This story is part of, CNET's guide to everything you need to know and how to find the best deals.
When COVID-19 forced all of us to stay in our homes for a while, one of the first things I bought was a projector and an inflatable screen. It let my neighbors and I watch movies when theaters were closed, and when things got a little safer those night turned into MarioKart 8 tournaments on the weekends. It's not something I ever would have bought before lockdowns, but it has remained something I regularly reach for a few times a month. I recommend this neat little projector to everyone I know, but now that adeal has dropped the price to the lowest I've ever seen it's time the rest of you know my fun little secret.
Anker's Nebula Capsule II isn't the best projector you can buy. Its 200-lumen 720p projection isn't the greatest image quality, its 8-watt speaker isn't going to deliver room-shaking theater-quality sound, and the battery is really only good enough for about 1.5 movies. Where this little projector shines is in its compact size and incredible smarts. I regularly throw this projector into a soft case with a microfiber cloth and take it with me. It sits on flat surfaces just fine and I can use the mount on the bottom to connect it to a tripod with ease. Best of all, if the surface I'm projecting onto isn't perfectly flat, the projector's auto-detect feature figures out the correct focus and image angle for ideal picture.
Like all Nebula projectors, this compact beast has every app you could possibly need for streaming right from the projector, and has a full-size USB port and 3.5mm output if you want to connect a gaming console or some more powerful speakers. The USB-C power adapter can also charge the battery when it's in use, so if you have power nearby you can use it all day long to have fun with anyone around.
This projector usually runs for $580, but it's at Amazon right now for a much more reasonable $400. Anker makes a much nicer 4K UHD Projector with much better audio if you're excited about quality over portability, but it's alsoright now. Portability and smarts really make this projector worthwhile for me, and hopefully it gives you something to smile about.