Home vs. Portable Projectors

You can't carry a 65-inch flat-screen TV in your pocket, but you can toss 100-inch picture into your purse or backpack, thanks to the latest portable smart projectors. But what are you giving up compared to traditional home projectors? Not as much as you'd think.

Portable projectors with built-in speakers and batteries don't have to be plugged in. And they now come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from baseball-sized models like the Nebula Astro that you can toss in a jacket pocket to larger models the size of a hardcover book like the Nebula Solar. Projectors can also do double duty as Bluetooth speakers. So portable models are great for spontaneous sleepovers or a backyard movie night under the stars. Portable projectors also won't weigh you down. The Nebula Capsule II, for example, is the size of a soda can and only weighs about a pound and a half.

Smaller models make ideal travel companions, turning a dull hotel room into an instant cinema or a camping trip into an outdoor theater. No more worrying about entertaining everyone when the sightseeing is over. After hiking all day, you can share videos of your adventures by beaming them from your smartphone to a projector, even while you're roasting marshmallows. Two-and-a-half hour movies? No problem. The built-in batteries in most models last for about 3 hours, so you can easily entertain the kids with Raya and the Last Dragon or Wonder Woman 1984 on a portable projector. Portable projectors also won't weigh you down. The Nebula Capsule II, for example, is the size of a soda can and only weighs about a pound and a half.

Of course, you can use a portable projector at home, too, but if you only travel occasionally, plug-in home models make more sense. They generally offer higher resolutions, from 1080p like the Nebula Cosmos up to 4K like the Nebula Cosmos Max. Home projectors also generally deliver a brighter picture (measured in lumens) so that you don't have to turn the lights off to watch a video. And they generally offer even better audio and support for surround sound formats, like Dolby Digital Plus, that can make you feel like you're in the movie.

Home projectors can also be moved whenever necessary. They don't have to be permanently installed on a ceiling or special mount. It takes just minutes to move a smart projector to another room and restart a video. Focusing is automatic. Just set it and forget it. Better still, unlike a big LCD TV, a home projector won't dominate the den--or the bedroom--when you're not using it. And should you want to jump start an impromptu party outside, you can just use a power station or run an extension cord and beam the picture onto the back of a garage or an outside wall. It's a safe way to gather a group of friends who still aren't ready to get too close. But no matter where or when you're likely to watch videos and movies, there's a projector to suit every occasion. When you're on the road, portable projectors have built-in speakers and batteries that can power through the latest blockbuster movies. When you're not traveling, a home projector will deliver a brighter picture and still give you the option to move it when you need to. Either way, you can't lose.