Cheeps! Quick reminder that my vacation starts tomorrow; I'll be back next Wednesday. I'm leaving you in very capable, very cheap hands. But before I go, a little nugget of news: The Cheapskate Mystery Box fundraiser launches Monday, Aug. 12. And we're using a lottery system so everyone has an equal chance at getting one. Woot! Stay tuned for more.
I don't throw around the phrase "marvel of modern technology" lightly, but I'm quite convinced the Anker Nebula Capsule II qualifies. To look at it is to see a soda can (or, as we in the Midwest would call it, a pop can). But somehow, magically, this thing is a 720p portable projector and?a Bluetooth speaker. Whaat?
It's pricey, as modern technological marvels tend to be, but it's also on sale for the lowest price to date: For a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get the Anker Nebula Capsule II portable smart projector for $449.99. That's after clipping the on-page $30-off coupon and applying promo code CAPS2AUG at checkout. Regular price: $580. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.
CNET hasn't reviewed the Capsule II, nor have I, but I've tested enough mini projectors to know what's good about this one. For starters, it has a native 720p (1,280x720-pixel) resolution. Most minis -- certainly the less expensive ones -- top out at 480p, even though they often claim to "support" 1080p. What that means is they support 1080p sources, like a Roku box or game console. It's actually rather disingenuous. But the Capsule II can do legitimate HD video, and while 720p isn't 1080p, it's considerably better than 480p.
This projector also includes the full Android TV OS, not some hobbled version of Android like some others (including the first-gen Capsule). And the included remote supports Google Assistant voice commands. Just one irksome glitch: Although apps like Hulu and YouTube are already installed and countless more can be added via the Google Play Store, Amazon Video and Netflix must be side-loaded. Don't ask me why.
Also, while the projector is Chromecast-compatible, you can't use that for Netflix either. It does have HDMI and USB inputs for connecting other devices.
From what I've gleaned reading various reviews, the Capsule's 8-watt speaker sounds quite good for its size, and in fact the projector itself has a speaker mode in case you just want to play some tunes.
Arguably the most important consideration here is brightness: With just 200 lumens, the Capsule needs a fairly dark room. That's also a huge bump over the previous Capsule, which delivered just 100 lumens.
Like I said: marvel of modern technology. The Capsule II isn't perfect, but it's pretty amazing. Your thoughts?
Read more: The best home theater projectors for 2019
Bonus deal: Put a stabilized 3-axis 4K camera in your pocket for $297
The Rakuten store (not to be confused with the Rakuten cash-back service, sigh) is offering a sitewide sale today: 15% off many, if not most, products with promo code SAVE15.
One item that caught my eye: While supplies last, the DJI Osmo Pocket 3-axis 4K camera with accessory bundle is $296.95 (with promo code SAVE15, natch). It's sold by Beach Camera. There are other sellers on Rakuten offering the same camera for the same starting price of $349 -- most just the camera, no bundle -- so if Beach Camera is sold out by the time you get there, just search the store for the Osmo Pocket.
A product like this puts an incredible moviemaking tool in your pocket. Literally. You can shoot rock-steady video at up to 4K resolution, with quality rivaling that of a GoPro camera or high-end phone. (CNET hasn't reviewed it, but read this.)
The tiny 1-inch touchscreen does give me pause, but apparently you can tether your phone to the Osmo for a bigger preview image.
Oh, to be an aspiring filmmaker today. So many amazing tools at your disposal, so incredibly affordable.
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