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Samsung The Freestyle Smart Projector Review

We’ve tried quite a number of projectors in the past 12 months but this one from Samsung takes the cake — The Freestyle Smart Projector (Gen 2).

The first time I saw this projector was during the launch of the Galaxy Fold 4 in New York in 2022. It was featured in one of the experience rooms where they placed a camping tent with the projector playing a movie inside.

It was not really novel but I immediately noticed the quality of the picture and how symmetrical the projected image was — it was a perfect rectangle, and not some weird trapezoid projection.

A couple month back, Samsung announced the 2nd generation of The Freestyle Smart Projector and we’ve been using it for close to two months now.

So, in this review, we’ll share with you why we think this could be the next projector in your home entertainment arsenal.

Build and Design

Just like the 1st generation, The Freestyle has this unique cylindrical shape with a very small footprint. The projection light comes out on one end while the speaker grills are lined all around the cylinder giving you an even 360-degree sound experience.

The body is made out of solid metal with the same metallic swivel stand in powder-white coating. While it looks elegant in pure white, we’re a little concerned it might get smudges or prints later on (which can be hard to clean up).

The swivel allows the projector to rotate around 180-degrees so you have the freedom and flexibility to point it anywhere on the wall or even the ceiling. This is a smart idea actually, as previous mobile projectors we’ve used had limited angle and placement options that we’d normally end up placing it on top of a stack of books ore place a wedge at the front side to elevate the angle.

With a small footprint of just 5.7-inch x 3.7-inch, and weighing just 0.8kg, you can basically take this with you anywhere you go without breaking a sweat or having to take much room in the luggage.

Since it’s a portable projector, you can use it anywhere you want to — home, office, camping, in your hotel room or a friend’s house. While it has an optional Battery Base (sold separately), you can simply hook it up to a powerbank and power it up via the USB Type-C charging port (al least 50W/20V Power Delivery for it to work).

Display, Audio and Output Quality

The projector is capable of displaying a 30-inch projection all the way up to 100 inches. In our experience, the best setup is around 55 to 70 inches. At this size, it fits right in your bedroom or living room wall. It’s even a good idea to project it to the ceiling of the bedroom as is what we’ve been using it for for the most part of this review.

It has 550 LED Lumen of peak brightness with a native resolution of full HD or 1080p. You will need to set this up in a dark environment because it is not that bright but at night, and once you turn off all other light sources, it’s works great and focus is very accurate. You can adjust the placement of the projector anytime and it will also adjust the keystone and the focus automatically.

The Auto Keystone is perhaps one of the best-selling feature of The Freestyle. It’s automatic, and when we say auto, we mean it will adjust to any condition you project it to — any angle (180-degrees rotation), any distance, type of surface — and then adjusts the focus too. No need to tinker on any settings in adjusting the display — it’s plug and play. And the Keystone will always give you a perfect 16:9 picture, every single time.

Perhaps, the only time I wanted to adjust the Keystone is because I was tinkering with the default image size (from 80% too 100%) and moving the picture towards the right side and off-center from the projector.

In terms of audio, I like idea of having the speaker grills line the entire body of the projector. This allows for maximum coverage whatever the placement and wherever the viewer is situated from the unit. The sound is loud enough (5W) if you are inside a room of about 12sqm to 20sqm but anything larger than that, you’ll need to hook it up to an external speaker.

OS, UI and Apps

The Freestyle runs on the same Samsung Tizen operating system that is used in Samsung OLED and QLED TVs. The one in The Freestyle looked familiar and has the basic features that we have on my Samsung The Frame TV although a bit lighter and with less options.

While I am already very familiar with the user-interface, the one on The Freestyle felt a little sluggish compared to my The Frame TV so navigation and key-presses have a little bit of delay.

What I really liked about it though is that there are a lot of third-party apps that are already pre-installed on the system — Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Apple TV among others.

