The latest offerings from Samsung and BenQ have some shortcomings that keep them from being must-have devices, but despite questionable pricing decisions, both are definitely interesting.
Samsung Galaxy Beam
Measuring 12.5mm in thickness, the Galaxy Beam is by no means slim. But it does not feel heavy. All the standard Android controls are present, with the addition of a new physical button for projector control, located on the top of the phone.
The screen is 4 inches wide and has a resolution of 480x800. The screen performance has two drawbacks. First, the auto brightness, which makes the screen dimmer than we’d like. Second, the display isn’t the best to view in direct sunlight.
Skinning the Android OS is the Samsung TouchWiz UI. If you have used any Android-powered Samsung device, you will feel right at home. You can swipe at any part of the lock screen to unlock the device. The projector on the phone is 15 lumens at 1W, with a resolution of 640x360. In a completely dark room, the brightness is quite good, though it may not be so in certain lighting conditions. There were a few places, for instance, where the image represented on screen felt washed out.
Its audio lacks bass but the speaker is loud. You can expect about 3 hours of projector playback from its battery. This is a unique smartphone with a good projector.
The enamel white finish on the LW61ST gels well with the blue band running front to back on the projector, and the combination looks rather classy. Its physical controls are on the top of the device. Connectivity ports like HDMI, other AV, LAN and USB are on the back.
A bunch of vents help with the cooling, and this isn’t as noisy as the LG AF115.
The projector features BlueCore light, which does a little bit of everything. It optimizes display and keeps the power consumption in check. So much so, the brightness is reduced to 10% when a source is disconnected but the projector has been left powered on. This is a short-throw projector, and 1.5m from the wall, the projected screen size was around 70 inches. Being a short-throw projector, it can throw a bigger projected screen size from a much shorter distance than a conventional projector.
We tested with a lot of 720p, upscaled SD content and unaltered SD content. The HD image quality is pretty good, with good colour reproduction. SD content inevitably feels a tad blurry. The auto keystone settings actually make a positive difference. If the wall is the projecting screen, the ability to define wall colour does make a difference, and the necessary tweaks to the colour tone are done automatically.
The BenQ LW61ST is a very good projector in its own right. But you have the LG AF115 in the same price band, with 1,080p native resolution, to the LW61ST’s 1,280x800 pixels.
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