Nebula Capsule 3 Review Laser Projector Transformers Limited Edition

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Today at Gadget Explained, we have an exciting review lined up for you as we delve into the world of portable projectors. We'll be reviewing the Nebula/Hasbro Capsule 3 Laser Special Edition (Transformer/Optimus Prime theme version) and comparing it with its counterparts, the Nebula Capsule Max, Original Nebula Capsule, and Nebula Solar Portable. So, let's dive right in!

The Capsule 3 Laser Transformers SE comes in two variants - standard and Transformers SE, which is the one featured on this review. Capsule 3 retains the same styling as previous Capsule models: perforated aluminium body, tripod mount, rear firing speaker, rubberized base and capacitive touch buttons. On the back side, you find two physical buttons, the infrared receiver, and three connectivity ports (Aux out, HDMI and USB-C).

The Capsule 3 projector can be controlled 3 ways: via the on-board controls, physical remote and Nebula Connect mobile app. There are several ways to play content by downloading apps (e.g. YouTube) from the Google Play Store, via HDMI cable connection to a laptop computer and USB-C flash drive. If you don't have a USB-C flash drive, you can use a USB-C to USB-A adapter (not included).

While there is only one HDMI port on the Capsule 3, it is a HDMI 2.1 port with eARC support so, it can handle up to 48Gbps bandwidth, which means you can stream 4K at 120Hz and 8K at 60Hz. Another benefit of HDMI 2.1 eARC is being able to hook the Capsule 3 to an eARC-enabled soundbar to experince proper Dolby Surround sound. You will need a HDMI 2.1 cable - typically a High-Speed or Ultra High Speed HDMI cable with Ethernet. The Capsule 3 internal 8W speaker does support Dolby Digital and, while it sounds nice it is not quite as effective as stereo speakers.

The projection technology is laser-based, which is the main selling point. The Capsule 3 Laser Transformers SE supports native 1080p resolution, "Laser Eye" mode and HDR10 support, which enhances contrast, making light colors pop and dark colors appear darker. This in turn makes the image a lot more immersive.

The compact size of the Capsule 3 Laser Transformers SE and internal rechargeable battery allows you to take it, literary, anywhere. The built-in battery provides a playtime of approximately 2.5 hours, allowing you to enjoy an entire movie without interruptions. In terms of specifications, the Capsule 3 Laser Transformers SE measures 3.3 × 3.3 × 6.7 inches (83mm x 83mm x 170mm) and weighs about 2.1 pounds (950 grams). Despite its small size, the Nebula Capsule 3 has a throw ratio of 1.2, which means it can display a large image in relatively short distances. For example, from 1.6 meters distance the Capsule 3 can generate a 60-inch projection image. Because of the limited throw ratio though, the Capsule 3 isn't ideal for projecting large images in spacious environments.

Setting up the Capsule 3 Laser is super easy, thanks to its quick (and silient) 3-second auto-focus and auto-keystone feature. As well as Dolby Digital, the Capsule 3 supports Dolby Digital Plus, PCM, Bypass and Auto digital output. If you are projecting from a non-compatible Dolby Digital device, you will need to select PCM. Better still, set the Digital Output setting to Auto so, the system will choose the appropriate setting automatically.

The Capsule 3 Laser supports Netflix via the Nebula Play app, allowing you to stream your favorite shows and movies. However, copyrighted content from platforms like Hulu and Netflix cannot be mirrored or screencast, but you can directly download and use apps through the Capsule to access the content.. In terms of specifications, the Capsule 3 Laser features a DLP 0.23 DMD display technology with a resolution of 1920×1080 and a brightness of 300 ANSI Lumens. It has a 30,000-hour light source life, and its aspect ratio is 16:9. The device runs on Android 11.0 and comes with a Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A55 CPU, G52MP2 GPU, 2GB DDR RAM, and 16GB eMMC ROM.

