Samsung’s nifty-looking Freestyle portable projector made a good-sized splash at CES 2022, what with its two-pound design, detachable cradle, and the promise of turning just about any space into an instant movie theater.
Interest in the $900 Freestyle had cooled by the time it hit the market, however, and reviewers dinged the stylish projector for its “mediocre” brightness, “below-par” black levels, lack of a built-in battery, and auto-keystone and focus systems that were “often way off the mark.” That $900 price tag was a turnoff as well.
Samsung is taking another stab with its second-generation Freestyle, a video projector that boasts more memory, a new streaming hub for gamers, and a (slightly) more affordable price tag.
Available now for pre-order at $799.99 ($100 less than the original) and slated to ship August 31, the Freestyle 2 will arrive with roughly the same white cylindrical design, including a detachable cradle that allows the projector to tilt up to 180 degrees.
This time around, Samsung promises the Freestyle will have a “snappier” user interface, too; a sluggish UI was among the criticisms of the first-gen device.
Powered by Samsung’s Tizen OS, the revamped Freestyle will allow you to stream from popular video services, such as Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Apple TV+. You’ll also be able to stream the ad-supported Samsung TV Plus linear service, along with more than 250 streaming TV channels.
New for the second-gen Freestyle is support for the Samsung Gaming Hub, which lets gamers stream more than 3,000 games from such services as Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Xbox, Amazon Luna, Utomik, Antstream Arcade, and Blacknut. The Freestyle 2 supports Bluetooth gaming controllers, Samsung says.
The new Freestyle’s basic video specs remain mostly unchanged. The projector is rated to throw up to a 100-inch picture with full-HD (1920 x 1080) image quality. Auto focus and auto keystone functionality should allow you to point the Freestyle on just about any surface, with the projector automatically focusing the picture and compensating for distortion from off-kilter projection angles. Will the Freestyle 2’s auto keystone performance improve on the original? We’ll have to wait and see.
One nagging issue for the second-gen Freestyle is that it still lacks a built-in battery, although as before, you can power the projector with an external USB power source.
For those who pre-order the Freestyle 2 before August 31 through Samsung.com, Samsung will throw in a water- and dust-resistant case valued at $59.99.