Samsung Galaxy Beam: a projector/smartphone

Samsung Galaxy Beam: a projector/smartphone

Summary: Samsung has managed to build a pico projector into a mid-range smartphone without completely crippling either device — but compromises are inevitable.

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  • Samsung has been pretty clever with the Galaxy Beam's build, whose design is by no means dominated by the projector component. A bright yellow band running all around the edge has the dual function of making the phone look a little different from the norm and attracting the eye away from the bulge that the projector lens makes in the top edge.

    The handset isn't a lot bigger or more unwieldy than other smartphones. At its thickest point, at the top where the projector sits, it measures about 15mm. Samsung doesn't include this in its specifications, preferring to quote the 12.5mm thickness of the two long and the lower short edges. This is slightly bulkier than you'd expect from a top-end handset, but it's unlikely to be a deal-breaker.

    The projector does affect the phone's weight, which is an above-average 148g — although, again, this is by no means excessive. The projector displaces the headset jack from its usual ergonomic location on the top edge to a potentially pocket-snagging spot on the left edge. Also, the SIM and microSD slots are covered bays on the left and right sides respectively, rather than residing under the battery cover.

    Image: Samsung

  • The projector is good, but not great. With a brightness rating of just 15 lumens, it needs quite dark conditions to deliver images you can actually see. The average office will be too brightly lit.

    The further you move the device away from the projecting surface the larger and dimmer the image becomes. Samsung says the Galaxy Beam can handle about 2 metres, at which distance you'll get an image measuring 50in. across the diagonal. We found it was just about viable to about 3m and 60in., but you won't want to go further than that.

    Image: CNET.com

  • The projector can beam whatever is showing on-screen — be that web pages, a movie, streamed content or the product of any application. Samsung also provides a range of software utilities, including Quick Pad, with which you can draw on top of whatever the screen is showing, and Visual Presenter, which shows what the rear camera can see — effectively turning the Galaxy Beam into an overhead projector. Ambience Mode offers animations or video and photographic slideshows for relaxing backgrounds, and you can even use the projector's 15 lumens as an ultra-bright torch.

    The projector inevitably takes a heavy toll on battery life. You'll probably get no more than three hours of projected data from the Galaxy Beam's 2,000mAh cell, and the average day between charges under ordinary (no projection) use. Fortunately, Samsung supplies two batteries.

    Image: Samsung

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, Mobility, Reviews

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7 comments
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  • ewww gingerbread

    Froyo FTW!
    EllaiMac
  • I wish they'd make a WindowsPhone one of these.

    It's a cool idea but not cool enough to overcome the crap android os.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Re: I wish they'd make a WindowsPhone one of these.

      Microsoft won't let them.
      ldo17
  • Hmmmm

    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
    gwartnet
    • With this phone, the only other thing needed, will

      Be another camera lens for the 3- D Holograms, so that everyone in the room at you meeting will think you just beamed in a green goddess!!

      Unless there's some woman attending the meeting, then you might have to hold off on that one...

      Thanks
      TW
      T-Wrench
  • Apple slipping?

    Very clever, despite the limited utility. In a window-less conference room with plain, neutral colored walls a salesperson or a techie could have real impact. (Or carry a portable screen -- lots to choose from.)

    Not in the new iPhone -- Jobs would be furious! Maybe Samsung could cross-license it and get out of court.
    dougs666
  • Stick to what it's good at!

    I feel like the market for technology nowadays is too rushed to find the next big thing. They need to take a step back and focus on the quality of the product rather than just throwing some hybrid device into the market. The concept of a smartphone and pico projector is a good idea.... BUT, the specs of this small smartphone no where nears the power of the pico projectors that are out there. Basically rendering the pico projector effects in the first place. Places like aaxa technologies, acer, optoma should definitely try to work with these phone companies and combine their specialties to create a solid product instead of this trash pico projector.
    Dave Sherrill