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Best portable projector: Extensively tested compact and battery-powered options

Best portable projector - featured image with the XGIMI MoGo 2 Pro positioned on a wooden table

Read on for our pick of the best portable projectors, all of which have been thoroughly tested at home and on the move

The best portable projectors enable you to create a simple home cinema without breaking the bank and provide you with the flexibility to enjoy shows, films and games on the go.

Our experts have spent countless hours testing the best projectors from a wide range of manufacturers to provide you with buying advice you can trust.

The list below details what we consider the best options available, all of which have been rigorously put through their paces by one of our experienced reviewers. We’ve highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of each product and given each an award that reflects the most compelling reason to buy it.

If you’re unsure where to start, you’ll find information about the key things to consider before buying a portable projector in our buying guide below the list of products.

Best portable projector: At a glance

Best cheap portable projectorAnker Nebula Capsule (~£335)Check price at Amazon
Best portable projector overallSamsung Freestyle (~£629)Check price at Samsung
Best portable projector for ease of useXGIMI MoGo 2 Pro (~£529)Check price at Amazon
Best portable projector for brightnessViewsonic M2e (~£529)Check price at Amazon

How we test portable projectors

Testing conditions and process

To test portable projectors, we set them up from scratch in a darkened room with an 80 to 100in screen. Where a projector has built-in streaming features, we install a range of Android apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Disney Plus. Where projectors lack such features, we plug in a Roku 4K Streaming Stick.

best_portable_projector_how_we_test showing images being projected onto a screen

We then use the projector to watch a range of test material, including blockbuster movies, popular streaming series and drama or documentary shows, to see how well the projector handles them. We also test any built-in speakers at low, medium and high volume levels, and run the projector on battery power, where available, to see how long the battery lasts.

Testing takes place over a period of a couple of weeks, during which time we will watch a minimum of 20 hours of content.

Testing tools and metrics

The main tool we use during testing is a colorimeter. This is mounted on a tripod 30cm from the screen and used to measure brightness in lumens, contrast levels and coverage of the sRGB and DCI-P3 colour gamuts.

Aspects of performance that can’t be represented through hard hard data, like how intuitive a projector’s operating system is to use, are analysed throughout the testing period and weighed up against similarly specified and priced competition.

Choosing products for the page

Products that make it onto this page either score highly in the data tests we run or have a feature or quality that makes them a standout choice for a particular user group or circumstance. We’ll never recommend any product that comes up short in our tests or doesn’t fully justify its price tag.

READ NEXT: Best cheap projectors

The best portable projectors to buy in 2024

1. Samsung Freestyle (2nd Gen, 2023): Best portable projector for most people

Price when reviewed: £629 | Check price at Samsung

best_portable_projector_samsung_freestyle_2nd_gen on a wooden surface

No portable projector we’ve tested balances performance, features and price better than the second-generation Samsung Freestyle, making it our number-one pick for most people.

Picture quality is generally very good. Images looked clean and detailed in 1080p during testing and effective tone mapping helps the Freestyle add extra punch to HDR images. Audio quality is another area of strength, with the 360-degree system producing larger sound than you’d expect from a projector of this size. You can hook the Freestyle up to a games console via its micro HDMI port, while Samsung’s Tizen operating system provides access to a great choice of apps, including its cloud-based Gaming Hub.

Peak brightness of 230 ANSI lumens means the Freestyle struggles during the day, and both blacks and contrast could be stronger, but those minor grumbles don’t stop the Freestyle from being our pick of the portable projector bunch.

Read our full Samsung Freestyle review 

Key specs – Brightness: 230 ANSI lumens; Native Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Speaker: 5W 360-degree; Throw ratio: 1.2: 1; Max recommended image: 100in; Inputs and outputs: Micro HDMI, Wi-Fi 5, USB-C, Bluetooth 5.2; Battery life: N/A; Lamp life: 30,000 hours; Dimensions (WDH): 102 x 95 x 173mm; Weight: 830g

Check price at Samsung

2. Anker Nebula Capsule: Best cheap portable projector

Price when reviewed: £335 | Check price at Amazon

If you’re willing to make compromises to minimise your expenditure, the original Nebula Capsule is the portable projector to buy. It’s limited to 480p resolution and 100 lumens brightness but produces a picture that’s very watchable in dark conditions, while auto-keystoning and focus tools make optimising picture quality a breeze.

The Capsule is extremely easy to transport thanks to its ultra-compact design and this, alongside 360-degree audio and a four-hour battery life, makes it an appealing gadget for enjoying TV and films on the go.

Unfortunately, the built-in media player doesn’t support the official Amazon Prime or Netflix apps, meaning you have to navigate browser-based versions via Anker’s smartphone app. This is an inconvenience but one that’s to be expected given the Capsule’s age and what it costs. For a superior experience in a similarly sized package, you’ll need to spend significantly more on the Capsule 3.

