At a glanceExpert’s Rating
ProsUltra-compact designIntegrated Tizen smart platformAuto keystone correctionConsAt its best in a darkened roomUltra-widescreen mode has limited useBattery base sold separatelyOur Verdict
Easily transportable and offering bright, colourful images, this second-generation Freestyle projector is ideal for impromptu movie nights and supersizing sports. You can even pair two for ‘scope style’ viewing.
This second iteration of Samsung’s Freestyle compact LED projector offers some subtle upgrades over its predecessor, but rewards with the same high impact images and great versatility.
Still very much a causal beamer, it can turn any clear wall, or ceiling, into a big-screen display with minimal fuss or set-up hassle – and thanks to Samsung’s Tizen smart TV platform, you can quickly project your favourite streaming shows.
While the Freestyle 2nd Gen (SP-LFF3) is HD resolution only, it’s compatible with various HDR (High Dynamic Range) sources, be they HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG.
Giant size viewing anywhere in the house? Maybe you don’t need to invest in that 85-inch telly after all…
Design & Features
Auto keystone correction
Tizen smart TV platform
Sharing the same cylindrical chassis as the original The Freestyle, with identical connectivity, this Freestyle reboot has obvious appeal.
Perched atop a circular base, it can pivot a full 180 degrees, allowing you to project onto walls or even the ceiling. Auto-focus ensures the picture is always sharp, while powerful keystone correction automatically straightens the display and focuses the image, whatever your angle.
This geometric correction isn’t always flawless, but in most instances you can expect a clear, sharp picture.
If the projector is positioned on an uneven surface, new auto-levelling comes to the rescue. When it comes to throw distance, 2m is required to give you a 75in image. From around 2.7m, you’ll hit the full 100in but you can start at just 30in from 0.8m.
Wireless connectivity covers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.2; there are physical ports for Micro HDMI and a USB-C power supply.
Steve May / Foundry
The projector comes with a slim, solar-powered remote control, featuring dedicated buttons for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Samsung TV Plus.
There are also on-body touch sensitive controls if you prefer. The Second Gen works with Samsung SmartThings, and Apple AirPlay 2 – with Tap View for mirroring Galaxy devices with Android 8.1 or later via NFC. It also has built-in far-field mics that enable voice assistant control for Amazon Alexa and Samsung’s Bixby. You can also screen mirror with compatible Samsung TVs.
A plastic cap is provided to protect the lens, but this can also be used to create a diffuse, ambient lighting effect. It could be a prism, scene (Samsung’s website shows an aeroplane window) or one of your own images.
The Freestyle 2nd Gen works off the mains (battery base sold separately), but can be powered by either a bespoke battery case accessory or a USB power bank with a 50W/20V output or above.
The projector’s default colour is white, but fashionistas can customise their Freestyle with optional coloured covers, in Beige, Pink, or Green.
If you’re tempted to take your Freestyle outdoors, it might be worth investing in Samsung’s optional IP55-rated carry case.
Steve May / Foundry
Changes under the hood include an improved processor and software.
It can also edge-blend images (Smart Edge Blending) from two different Freestyle 2023 projectors, to create an ultra wide 21:9 image. To activate, you’ll need two 2023 projectors paired using the SmartThings app on a Samsung smartphone.
A graphical setup routine helps sync the Freestyles. When little cartoons overlap, the smartphone takes a snapshot of the result and uploads it for processing. As if by magic, the two projectors begin syncing their output together.
The catch is you can’t use this mode with any old content. It works with some ‘scope clips on YouTube but is most reliably used to display your own photography. Pictures are cropped to fit the aspect ratio, but the effect is compelling. It’s very difficult to spot where the join is.
LED light engine
Black level limitation
Crystal Engine processor
So let’s talk visuals. The Freestyle 2’s images appear bright and punchy, at least when viewed in low light. While its output is OK for non-critical, quasi-daylight viewing, it shines brightest in a darker environment.
The projector uses a DLP chip with an LED light source, said to last at least 30,000 hours.
Steve May / Foundry
Despite being limited to a Full HD resolution, The Freestyle 2 manages to impress with crisp detail and vibrant hues, courtesy of Samsung’s Crystal Engine and PurColor processing.
I watched a combination of natural history footage, movies and game shows, and all were displayed with equal enthusiasm.
There are inevitable limitations. Black-level performance is predictably constrained, with The Freestyle 2 delivering a darker shade of grey than anything inky. But this is trumped by a consistently high average picture level and solar vibrancy.
Picture presets cover Dynamic, Standard, and Movie. For most content I felt that Standard setting offered the most balanced performance. Motion handling is smooth, with minimal artefacts or colour fringing.
The Freestyle utilises a rear-facing, 5W sound system that spreads the soundstage surprisingly wide. It sounds better than the vast majority of more conventional, typically gaming-oriented, compact projectors, I’ve heard.
There’s enough oomph to its output to prevent it from sounding overly thin. It’s more than ample to entertain a small audience, and generate enough hubbub to mask its low level fan noise, which is around 30dB.
If you fancy a more immersive audio experience, you could connect a soundbar or external sound system using ARC over the mini HDMI connection, although this does start to conflict with the easy use ethos of The Freestyle 2.
Pairing with Bluetooth headphones is probably a more sensible option and there’s support for Multi Bluetooth Pairing.
Price & Availability
The Samsung Freestyle Gen 2 comes with a price tag of $799.99/£699. That’s cheaper than the original’s launch price of $899.99/£999.
While it’s not the most budget-friendly Full HD resolution option in the projector market, it offers a unique set of features that sets it apart from rivals, especially for those who prioritise portability.
You can buy it from Samsung, Amazon and BestBuy in the US.
You can buy it from Samsung and Currys in the UK.
Should you buy the Samsung The Freestyle 2?
The Freestyle 2 is a uniquely capable compact projector with a multiplicity of talents. It’s great for movie nights, kids parties, sports events and even patio BBQs.
Though limited to Full HD, picture quality is generally impressive, with uniformly bright and detailed images.
The provision of Smart Edge Blending is a clever embellishment, although there’s probably not enough of a user case to warrant buying two Freestyles to implement.
Whether you’re projecting on a wall or ceiling, the Samsung Freestyle 2nd Gen bends reality in all the right ways. I think it’s well worth auditioning.
LED projector with a DLP engine
30-100in screen size
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
HDMI: Micro HDMI
HDR support: HDR10, HLG, HDR10
Tizen Smart Platform
Dimensions:102.4(w) x 172.8(h) x 95.2(d)mm