Call me crazy, but one of the things I absolutely love about the Consumer Electronics Show is when I come across wild, out-of-left-field products. These types of products are not as common as you would think and generally come from one of two types of companies. They tend to come from single-product companies that have a unique passion for launching one-off niche products or really large consumer electronic giants with deep pockets and a willingness to take risks typically related to the need to increase market share.
Don't get me wrong, after attending CES and other tech shows for over two decades, I'm always thrilled to see the evolution of core technologies. Companies like Samsung are looking for new ways to deliver entertainment and engaging virtual experiences to a new generation of customers.
So here at CES 2022, Samsung has introduced a unique new portable projector called The Freestyle. Don't you love the name? It screams "lifestyle product," and I have to say that even though I am a Gen Xer, I like what I see!
Samsung calls this projector a portable screen and entertainment device. The Freestyle offers a unique combination of technologies and features designed to deliver an engaging entertainment experience anywhere in your home or on the go.
At its core, the Samsung Freestyle is like the Swiss Army Knife of portable projectors, except a Swiss Army Knife does not screw into a standard lamp bulb socket. I'm being totally serious, and there is a good reason for this feature. The Freestyle is a projector, a smart speaker, and an ambient lighting device rolled into one lightweight, portable gadget. When it comes to portability, the Freestyle weighs less than 2 pounds so it is easy to change any space into an entertainment area.
Unlike conventional, boxy projectors, the Freestyle's versatile cradle allows rotation of up to 180 degrees, enabling users to show high-quality video anywhere – tables, floors, walls, or even ceilings – no separate screen required. It slices, it dices, it does not make Julian fries, but it is definitely a cool piece of tech.
I am in awe of the product team that came up with this device, then had to sell it to the factory team, take it through development, manufacturing, and all the way to shipping a product. I will be getting one as soon as I can. But who is Samsung targeting to buy The Freestyle? Fortunately, Samsung supplied a video with the press kit that shows their target demographic and how Samsung thinks they will use this projector. I've posted some video captures below.
"The Freestyle is a one-of-a-kind projector geared towards ultimate versatility and flexibility to meet the consumers' changing lifestyles," said Simon Sung, Executive Vice President and Head of the Sales & Marketing Team of the Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. "Without the limitation in space and form factor, The Freestyle is a fun and versatile device that can be used in any way consumers prefer."
The Freestyle comes with complete auto keystone and auto-leveling features, enabled by industry-leading technology. The features allow the device to automatically adjust its screen to any surface at any angle, providing a perfectly proportional image every time. Additionally, the autofocus feature enables The Freestyle to display a crystal-clear image on any surface, at any angle, up to 100 inches in size.
The Freestyle’s 5-watt woofer and dual passive radiator deliver room-filling sound with deeper bass than you would expect from a projector of its size., Its 360-degree sound radiation allows customers to enjoy a good quality sound where ever you are sitting.
For powering it up, The Freestyle is compatible with external batteries that support USB-PD and 50W/20V output or above, so users can take it with them anywhere, whether they are on the move, on a camping trip, and more. The Freestyle is also a pioneer in that it's the first portable screen that works when connected to a standard E26 light socket without the need for additional wiring, along with compatibility with the traditional wall plug option. Put simply, the projector plugs into a lamp bulb socket.
When it's not used as a projector to stream content, The Freestyle also provides a mood lighting effect thanks to its ambient mode and translucent lens cap. The Freestyle is also a smart speaker, analyzing the music to pair visual effects projected on the wall, floor, and anywhere else.
This product just keeps getting better and better. A smart speaker with the ability to influence my mood? It definitely is a “smart” speaker if it can do that!
The Freestyle offers smart TV features available on Samsung Smart TVs, with built-in streaming services, mirroring, and casting features compatible with Android and iOS mobile devices. It is the industry's first portable projector certified by global major OTT partners, providing customers with the best content viewing experience.
If you are unclear what an OTT partner is, Over the Top (OTT) services refer to any type of video or streaming media that provides viewers access to movies or TV shows by sending the media directly through the internet. Some of the most popular OTT providers include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.
The Freestyle is also the first projector to include far-field voice control, allowing users to choose their favorite voice assistants when using the device hands-free.
Samsung has put together a compelling little projector packed with useful features and benefits that will benefit many people including some on-the-go business customers that spend a lot of time giving presentations.
The Freestyle will be showcased during CES 2022 from January 5 to 7. It will go on an online pre-order in the US market in January for $899, with availability expanding to other global markets in the following months.
Samsung, you appear to have created one seriously cool device. All that remains to be discovered is how good the picture is and how rich the sound is and what the user experience is like. I seriously want a Samsung Freestyle right now!
For more information on the Samsung Freestyle, please visit www.samsung.com. Be sure to check back for the full review when we are able to get a sample of the Freestyle from Samsung.