. It costs regularly 500 euros, is currently available for about 400. Visually, its shape is reminiscent of a too thick 500 ml cola can, which is completely covered by a black mesh grid. On the back there is the on / off button and the Bluetooth button. Like the Benq GV1 you can use the Capsule Max as a Bluetooth box. The sound is fantastic and can compete with many Bluetooth speakers that cost around 100 Euros.
On the top of the Capsule Max are eight capacitive controls, with which the projector can be fully used and replace the remote control completely on request. For this, Nebula also offers a smartphone app. Then you use the smartphone as a mouse pad and controls a small mouse pointer. Thanks to Android 8.1 can be connected to the controller but also mouse and keyboard via the USB-A port. Furthermore, the Capsule Max offers an HDMI port and a 3.5 mm jack plug for audio out. The device receives its power via the round hollow connector.
The installed on the Capsule Max Android is severely limited. Although there is a kind of app store, but there are far from all apps that you know, for example, the Android smartphone. Above all, we missed Dazn, the public-law and Sky media libraries. Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu are there. Now, there is a way to unlock the Google Playstore and then install pretty much any Android app. All you have to do is send a nice email to the support team at [email protected] with details of the system version and the request to unlock the Google Playstore, and you will become a beta tester and get an individual password. It worked wonderfully with us. Once activated, there is no way back. However, most downloaded apps can not be controlled remotely, we recommend using a wireless keyboard with built-in mouse pad.
The picture quality is great and the best of the test field. The picture is bright, offers good contrasts, a uniform distribution of light and sharpness and with a resolution of 1280 × 720 pixels also a good resolution. The fan is initially very quiet, almost inaudible. However, if the device heats up, the fan will turn up properly. Although not as blatant as the Scenelights LB-9100, but clearly audible. As an extremely cool feature, especially for a mobile projector, we find the automatic focusing, which works perfectly in 95 percent of cases. However, we have found that the Capsule Max loses the optimal focus point after a few minutes after the first focus and you have to focus again automatically. However, this happens only once, after the projector has been restarted after a long period of rest.
The integrated battery managed with reduced brightness almost three hours. Kindly, you can also force the Capsule One, despite the battery operation to drive the full brightness. Then the battery will last a good hour.
The Nebula Capsule One makes almost everything right: High image quality with autofocus, great sound quality, battery, good workmanship, many connectivity options and the ability to get through a detour to the real Google Playstore. We really do not have much to complain about. Except its quite high price maybe.
Anchor Nebula Capsule Max
Logitech K400 Plus Wireless Touch Keyboard
The YG300 is cheap, which is especially noticeable by the low resolution and the subterranean brightness. He is at most suitable as a toy. Really usable is the 130 Euro Scenelights LB-9100. The resolution is good, the brightness also and the sound can do something. However, he only knows two apps and the fan is really loud. The Benq GV1 offers for its rather high price of 370 euros too low resolution and too few connections. Really good is the Nebula Capsule Max. He has a great picture, high brightness, automatic focus, great sound and a detour full access to just about all Android apps. If he would not be so expensive with 400 to 500 euros …