There have been a couple of major changes that have helped projectors rocket into the mainstream. One of the main ones is the actual bulb. In older models there were internal lamps that could cost hundreds of dollars to fix when they burned out. But technological advances have led to LED-bulb projectors that are surprisingly good—and much easier to repair. These mini projectors are the size of a couple of hardcover books, but you can get a great theater experience for your backyard, bedroom, or anywhere else you can hang a white sheet (or projector screen if you have one).
Solid as a Rock
This model has everything you need for a backyard movie night. Amazon
Most mini projectors tend to come from lesser-known brands. But Anker has already achieved a reputation as one of the absolute best budget manufacturers of battery packs, cables, and speakers—and the company recently expanded into projectors. This Nebula Capsule is a remarkable all-in-one gadget: battery, speakers, WiFi, even Android as an operating system so you can play Netflix without an external stick (though you can use those, too). Plus, it’s about the size of a can of soda.
Super Clear Picture
Connects with VGA, USB, or HDMI and comes with a remote control. Amazon
Many mini projectors have a 480p resolution at best; that’s DVD quality, which by today’s standards looks like a pile of LEGOs. This Vankyo is remarkably well-reviewed and has actual built-in 1080p resolution. It also offers a three-month return policy, and a three-year free repair guarantee.
Good Starter Model
Also compatible with some video game consoles. Amazon
This mini projector has a quiet built-in fan, so the machine won’t overheat and the bulb can last longer (15 years, according to the company). You can also connect it to gaming systems to enjoy video games on the big screen.