The weather is steadily improving, and as it grows cooler, you’re likely making plans to more spend time outdoors with your loved ones, whether through outdoor exercise, road trips or camping trips. But here’s an idea: what better way to enjoy each other’s company than with a movie outdoors?
You can count on portable projectors to give you a ‘big screen’ feel, right at home, in your backyard, or in the middle of the great outdoors. Besides popcorn, all you need for a perfect movie night is a portable projector, a plain white wall (or a projection screen) and an electrical outlet.
Which projector is right for me?
Choosing the best portable project may not be as simple as it sounds.
Fazal Imam, founder of servicing and repair company, Dubai Repairs, whose team has extensive experience servicing projectors, shared some advice: “Portable projectors can be valuable companions for outdoor entertainment in the UAE, particularly during the pleasant winter months. However, it's important to emphasise that even a comparatively mild winter climate can present particular challenges. Dust and variations in temperature can affect projector performance. To address these concerns, I recommend selecting projectors equipped with robust dust-resistance features designed to operate within the suitable temperature range for cooler evenings.”
What features should I look for, in a portable projector?
There are several features to consider when buying a projector, foremost among them its image and video quality, which depends on the device’s brightness and resolution. Imam said: “Opt for models with higher lumens to ensure optimal image visibility, even in well-lit outdoor settings. Higher resolution equates to superior image quality.” At the very minimum, good projectors will have a capacity of 500 lumens (which is a measure of the total amount of visible light to the human eye from a light source). If you’re interested in watching movies in daylight, though, the projector’s output should be bright enough to compete with sunlight - that’s a minimum of 3,000 lumens.
Other aspects to consider include the body of the projector itself, and whether it’s compact and lightweight for easy transport, and durable enough to withstand outdoor conditions. Devices with a variety of connectivity options, like HDMI, USB and wireless inputs, will allow you to play from various media sources. Imam also recommends choosing ones with decent battery life, so your projector doesn’t conk off in the middle of a tense movie scene.
Catch up with the latest movies and TV shows using portable projectors from our list, which we based on our expert’s recommendations, along with user reviews and ratings. Don’t forget, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get one-day free delivery on most of these devices.
1. Best Overall: Samsung The Freestyle Smart Portable Projector
- Great 1080p resolution
- Ambient 360° audio
- Excellent suite of built-in apps
- Brightness of 550 lumens
- Smart assistant support
- Occasional autofocus issues
Packing this nifty Samsung projector on camping trips is like taking a television along with you. The Freestyler is very convenient to use - it has a streamlined set-up process, features several built-in streaming apps and smart features, and neatly fits into your backpack. It can produce impressive Full HD images at up to 100 inches in size, and its audio quality is fantastic, thanks to a powerful 360° built-in speaker with smart assistant support. Although some reviewers said they had to take manual control of the auto keystone feature sometimes, for the most part, the device delivered in picture quality, connectivity and smart features.
Bonus: You can buy it with 0% interest installments from select banks, and pay Dh174.92 for 12 months.
Warranty: This product comes with 1-year Epic Protect coverage and full manufacturer warranty.
2. Best Budget: FunLites Portable Video Projector
- Bright visuals, suitable for daylight viewing
- Surround sound system
- Plays on massive screen size, of up to 200 inches
- Doesn't play content with Dolby audio
For people on a budget, the FunLites Portable Video Projector is great for watching movies, TV shows, doing karaoke or viewing live sports. With a high dynamic contrast ratio of 3000:1, and brightness of up to a whopping 4,600 lumens, the projector renders sharp and detailed images from HD content, without scaling down or compressing. If you want to watch it indoors, mount the projector to the ceiling or just place it on a table – the video can be projected on a maximum screen size of 200 inches. The FunLites projector has five-watt speakers and a surround sound system. Its cooling system, with heat dispersion, reduces noise levels by 80 per cent and makes the sound more audible. However, reviewers noted that there’s no support for Dolby audio, and the projector tends to go silent when videos with Dolby sound are played.
