Samsung "The Freestyle" in the test

May 21, 2022 - 18:09
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Samsung "The Freestyle" in the test

Samsung has returned to the projector industry and is building on the success it has had with smart televisions: new concepts, apps for new target groups, and natural colors. Read our thoughts on Samsung's "The Freestyle."

"The Freestyle" from Samsung is a compact, true all-rounder - a lifestyle device that streams and projects videos and images, as well as plays back soundtracks and music with incredibly clean sound quality.

However, this alone would not be novel or inventive, and would only outperform more experienced competitors through the deployment of cutting-edge technical components.

Of course, Samsung is at the forefront of imaging hardware, namely the Full HD DLP chip and high-performance LEDs as light sources, but the true added value resides in the smart extras and collaboration that the global firm has developed for completely diverse goods.

With the exception of a traditional TV tuner, "The Freestyle" includes all of the features and extras you'd expect from a full-fledged Samsung TV. Even for traditional TV reception, the tiny projector should be able to use the tuner of select Samsung QLED TVs that are connected to the same WLAN.

We couldn't test this in the lab due to a lack of a partner device, but other streaming choices are equally convincing. The modern approach to entertainment is to mirror a smartphone screen or transmit media content from network storage or apps.

Other features include Samsung's in-house IPTV portal TV-Plus, Internet of Things control via " Smart Things ", and a variety of voice assistants. Yes, the " PC on Screen " feature, which provides remote access to PCs such as Microsoft 365, has been implemented.

In addition, because Samsung uses self-developed semiconductors for image processing, they can be carefully calibrated and the colors are generally extremely excellent setup. What may be considered a gimmick in the TV industry makes perfect sense here: color matching through smartphones.

If you have a suitable model from Samsung or Apple, the mobile phone camera can be used via an app to fully automate the white balance of the projected image. That makes perfect sense when projecting onto a non-white wall.

The ambient mode transforms this into a large-scale event arena (art or information screens). Alternatively, the Freestyle can be used as a lamp with the accompanying cover, or as a standalone smart speaker with an embedded microphone. The imagination knows almost no bounds.

The sole constraint is that the device does not come with a battery. We were given a power bank to test, which lasted the duration of a feature film, but the supplemental battery created specifically for the Freestyle was not available until later.

Setting up the small projector is simple once it is linked to the power supply. When you direct it like a spotlight at a wall or ceiling, it automatically changes its image (trapezoid, sloping position) and focuses.

There is no optical zoom available. Unfortunately, the picture is less bright (240 lumens) and does not appear as clear as the competition XGIMI Halo+ at first glance. Natural color tones, on the other hand, are significantly more realistic in freestyle.

The lesser sharpness impression is not a drawback because it is caused by the image's homogenous scaling to any trapezoidal distortion. The competition transforms the image more aggressively, which can result in dirty edges that flicker when moving.

When playing movies, Samsung offers unrivaled image stability. Superior motion smoothing and clean 24p playback are enabled by a good processor, as are noise filters and gamma adjustment, i.e. particularly intelligent film processing even in comparison to more expensive projectors - but the image size must not be excessively large for decent contrasts depending on the room light.