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Samsung always brings something wild to CES, and this year is no different. The Freestyle is an ultra-compact $899.99 projector that feels designed for millennials.
Yes, your TV can be capable of projecting a screen up to 100 inches on seemingly any surface – but it can also be a great speaker, projector, or star projector. Plus, you can even plug it into a standard lamp socket to power it.
There’s a lot to unpack here, so we’re breaking it all down and sharing some insights from our conversation with Dan Chinassi of Samsung, Director of Product Planning for TV, and Lydia Chu, Head of Product Marketing at TV. Oh, and if sold out, The Freestyle is available to pre-order now for $899.99 and ships January 24th.
Much like The Frame, which mimics art, or The Sero, which flips from horizontal to vertical, The Freestyle is the latest in a long line of trendy home entertainment products from Samsung. Described as a “portable monitor,” it fits.
The Freestyle itself is like a cylindrical projector installed in a cradle that can rotate up to 180 degrees. It’s also a pretty darn light at less than 2 pounds and takes up much less space than a traditional projector. We’ll need to see it in person to see how it fits in with Anker’s Nebula projectors. You can easily hold this tool in one hand or put it in a bag for easy portability.
And out of the box, you’ll have everything you need to use it. Because the cradle is built-in, you can place The Freestyle for display on a wall, ceiling, or truly any surface imaginable.
“I’ve always imagined, Hey, what if you put your TV in the ceiling? Oh, well, that’s kind of dangerous, right. But now you can use The Freestyle to just lay back and watch it from anywhere, you know.
Freestyle is powered by USB-C, and once plugged in, you’re ready to project a screen up to 100 inches. The smallest it can display is 30 inches. It will focus automatically for a clear view, and thanks to the built-in sensors – such as gyroscopes – it will be able to automatically level the screen as well. The Freestyle also offers a full 1080p HDR-enabled display, which is impressive for a monitor of this size. Samsung also promises powerful audio with integrated 360-degree audio.
There are also microphones enabled for voice control from near and far. This way you can ask Bixby or Alexa from Amazon to show you certain content. You can also ask more questions centered around the smart speaker like the weather or a fun fact. And if privacy is a concern, you can unplug the microphone.
“It has all the smart features you’d expect from Samsung,” says Schinasi. This means that it features a Tizen interface with support for major streaming services, game mode, and compatibility with AirPlay or Google Cast. You’ll just need to make sure that Freestyle is connected to a Wi-Fi network. It also indicates that The Freestyle will integrate with SmartThings. And while the Freestyle doesn’t have many ports, you’ll find a micro HDMI port and a USB-C port.
It’s also a lamp, speaker, and compatible accessories
As we noted above, The Freestyle can also be a lamp. Includes a lens hood that can act as a filter for some of the light shows – including a starry night look or a cool lava lamp effect. The display can also be voice-enabled and thus can be synced with a playlist for a full immersive light show.
You can also connect and use The Freestyle as a standalone amplifier. We haven’t heard of the audio quality yet, but we imagine it could pack a punch given our experience with other Samsung devices like TVs and speakers.
The Freestyle will only come in white, on top of what appears to be an aluminum and metal finish, so while it’s a fun product, the color selection is limited. If you want to mix things up, you’ll need to buy a skin from Samsung for $29. The brand will offer these in three colors: green, pink and yellow. A customized version of The Freestyle, like Samsung’s offerings of refrigerators and Galaxy Z Flip 3, would be very stylish.
Samsung will also sell a basic accessory for $79.99 that lets you hook the Freestyle into a standard lamp socket. It is unique to say the least and will apparently allow you to put this projector on a lamp. Since this projector is designed to go anywhere and everywhere, you can also power it via a USB-C compatible battery. Samsung will eventually sell one, but you can also probably buy one from Anker for a much lower price.
And for those who want to take it outside, Samsung sells a carrying case for $59.99. Those who pre-order The Freestyle before January 24th will receive this carry case for free.
The Freestyle is definitely a unique and expensive product that seems to be aimed at someone who wants one device rather than many. With its range of accessories as well as its functionality as a TV or speaker, it’s truly designed for millennials – someone who wants to spend $900 on a device.
We named The Freestyle as one of the finalists for the most innovative home entertainment and TV accessories at CES 2022. It’s not the least expensive category in the TV space, but it offers plenty for its $899.99 price tag. We’ll share the finalists in full later this week before the top picks in each category.
If you’re sold out, don’t wait to pre-order. Samsung is taking pre-orders now for The Freestyle at $899.99, and the device will begin hitting customers on January 24. Until that day, you’ll get a carrying case at no extra charge with the projector pre-order too.
We’ll be back soon with a hands-on and full review of The Freestyle in the coming weeks.