There’s a collection of apps you can also install on the projector — Spotify, HBO Go Asia, iWantTFC, Viu, Twitch, Apple Music, Plex, Crunchyroll and more. There are also a few games in there, like Tetris!, Pool Club, Flying Fish 2, Tarmac race, just in case you fancy them.

Since it’s also connected to our home network, the Tizen OS immediately detected our connected Synology NAS so we’re able to access the documents and media files from the network storage. The system is able to display photos and play MP4 files but not MKV videos.

The UI has an Ambient Mode, which works like a wallpaper and something we’ve also seen on TVs although I’m not sure anyone would like to simply project that when you know the projector only has 20,000 hours on its clock. Although, it might also be nice to project a looping fireplace video on the living room wall, when the occasion requires it.

Another enticing feature is the Samsung Gaming Hub. You simply pair an optional gaming controller and enjoy games from the cloud without the need of a console. It supports NVIDIA GeForce Now, Xbox, Luna, and Utomik for access to a huge library of titles.

Connectivity and Input Options

As a portable projector, The Freestyle has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity so you can connect it to your home network or your smartphone’s hotspot if you are taking this on a field trip or camping and get the apps running with an active internet connection.

On the other hand, you can also pair an external speaker or soundbar via Bluetooth so you get better audio output when watching movies.

In some instances, you might want to pair an external keyboard and mouse to the projector if ever you like to use the built-in web browser of the OS for faster typing and navigation, along with other apps that may have good use for it, like YouTube.

This is on top of the wireless remote control that came with the projector. It’s the similar-looking remote that came with your Samsung TV so you will have no problem getting used to it.

The remote also has a microphone for use with Voice Assistants which can be activated and used by either Bixby or Amazon Alexa. Charging the remote control is easy with the available USB Type-C port at the bottom. You need not worry though as the remote is also solar chargeable using indoor or outdoor light sources.

For wired connection, there is a small micro-HDMI port beside the USB Type-C power port of The Freestyle. Just make sure to bring a micro HDMI to HDMI or micro HDMI to USB Type-C cable with you if you want to connect this to an external device, like a media player, a sound system (for eARC) or your laptop to sync with the projection.

We even plugged it via the Type-C of our Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and it immediately mirrored the One UI with no problem. However, you can also achieve this wirelessly using Samsung’s Smart View feature for wireless mirroring.

For wirelessly connecting a PC or Mac, it’s also quite easy via the Workspace section of the UI. If you own a Samsung smartphone, DeX is also available.

Another, cool feature is the TV mirroring. If you have another TV at home, you can easily mirror what’s playing on that to the projector.

Pricing and Conclusion

While owning a projector is not everyone’s cup of tea, Samsung’s The Freestyle Smart Projector is a great addition to your camping arsenal if you want to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends.

For home use, it’s not really a replacement to the typical QLED TV but I find it very practical and portable enough as a mobile projector in other rooms in the house that do not have a TV installed. Or take it with us to our team building activities and use it as a monitor for project presentation or watch streaming movies.

The Freestyle is available in Samsung stores in the Philippines with a suggested retail price 28 of Php34,999.

What we liked about it:
* Small and lightweight, very portable
* Automatic Keystone
* Lots of connectivity options
* Pre-installed apps and Gaming Hub

What we did not like:
* Audio not loud enough
* A little pricey

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Avatar for Abe Olandres

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech with over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. He is one of the pioneers of blogging in the country and considered by many as the Father of Tech Blogging in the Philippines. He is also a technology consultant, a tech columnist with several national publications, resource speaker and mentor/advisor to several start-up companies.

1 Response

  1. Avatar for WaleedbSalllami WaleedbSalllami says:

    The projector is satisfactory overall, but it lacks an HDMI cable in the accessories provided by Samsung. Acquiring a genuine HDMI cable can be challenging in certain regions. Additionally, Samsung does not offer a micro HDMI cable as a replacement if the original cable becomes damaged.

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