If you love to host movie nights, then you need an outdoor projector to make sure that the movie is visible to all your friends. Outdoor projectors (Under $500) can be a bit larger than their indoor counterparts, but the best ones are still pretty portable. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best portable projectors. We’ll also take a look at some of the important factors to consider before buying a portable projector.
Until lately, owning a projector meant the possibility of advertising your content anywhere you wanted to. Nowadays though, connected projectors seem to be becoming more affordable.
Portable projectors are the best way to make your home theater experience even better. Using a projector, you can enhance every movie night into a unique and more immersive adventure than you’ve ever had before. Watching Netflix becomes something else entirely when you overcome the constraints of your laptop or smartphone screen, casting an incredibly bright and crisp picture from the comfort of your own couch.
There are hundreds of good portable projectors out there, and each one comes with a set of pros and cons. We found five of the best portable projectors you can buy online, with all these models that strike an excellent balance between performance, extras, and price.
What Things To Consider When Buying Best Portable Projectors For Outdoor Movies
Choosing your ideal projector can be a tough decision, but thankfully we’ve done all the hard work for you here and compiled this well-researched list of what we believe are some of the best models on the market right now.
Projectors are very susceptible to light, which is why you need to make sure that the environment you’re planning on watching them in is entirely dark. Depending on how you plan on using your projector, this may or may not be an issue. If you don’t have any plans on replacing your TV in a bright room, then brightness won’t be an issue for you as it will depend solely on how much of a theater effect and picture quality you want from your projector.
Portable projectors are all about giving and taking. There are several factors to consider when buying one of these devices: brightness, speaker size, weight, and resolution all factor into how much time you can use a device before it needs to be charged up again. Their power ratings will tell you roughly how long it will last on each charge which can help prepare you in the event that your meeting gets longer than expected or is running late. If all else fails, there are different power settings to adjust. But generally you should expect to get through one or two movies without too much of a time crunch.
All the projectors on this list come with built-in speakers, something that unfortunately cannot be said about all models. That said, speaker quality will vary depending on what manufacturers decide to include in their designs and that could lead to some rather cheaply made and/or low-quality speakers being included as part of an otherwise higher-end product designed for portability, which does reduce power consumption somewhat.
The biggest upside of owning a portable projector is that they’re so very easy to set up. You don’t need extra equipment beyond the projectors themselves – just make sure you have a surface to project onto, like the white side of a paper diorama, or the projection screen included with some projectors, and you’re good to go! There’s also no need to worry about any extra cables as most portable projectors come with everything you’ll need in order to set up and run your presentation.
This is a math equation that calculates how large an image will be based on the distance of the projector from the screen or wall it’s projected onto. If you move a projector away from a screen, screen, or wall and then bring it back close to its original position, the image will grow and shrink accordingly. When we talk about moving a projector away from its original position, there’s what we call long-distance projectors, which tend to have an increased projection size compared to typical ones.
Projectors have varying levels of resolution which is to what extent images can be projected on a wall or screen through their use. Although most projectors support resolution up to 1080p, many lower-end ones will downsample the image down to 720p by default. This essentially involves taking a source image, flipping it upside-down, and eliminating some of its lines – essentially leaving one with the basic shape without all of its detail since this would be a less resource-intensive way of displaying an image but that wouldn’t necessarily look as good on screen.
The portable project (For Powerpoint Presentations) or has a small housing, which means it doesn’t have as many ports. A lot of people prefer a greater number of ports because they let you connect your computer or game system to the projector. The more ports you have, the more confident you can be that the device will work with your projector and whatever equipment you have at home.
LG’s video projectors offer users a variety of features to help enhance their home viewing experience. For example, the PF50KA projector produces over 600 lumens of brightness which allows it to project a clear image even in large venues like auditoriums or classrooms. With its 1080p output, users can make sure they’ll be watching an HD picture from up to 10 meters away without needing additional equipment thanks to its built-in speakers.
This projector comes with a shine of 100 inches. That’s a nice size to give you a picture that is both high-quality and crystal clear so everyone can see it on the round screen. There are lots of great projectors in this world, but most are super big and heavy. This is why LG has made sure that this model isn’t weighing too heavily on your pocket or carrying capabilities as it only weighs 2.1 pounds! We think that LG did a good job balancing tech specs with size since we have seen that there are a lot of people who just don’t have the energy to carry around large-sized products no matter how good they may be.
That being said, this projector has its weaknesses too: it only comes with two 1W speakers which will do very little in large or congested rooms. Additionally, the battery life is 2.5 hours which may be a bit short for large conference or small theater room presentations – especially if you’re trying to use this projector outdoors or in problematic lighting. However, if you’re interested in using your projector mainly during the daytime other than at night, consider purchasing this product as it provides a high-resolution fantastic display and allows for great viewing angles for the price.
