Samsung Galaxy Beam Preview
Introduction:

We couldn't be happier to preview one of the more interesting handsets in recent memory – the pico projector-laden Samsung Galaxy Beam. We remember how excited we were in 2009 when we handled the first Samsung phone with built-in projector, the I7410, and the next year when the first Beam made its way to MWC 2010.

The original Beam-er then crushed our hopes and dreams by never venturing outside of Singapore, except to entertain some trapped Chilean miners. Still, those two will stay forever in our hearts as the first phones with integrated projectors, unlike the LG eXpo, which had a pico unit as an accessory to tack on.

Announced at MWC 2012, the Samsung Galaxy Beam now sports a projector module of likely Samsung's own make that shines with 15 lumen and nHD (640x360) resolution, supposedly enough to create a watchable experience in a low ambient light setting, which can be blown up to 50”.

Compare that to the 6 lumen that the pico projector inside its predecessor was capable of, and you will understand why we were excited to take the Galaxy Beam for a spin. Is it living up to our caged desires to watch CSI while camping in Shenandoah, and annoy the heck out of the wildlife there? Read on our preview to find out...


Design:

Graced with jolly bright orange sides, the Galaxy Beam is sure to attract attention as if it's your regular flashy teen-oriented phone for the color choice alone. It's chubby, with a sturdy build, but by no means overly thick at 0.49” (12.5mm), and not at all that heavy at 5.13oz (145g). In fact, it feels and handles very well in the hand, thanks to the ergonomic tapered back with patterned non-slippery back cover made of soft-touch plastic.



You can compare the Samsung Galaxy Beam with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The only thing that hints at the phone's extraordinary capabilities is the slight bulge above the circular lens of the 5MP camera with LED flash on the back, which incorporates the 15 lumen pico projector.

The projector shows what is happening on the phone's 4” LCD screen that is with 480x800 pixels of resolution. The phone's display sports bright, vivid colors, and very good viewing angles, but could use a bit more brightness for easier sunlight legibility, despite that its 416 nits are above average. The 233ppi pixel density is decent, and ensures there are no nasty surprises with pixelation.


There is an on/off switch for the projector above the power/lock key on the right. These two buttons, along with the volume rocker on the left, are tactile and easy to feel and press even on our non-final unit, as is the elongated physical home button underneath the screen. All slots are at the sides, covered with protective flaps, so you can easily swap your SIM or microSD card without prying off the back cover, which hides the 2000mAh battery.




Projector:

Samsung is no stranger to making LED pico projectors and currently has the SP-H03 for about $400 on Amazon, for example. While its 30 lumens and 854x480 resolution beat the Galaxy Beam's 15 lumen and 640x360 unit, it is certainly not fit to be housed inside a phone and juiced up by its battery. Samsung says the projector will run for about 3 hours off the battery, and there was still some life left when we watched a two-hour movie indeed, but we'll run a complete test when we get the retail unit.

Brookstone sells a similar Texas Instruments unit as an accessory for the iPhone, which also can blow a 640x360 picture up to 50”, but shines with 50 lumen. The iPhone accessory case costs $200, though, is bulky and carries a separate battery, so having the thing integrated in the phone itself without adding much thickness or weight is a very good engineering achievement on Samsung's part.

As you can imagine, we took the projector for a spin from broad daylight to complete darkness, and are pleased to announce that the viewing experience is pretty decent with the 15 lumen output. The best results were achieved in complete darkness projecting on a smooth white surface, of course, but the phone performed fine with a small amount of ambient light as well, and the image was watchable in smaller 10-12 inch size in your averagely lit room, too. It is, of course, useless outside under broad daylight as it is. The area around the projector warms up significantly during projecting, but nothing scorching hot.

We had a Projector app preinstalled on the phone, but it was seemingly not fully interfaced with the pico unit in our prototype, as tapping the focus option or adjusting the brightness slider didn't affect the light output at all, so the final unit image results might be better when these adjustments are present. Have a look at our brief video demonstration of the projector's capabilities below:

Samsung Galaxy Beam Projector Demo:




Samsung Galaxy Beam 360-degrees View:



FEATURED VIDEO

14 Comments

1. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Some nice innovation there from Samsung,i wouldn't have use for the projector myself but there are many people in different job types who might. Only thing they might need to do is up the projected resolution but its impressive work so far. Perhaps projector technology like this would innovatively appear as the 'ibeam' in the iphone in 2017

2. sorcio46

Posts: 435; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

Finally a fresh air of innovation :-)

3. Tatperson

Posts: 58; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

The original Galaxy Beam wasn't a hit in Singapore, so I'm curious to see how this will fare. Anyway, that's great innovation there. Well done, Samsung. :)

4. hltechie unregistered

Typical Samsung smart phone... runs android... really fast... yada yada yada... wait it has a built in projector!? That's awesome! :D

5. squeeb

Posts: 99; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Sweet. I'd like higher resolution output, but still neat.

6. Wildmanfan

Posts: 238; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

Another nice Big F#%K YOU goes to Verizon for once again, dropping the ball on this one. Damn it, I'm thinking about jumping over to AT&T because of this and the Note.

7. hobble

Posts: 130; Member since: Oct 11, 2011

Not going to lie, I kind of want one.

8. twens

Posts: 1175; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

This will really be cool for watching porn with your girlfriend.

9. Yummy

Posts: 117; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

I think this is unique. I wouldn't mind having this around an office or something. Oh what's our stocks you say?? Check the ceiling. ;)

10. Bigbluetundra

Posts: 45; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

How hot does this thing get is the question. Can I use it on projector for a half hour and then put it in my pocket, or is it going to burn?

12. xx19xx

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 28, 2012

Based on phone design basics, weather you play for 15 minutes or 2 hours it will get heated little bit and IMHO that expected due to projector but definitely not even near to too hot. BTW it will cool off in a minute after switching off projector :)

11. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

What an awesome innovation from Samsung. Will be a life saver for those road warriors who must fly from one city to the next putting up sales presentations,lugging around these huge projectors,cables etc. Now, let's start the countdown for the lawsuit from Apple claiming it's their idea...

13. b0g23

Posts: 14; Member since: May 26, 2012

hy, why the pictures presented here, at the properties, appear makes with the model nokia samsung GT-I9070 ?

14. b0g23

Posts: 14; Member since: May 26, 2012

sorry, with model samsung GT-I9070
Galaxy Beam
  • Display 4.0" 480 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 1.3 MP front
  • Processor ST-Ericsson NovaThor U8500, Dual-core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 8 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 2000 mAh

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