Project your images anywhere

September 28, 2022


Samsung Freestyle Portable Projector REVIEW

Samsung’s new portable projector has a load of clever features for those who want to BBQ or swim while they watch, writes PAT PILCHER.


Portable projectors might be nothing new, but Samsung has added more than a few clever twists to their portable Freestyle projector.

It might be petite, but don’t let its pint-sized form fool you. This is a capable portable projector that can throw bright 1080p HD video that’s up to 100 -inches diagonally. Unlike many cheaper portable projectors, it’s fitted with autofocus and keystone correction, making your video straight, crisp and sharp.

Simplicity aside, It comes with the same TIZEN software found on Samsung’s smart TVs. In a nutshell, this means all the streaming apps on the TV in your lounge are also on the Freestyle.

Nicer still, if you want a dive-in movie at the pool or by the BBQ, the good news is that you don’t need a wall socket, or a long and potentially dangerous extension lead. Plugging in a USB powerbank gave the Freestyle enough run time for a movie and special features. Further extending its usefulness outdoors, the Freestyles compact design and tiltable stand made positioning it a complete doddle.

While the Freestyle is petite, it still commands a sizeable $1699.95 sticker price. That said, it’s a quarter of what you’d pay for a full-sized projector. Still, it’s also considerably more than you’d need to spend on a TV or a portable projector from competing brands.

Being a Samsung widget, the Freestyle sports a unique and attractive design. It’s essentially a perforated cylinder attached to a circular base that lets it rotate 180 degrees. The stand deserves special mention as its clever design made the Freestyle super stable and dead easy to adjust. Again, for use outdoors, this made a huge difference. On its side is both a USB-C and mini-HDMI port. USB-C is for power, and the mini-HDMI means that hooking up my PS5 or Xbox Series X was also possible.

The 360-degree speaker design uses a downward/backfiring driver to deliver surprisingly decent audio. This is a pleasant surprise as the audio on most portable projectors is usually an afterthought. The upshot is that the Freestyle’s audio was sufficiently passable that I didn’t need to lug about an additional Bluetooth speaker. As well as a decent speaker, the Freestyle has mics tucked away, which work with its built-in Alexa and Bixby.

The only part of the Freestyle’s design that annoyed me was its capacitive buttons for power and volume. In low light, they’re difficult to find. Thankfully the bundled remote is plenty capable. In use, I found I could project a full HD image at up to 100-inches. The Freestyle is also reasonably bright, cranking out 550 lumens of light. Teasing extra details out of the projected image was also possible thanks to its support for HDR10.

The projected image size is largely dictated by where you’ve put the Freestyle, as there’s no zoom. I typically found that if it was spaced at just over two metres, I got a large image at about 100-inches which was more TV-like than a cinema.

As mentioned earlier, the stand makes for easy mounting, which is helped along in no small measure by auto-levelling, which keeps the image straight regardless of how you’ve placed the projector. Autofocus and impressive keystone capabilities automatically fix projected images, so they’re displayed as 16:9 rectangular and as sharply as possible. The upshot is that anyone will find it easy to set it up, and AV experts can also get under the hood and tweak focus and keystone in the settings menus.

If you’re a Samsung phone (or iPhone) owner, the handy news is that you can connect your phone to the Freestyle. Galaxy phone users can fire up the Samsung SmartThings app, and Apple users can use the iPhone’s AirPlay 2.

So, how good was the output from the Freestyle? I’d tempered my expectations given my earlier experiences with portable projectors, which are usually not super-bright or crisp. While the Freestyle is best used with the curtains pulled or outside in the evening, its output was not half bad.

Projected colours popped, and HDR helped to tease out more shadow detail. It might not be a 4K projector, but at 1080p, its images looked just fine. Its 500 lumens of brightness might struggle in daylight, but it did a surprisingly capable job in low ambient light levels. While you can get a 100-inch image, I did find that I lost some detail. Placing the Freestyle closer to the screen/wall resulted in smaller but more detailed projected video.

Its auto-keystone and auto-focus helped to make setup less of a chore. Sometimes, however, I found myself heading into the setup menus for some manual tweaking to get a perfectly straight image. Diving into the Freestyle’s ample customisation options also revealed its Achilles heel. The CPU seemed a tad underpowered, and manoeuvring around its menus was sluggish. Considering its sticker price, this is a bit disappointing. That said, once it was projecting content, it worked fine.

Sluggish menus aside, the Freestyle is a brilliant go-anywhere projector that delivers on the promise of portable projectors better than most others I’ve tested. That said, it should be, given its steep sticker price.


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Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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