Samsung’s tiny Freestyle projector is fun so get over it

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Samsung’s new barrel-shaped Freestyle projector was just announced at CES. The 1080p projector goes up for preorder today for $899. What matters more than its spec sheet, according to Samsung, is that this highly portable and swiveling visual lightshow with integrated speaker and voice control is coming to support your carefree “lifestyle” and nomadic “experiences.”

Olds, in other words, need not apply.

How can I be certain of this? Because when I, a curmudgeonly old, showed the Freestyle to my 13-year-old daughter under strict embargo, her first reaction was, and I quote: “I want that. A fake window on my wall would be so pretty.” A sampling of one teen is surely correct.

The 1.83 pound (0.83kg) LED projector is capable of producing an auto-focused, auto-leveled, and auto-keystoned image at sizes from 30 to 100 inches. Rated for 550 lumens, it’s not very bright which is typical for pico-style projectors, so you’ll need a very dark room for the best image quality.

The translucent lens cap can be used to create “mood lighting” that can be synced with whatever audio is playing. It also features a 360-degree five watt speaker, and a far-field mic array (for “Hi Bixby” or Alexa voice controls) that looks like it can be toggled on and off via a switch. If you look closely at the images you’ll also see one HDMI and one USB-C jack, and what looks like touch controls for power, volume, and something else encircling the lens.

The Freestyle also runs Tizen to provide the same software experience as Samsung’s smart TVs, so you’ll be pretty well set on app selection, including Netflix which many Android TV-based all-in-one projectors don’t support.

Samsung Freestyle (front).
Image: Samsung

Samsung Freestyle (back).
Image: Samsung

Optional accessories include a waterproof case, USB-C battery pack, and a base that allows the projector to be screwed into a standard E26 lightbulb socket for power.

Freestyle seems like an ideal companion to TikTok videos, and not so much your Blu-ray collection. If you care about banalities such as lumens, supported streaming protocols, and other such minutia then this projector clearly isn’t meant for you. But for its $900 price, there’s definitely some expectation of good picture quality in less than ideal lighting.

Samsung says preorders for the projector will open in the US as of January 4th, with the Freestyle making its way to other markets “in the following months.”

Update January 4th, 10:05PM ET: The article has been updated with additional specs from the preorder page and to reflect that the Freestyle offers the same software experience as Samsung’s TVs.

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