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Anker's limited-edition Star Wars R2-D2 mini projector is a canister of cuteness

If you've always wanted a portable projector that's dressed up to look like R2-D2, you can now buy one for $700.

This is the way, Artoo. 
David Carnoy/CNET

Star Wars Day is May 4. That probably would have been a good day for Anker to launch its Nebula Capsule II Star Wars R2-D2 Limited Edition Smart Mini Projector ($700), but instead this little canister of cuteness arrived about a week early. 

Aside from the spiffy paint job that makes the Nebula Capsule II vaguely resemble your favorite (or at least my favorite) astromech droid from Star Wars, the biggest difference between this Nebula Capsule II and the standard one is the boot-up sound it makes when you turn it on. Anker says the sound effect is inspired by the iconic scene from Star Wars: A New Hope in which R2-D2 projects Princess Leia's holographic message for Obi-Wan Kenobi -- I'm sure you know the sound I'm talking about.

Whether it's worth paying an extra $170 or so for all that R2 goodness (the standard Nebula Capsule II is $530) is debatable, but this is an eye-catching little projector. 

Underneath the hood, you're looking at a 720p portable projector (so, better than 480p, but not full 1080p HD) that weighs 26.1 ounces (740g) and is rather easy to transport, with a threaded tripod mount integrated into its base (no tripod is included). Like Anker's other mini projectors, it's powered by Android TV 9.0, which has its quirks -- using the Netflix app, for example, requires a workaround. Chromecast is built into the projector, so you can cast from your Android device to the projector, but Chromecast doesn't support Netflix content. I mainly used HBO Max and Disney Plus to stream content, as well as Vudu.

Battery life is rated at around 4 hours of movie watching, which is good, and the image looks reasonably sharp so long as you don't project it too big. (Anker says it can project at up to 100 inches but I would stick to around 50 inches.) The main issue is that you really need the room to be dark to use this projector unless you're projecting at very small sizes. It's just not all that bright.

The built-in speakers produce a reasonable amount of sound (the Nebula Capsule II is essentially the size of a portable Bluetooth speaker) and you can attach an external speaker to augment the sound. Using the HDMI input, you could connect a game console.

This is a good projector for camping or kids sleepovers and while it helps to have a screen to project onto, a white wall or sheet will do.

Anker really has made a limited number of these projectors, which is apparently why the price is so much higher than the standard Nebula Capsule II. And that Star Wars licensing fee probably isn't cheap either.