Review: Nebula Astro Portable Projector will impress despite shortcomings

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The Nebula Astro Moveable Projector makes up for hit-and-miss software program and quick battery life with portability and an abundance of viewing choices.

The Nebula Astro is a tiny projector with a cute, kid-friendly design. It is marketed for portability however can simply exchange the TV in a toddler’s room or playroom.

Design

The Astro Moveable Projector matches comfortably within the palm of your hand. It is solely accessible in white and is made from matte plastic, so it feels premium and stable, although most likely not sturdy sufficient to outlive a fall or a throw from a cranky toddler.

It has a pleasant look akin to the EVE robotic in Pixar’s “Wall-E.” The entrance consists of a black hooded lens that homes the projector and the proximity sensor, with a small wheel for focus management residing close by.

Speaker grills are on either side of the machine, the again, and the bottom, and are flat for laying the machine down simply. There’s a commonplace tripod mount on the underside and the rear has a USB-C port and HDMI port.

The small black circle accommodates the IR receiver for the included distant. The highest accommodates a few buttons for easy controls: energy on, quantity up/down, and a toggle change for the Bluetooth speaker mode.

Astro's design obviously pulls from sci-fi like Star Wars

Astro’s design clearly pulls from sci-fi like Star Wars

Specs

The projector casts a picture at 480p decision at a 16:9 ratio. It’s important to manually alter focus, and the lamp life is rated at 30,000 hours.

There’s a proximity sensor constructed into the entrance of the projector to cease the lamp from harming the eyes of curious youngsters. If something passes in entrance of the projector, the lamp shuts off till the sensor is now not obscured.

It has two ports within the rear and the USB-C port doubles as an information enter or a charging port. The HDMI port is rated for HDMI 1.4, although it should nonetheless solely output 480p.

The projector weighs solely 13 ounces and is sort of an ideal dice at 3.6 inches excessive, 3.2 inches broad, and three.5 inches lengthy.

Software program

The Astro projector runs a skinned model of Android 7.1 with a built-in proprietary app retailer. You may obtain some leisure apps like Amazon Video or Netflix, and video games like Crossy Street. The choice is restricted, however contains the most well-liked apps.

The software program contains parental controls so you possibly can place a passcode on apps and limit grownup content material. Utilizing YouTube and Netflix is not any totally different from utilizing the apps on a wise television.

The software program generally lags and the distant turns into unresponsive, although that could be because of restricted processing on the Astro. When navigating the software program or viewing content material, the cooling followers spin up loudly. The audio system typically drown out this sound, however it’s audible at decrease volumes.

Astro advantages Apple customers by being an AirPlay machine, mirroring the show of an iPhone or iPad and streaming video. It is not going to play DRM content material, nonetheless, so you possibly can’t stream iTunes purchases or Apple TV+.

There may be an official Nebula app for controlling the projector with out the included distant. It really works fantastic, however as an alternative of getting digital buttons, it presents a big trackpad to the touch and swipe to work together.

The largest good thing about utilizing the distant app is entry to a keyboard, as typing utilizing the bodily distant is painstakingly gradual.

Utilizing the Astro Projector

The Astro Projector turns off the bright lamp when someone crosses too close to the device

The Astro Projector turns off the brilliant lamp when somebody crosses too near the machine

Energy on the Astro Projector with the change on prime of the machine or utilizing the included distant. After a brief boot-up sequence you’re greeted with the listing of put in apps.

We advocate establishing the apps utilizing the telephone app since you may have entry to a digital keyboard. In any other case, you may be navigating a digital keyboard utilizing a directional pad.

The interface is pretty fundamental, and it’s designed to point out what apps you’ve got downloaded and will get you to the media playback shortly. The app retailer is hidden within the settings menu, which is usually a bit odd on the first launch.

Projector mode: Streaming apps

After establishing the apps, every part works as anticipated. You’ll open an app, choose what you wish to watch, and exit out utilizing the straightforward controls.

There’s a built-in parental management part in settings to limit apps and content material utilizing a password. Streaming at 480p doesn’t require a powerful web connection, so streams begin quick and barely buffer.

Nebula says that streaming will final about 2.5 hours when not related to energy. You may join a battery pack to increase use, however it should output at the very least 10W.

The time to a full cost when not in use is 2 hours.

Playing YouTube videos works as expected

Enjoying YouTube movies works as anticipated

The projector will present an honest high quality picture in a darkish room with a white backdrop. Bodily transferring the projector will change the dimensions of the displayed picture, as anticipated.

The projector will alter the angle of the displayed picture based mostly on the way it’s bodily angled the place mounted.

Speaker mode

A button on the speaker, or a menu in software program, can toggle speaker mode. This shuts off the projector and turns the Astro right into a Bluetooth/AirPlay audio receiver.

The audio high quality will not be superb, however for those who’re utilizing this to entertain youngsters by means of the quiet moments, then that may be a non-issue. There is no bass to talk of, however the audio does come by means of loud and crisp.

You should use speaker mode for as much as 14 hours over Bluetooth.

Projector mode: HDMI and USB-C

Connecting this 1TB external SSD to Astro was simple

Connecting this 1TB exterior SSD to Astro was easy

Regardless of being a small projector, there are all kinds of choices for getting video to the machine. You may join something by way of HDMI making the Astro a terrific moveable TV.

The USB-C port can learn reminiscence from flash drives and arduous drives that do not want exterior energy. When connecting an exterior drive by way of USB, information will present up in an app on the Astro, which works in an easy trend. Fashionable codecs like H.264, VP8, DivX are supported.

Must you purchase the Nebula Astro Projector

The restricted specs and sometimes-finicky software program don’t fully undermine this projector. Since it’s geared toward youthful youngsters, they may fortunately watch no matter is being streamed with none considerations about pixel depend or audio high quality.

That being stated, these specs appear a bit low regardless of a $280 price ticket. Different leisure choices exist inside that worth vary while not having entry to a dangling sheet or empty white wall.

This machine fills a selected area of interest that can make sure individuals very comfortable. For those who stay in a big dwelling the place you are always transferring about with a toddler, and occur to have white partitions, you would possibly discover such a tool a godsend.

Different use instances may embody projecting an Xbox onto a sheet throughout a sleepover or having an extra leisure supply within the lodge room whereas touring with youngsters. For those who can’t consider a chance to make use of the Astro, then it is probably not for you.

Regardless of its restricted use case and software program quirks, this can be a good moveable projector. A greater specification would imply a much bigger and dearer machine, so the Nebula Astro may match into your life.

  • Moveable and child protected design
  • Fashionable type-C charging
  • First rate speaker high quality
  • Costly given OS and backbone
  • Brief battery life limits use case

Score: 3.0 out of 5

The place to Purchase

You should buy the Nebula Astro Moveable Projector at Amazon for $279.99.

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