CES, the annual tech conference in Las Vegas, has always been about showcasing brands’ newest and coolest gadgets, the products they hope to become popular in the years ahead. Some devices falter along the way, while others succeed in spectacular fashion. This year, we reported on the best gadgets of CES 2022, but if there was one device that really got our attention, it was the charming Samsung Freestyle — a home theater projector like no other.
We know what you’re thinking: Samsung has never really invested heavily in the projector business before, so why now, and why this? Based on the details we learned at CES, the Samsung Freestyle is undeniably unique in the projector space.
Seriously, this has to be one of the more unique devices that Samsung has come out with in recent years, and that’s saying something. It’s more than just a projector for watching your favorite shows and movies. Keep reading to learn everything we know about this smarter projector. As new details are announced, we’ll be sure to update this page.
Release Date, Pricing and Availability
The Samsung Freestyle is currently available for pre-order in the U.S. for $899.99, with expansion to other markets later this year. Sure, the price is certainly more than other 1080p digital projectors out there, but you can’t neglect the fact that it’s a smarter projector. Honestly, it’s not often you find one gadget with so much utility, so its higher price tag seems justifiable.
But then again, we’ll have to wait and see how it actually performs before making a final judgment call on whether or not you should buy it. Until then, there’s no hiding the fact that the Samsung Freestyle is one of the most original gadgets to come around in a long time.
Designed with a Spotlight in Mind
When you think about what today’s projectors look like, you’d probably envision a boxy contraption with a lens on one end for its projection. Samsung, however, ditches the traditional design for one that’s refreshingly original. Seriously, it looks like an actual spotlight — a cylinder-shaped body that’s cradled to allow 180-degree rotation.
Needless to say, Samsung went in a totally different direction with the Freestyle’s design. If you look at its dimensions and weight, 4 x 6.8 x 3.7-inches and tipping the scales in at 1.8 pounds, the entire package is still pretty compact and lightweight. Since it can rotate 180-degrees with its base, it doesn’t face the same problems as some other projects that need to be propped up on one side in order to properly project onto a specified surface.
Automatic Image Adjustment Made Easy
Another reason to get excited about the Samsung Freestyle? Because it’s virtually dummy-proof. That means you won’t have to fuss around in the settings to make sure it’s performing properly. For example, if you’re projecting at an angle, it will automatically optimize the projection so that it’s always just right. It’ll focus and level out the projection (keystone correction) on its own, so the only thing you need to do is point it in the direction you want to project. That’s it.
It also features smart calibration, which goes the extra distance of analyzing the surrounding environment to optimize the picture. This is best showcased on walls that aren’t white because it’ll adjust the color temperature and brightness. You may not even have to buy a separate projector screen thanks to this feature.
You can choose to go big or small with its projection. That’s the beauty of the Freestyle; it has the ability to adapt to any wall or room. Its “screen” can go as large as 100-inches or as small as 30-inches. Whichever size you prefer, the Freestyle will do its best to automatically adjust its settings for optimal results.
Smart Lighting with Flare
Samsung thought outside of the box with this one, and it’s evident by how it’s taking projection to a whole new level with the Freestyle’s smart lighting options. There appears to be a lens cap you can put over the lens to transform it into a mood light of sorts that can be programmed to display an assortment of colors.
In addition to acting very much like a smart table lamp, the Freestyle takes wall decor to the next level with the other fun projection mode it offers. The selections include mood lighting, neon signs, scenes, and photos, all of which can liven up or accent existing decor on your wall. We’re stoked to see the mood lighting effects and neon signs in action because it beats having to arrange LED light strips or other smart wall lights yourself, in order to display a unique design.
Voice Commands Powered by Bixby (and Alexa)
Do you remember the Samsung Galaxy Home smart speaker that the company announced in 2018? Probably not. Understandably so, it fizzled before it even got the chance to enter the smart speaker race, which was getting juicy with Apple entering the market with the HomePod. Samsung’s smart speaker ambitions sort of lives on with the Freestyle.
It’s undeniably a smart speaker because it features Samsung’s own Bixby virtual assistant, as well as Amazon Alexa. The latter’s a peculiar addition, mainly because videos and demos haven’t yet shown off Alexa in action. We gather it’d act very much like any other Amazon Echo speaker around with voice commands. Samsung did indeed show off Bixby integration with voice commands to control the projector. It seems like it’ll respond to some basic commands, like turning on or off, but it’ll be intriguing to see if it does more advanced functions beyond that.
Smart TV experience with Tizen
Running Samsung’s own Tizen operating system, the Freestyle has access to the same experience you’d find in the company’s smart TVs. This means access to all of your favorite streaming services, like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and much more.
There’s also a screen mirroring function that can mirror what’s playing on another Samsung smart TV you may already own, as well as mirroring for smartphones. If you need a quick second screen, the Freestyle is a perfect candidate for this exact purpose.
Finally, it’s incredibly satisfying to know that Samsung is serious about the Freestyle becoming a household staple. That’s because there are a number of different accessories that will enhance its functionality even more.
The battery base eliminates the need to hardwire the Freestyle to a power source, effectively making it a truly portable projector that can work anywhere. The socket adapter allows the Freestyle to draw power from your ordinary light socket, which could be handy in projecting onto other surfaces besides your walls. In Samsung’s demo video, it shows the Freestyle projecting onto a table using the socket adapter. And finally, there will be different colored skins to choose from — so you’re not forced to just stick with the stock paint job.
Top Alternatives To Shop Now
Those eager to snatch up the Samsung Freestyle can obviously shell out the money for a pre-order, but there’s no indication when it’ll ship or have broader availability. If you can’t wait, here are just a few compact projectors you can buy right now. Sure, they might not have the all-encompassing features of the Freestyle, but they still have the merit of being travel-friendly.
Anker Nebula Capsule Max
This soda can-sized 720p projector has everything you need for a quick setup. Not only is it ridiculously lightweight and compact, but it has everything you need to quickly watch your favorite content. If you’re in the market for a portable projector and don’t want to wait for the Samsung Freestyle, our reviewers have been impressed by Anker’s Nebula projectors.
XGIMI Halo True
The XGIMI Halo True gives the Samsung Freestyle heated competition because this 1080p projector is priced similarly, but offers the Android TV experience anywhere around the home. Adding to the experience is its 10-watt Harman Kardon Sound and projection of up to 150 inches.
LG PH30N Portable CineBeam Projector
Sure, it looks like your traditional projector, but the LG PH30N Portable CineBeam Projector has smart features that make it a versatile option. It’s an affordable 720p projector, complete with a built-in battery and the ability to play video content from USB flash drives.