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Samsung always brings something wild to CES, and this year is no different. Freestyle is a tiny, small $ 899.99 projector that feels tailored to the millennial generation.
Yes, it can be your TV with the ability to project up to a 100-inch screen on apparently any surface – but it can also be a speaker, a light or a groovy star show projector. Additionally, you can even screw it into a regular bulb socket to power it.
There’s a lot to unpack here, so we’ll share it all down and share some insights from our conversation with Samsung’s Dan Schinasi, Director of Product Planning for TV, and Lydia Cho, Head of Product Marketing for TV. Oh, and if you’ve sold out, The Freestyle can now be pre-ordered for $ 899.99 and shipped on January 24th.
Like The Frame, which mimics art, or The Sero, which turns from horizontal to vertical, The Freestyle is the latest in a long line of home entertainment products from Samsung. It is described as a “portable screen”, which is appropriate.
The Freestyle itself looks like a container projector that sits in a cradle that can rotate up to 180 degrees. It is also fairly light at under 2 pounds and takes up much less space than a conventional projector. However, we will have to look at it personally to see how it compares with Anker’s Nebula projectors. You can easily carry this gadget around in one hand or throw it in a bag for easy transport.
And out of the box you get everything you need to use it. Since the cradle is built-in, you can place The Freestyle to project onto a wall, ceiling or really any conceivable surface.
“I’ve always imagined, hey, what if you put your TV on the ceiling? Oh, it’s something dangerous, no. But now you could use The Freestyle to just lie down and just be, you know, watch it anywhere , “Says Cho.
Freestyle is powered via USB-C, and once connected, you are ready to project up to a 100-inch screen. The smallest it can project is 30 inches. It will autofocus for a clear view, and thanks to built-in sensors – like gyroscopes – it will also be able to automatically level the screen. Freestyle also delivers a full 1080p HDR-compatible display, which is quite impressive for a projector of this size. Samsung also promises strong sound with 360-degree sound built-in.
There are also microphones enabled for voice control from both near and far. This way, you can ask Bixby or Amazon’s Alexa for specific content to view. You can also ask smarter speaker-centered questions like the weather or a fun fact. And if privacy is an issue, you can disconnect the microphone.
“It has all the cool features you would expect from Samsung,” says Schinasi. That means it has a Tizen interface that supports major streaming services, a game mode, and compatibility with AirPlay or Google Cast. Just make sure Freestyle is on Wi-Fi. He also notes that The Freestyle will serve as a SmartThings hub for smart home connectivity. And although Freestyle does not have many ports, you will find a micro HDMI and a USB-C port.
It is also a lamp, a speaker and compatible with accessories
As we suggested above, The Freestyle can also be a lamp. A lens cover is included that can act as a filter for some light shows – including a starry night look or a groovy lava lamp effect. The light display can also be reactive to sound, so that it can in turn be synchronized with a playlist for a complete light show.
You can also connect and use The Freestyle as a standalone speaker. We have not heard the sound quality just yet, but we imagine that it can give a bang considering our experience with other Samsung devices like TVs and soundbars.
Freestyle only comes in white, over what appears to be an aluminum and metal finish, so even though it’s a fun product, the color choice is limited. If you want to mix things up, buy a skin from Samsung for $ 29. The brand will offer these in three colors: green, pink and yellow. A bespoke version of The Freestyle, like Samsung’s offerings for refrigerators and the Galaxy Z Flip 3, would have been pretty neat.
Samsung will also be selling a basic accessory for $ 79.99 that lets you screw The Freestyle into a standard bulb socket. It’s unique to say the least and would apparently allow you to place this projector on a lamp. Designed to carry anywhere and everywhere, this projector can also be powered by a USB-C compatible battery. Samsung will eventually sell one, but you can also pick one up from Anker for probably a lot less.
And for those who want to take it outside, Samsung is selling a carrying case for $ 59.99. Those who pre-order The Freestyle before January 24 will receive this carrying case free of charge.
Freestyle is definitely a unique and expensive product that feels like being targeted at someone who wants one device instead of many. Given the amount of accessories for it as well as its functionality as a TV or speaker, it’s really designed for a millennium – someone who wants to spend $ 900 on a device.
We nominate The Freestyle as the finalist for the most innovative TV and home entertainment accessories for CES 2022. It is not the most affordable category in the TV field, but it offers a lot in return for its price of $ 899.99. We share our full finalists later in the week ahead of the top picks in each category.
If you are sold, you do not have to wait to pre-order. Samsung is now accepting pre-orders for The Freestyle for $ 899.99, and the device will start arriving in customers on January 24th. Until that day, you will also score a carrying case at no extra cost with the pre-order of the projector.
We will be back soon with a practical and complete review of The Freestyle in the coming weeks.