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Anker’s new Nebula Mars 3 projector is impressively bright and outdoor ready

Anker Innovations (or just Anker) announced today that preorders are open for the latest in its Nebula line of smart projectors, the Mars 3, a $1,100 portable outdoor LED projector with an impressive 1,000 ANSI lumen brightness and a five-hour battery that promises to take summer movie night beyond the backyard.

The Anker Nebula Mars 3 outdoor projector showing a movie on a screen in the desert.
Anker / Anker

One of many of the Chinese electronics giant’s popular sub-brands (which also includes Soundcore headphones and speakers), Nebula regularly tops many best projector lists, and the Mars 3 should be no different. With a peak brightness of up to 1,000 ANSI lumens, the Mars 3 is twice as bright as its predecessor, the Mars 2 Pro, and the brightest model of its portable projector lineup.

With a 185Wh battery, Anker says the Nebula Mars 3 LED projector can deliver up to five hours of local or online playback at 1080p resolution. And even with the caveat that this is achieved with the projector in Eco Mode, which reduces the brightness down to 300 ANSI lumens to conserve power, it still bests any of Nebula’s other portable projectors, including the popular Capsule 3 as well as many others on the market. The Mars 3 will deliver up to two hours of playtime in Standard Mode at the full 1,000 lumens if you need that extra brightness for, say, a screening in brighter conditions. And for those times when you’re not, you know, camping in the desert, you can always plug into the DC power connector for unlimited full brightness.

Users can choose which mode suits them best, either the longest-lasting or the brightest. Additionally, there’s a built-in “smart AI system” that can automatically adjust screen brightness for you based on the environment around it, meaning it can adapt when the light changes from, for example, late afternoon to twilight to nighttime on the campsite.

There’s also a built-in “intelligent sensor” that Anker boasts can perform keystone correction, autofocus, and screen fit in three seconds, so you can project on a range of flat surfaces, even if you don’t have a projector screen. Oh, and the Mars 3 will throw an image up to an impressive 200 inches, but Anker recommends 80 to 150 inches for the best image quality.

Judging by Anker’s marketing images of the outdoor projector, the company has campers and outdoorsy types in mind for the Nebula Mars 3. Not only is it IPX3 water and dust resistant so it can handle a light drizzle without issue, but it’s drop resistant up to half a meter, has a height-adjustable foot underneath, presumably for setting up on wonky surfaces, and has a clever sliding lens cover to keep the most crucial part safe.

What looks to be a sturdy carrying handle on its top also has basic controls (volume, sound, a directional selection pad) built-in for easy thumb maneuvering, and the portability features continue with the addition of an ambient LED camping light, and the ability to use it as a power bank for charging phones and other devices. Three 40-watt Dolby Audio-equipped speakers also mean that you don’t have to lug a speaker into the woods with you, and should you just want to use the Mars 3 for listening to music over Bluetooth, that 185Wh battery will let you do it for up to 15 hours on a charge.

As far as content goes, Anker’s covered all the bases with Android TV 11 built-in, so you don’t need to connect it to a streaming device or mirror a device to it to access all your preferred streaming services. But you could, as the Mars 3 is also Chromecast compatible in case you want to cast a smartphone or laptop to it, too. It’s even Google Assistant capable via its included remote control so you can use voice commands.

Connectivity-wise, the Mars 3 has Wi-Fi built-in, as well as two USB inputs (USB-C and USB-A), an HDMI port, and a 3.5-millimeter AUX output for physically connecting a speaker if you want to. There’s also a Bluetooth speaker mode for when you want to pair it for music, but it was unclear whether this also means that you can also use this for sound when watching video.

The Anker Nebula Mars 3 outdoor projector.
Anker

Anker has made the Nebula Mars 3 available for preorder at seenebula.com as of today, and it’s offering it at a $200 discount until July 10 when it reverts to its list price of $1,100.

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Derek Malcolm
Derek Malcolm is a Toronto-based technology journalist, editor, and content specialist whose work has appeared in…
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