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If you’re out and about, especially with children, then keeping entertained is half the battle. Luckily, with the amount of portable devices we now own it’s easy to hook up films, TV programmes and games to projectors that can turn any environment into cosy, personal screening rooms to enjoy with friends and families.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the best portable projectors for use on the go - especially suited to camping environments to add a little bit of variety to your evening’s entertainment.
What to look for in a portable projector
If you’re intending on using your projector for camping and trips out into the wild, you’ll want to look for the most energy efficient options available, which usually (but not necessarily always) means filtering out projectors that have to run on mains in favour of battery power.
Size obviously is at a premium, so the smaller and lighter the better. Some projectors are able to run independently of smartphone connection, using just an inserted USB or SD card to display media, but others have HDMI cables and other accessories and apps that allow you to hook up external devices for the best viewing performance possible - we’ve covered both options in this article. Some offer screen mirroring, and many can also access a number of different apps to allow you to stream on the go.
Play close attention to the sound - there are some impressive options out there but of course the smaller you go, the less space there is for a premium quality sound system in the unit itself. Another thing to look at is battery life - of course if you’re watching films and TV shows you’re going to want to ensure that if wireless capability is a priority, the device in question has at least 1.5 to 2 hours of battery time in it without needing to be plugged in.
So without further ado, here’s our selection of some of the best portable projectors on the market at the moment.
Best portable projectors at a glance
- Best for tiny and durable: Anker Nebula Capture II
- Best for image quality:XGIMI MoGo Pro
- Best for projecting from a smartphone:ViewSonic M1 Mini
- Best for vans and camping trips: Anker Nebula Solar
- Best for a budget option: Apeman LC650 Portable Projector
- Best for projecting onto a large space:LG CineBeam PH30N Wireless Projector
Although it’s a little more expensive and a bit of an outlay, if you’re serious and saving space in your van or camping setup, this is a great option.
Size-wise, it’s little more than a can of beer, and it feels durable, sturdy and well built, being able to withstand everyday knocks and bumps without disrupting the viewing screen too much.
A 1080p image with 300 lumens helps the MoGo Pro to become one of the best projectors for image quality we tested out.
Two 3W built-in Harman Kardon speakers that resonate from the unit itself also adds to the immersion, and autofocus and vertical auto correction additionally helps keep the unit straight and viewable on most uneven ground.
With Chromecast built-in & AirScreen, the user can also directly cast movies, TV shows, music, games and sports from your device.
One of the smallest and most portable projectors on the list, the M1 Mini certainly stands by its name, providing good image quality that can be taken anywhere and literally fits into the palm of your hand.
You only get 480p image rendition, but it’s hardly surprising given the size of the lens and connectivity - we found the M1 Mini to be a great option for connecting up a smartphone using USB and viewing photos on a large surface.
Towards the upper end of the pricing spectrum, but well built and with specifications to match some of the best projectors on this list, the Nebula Solar is an excellent wireless option perfect for vans and camping trips.
We were impressed by the battery power - nearly 3 hours on a single charge - and with built-in apps and 3W Dolby Digital speakers you’ll be impressed, as we were, by such excellent quality, sound and vision from a single package.
A slightly more affordable option on the market at the moment is this offering from Apeman.
Portable, but probably more suited to long-term positioning within vans or permanent home camp setups, this is a native 1080p projector that’s well suited to getting the best picture quality possible in a confined space.
Supports 4K footage if connected to the appropriate device, and with an additional dongle (sold separately) you can also mirror your screen from Android or iOS.
With a viewing size up to 100”, this is a great option if you have a large space you’d like to project on to.
A lightweight, portable and slim design means it’s easy to put it in your bag for camping trips away - from such a small design it also impressively offers up to 2 hours of viewing time before it needs a charge, enough for a couple of TV shows or a decent film.