Samsung SP-F10M review

4 Jun 2010

The lamp life is staggering and the image quality good, but this projector is a tad too expensive

Price when reviewed: 
899(£899 inc VAT)
4

The LED is catching on in the projector world, if the last month is any indication. Following on from the Casio XJ-A135, which paired a high-powered LED and blue laser with a DLP chip, Samsung's SP-F10M takes a simpler approach. It puts an LED behind a standard three-panel LCD arrangement to give a brightness of 1,000 lumens.

Samsung is calling it "maintenance-free", as well it might. Its 50,000-hour lamp life in Eco mode is more than twice that of the Casio and many, many times what a standard projector lamp can manage.

It needs less cooling too, so the SP-F10M powers on in less than ten seconds and off in around three. The noise level is certainly manageable, a low whirr that won't intrude on your presentation, and setup was a breeze thanks to the auto-keystone correction.

The SP-F10M's biggest strength is its colour reproduction, with all the vibrant tones of our test videos and photos really jumping out, with a slightly oversaturated look that helps add real depth to the picture. Lines and edges are sharp too, and it handled fast motion well up to a point, although we wouldn't recommend filling your presentations with movie clips if you want to keep the quality high.

We found dark tones a little muddy and hard to distinguish at times, but overall it's a very watchable projector.

But brightness is key, particularly in meeting rooms where you may not have the option to fine-tune the lighting, and it's noticeable that the Samsung's Eco mode is rather muted. Switching to normal mode ups the fan to a noticeable whine, which isn't ideal, but it does make a difference when sunlight is wreaking havoc with your slideshow.

As with many of today's projectors, Samsung has included a direct USB mode, allowing you to view files without a laptop or PC connected. Unlike some, it supports PDF and Office files, so death by PowerPoint is easier than ever to inflict, and it also displays PDFs and most common media file types.

The interface is a little sluggish, so we wouldn't try to run too much in one meeting, but it's a useful alternative to carrying a laptop.

Besides, you'll have your hands full with the projector itself, as Samsung's claims of portability should presumably be taken in jest. It weighs nearly 5kg and it's a big old thing, but this does at least give plenty of room on the rear for the choice of HDMI and D-SUB inputs, as well as Ethernet, composite and S-Video.

And you'd expect all that and more, as the SP-F10M has a suggested street price of £899 inc VAT. We've yet to see any retailers back that up, but we'd hope it will drop a little when it arrives, since that's a lot of money for a 1,024 x 768 business projector of this quality.

For businesses requiring a fit-and-forget projector it's an excellent choice due to its unparalleled LED life, but for everyone else it remains a tad too bulky and expensive.

Details

Price ex VAT £765
Price inc VAT £899
Overall rating 4
Image quality 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 4

Basic specifications

Projector technology LCD
Resolution 1024 x 768
Lumens brightness 1,000 lumens
Contrast ratio 2,000:1
Keystone correction? yes
Speakers? yes
Speaker type Mono
Speaker power ouput 7W

Dimensions

Dimensions 309 x 290 x 112mm (WDH)
Weight 4.800kg

Optics

Max diagonal image size 7.6m

Lamp & running costs

Lamp life, eco mode 30,000hrs

Power & environment

Typical power consumption 270W

Video inputs/outputs

VGA inputs 1
DVI inputs 0
S-Video inputs 1
Composite video inputs 1
HDMI inputs 1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1

Data ports and connectors

Front panel memory card reader no
Other memory media support N/A

Audio inputs/outputs

3.5mm audio jacks 1
RCA (phono) inputs 1