ViewSonic created a projector that is small, portable, and has up to six hours of battery life. This helps eliminate the extra work of dragging around a power cord or finding an outlet while ensuring that everyone at your party is able to enjoy your pictures and videos immediately right out of the box. Other than this, ViewSonic made a couple of significant concessions but both were done purposefully in order to keep their product light-weight and portable, which we think was likely one of their main customer’s requests for what they wanted in a projector.
These are all awesome functions, but this model has a low 1080 native resolution, which can produce a softer picture. Overall brightness is also lower than average reaching 250 lumens, compared to 1000+ lumens for the models above. Brightness and contrast can be more important than resolution in some cases as they determine how easy it is to use your projector in a well-lit room. This model has Harmon Karten speakers and comes in black if you’re into the design, but it doesn’t come with a lamp, so you will want to make sure your replacement bulb matches the one required by reading the product details carefully.
Presenting should be easy enough to do whether you’re giving a presentation from the laptop sitting next to you, or in an online chat room while looking out across the ocean. Our projector recommendation takes care of both of these scenarios and more.
Anker’s Nebula Mars II Pro Projector is a powerful tool that makes working or watching a movie with friends enjoyable. The device has 500 lumens of brightness and a native resolution of 1280 x 720 (720p), dual 10w speakers, and the ability to get up to three hours of battery life. Anker doesn’t mention how far away from the screen you need to be able to project images, but it can project up to 150 inches depending on your environment. The device also comes with smart features like Bluetooth for connecting with wireless devices such as smartphones.
The Nebula Mars II has a limited number of ports: one USB and one HDMI port, it’s true, but that’s because you can run Android 7.1 on the device directly. You’ll be able to download popular streaming apps like Netflix or Hulu onto the projector yourself through the Google Play store (you can also do this with a hardwire). If you don’t feel like connecting your device directly to the projector, though, you can use an app called “Nebula Connect” to stream content from your phone (as long as this feature supports it) to the projector for any potential time in which wires just aren’t practical!
The Nebula Mars II’s biggest complaint, and possibly the reason it’s not higher on our list is its weight: at 3.94 pounds it is the heaviest of the projectors we recommend. It does have a built-in carrying strap, but as far as portability goes, it’s still pretty difficult to carry around.
Optoma’s LV130 mini projector is a great tool for those who want to throw slide presentations in the back of their Tahoe. But don’t want to go overboard with portability: it weighs just 0.8 pounds.
The ViewSonic LV130 has a native resolution of 854 x 400 and can throw a maximum screen size of 80 inches when placed 6.43 feet away from a wall. In terms of ports, it only has one HDMI port, one USB port, and a headphone jack. The headphone jack might be necessary primarily because LV 130 only has one two-watt speaker. The weight of the ViewSonic LV130 is 7.5 pounds, which means you can easily carry it with you wherever you go.
On the upside, this projector gets excellent battery life: 4.5 hours, and its portability shouldn’t be overlooked. It is able to carry this projector in any bag, without taking up a lot of room or adding too much weight. If you plan on taking a projector with you everywhere you go or don’t mind trading a large screen size for image quality, this is the right choice for you.
XGIMI has been a long time player in China in what has been identified as the screenless TV market, and is by far the biggest company. This category of products attempts to distinguish itself from traditional projectors through their additional features and focus on design. One could draw comparisons with laptops versus desktop PCs being the closest analogy.
The MoGo Pro is a projector that fits in a pocket. Designed to be portable, the device can be used with Android smartphones and even tablets. The cylindrical design allows for the device to be placed on top of tables and more, making it easy to share videos, photos, and more with others.
The computer’s casing is a white plastic with a thick layer of grey coating. Its minimalistic appearance is enhanced by the ventilation slots which house a fan for cooling and the speakers located on three sides of the device. These speakers are black and have an audio connection located at the bottom of their frames. Approximately in the middle, there are three buttons; one for on/off, another for changing volume, and finally, one for entering sleep mode or waking up from it.
The remote control is fairly universal, straightforward with buttons that require little (if any) explanation. You will need it in order to change the source or press one of the buttons that relate specifically to controlling something such as Google Assistant for example. It’s a shame that if you lost this remote, you would have to rely on a third party application to replace it.
The Harman Kardon sound system comes with two 3 watt speakers which might sound paltry in comparison to some of today’s most powerful home theater systems, but truthfully speaking these small components deliver a clear, crisp sound with just enough bass for one to enjoy their favorite tracks. Be that as it may, the drivers on this projector are quite diminutive in size.
Remember, the XGIMI MoGo Pro TV Box is available for $549.99 at Amazon. That’s the retail price, so you might want to take advantage of the $50 coupon available on the product page to bring its value down by another $50 to just under or around $500. Competitors are looking at adding Android TV 9.0 and native full HD format support – this box does both and more.
