Samsung Galaxy Beam - Stay For The Projector (Part 2)

5/13/2013 3:07:11 PM


Obviously, the highlight of Galaxy Beam and the only reason for its existence is the pico DLP nHD 15-lumen projector (640x360) built directly on the upper half of the device. Although it seems unusual for some people, this is not the first (or even the second) time that Samsung participates in the projector-phone rodeo race; we have seen the manufacturer tried to implement this form factor with AndyCall W7900 (or Haptic Beam), AMOLED Beam W9600 and the original Galaxy beam I8520. Of course, this is the best product among the group, and the competitive field does not exist right now; almost all manufacturers do not even care about the especially narrow market segment.

The projector

The projector

With this device, you can project movies and images with the size up to 50 inches, and maintain the definition at the distance of 6 feet to the wall or ceiling that you are projecting onto. We were quite satisfied with the general performance: the video quality was maintained stably and the audio was also very smooth, so the voices appeared in time. The projector has many brightness levels which can be adjusted as preference, but even at the brightest level, the projected images were relatively darkish compared to what we saw on the screen. However, that has been forecasted – the Galaxy beam will never replace anyone’s TV, but it still works well in dark rooms (the result is quite unstable in daylight). This is also not surprising at all, but it is notable that after a long using period, the projector becomes very hot.

If you are considering using the Beam as a replacement for TV, we have some good news: we did not encounter any problem when watching films through the third party apps like Netflix, which means that you can easily transfer videos. There are also some settings that Samsung loads to the specific projector applications, for instance, the flashlight mode, “quick pad” mode allowing you to print the screen and draw directly on it (very ideal for presentations) and the ambience mode allowing you to view the slideshow with the playing music in the background. There is also a “visual presenter” uses the phone’s camera to act as the overhead projector. At first, we did not imagine many features of Beam, except a businessperson can use it to present, but it is really more useful that what we expected. We have watched movies on the wall (and on the ceiling) in the bedroom before falling asleep which is a very useful option, because presenting screen is much bigger than our TV. Moreover, energetic children can also watch the movies (or using quick pad to draw) in almost every possible case. Then, think of the interesting holiday slideshows that you can present for your friends. Are these good enough excuses for most of people who choose this product? Not really, but the fact that this option is available for anybody who needs it has already pleased us.

The projector’s performance

The projector’s performance


You think that the hardware is difficult to sell? Firmware will not help convince you to buy Galaxy Beam, because it operates on the Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Just to remind you, this operating system version from Google is about to celebrate its 2 year anniversary. There is no acceptable reason for a smartphone to run an outdated operating system, although it is a basic device. Samsung confirmed the Jelly Bean would come at last, but that company was not able to fulfill it at ETA, and maybe we will not receive any update until next year.

The application menu

The application menu

You will get the same standard-level TouchWiz 4.0 interface which first appeared on Galaxy S II. Since it does not contain any specific carrier, you will have no worry about any disappointing floating software – a good thing, because it is not easy to discard the undesirable app on Gingerbread. In the worst case, you are still able to add folders to the standard application menu thanks to the special TouchWiz version, so the annoying applications can easily be out of your side if you wish.


Having a look over the Beam’s specifications, we cannot help being surprised seeing a 5MP camera and a VGA front camera. Those are modules that Samsung uses for junior their smartphones and we really did not expected any impressive images from this phone. Quite surely, our sample pictures are fine, but if photography is your work, you will be looking for more senior options from the manufacturers. About its features and settings, there really are some ways for you improve your shots – Samsung is always generous in that aspect. You can optionally adjust the sidebar settings which contains most of the regular-use features. Tap the viewfinder to lock focus but not expose; if you want to do both, just hold the shutter button until you feel good to leave it. You can also take a widescreen shot and use some normal scene mode, some exposure settings, the macro-focus mode, three filters, white balance and ISO. HDR is not an option here, but you will not miss it too much on a junior device.

The camera and LED flash

The camera and LED flash

In terms of the specifications, the camera has a focal length of 3.54mm and an f/2.6 aperture. In daylight, it seemed that the lighter colors were somehow washed out, while the white balance rather shifted toward yellow. Detail is not worth a worry here, and we did not recognize any compression in our photos. It turned out that the low-light taken pictures were really good; as long as we used it in the specific low-light mode (the standard and backlight shots will not do as well as that). Besides, with the LED flashlight, the camera can capture more colors than that we expected.

With lower-resolution phones usually coming with the lower-resolution video recording ability, 1,280x720 is the best that you can find here. All of the films are recorded under the format of MPEG-4 at the speed of 30fps (average) and use a bit rate of 12.3Mbps. The microphone attracts good voice, but the resulting scenes are slightly choppy as well as lack of many details and sharpness. It does not fulfill our expectation, but it turns out to be suitable for family use.

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