Warranty: The manufacturer provides 3-year warranty.
3. Best Mini Projector: Nebula Capsule II Smart Mini Projector
- Compact, portable device
- Over 5,000 Android TV choices
- Chromecast capability
- Universal connectivity
- Can be activated with voice assistant
- Some reviewers say the video keeps going out of focus
- Brightness could be improved
The Nebula Capsule II is perfect for outdoor screening at all your late-night hangouts. Imam recommends it as a "versatile choice with good brightness, portability, and robust connectivity options". It’s incredibly compact - the size of a soda can! The digital light processing (DLP) technology of the device projects clear, 720p resolution videos, up to 100 inches in size, and a high quality of sound. You can customise your Capsule II with over 5,000 Android TV applications, including YouTube, Amazon Prime, and so on, and use Google Assistant to give voice commands. The projector’s battery lasts up to 2.5 hours straight, making it ideal to watch movies in one sitting. Furthermore, you can connect wirelessly with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Chromecast, or through HDMI or USB ports. Reviewers caution that image brightness could be improved, since it features only 200 ANSI lumens, but say it’s perfect to switch on during evenings or late weekend nights.
Bonus: You can buy it with 0% interest installments from select banks, and pay Dh141.58 for 12 months.
4. Best Audio Quality: Viewsonic M1+ Portable Projector with Harman Kardon Speakers
- Sleek, lightweight
- Excellent audio
- Great battery life
- Includes a bag for transport
- Native resolution is a bit low at just 854x480p
For anyone who is on a family vacation or on a business trip, this portable projector is great for showcasing movies, as well as for formal presentations to clients. Its sound quality is also optimal, thanks to built-in dual Harman Kardon speakers that deliver room-filling sound. The Viewsonic M1+ is lightweight and its smart stand makes it easy to set up, whether indoors or outdoors. Its integrated WiFi connectivity lets you stream directly, or you could use its slew of ports - a microSD slot, USB Type-A and USB Type-C ports - to plug in and watch your favourite shows and movies. Reviewers appreciate that the device’s battery runs up to six hours on full brightness, and that it plays 4K videos seamlessly.
Bonus: You can buy it with 0% interest installments from select banks, and pay Dh118.30 for 12 months.
Warranty: Amazon offers one-year extended warranty for Dh86 and two-year extended warranty for Dh121.
5. Best for 3D Visuals: XGIMI Halo Smart Mini Projector
- Includes automatic focus technology
- Built-in Harman Kardon dual speakers
- Bright, 800 ANSI lumens capacity
- Comes with Android TV
- Some issues with dark scenes, reviewers say
Imam recommends XGIMI projectors for the value they offer: “XGIMI is well-regarded for its projectors that combine innovation and performance, often featuring high lumens and impressive resolution.” The XGIMI Halo is a portable projector with a sleek design - you can even slip it into a backpack. It’s on the affordable end for native 1080p projectors, and with an 800-lumen maximum brightness as well as 3D imaging technology, it’s excellent value for money. Dual five-watt speakers bring movies to life, and with built-in Android TV, you have plenty of options to choose from. Some reviewers say the projector struggles with shadow detail in dark scenes, but it’s not distracting enough to be a dealbreaker.
Bonus: You can buy it with 0% interest installments from select banks, and pay Dh176.01 for 12 months.
Warranty: Amazon offers one-year extended warranty for Dh131 and two-year extended warranty for Dh178.
6. Best for Children: PVO Mini Projector
- Lightweight, compact
- Excellent 1080p Full HD resolution
- Includes multiple ports
- No Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity
This small and portable projector is perfect for kids, who can easily set it up themselves by plugging in a smartphone - it’s that simple to use. The projector supports 1080p Full HD videos and images, and can project up to a maximum of 170 inches. It features multiple ports, including HDMI, USB and other interfaces, but reviewers caution that the device does not include Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity. Still, it’s a great, simple device that’ll keep children entertained during winter break!
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.