Samsung Freestyle is a projector with the software of a smart TV
There has been an ever-growing number of smart projectors over the past few years, which combine a standard wall projector with a built-in media system (usually some variation of Android). Anker has a few of them under its Nebula brand, and the Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector is another example. Samsung is now entering that market with the ‘Samsung Freestyle,’ one of the company’s major announcements at CES 2022.
Samsung says the Freestyle is “a projector, smart speaker and ambient lighting device all rolled into one lightweight, portable device.” It weighs 830 grams (1.82 pounds/29.2 ounces), and has a unique rotating case that allows it to rotate 180 degrees. Samsung says it can be powered with a standard USB-PD connection, as long as 50W/20V charging (or higher) is supported by the adapter or battery. There does not appear to be any internal battery, unlike most of the Nebula smart projectors sold by Anker — the Freestyle is definitely intended to be used indoors near a power source.
The rotating design allows it to switch between projecting on walls and ceilings without being propped up by other objects. Like most smart projectors, it supports auto keystone, so it can detect the angle of the projection surface and adjust the picture as needed to prevent distortion. Samsung says it can project images up to 100 inches in size, but there’s no mention of the brightness level, which is usually where projectors this small fall short — brighter images require larger (and heavier) lamps.
The software experience should be roughly identical to what you would find on Samsung’s smart TVs, with built-in streaming apps and casting/mirror functionality for Android and iOS devices. It also has far-field microphones, so the Freestyle’s voice assistant will be able to hear people from the other side of a room. Samsung didn’t say which voice assistants would be available on the offered, but considering the software should match the company’s TVs, Bixby and Google Assistant will probably be available. A smart speaker mode is also available, as well as a mood lighting effect.
Samsung says the Freestyle will be available for pre-order later today (January 4), presumably on the company’s online store.