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Posted on February 28th, 2012 by Jonathan Bray

Samsung Galaxy Beam review: first look

Samsung Galaxy Beam-1Samsung declined to announce its flagship phone at MWC this year, but it hasn’t abandoned the show altogether, bringing a total of four new products to Barcelona. We’ve already brought you a first look at the Galaxy Note 10.1; now it’s the turn of the Galaxy Beam.

The Beam is notable not for its design, nor its screen or camera – at first glance it’s a fairly ordinary 4in smartphone. It’s unusual because it has an integrated pico projector.

The lens for the projector is built into the top of the phone, measuring roughly a centimetre square, and behind it is a 15-lumens TI DLP projector. This, Samsung claims, is able to throw a picture of up to 50in in size at a resolution of 640 x 360. We were curious to see how good it was, so we ventured down to the Samsung stand and found, tucked away at the rear, a small, dark, curtained-off area where the phone was being demonstrated to curious onlookers.

Samsung Galaxy Beam-2

The 15 lumens brightness isn’t enough to cope with the glaring lights of the Samsung stand, but with all the lights off we have to admit to being impressed by the clarity of the image projected on the screen, with little distortion in the corners and surprisingly decent colours.

A quick tap of a button on the right hand side activates the projector and beams out a mirror of what’s onscreen.

You can see what we saw in the brief video clip below (apologies for the shaky footage).

Impressively, Samsung says three hours of continuous projector use can be had from one charge of the phone’s 2,000mAh battery. We were also taken aback at how normal this phone looks and feels in the hand.

Although a good deal thicker than today’s ultra-slim flagship phones, a depth of 12.5mm and a weight of 145g are by no means unmanageable. We think you could whip this out on the Tube without drawing too many curious glances from fellow commuters.

Samsung Galaxy Beam-3

Again, the design and finish aren’t exciting – it feels quite plasticky and the orange and grey colour scheme is a little dated – but it isn’t ugly. In a similar vein, you’re not having to compromise too much on the specifications either. The Beam has a 4in 480 x 800 resolution screen, is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor, has 1GB of RAM 8GB of storage and runs Android 2.3.

The big question is, why on Earth would you want one? For impromptu business presentations, the brightness isn’t really good enough. It just isn’t practical to have to dim the lights and draw the curtains before you start.

And as for home entertainment, we suspect the majority of people will be perfectly happy to buy a phone with an HDMI output and use a cable to hook it up to a big-screen TV for far superior image quality. Still, nice try Samsung.

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4 Responses to “ Samsung Galaxy Beam review: first look ”

  1. Paul Ockenden Says:
    February 28th, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I can think of a use for it – video something like a white sheet of paper, and then use the phone as a torch!

     
  2. John Richardson Says:
    February 28th, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Top use: the ultimate e-Book reader. You lie back in bed, open the Dicken’s you’re half-way through on the Kindle android app, and project it at 50″ onto the ceiling above your head. No page-turning, no leaning on your elbow, no sore wrists… it’s what I’ve been dreaming of for years!

     
  3. nichomach0 Says:
    February 28th, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    They’ve been punting this as a concept for at least a couple or three years now, but spomehow the release never quite happens. Seriously, they were listed for pre-order on a couple of sites, they just never actually showed up.

     
  4. MrTrilby Says:
    February 28th, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I think it’s actually the world’s first Android bicycle light.

     

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