XGIMI Horizon Pro is intended for use by people who want a 4K projector with excellent HDR performance. The build quality feels great and the options for connecting numerous devices to its HDMI ports is highly convenient. There are some flaws in the upscaling abilities, but its image stabilisation capabilities are unmatched by other projectors on the market.
Fun as it is to own a projector, there are times when they can be quite difficult. One of the tricky parts about them is getting everything setup and positioned just right in order to get a clear picture. Projectors that require you to rotate or move around the room can add even more frustration. We had this problem with our XGIMI’s Horizon Pro and what made matters real frustrating was adjusting everything so we could see the image start to take place.
Horizon Pro is a 4K native projector being launched by the well-known brand, Horizon. It is best to be used for home theater setups and will produce some of the highest quality images you will ever see with your very own eyes. One of many reasons that led us to make this claim is how great and complete its picture settings are. Horizontally speaking, you have the option of 40 inches version while the smaller version has only a maximum potential of 100 inches’ worth.
The built-in audio on the projector is a cut above most projectors as it’s capable of delivering sound in stereo. The sleek aluminum remote and attractive dark silver outer casing also suggest that this projector is far more premium than one might expect from such an affordable price point.
For daily users however, despite giving some XGIMI branded quality content, the Horizon Pro’s upscaling just isnt’t very impressive, with grain and image artefacts creeping in when you’re not feeding it exceptional sources. As a luxury model from XGIMI this isn’t too surprising and it wont be a game-over for all but it does tarnish what could have been a five star projector if you plan to watch full hd content on the regular. If you plan on watching 1080p most of the time then the cheaper Horizon model without pro might be a better bet.
When it comes to projector technology, nothing is more portable than the XGIMI Elfin. Based on the original XGIMI 50 MP model released a few months back, it takes everything you loved about that project and condenses it down into a smaller package without sacrificing quality. At its core it’s still an ultra-bright true 4K resolution HDR projector capable of projecting crystal clear images at up to 250 inches wide in full HD 1080p.
This projector has a footprint of just two pounds and under two inches thick. Despite how small it is, however, this projector is able to produce visuals that are colorful, vibrant and projected onto your screen with impressive precision. It even performs well in low light settings which we’d expect given how quiet the projector runs when we’re watching movies late into the night. Furthermore its operating temperature doesn’t require any kind of traditional cooling systems because its air circulation fans are nearly silent while under normal use. Expect to hear them only on rare occasions when there isn’t any audio from the source material playing through their speakers.
Projection quality is good, although some problems crop up in darker portions of the image. Noticeable dithering in large, dark, single-color areas is distracting and makes it a poor selection for gaming and anime. However, setting the brightness to its highest helps with visibility if you’re not always in a dark room or want to watch brighter content.
The Elfin comes running Android TV 10.0 but sadly, whether through a lack of software support or simply poor implementation, it lacks built-in support for the Netflix app. It has everything you need to stream – including the streaming software itself, the speakers, and even a built-in projector – it just lacks that one thing we need in such abundance.
XGIMI is a brilliant 4K projector that’s available for 649 $/$649 £/$649 on Amazon.com, Xgimi.co.uk and Amazon.co.uk, and it gives you a screen size of 100-inch! Several reviews say the projector has great image quality and it’s easy to transport to another room or even take with you when travelling if needed!
The ViewSonic M2 Full HD Portable projector certainly fits the bill when it comes to easily creating a quick and portable projection space. Because it’s light enough to carry around wherever you need, it doesn’t force you to change your plans if you decide to bring your presentation along with you as opposed to staying at home. It also only takes moments for the projector to set itself up because of how quickly it boots up after being setup.
While most projectors are large, cumbersome and cumbersome – the M2 is a little more subtle. With either black or dark brown plastic, this device measures an inch wider and taller than most Apple computers.
At the front of this projector there is the projection lens, which doesn’t come with a protective cover. So when moving the device around (apart from using the case), you’ll need to be extra careful not to scratch or damage it. There are also hidden sensors here that help with focusing and the projector comes with a nifty feature called ‘Eye Protect’. If someone accidentally tries to keep staring into the lens or an object comes too close to it, then the image temporarily shuts off while remaining lit – making it very clear why they should stop.
The M2 projector also has an adjustable foot at the front so you can easily adjust the angle of projection if the unit is placed on a flat surface. It’s fairly stable, however we noticed that when we were trying to plug a cable into the unit while trying to keep it steady and straight, we inadvertently pressed down on it and collapsed the foot.
While the M2 offers connectivity via Wi-Fi, it is an external dongle. Thankfully, this dongle has a dedicated compartment located underneath the projector, so you can simply connect it and forget about it here. It would be nice if ViewSonic built the Wi-Fi into the device directly for enthusiasts who live in places where wired Internet access is rare or unavailable. Luckily, you can use Ethernet if need be.