Key specs – Brightness: 100 ANSI lumens; Native resolution: 854 x 480; Speakers: 360-degree internal speaker; Throw ratio: 1.35:1; Max recommended image: 100in; Inputs and outputs: HDMI 1.4, micro-USB; Wireless: 802.11n, Bluetooth 4; Battery life: Up to 4hrs; Lamp life: 30,000hrs; Dimensions (WDH): 68 x 68 x 120mm; Weight: 898g

3. XGIMI MoGo 2 Pro: Best portable projector for ease of use

Price when reviewed: £529 | Check price at Amazon

best_portable_projector_xgimi_mogo_pro_2 on a work surface with a grey background

Unlike some portable projectors, the MoGo 2 Pro is a doddle to set up. Stick it on a flat surface, point it at a blank wall and it handles pretty much everything else on its own. Android TV is excellently implemented and if moved, the projector will automatically re-optimise its image.

Picture quality is impressive. DCI-P3 coverage measured 79% during testing, which is better than some full-sized projectors, and there’s support for HDR. Brightness limitations mean daytime viewing could be better and HDR content doesn’t pop like it would on a premium TV, but images do look more vibrant with HDR on.

Sound is great too, but there’s no in-built battery and the Now TV and Netflix apps are absent. There’s a workaround for the latter, but you’ll miss out on the full list of streams, which takes a little gloss off an otherwise fantastic product.

Review our full XGIMI MoGo 2 Pro review 

Key specs – Brightness: 400 ISO lumens; Native resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Speakers: 2 x 8W stereo speakers; Throw ratio: 1.2:1; Max recommended image: 200in; Inputs and outputs: USB-C, HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm audio; Wireless: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0; Lamp life: 25,000hrs; Dimensions (WDH): 119 x 108 x 161mm; Weight: 1.1kg

4. Viewsonic M2e: Best portable projector for brightness

Price when reviewed: £529 | Check price at Amazon

best_portable_projector_viewsonic_m2e on a white background

The M2e is the brightest of the portable projectors we’ve tested that are primarily designed for indoor use. Its image quality is some of the best around too, with Full HD pictures possessing lots of vibrance and detail – 1080p and even 4K content looks fantastic. The M2e is also extremely easy to set up thanks to its auto-focus and auto-keystone capabilities.

The integrated Harman Kardon speakers are powerful enough for casual viewing and deliver audio clearly, while the projector isn’t particularly noisy when in operation, meaning you don’t need to whack the volume up too loud.

Less impressive is the built-in operating system. This features dated versions of the most popular streaming services, so you’ll either want to plug in a Roku or Fire TV stick or hook the M2e up to your laptop.

Key specs – Brightness: 1,000 ANSI lumens; Native Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Speaker: 3W Cube x 2; Throw ratio: 1.2: 1; Max recommended image: 100in; Inputs and outputs: HDMI, Wi-Fi, USB-C, Bluetooth 4.2, Micro SD, USB-A, 3.5mm; Battery life: N/A; Lamp life: 30,000 hours; Dimensions (WDH): 184 x 54 x 184mm; Weight: 1kg

5. Anker Nebula Capsule 3: Best portable projector for portability

Price when reviewed: £420 | Check price at Amazon

best_portable_projector_anker_nebula_capsule_3 on a wooden work surface with a grey background

The Nebula Capsule 3 is a huge step up on the original thanks to its increased resolution of 1080p and incorporation of Google TV. But even in light of these improvements, its greatest strength remains its ultra-portable design.

It can be carried in one hand or slung in a bag and whipped out at a second’s notice to project decent images accompanied by surprisingly impactful sound. Low brightness renders it unusable in daylight, however, and there’s no easy way to adjust its angle, so you need to position it at the same height as what you’re projecting onto.

Overall image quality falls short of similarly priced options like the MoGo 2 Pro and M2e, but is surprisingly refined for such a tiny unit, covering 91.4% of the sRGB colour gamut. And where a combination of portability, convenience and performance are concerned, nothing comes close to this pint-sized, battery-powered wonder.

Read our full Anker Nebula Capsule 3 review 

Key specs – Brightness: 200 ANSI lumens; Native Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Speaker: 8W Dolby Audio; Throw ratio: 1.2: 1; Max recommended image: 120in; Inputs and outputs: HDMI, Wi-Fi, USB-A, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-A; Battery life: 2.5hrs; Lamp life: 30,000 hours; Dimensions (WDH): 80 x 80 x 160mm; Weight: 950g

6. XGIMI Halo+: Best portable projector with a built-in battery

Price when reviewed: £749 | Check price at Amazon

best_portable_projector_xgimi_halo_ on a wooden floor with a grey background

Internal batteries allow you to use a projector without mains power or the need for a power bank and the Halo+ is the most capable option with one built-in. Its peak brightness of 900 lumens is higher than most of its rivals and image clarity is superb; we were consistently surprised by the amount of detail in the 1080p images during testing.

The smart auto-focusing and auto-keystone correction both worked well and ensured we got the Halo+ up and running with minimal fuss. Software installation was equally smooth, with our reviewer able to have Google TV, Amazon Prime and Disney+ ready to use within ten minutes of turning the projector on.

