If you squint every time you stream a Netflix movie on your iPhone's 3.5-inch screen, you might want to have a look at Samsung's newest phone, the Galaxy Beam. The Android-powered device is outfitted with a built-in LED projector to display movies, images, and presentations on nearby walls. Here, a guide to Samsung's new "pocket projector":
What sort of specs does the phone boast?
The otherwise-ordinary Galaxy Beam comes equipped with "one special thing," says Sascha Segan at PC Mag: "A Cyclopean eye up top that beams a 15-lumen image out the front onto whatever surface you can find." The manufacturer says the projector can be used continuously for three hours on a single charge. Despite the extra hardware, the phone's size is pretty standard: 12.5mm thick, compared to the iPhone 4S's 9.31mm. The Galaxy Beam still slips easily into your pocket.
How does the display look?
Samsung claims "crisp, high-definition images" up to 50 inches across, but it depends on the lighting conditions in the room. During a live demonstration in a dark room, the video looked "sharp," says Segan, and while the brightness "didn't stun," projections still looked clear. But "it doesn't work at all in a bright room," says Chris Ziegler at The Verge, "though you could pass it off for a quick slideshow among friends if you dim the lights."
Besides the projector, is the phone any good?
The Galaxy Beam leaves a lot to be desired, says Ziegler. For instance, Samsung was so intent on slashing costs to accommodate its projector that it built the Galaxy Beam to run on Android 2.3, a relatively ancient version of Google's mobile operating system. Most new Android phones run version 4.0.
Is this the first time a projector phone has hit the market?
No. Samsung unveiled a model called the Show in 2009, but it was only available in Korea. Rival manufacturer LG brought out a projector phone called the Expo in 2009, which "hit the U.S. market with a stunning thud," says Segan. However, the Expo was targeting PowerPoint-savvy business people. The Galaxy Beam is different; not only is it much smaller than its bulky predecessors, it's being marketed to a wider audience as a "fun" gadget. There's no word yet on pricing, but expect the Galaxy Beam to hit the market in the second quarter of this year.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2014
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- Hey, grammar nerds! Stop freaking out about 'alot.'
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
Subscribe to the Week