The new freestyle by Samsung is unlike any projector you’ve ever seen. Cylindrical in shape, it can swivel to project onto the wall or ceiling, doesn’t need a white screen to beam images onto, works just like a Samsung smart TV and can even attach to a light socket.
Announced at the CES technology show in Las Vegas at the start of January, the freestyle is intended more for TikTok binging than Blu-ray movie nights.
The freestyle can create images between 30-100in, and because it runs Samsung’s Tizen operating system, the interface looks just like that of a smart TV, complete with streaming apps like Netflix and Apple TV+.
Samsung hasn’t revealed a UK price for the freestyle just yet, but says buyers who register their interest in buying the projector will receive a £100 discount.
The freestyle will cost $899 in the US, and given the way things are with the exchange rate, especially when it comes to consumer technology, a UK price of around £800 to £850 wouldn’t be a surprise.
Again, it’s a bit of an unknown in the UK for now. In the US, Samsung opened pre-orders for the projector on 4 January and says it will be available in other markets “in the following months”. Given the pre-order discount of £100 already appearing on Samsung’s UK website, we suspect availability in this country isn’t too far away. You should be looking at a wait of weeks instead of months.
How to pre-order
Instead of pre-ordering, UK consumers interested in buying the Samsung freestyle can “pre-register” through the company’s website. This is simply a case of giving Samsung your email address and the company says it’ll “be in touch soon”.
It’s a slightly strange situation, given the website features the aforementioned £100 discount yet doesn’t say how much the projector will cost, or when pre-orders will actually open. Once pre-orders finally go live, we expect the projector to be available to buy from Samsung’s website with imminent delivery.
Now, a bit more on the tempting £100 discount Samsung is offering. All you have to do is head to Samsung’s UK website, click the “register your interest” button and hand over your name, email address and phone number. Then, once it’s time to actually place an order, use the following code during the check-out process: “FRS-D8R4-KSB5-HG4G”.
Do that and £100 will be knocked off the retail price... whatever that turns out to be.
As for the Samsung freestyle itself, we’re looking at an unusual projector unlike just about anything else on the market today. A simple setup is promised thanks to the projector swivelling through 180 degrees for the perfect angle, plus there’s automatic picture keystoning to project squarely onto a diagonal wall, and automatic levelling and white balance, too. The latter means the freestyle doesn’t need a white screen or wall to project onto. Instead, it’ll automatically adjust depending on the colour of your wall.
The projected image can be set between 30-100in from corner to corner, and the bulb brightness is rated at 550 lumens. That isn’t particularly bright by home cinema projector standards, so we reckon buyers will be best using the freestyle in a completely dark room for the best picture quality. Resolution also isn’t that high, at 1080p. That’s Full HD, but not the 4K Ultra HD many streaming aficionados will now be used to.
Similarly, sound comes from an integrated speaker with just 5W of power. Samsung claims 360-degree sound but, again, this isn’t going to be a rival to the Dolby Atmos-equipped soundbar you might already have.
But all of this shouldn’t matter because Samsung isn’t pitching the freestyle at movie buffs demanding cinema-grade quality. Instead, it’s a fun projector that will probably be used for YouTube and TikTok more often than Netflix.
There’s an HDMI port for connecting a computer or game console, and a USB-C connection for hooking up a battery pack sold separately.
Most interesting of all is how Samsung has designed the 0.83kg projector so that it can attach to (and even be powered by) a standard E36 light bulb socket. Yes, you can hang it from the ceiling like a bulb. And to that end, there’s a lens cover that turns the projector into a decorative mood light of sorts when you’re not using it for video content.
Lastly, there’s voice control in the form of Amazon Alexa and Samsung’s own Bixby assistant. Don’t worry, we’d forgotten about poor old Bixby too.
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