The Halo+ goes a little overboard with motion compensation, leaving movement looking artificially smooth, so steer clear if you’re sensitive to the soap opera effect. But if you aren’t phased by it and want a fully-featured, battery-powered projector that delivers on the picture and audio front, the Halo+ is just the ticket.

Read our full XGIMI Halo+ review 

Key specs – Brightness: 900 ANSI lumens; Native Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Speaker: 2 x 5W Harman Kardon; Throw ratio: 1.2: 1; Max recommended image: 200in; Inputs and outputs: HDMI (eARC), Wi-Fi, USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-A, 3.5mm; Battery life: 2.5hrs; Lamp life: 25,000 hours; Dimensions (WDH): 172 x 145 x 114mm; Weight: 1.6kg

7. Anker Nebula Mars 3: Best portable speaker for outdoor use

Price when reviewed: £1,000 | Check price at Amazon

best_portable_projector_anker_nebula_mars_3 on a white background

The Nebula Mars 3 has everything a great outdoor projector needs. Battery life is exceptional at over five hours in Eco mode, it’s IPX3-rated for water resistance and its rugged build can withstand bumps and knocks.

It’s also very bright, which enables it to perform admirably outdoors as well as inside during the daytime. Meanwhile, 84.5% sRGB and 70.9% DCI-P3 coverage mean it can produce a wider range of tones than most LED-based portables. Audio is beefy too, with the 40W speaker system powerful and clear enough to do justice to film soundtracks.

We experienced occasional hiccups with the user interface and there’s no native Netflix app, meaning you have to navigate a browser-based version using the included remote control. This isn’t ideal but you can always load Netflix via a streaming stick if you want a more optimal experience.

Read our full Anker Nebula Mars 3 review 

Key specs – Brightness: 1,000 ANSI lumens; Native Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Speaker: 40W Dolby Audio; Throw ratio: 1.2: 1; Max recommended image: 200in; Inputs and outputs: HDMI, Wi-Fi, USB-C, Bluetooth, Chromecast; Battery life: 5hrs; Lamp life: 25,000 hours; Dimensions (WDH): 160 x 250 x 260mm; Weight: 4.49kg

Best portable projector: Things to consider before buying one

To ensure the portable projector you’re thinking of buying meets your specific requirements, you’ll want to check how it measures up in the following areas:


  • The higher the resolution, the more detailed and sharp a projected image will be. We’ve become accustomed to 4K resolution on our televisions, but affordable portable projectors top out at 1080p (Full HD). Cheaper options may make do with 480p or 720p.


  • Throw ratio describes the relationship between the projector’s distance to the screen and the size of the image. If a projector has a throw ratio of 1.2:1 and is placed 3m from the screen, its image produced will be 2.5m wide. Short-throw projectors are preferable for smaller living spaces where they need to be able to create large images over short distances.


  • Portable projectors can deliver brightness of between 100 to 2,000 ANSI lumens but most fall somewhere between 300 and 800. The higher the brightness, the better a projector will perform outdoors or inside during the day, but you also need to take into account image size, as the larger the image projected, the less bright it will be.

Image size

  • Manufacturers state the maximum size image their projectors can produce and it’s important to compare these with the surface you plan to project on at home. But, as noted above, you need to be realistic about brightness, contrast and colour performance. The larger the image is, the more being sacrificed in those areas.

Image correction features

  • These are borderline must-haves as it’s not always practical to position your projector with the lens facing directly at the centre of the screen. Failure to do so distorts the picture so that the rectangular image looks like a trapezoid – an effect known as keystoning. Most projectors have some form of correction to sort this out, with the best doing it automatically. The same goes for auto-focus features, though most models have a manual slider or wheel.


  • Portable projectors come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re planning on taking yours outside the confines of your home, look for one that’s compact and relatively lightweight. If it’s for use outside, you’ll also want to ensure it has some level of water resistance, just in case you get caught out in a rain shower.


  • The more connection options a projector has, the better, but those you deem essential come down to your planned usage. Wi-Fi and HDMI are must-haves for most people, while USB ports, Bluetooth and 3.5mm inputs are all welcome options.

Operating system/interface

  • Some portable projectors come with a pre-installed Android operating system via which you can download programmes and run them as if you were using a PC or smartphone. These don’t always support the full versions of certain applications, however, so using a streaming stick is often preferable. Others use bespoke interfaces, which vary wildly in their app provision and how intuitive they are to use.


  • If you don’t plan on connecting a speaker or soundbar, the audio quality of a projector’s built-in speakers is an important factor. The quality varies enormously, with some dishing out a timid, tinny racket, and others producing a half-decent impression of stereo sound.

Built-in battery

  • Portable projectors with internal batteries offer the most flexibility as they can run independently of an external power source. But if you don’t mind plugging your projector into the mains or juicing it via a power bank, the absence of an in-built battery shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Battery life varies from device to device, with most able to last around two hours in low-brightness modes.

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