It’s a question I have been pondering for a while. I like the idea of ditching my TV and switching to a smaller, more discreet option. But can a home projector handle the job without me having to spend a fortune? Let’s find out.
- Stylish design
- Good picture quality for movies and TV
- Solid sound
- Quiet operation
- Gaming at 60 fps impossible
- Lack of in-depth picture options
- Some input lag
Anker Nebula Prizm II release date and price
In order to find out if I’m ready to ditch the big telly and go all-in on a projector, I have been testing the Nebula Prizm II. You may know Nebula as the kind of cinema division of Anker. The brand is known for its portable projectors, such as the Capsule II and Mars II, but it’s the slighter less portable Prizm II that has the best chance of replacing my TV.
The Nebula Prizm II is available now and costs $269.99 directly from the manufacturer in the US. In the UK, you can pick one up for £289.99 on Amazon.
Anker Nebula Prizm II design and build quality
The Nebula Prizm II is a Full HD, 1080p home cinema that can beam a picture onto a wall or projector screen at a size of anywhere between 40 and 120 inches. There are dual 5W speakers for audio and a range of inputs on the back including USB and HDMI. The top of the Prizm II is covered by an attractive cloth and the unit doesn’t look out of place in a living room or bedroom - it’s pretty stylish.
To allow for a better angle of projection, a little spring-loaded plastic leg pops out from the front. It’s a little flimsy, but it plays the part of a functional stand well enough. I’m not sure how this would survive over long periods of time, but during my tests, I didn’t experience any problems.
On the contrary, however, the focus wheel is nice and sturdy and allows for fine adjustments when sharpening the picture to optimal levels of focus depending on how far away you have the lens from the surface you are projecting onto. I was mostly using a picture size of somewhere between 70 and 80 inches, and the focus quality is good enough at that kind of range. If you go much bigger, you do lose a little bit of sharpness in the four corners of your picture. Something to think about if you are planning on going for a 100-inch or more projection.
Picture quality and performance
In terms of picture quality, I was more than satisfied with what the Prizm II can do for home use. This is a full HD at a resolution of 1080p, so for watching content on Netflix, it’s ideal. It’s also pretty bright at 200 ANSI lumens. The contrast ratio comes in at 1500:1. During my time with the Prizm II, I kept it on a shelf at home and wheeled it out to watch movies or live football and it was a joy.
In terms of inputs, the HDMI port is going to be your main point of call. Hooking up a laptop or games console is easy, but using a smaller TV stick, such as an Amazon Fire TV or Chromecast device would be ideal. My only small gripe here is that when the projector is tilted, the HMDI port faces down towards the surface the projector is sitting on. It wasn’t an issue for me, but with larger TV sticks it could cause problems. There is also a Pro version of the Prizm II which runs Android TV 9.0. It is expected to be out sometime this summer.
Another plus, and something that has always been part of my reluctance to make the switch to a projector over a TV, is the noise. However, the Prizm II is pretty quiet when in operation. I’d liken it to about the same level as a laptop. The hum never distracts from the volume of what you are watching, and the noise level stays consistent no matter what you do.
There are a couple of issues that prevent me from replacing my TV completely , however. Firstly, is the performance when you try to play video games on this thing. I hooked up my PS4 and tried to play a little PES 2019 in 60 fps, and was hugely disappointed. The stuttering is just too much and made the game unplayable. It seems the Prizm II cannot handle HD content at 60fps, not by a long shot.
Input lag is also quite bad if you use the Prizm II as a display for a PC or Chromebox. It's probably not a deal-breaker for most, but it could be a consideration for some.
The biggest problem I have with the Prizm II is the lack of customization options for brightness and tweaking the picture from the settings. There are only two settings, Standard and Bright. There are no in-depth brightness, contrast or color saturation settings to fine tune your picture. I can kind of understand the idea to go with simplicity at this price point, but I feel as though the potential is there in the hardware for better picture quality if only I was given the tools to create it.
The two 5W upward-facing speakers are loud enough to fill a reasonably sized room. Given that most people will sit just behind the projector when in use, you should have no problems in this department. In terms of replacing your TV, the sound is easily good enough to compete with a modern flatscreen TV with no soundbar or speakers attached. There is also an AUX-Out port if you want to use your own sound system.
I enjoyed my time with the Nebula Prizm II and it was certainly nice to get it out for movie nights or for watching live sports with a couple of friends. The lack of deep picture settings is frustrating, but the basic picture quality is good enough for a quick big screen experience. However, the performance when running HD video games at 60 fps means that I won’t be ditching my TV any time soon.