You’ll be pleased to know that once connected to Wi-Fi, you can quickly project streaming video and movies directly from your Android phone to the projector. It supports both Chromecast and AirPlay technologies, this means that the M2 will be able to accept streaming media requests through either a smartphone or computer. The only caveat is that certain Android phones have native Chromecast integration while others send actual digital files via the Google Home app.
The 1080p Anker Nebula Solar portable projector offers lots of great features, including support for 4K and HDR, built-in Android TV, and good brightness / portability for its size and weight. If you don’t mind a little washed out lighting sometimes it’s a solid choice since there are plenty of other things to love.
Anker has updated the Nebula line of portable projectors with its latest release, the Anker Nebula Solar. This is a high-end video projector that utilizes solar energy, while being slim and lightweight enough to fit into a backpack or suitcase. Dedicated Android TV controls are built right into the top of the unit itself, so you’ll never be without Netflix or Hulu when you’re out camping or at an outdoor retreat.
The Solar Portable is built around a 1080p (1,920-by-1,080) TI DLP chip. This means that the company uses Texas Instruments’ Manhattan format (a rectangular array), which shortens battery life, when compared with the diamond chip array that’s more common in portable projectors but avoids the scaling artifacts that the diamond array can add to images. The imaging chip is paired with an LED light source that Anker rates at 30,000 hours in full-power mode.
There are always challenges that come up when we are preparing for a presentation. For example, it’s way too easy to let the “bright” side take over and plan an event that goes into overtime or beyond most people’s energy reserves. Therefore, you should choose your menu well by paying attention to which power mode is best for your audience – after all it’s not a good idea to offer any more than is needed to keep everyone in the room energized! An extra-long battery life of 3 hours will ensure that those who wish to stay can do so without worrying about running out of juice. After all it wouldn’t be good if they were forced to go home early because their laptop had run out of power.
Few projectors have a shape as flat and oval-shaped as the 1080p Anker Nebula Cosmos D2140. Only one we’ve seen comes to mind – the 4K Anker Nebula Cosmos Max. Instead, most room-to-room portables get the extra space for robust sound systems and adding extra height in most cases, giving them a close to cubical shape like the Miroir M1200S and Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12, our current top pick for room-to-room portables. The two Anker models prove that making the projector wider rather than taller and rounding off the corners for an oval shape works just as well. The $799 Cosmos is also a bit lighter than its most direct competition, plus it doesn’t offer enough to replace the EF12 as our top pick yet but it’s still a credible contender.
The Cosmos is built around a 1920 x 1080-pixel DLP chip and an LED light source that has an estimated lifespan of 30,000 hours as its standard setting. The Android TV 9 operating system offers a fully integrated Wi-Fi networking experience. Overall, the Android TV system setup was fairly straightforward and shared similarities with other Google products like Chromecast.
Cosmos relies on a mobile phone or tablet App instead of an Android TV Netflix app. To use it you must install it onto your phone or tablet and then connect to the projector via Bluetooth. The quality of the pictures varies depending on your connection and network speed but in our tests we did not experience any problems streaming videos from there.
There is 3-D support on the Cosmos Star II, but it is only compatible with DLP-Link glasses and top-bottom and side-by-side formats. You may have to switch between 2D and 3D modes manually as there is no built in function for automatic switching, but no worries! The good news is that there isn’t much crosstalk, so your eyes won’t be getting crossed when you are watching in 3D mode. I also noticed a brighter image than most other projectors when used in 3D mode. Not only will you get a brighter image but relative to other projectors, you can use the same image size for both 2D and 3D without a problem.
What kind of projector do I need to watch movies outside?
You can watch a movie outdoors at night even on a pocket projector that puts out 100 lumens or less, but you’ll have to huddle around a small image to watch it. If you want to really treat yourself, you should buy a large screen projector so that you can get an immersive experience. Look for one that has 80 inches or more of working area and at least 2,500 lumens if not more.
How many lumens do you need for an outdoor projector?
If you’re going to be watching movies outside, buy a projector that has between 2,000 and 2,500 lumens. If there is sunlight or decorative lights nearby, buy a projector with more lumens than 3,000 so the light won’t obscure the picture.
What is the best resolution for outdoor projector?
For a satisfactory outdoor viewing experience, 720p is the minimum resolution you’re after. 1080p is even better, although that’ll set you back quite a bit more if you’re thinking of upgrading your TV to this spec. The latest and greatest resolution, known as 4K, delivers exceptional picture quality, but at an extremely high price point.
If you are planning to watch movies under the stars than you need to consider portable projectors for outdoor movies. Nowadays, we have a number of portable projectors for outdoor movies that can be easily carried from one place to another and can be used to watch movies on a large screen. I will share with you the ten best portable projectors for outdoor movies and what things to consider when buying portable projectors for outdoor movies.