If you're considering other portable projectors such as the Nebula Solar Portable, Original Nebula Capsule, and Nebula Capsule Max, here is a detailed run down of what sets them apart. In terms of resolution, the Nebula Capsule 3 takes the lead with its 1080p Laser HD Clarity, ensuring crisp and detailed visuals. The Nebula Solar Portable follows closely behind with a resolution of 1920x1080 (16:9, FHD), providing a high-definition viewing experience. On the other hand, the Nebula Capsule and Nebula Capsule Max offer lower resolutions of 854x480 (16:9) and 1280x720 (16:9, HD) respectively, which may result in slightly less sharpness and detail.

When it comes to the projection size range, the Nebula Solar Portable offers the widest range, allowing you to enjoy your content on a screen size of 40 to 120 inches. The Nebula Capsule and Nebula Capsule Max have a slightly smaller range of 40 to 100 inches, providing a decent viewing experience in a portable package.

In terms of operating systems, the Nebula Capsule 3 runs on Android TV 11.0, offering a user-friendly interface and access to a wide range of apps and streaming services. The Nebula Solar Portable operates on Android 9.0, while the Nebula Capsule and Nebula Capsule Max run on Android 7.1 and Android 8.1 respectively. While all models provide access to popular apps and content, the newer operating systems may offer more updated features and compatibility.

When it comes to audio performance, the Nebula Capsule 3 stands out with its Hi-Fi Cinematic Sound and 8W Dolby Digital Speaker, delivering immersive and high-quality audio. The Nebula Solar Portable features Dolby Digital Plus too and 2x3W speakers. It is lessaly less powerful than the Capsule 3 but has stereo speakers, unlike the Capsule 3. The Original Nebula Capsule has a 5W speaker, while the Nebula Capsule Max has an 8W speaker.

In terms of portability, all models offer compact sizes that make them easy to carry and use on the go. The Nebula Capsule 3 weighs 2.1 lb (950 g) and is 90% smaller than similar projectors, making it highly portable. The Nebula Solar Portable has dimensions of 7.6 x 7.6 x 2.3 inches, striking a balance between portability and performance. The Nebula Capsule is even more compact, measuring 2.67 x 2.67 x 4.72 inches, while the Nebula Capsule Max has dimensions of 3.14 x 3.14 x 5.91 inches. So, if size and weight are important factors for you, the Nebula Capsule and Nebula Capsule Max have the advantage of being more lightweight.

In summary, the Nebula Capsule 3 is a standout option with its 1080p resolution, powerful audio, and compact design. The Nebula Solar Portable impresses with its high-resolution visuals and versatile projection size range. The Nebula Capsule and Nebula Capsule Max provide more budget-friendly options with slightly lower resolutions, but still offer decent performance and portability.

Although the Nebula Capsule 3 offers laser brightness, it may not be as bright as some other projectors, which could affect visibility in well-lit environments. Compared to other portable projectors, the Nebula Capsule 3 is relatively more expensive, which could be a consideration for budget-conscious buyers.

Potential deal breakers
  • Limited brightness
  • Higher price point
  • Limited throw ratio
  • Single speaker - no stereo
  • No native USB-A, VGA ports
  • Rear facing speaker
Selling points
  • Brighter than an LCD projector
  • On-board controls with built in lights
  • Native 1080p resolution
  • Whisper quiet fan
  • HDMI 2.1 eARC
  • Capable of 4K at 120Hz and 8K at 60Hz
  • Low latency/ low input lag
  • eARC soundbar support
  • Whisper quiet auto-focus motor
  • Compact and portable
  • Can be used as a portable Bluetooth speaker
  • Android TV 11
  • Responsive physical remote (can be aimed anywhere)
  • Powered by Android Google Play Store app download
  • Supports headphones and external speakers
  • Includes 45W power adapter
  • Made by Anker
  • Hi-Fi Cinematic Sound
  • Long battery life
  • Tripod mountable
  • Automatic focus
  • Automatic keystone correction
  • Bluetooth AAC audio codec

Accessories included are two AAA batteries, a physical remote control, a 1 meter long USB-C cable (male to male) and a 45W power adapter with interchangeable wall plugs (EU & UK). The power adapter measures 6cm deep x 6cm high 3cm thick. The remote control is made of plastic and features clicky, responsive rubber buttons. You can buy the Capsule 3 Laser projector from amazon.Check out the review of the Nebula Astro projector and Nebula Apollo.

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