It’s no secret that recent years have changed the way we socialize, with many of us choosing to participate in the safety of outdoor gatherings rather than risk the spread of Covid-19 in confined, indoor spaces.
Perhaps sensing that this trend would only continue to grow in popularity in the future, Samsung has cleverly delivered The Freestyle, a portable projector that is capable of producing admirable Full HD images up to 100 inches in size, perfect for backyard movie nights. rear.
With The Freestyle, Samsung offers just about everything you need for a night of entertainment, bringing the smart TV experience to any surface you turn to. It offers access to all your favorite streaming services, a powerful 360° built-in speaker with smart assistant support, and even mobile mirroring – all you need to provide is a power source (either through a wall plug or a compatible power source) and a Wi-Fi connection (or, alternatively, a mobile hotspot).
Accessibility is key to the widespread acceptance of any new product, and Samsung has achieved this aspect with The Freestyle. Simply put, any projector that is ready to go within minutes of taking it out of the box is a triumph of design and engineering, and should be celebrated.
The Samsung Freestyle certainly looks the part, with a cylindrical shape and an adjustable stand. This is both decorative and practical as it allows the angle of the projector to be moved from 90 to 180 degrees. You can also use it to carry the Freestyle when you move.
The matte white chassis is not only stylish, it’s also well built, ensuring the Freestyle is both portable and robust. Behind an array of holes is an integrated 360˚ speaker system, combined with a heat sink, invisible fan and spiral air duct for cooling with minimal noise.
At the top, where the lens is, you’ll find some basic touch-sensitive controls for Power On/Off, volume, and streaming.
Further down the side is a switch to activate the built-in microphone, a USB-C port for power, and a Micro-HDMI port for external devices. The USB-C port is only for connecting the USB power adapter. The close proximity of the Micro-HDMI input and USB-C port means there’s limited space, so it’s best to use a dedicated HDMI to Micro-HDMI cable, rather than an adapter.
In terms of wireless connectivity, there’s Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi Direct, plus Bluetooth 5.2 and Apple AirPlay 2. Wi-Fi functionality is not only supported by the projector’s Tizen-powered smart platform, but also adds integrated Bixby and Amazon Alexa smart assistants.
The Samsung Freestyle comes with a remote control that has a white finish to match the projector. The zapper uses a no-nonsense design that’s comfortable to hold and use, with an intuitive button layout that makes it easy to set up and control the Freestyle. There are also direct buttons for key streaming apps.
As with most Samsung devices, the Freestyle is compatible with the SmartThings app (Android and iOS), which offers the same control options as the included remote and also adds voice interaction via Bixby and Amazon Alexa. using a built-in far field microphone.
The Samsung Freestyle is very easy to set up, thanks to auto keystone, auto leveling and auto focus. Just point the unit where you want to project and it will do the rest. This worked fine in testing, but you can also manually adjust keystone and focus if needed.
The smart platform powered by Tizen offers key streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ plus Samsung TV Plus and even a web browser. The home page has a sensible layout and all the features seem to work without a hitch.
You can mirror the screen from a smartphone using the SmartThings app or AirPlay 2, and if you have a compatible Samsung Galaxy phone, there’s also Tap View.
Compatible Samsung TVs offer TV Access, allowing users to stream live TV broadcasts to the Freestyle in another room via Wi-Fi. When the TV is on, you can mirror the content to the projector, and when the TV is off, you can control the content on the TV from Freestyle.
Can enlarge or reduce the image between 30 and 100 inches diagonally, moving the projector closer to or further away from the wall. You can project at any angle, even straight up if you want an image on the ceiling so you can watch your favorite show while lying in bed.
The Freestyle proved fairly quiet in operation, with a noise level of just 25 dB at two feet away. It’s also easy to operate, with an intuitive home page and menu system to navigate, allowing you to make menu adjustments or choose from available streaming apps.
The projector uses single-chip DLP with a 1920 x 1080 resolution and an LED light source. It has a declared brightness of 550 lumens and a lifespan of up to 20,000 hours.. While reasonably bright, the Freestyle will struggle in daylight, so for best results close the curtains or use it at night.
Image quality is generally very good, with images appearing clean and detailed. Since the projector is limited to 1080p resolution, it can’t display 4K (3840 x 2160) natively, but content is effectively downscaled without introducing apparent artifacts.
The built-in speaker system sounds surprisingly good considering the compact size of the projector. The combination of 5W of amplification, a 360˚ speaker configuration and two passive woofers produces a sound that’s much bigger than you’d expect based on the Freestyle’s dimensions.
Audio spreads in all directions and is capable of increasing volume without distorting or losing its composure. While it can’t compete with a soundbar, it’s fine for most displays, and the HDMI ARC means you can even send audio from built-in apps to an external sound system.
Freestyle supports HDR10 and HLG via its internals and HDMI, but the color space doesn’t cover the full DCI-P3 color gamut and could be brighter. However, the tone mapping on the projector is good and it produces HDR images with a little more punch compared to SDR.
Whether it’s SDR or HDR, images look sharp and motion handling is excellent thanks to the use of DLP. Unfortunately, this also means Freestyle suffers from the usual DLP limitations, with weak blacks and contrast, plus possible (rainbow) color fringing for certain people.
With a setup process that gets you up and running in minutes, The Freestyle Projector from Samsung offers truly extraordinary ease of use. Along with its built-in smart features and auto-leveling capability, The Freestyle also delivers impressive picture and audio quality. It’s clear that Samsung intends to bring portable projectors into the mainstream with The Freestyle, and we think it could be the device that finally breaks into the market.
While limited to 1080p, the Samsung Freestyle is HDR compatible and the LED light source produces bright, punchy images. There are no apparent processing artifacts, motion handling is excellent, and the smart calibration feature can produce accurate colors, even on off-white surfaces.
This portable LED projector quickly and easily delivers big-screen fun and works virtually anywhere. Pictures are bright and punchy, sound is surprisingly good, and built-in apps offer plenty of streaming options.
The smart Tizen system offers a selection of streaming apps and smart assistants, input lag is low enough for most users, and sound quality is surprisingly good considering the size of the projector. All of this makes the Samsung Freestyle a fun and flexible big-screen player.