The Samsung SP-F10M has a solid feel to it and a clean appearance. Starting with the front panel, the lens is just to the right of center and recessed from the front face. There is a supplied lens cap which fits over the lens surround to further protect the lens. The cap can be tethered to the projector to an attachment point below the lens. Just behind the lens, in a recess in the top of the projector, are tabbed zoom and focus adjustment rings. There is an IR receiving eye just to the left of the lens. To the right of the lens is an air exhaust vent and there is an air intake vent to the left of the lens. There are two front height adjustment feet (one in each front corner), each with the usual push-button release. Fine height adjustments can also be made to each foot by screwing the foot in or out. Unfortunately, there are no adjustment feet in the rear, but having the two in front does allow for some leveling of the projector when table mounted on a less than level surface.
Moving to the top of the projector, facing it from the front, there is a control panel right behind the zoom and focus rings. This control panel includes just the most basic functions, including indicators for power on, lamp status and for warning of projector problems (like overheating). There are buttons for Power, Source selection and accessing the on-screen menu. Above those are buttons for menu navigation (Up, Down, Left, Right) and to select from the menu. The Left and Right menu navigation buttons also function as Volume Down and Up respectively.
The only thing on the left side (again facing the front of the projector), toward the front, is an air intake vent. On the right side, are two vents, an exhaust vent near the front and an intake vent at the rear. Moving to the rear panel, going from left to right, there is a LAN jack for a network connection, an S-video input and an audio output. These are followed by a PC VGA input and output, an HDMI input, an IR receiving eye and an RS-232 port (for computer control of the projector). There is also a USB input for PC-free presentations, followed by a composite video input and stereo audio inputs, for connection to an A/V component. Finally, along the bottom of the rear panel are a Kensington lock slot, the power cord socket and the built-in 7-watt speaker.
SP-F10M Remote Control
The SP-F10M’s remote control is nicely laid-out, with mostly white buttons with black lettering on a white background. The Menu and Power buttons stand out (as they should) by being green and red respectively. There are also four unlabeled, colored buttons (Red, Green, Yellow and Blue), which access special functions when the projector is in Media Play mode.
Buttons are well grouped and cover many of the important functions without accessing them through the menu. There are the usual buttons for accessing and navigating the menu, adjusting keystone correction, auto adjustment, blanking the screen, digital zoom, volume and mute. On the downside, there are no individual input selection buttons, just a single button that scrolls through the inputs. Also, it would be nice if there were a button to change the various picture modes without having to enter the menu.
There is no backlighting or even glow-in-the-dark buttons, but this is the norm with multimedia projectors, as backlighting can often be distracting during a presentation. However, the remote is easier to read and operate than much of the competition, so there would seldom be a problem using the remote in a darkened room.
SP-F10M Setup & Menus
Setup of the SP-F10M is a snap. The virtual “instant on” of the LED light source brings the picture up at nearly full brightness in a few seconds. As we usually find with projectors in the SP-F10M’s class, zoom range is limited. Unless you’re using the projector on a movable cart, you’ll need to consult the user guide to find out how far the projector needs to be from your particular screen. The two front height adjustment feet have both a button release for large adjustments and can also be screwed in and out for fine height adjustment. The lack of rear height adjustment feet necessitates a fairly level surface (when table mounting) to avoid keystone correction. However, if the front height adjustments are kept to a minimum, the auto-keystoning feature will square the image to the screen with minimal edge distortion. While it’s always best to avoid any keystone adjustment to avoid unwanted picture distortion, the auto keystone feature in the SP-F10M certainly comes in handy for quick setup and works quite well.
The user can select the source by scrolling through the inputs from the remote, or by bringing up the menu and selecting the source there. From the menu, the user goes to Picture to choose the desired image mode and make the usual adjustments (contrast, brightness, sharpness, color and tint) to the picture. Some adjustments, like color and tint, are only available with certain sources. Unlike many projectors in this class, there is an expanded range of adjustments available to the user in any image mode. These include a choice of four different color temperatures (called Color Tone), adjustable gamma, RGB gain and offset for properly setting grayscale and three color gamut settings. While many users may not be able to use the RGB gain and offset settings (as they required calibration equipment to be properly adjusted), the color gamut settings are particularly useful for displaying accurate colors (the Normal setting) or for adding more “pop” to presentations with the Wide setting. Also, the adjustable gamma comes in handy presenting images with dark scenes, where such adjustment can improve shadow detail. These types of adjustments are not often seen in this class of projector, and they are a welcome addition to the SP-F10M.