Born in the 80’s meant that you went through school first experiencing a projector as a device the teacher placed a clear sheet on and angled a light towards a random wall. It meant they could show us a document, or finger shadow puppets, with ease, larger and on any wall. Over the years we’ve seen these evolve and projectors now beaming whatever content is plugged into them via a laptop, gaming console or streaming devices. Usually reserved for an expensive home theatre, projectors lost their shine. Samsung however is changing that with The Freestyle Projector.
The Freestyle is a full high definition projector which can beam a 100 inch display from less than three metres. Weighing less than a kilo and the size of a Father’s Day novelty mug it uses a simple stand that allows you to place and point the projector at the ceiling, wall or floor and enjoy your desired content. A remote control is provided that looks just like their TV alternative makes it easy to get started using The Freestyle.
It can be mains powered or run from a portable battery, provided it supports specific power outputs. This means that The Freestyle could effectively be used anywhere, ideal for camping trips or outdoor movie nights. It also automatically focuses and adjusts itself to appear flat and adjusted to where you are projecting. No focus ring to fiddle with and no bowed images. This can have mixed results depending on the surface and any changes to it such as shadows or wind, if projecting outdoors. We resolved this by setting focus to “Manual” once it auto adjusted otherwise it continues to adjust like a fussy smartphone camera.
The user interface of The Freestyle carries similarities to their smart TV range. All the streaming apps you can think of will be available which enabled us to watch the Australian Open finals, catch up on shows from Netflix and even keep the kids entertained with Blippi in their playroom. If what you wish to watch is not available to stream, you can mirror your Android or iOS device or go old school and connect something physically to The Freestyle via micro HDMI. In our experience the user interface is all you’ll need however navigating the menu felt very slow compared to smart televisions and we hope this is resolved in future updates.
Samsung provides a built in speaker to The Freestyle and this is very handy when you aren’t being fussy about the audio experience. Fortunately, with bluetooth on board you could connect headphones to the projector or in our case we connected the Soundboks 3 with 126db of power which worked as a great stand and brought the Australian Open crowd to life.
The lamp brightness is rated at 550 lumens and will not provide a stunning picture until the sun goes down. Indoors we could keep our lights dimmed and enjoy watching content but it really shines when it’s dark like a cinema experience. While Samsung advertised its usable projection sizes between 30 and 100 inches we couldn’t help but cover our entire shed with the projection from The Freestyle from almost 5 metres away. It worked fine, but did start to lack detail, as you’d expect.
The Freestyle encourages you to have fun and engage in content in new ways. At one point we were laying on the floor watching content beamed on the ceiling and instantly understanding why they’re always painted white, the perfect projection! Other modes on The Freestyle allow you to simply project a message like “Happy Birthday” on the wall or even a fake window with a view of the countryside. This made the everyday Zoom calls more interesting as we had a fake window over our shoulder immediately sparking conversations about where we’re taking our meeting from. The simplicity and adaptability of The Freestyle mean this isn’t just a projector, it’s a ticket to try new things and invite new experiences.
At a time when coming together for shared experiences in a private setting is at all time highs, The Freestyle will take centre stage in many of those moments in 2022.