Posted on February 2, 2023 By Phil Jones
The Samsung Freestyle is a portable smart LED projector that retails for $799. At first glance, the projector seems expensive based on its basic specs. However, the freestyle is one of the best thought-out portable projectors that we have ever reviewed.
Samsung is one of the world’s leading flat-panel TV manufacturers, but there are some applications where a projector is a better display solution. But, the Freestyle is not targeted at the traditional projector customer. Its unique combination of features and optional accessories are designed to make the benefits of projection attractive to more customers.
“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.”
Due to its compact size, the Freestyle can be easily moved from place to place. One of the main features of the Freestyle is a quick and easy setup. The projector’s 180 degree base design makes it easy to aim the projector at just about any flat surface. The Freestyle will automatically auto-focus and apply keystone correction when the unit is pointed at an angle.
While the Freestyle does not have a built-in battery, Samsung offers the Freestyle Battery Base ($189.99 SRP), an optional rechargeable battery that attaches to the bottom of the unit. The High capacity 32,000mAh/3.6V battery can power the Freestyle for up to 3 hours. The Freestyle Battery Base is powerful enough to power the Freestyle and charge a mobile device at the same time.
The Freestyle can run for several hours off a large 3rd party power bank (50W/20V) connected to the projector’s USB port. I think offering the battery as an optional external accessory is a great idea. It reduces the projector’s start cost and weight while allowing customers to expand the unit’s portability when desired.
In addition to the battery base, Samsung offers several notable accessories to enhance the unit’s flexibility and allows owners the ability to personalize their Freestyle to fit their individual needs. For example, in addition to a USB-C AC adapter that can be plugged into a wall outlet, there is an optional Socket Adapter ($79.99 SRP) compatible with E26, and E27 sockets used in lamps and can light found in most homes.
The socket adapter is locked into the base of the Freestyle, then the projector can be screwed into and powered by the light socket. You can place the Freestyle into a lamp pointing up at the ceiling. You can also install it in a ceiling lamp pointing down at a table or floor to playback video.
For those constantly carrying the Freestyle from place to place, there is an optional scratch-resistant and IP55-rated carrying case to protect the unit from moisture and dust. While the Freestyle case is white, for users who want to customize their units, Samsung offers flexible rubber Freestyle Skins ($29.99 SRP each) in three colors: Coyote Beige, Forrest Green, and Blossom Pink.
The Freestyle uses the Tizen OS smart platform like what is used in Samsung’s newest flat-panel TVs. Samsung is, after all, the world’s leading manufacturer of smart TVs. The smart Tizen operating system has been refined over several years, and it is utilized in over 190 million Samsung smart TVs since their televisions provide a seamlessly integrated software and hardware experience.
The Freestyle is fully compatible with the most widely available voice assistants from Google, Amazon, and even Samsung Bixby. The Freestyle provides you access to the Samsung smart TV UI (User Interface) and a complete smart TV experience that includes access to some of the most popular streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube™, and more.
Samsung has chosen to include multiple Voice Assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant, and Bixby voice giving you the ability to control the projector and search for specific content to watch. Since Freestyle supports casting via Airplay along with Screen Sharing (Smart View) and Screen Sharing (Tap View) it is easy to display content from your mobile device or laptop on the projector.
Due to the large number of streaming apps built into the unit, most users will never feel the need to physically connect the Freestyle to an external source. If the need does arise, the projector includes a micro-HDMI input that supports 1080p at 60 frames per second. This would be useful for someone who wants to connect something like a gaming console. BTW to improve the gaming experience, the Freestyle also has a dedicated Game Mode.
When it’s not being used to project video or images, the Freestyle can be used to project video wallpaper or mood lighting effects using a feature called Ambient Mode.
The Freestyle includes a 5-watt mono system to deliver a 360-degree sound field delivering good sound quality from its compact package. The sound system plays loud enough to comfortably listen to movies and TV shows in a bedroom, college dorm, or campsite.
When Samsung shipped me this little portable projector, I did not know what to expect. After spending a month with the Freestyle, my family liked the unit so much that I bought one for my daughter. I am considering buying a second unit for my bedroom so I can kick back late at night and watch TV on the ceiling.
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