Samsung’s new portable projector disappoints, multiple reviewers noted today. The Verge: The Freestyle could have been something really special. As Samsung’s first portable projector, it immediately stood out from all of the company’s other CES product announcements in January. What wasn’t to like? At under two pounds, the Freestyle was hyped as tiny in form but big on features and convenience. The device is compact enough to be packed in a bag for travel or bringing on camping trips. It’d be a cinch to set up The Freestyle in the backyard for movie night, and the projector can run off some portable USB-C battery packs for added flexibility. Want an easy way to entertain your kids on vacation? Here you go. You can point the 180-degree tilting projector in a wide range of directions — including at the ceiling. And since it has the same software as Samsung’s smart TVs, it comes with a vast selection of entertainment apps in tow.
What Samsung has shipped is a dim, flawed, and often sluggish projector that fails to realize its potential. For a company that’s been on a run of home theater hits with products like The Frame, this is an uncharacteristic misstep. It’s not a cheap one, either: The Freestyle costs $899.99. That awkward price can be seen as another illustration of the projector’s challenges. It’s far more expensive than many portable pico projectors from smaller brands such as Anker and Xgimi but nowhere near as pricey as top-shelf home projectors. The Freestyle is caught in a no man’s land: if the asking price had been higher, maybe Samsung could’ve gone more ambitious on specs — especially brightness, which I’ll get to later. And if it were cheaper, I might’ve been more forgiving of its underwhelming performance.