Er is a free spirit among projectors: Instead of an angular housing, it is in a handy cylinder that looks like a small spotlight, and supported on a round base, it can be swiveled 180 degrees – up, down, forwards and rear. As a result, the little projector even shines on the ceiling, making it ideal as a media bedfellow. Manufacturer Samsung thinks its name Freestyle is well chosen.
The delicate video cannon costs around 1000 euros. What do you get for it, apart from the original design? The data sheets promise Full HD resolution and a maximum brightness of 550 lumens, i.e. radiance that is sufficient for the small cinema in between, but suggests a dark environment. Depending on the projection distance, the Freestyle creates murals with a diagonal of 250 centimeters, created with long-lasting LED cells and a DLP chip as a mirror element. The projector draws power from a plug-in power supply via a USB-C cable. Unfortunately, this puts the movement artist on a short leash, but a remedy is in sight: Samsung will soon be offering a suitable battery that can be clamped under the stand. The projector emits the sound either from a built-in, all-round loudspeaker or from a Bluetooth box via the corridor radio.
Useful user interface, helpful app
The projector opens up all conceivable streaming sources via WLAN, the ARD and ZDF media libraries can also be tapped into, and audio streaming services can also run the program. The projector sorts all offers on a user interface that is well known to owners of televisions of the same brand. The Freestyle also uses the Samsung operating system Tizen. External image and sound sources can contact the projector via radio or cable. Apple devices, for example, send their videos via Airplay 2, Blu-Ray players dock via an HDMI cable with a micro connector.
Switching from a streaming program to the HDMI input is not that easy. Unfortunately, Samsung has not provided a menu item for this in the user interface, and the projector’s small remote control does not offer a button for it either. This can be remedied by controlling the device via the Samsung Smart Things app. In our test runs, however, the HDMI switch worked more easily. The projector automatically recognized when a video cable was plugged in and switched accordingly. The Freestyle is also suitable for decorative wall painting: Colorful prisms or beautiful landscapes are saved as images, and written material for suitable occasions is also included – Happy Birthday, for example, or Cheers.
The autofocus shows weaknesses
The projector has two automatic functions that can be switched off for image adjustment. One, called keystone correction, straightens all edges, the other adjusts the focus. We were able to make friends with the keystone correction. She works well and reliably. We weren’t so happy with the autofocus, the manual adjustment elicits visibly more image sharpness from the device. It’s also a pity that you have to work your way through the menus for this function.
Well adjusted, the projector delivers clear, beautiful HD images, if necessary even in front of colored wallpaper: With the Smart Things app on an Android phone, you can automatically correct the color tone. The brightness of the projector is not sufficient for daylight environments, but you shouldn’t expect that from a projector of this class. We were even pleasantly surprised by the sound of the picture. The Freestyle has a fairly powerful voice and sounds better than many kitchen radios.
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