Samsung Galaxy Beam - Projecting With a Smartphone

Launch SRP: S$1018

Overview & Design

Big Handphone, Small Projector

Pico projectors made the headlines a few years back, but then, who would have thought even these could actually be condensed into the size of a mobile phone? Thanks to Samsung, the concept of pico projectors that retain not only the shape and size but the capabilities of a handphone have materialized in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Beam. Aptly dubbed as a smart projector phone, the Android-based device has quite a few bells and whistles under its ambitious belt. Though the phone is a bit thick, but hey it has a built-in projector!

Samsung Galaxy Beam

The phone generally feels quite plasticky - both front and back. The front is mainly taken up by its large 3.7-inch Super AMOLED screen with two touch-sensitive buttons flanking a physical home button. Surrounding this screen is a metallic and glossy dull blue border that seems a little out of place for a serious smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy Beam. Thankfully, the rest of the phone is cloaked in black - including the main body and its glossy checkered back cover. With dimensions of 123 x 59.8 x 14.9mm and weighing in at 150g, the device is definitely bulkier and heavier than most of the slim smartphones out in the market. Here are a couple of photos shot side-by-side with the Samsung Galaxy S, the thinnest Android phone thus far, to give the readers some perspective:

 9.9mm vs 14.9mm thickness? The 5mm might sound little to you, but in a smartphone's world, it makes a huge difference.

 Another look at the phones when they are stacked together. The Samsung Galaxy Beam strikes us as the more angular of the two.

What is smaller on the Samsung Galaxy Beam is however, its 3.7-inch WVGA Super AMOLED screen. The Galaxy S sports a wider and larger 4-inch screen.

With regards to button placements, the Samsung Galaxy Beam retains some of the Galaxy S' quirks. For example, an inconspicuous power button, but it adds a few other necessary controls on both the left and right profiles. These additional buttons contribute to the usage of the projector capabilities. Other than that and a few cosmetic differences, the phone pretty much resembles the Galaxy S from top view.

And here's the main attraction - the built-in projector takes almost half of the top side of the smartphone.

On the right (from top to bottom of the phone), there's the power button, the Quick Pad button, and the camera button. For those who are used to the power button located on the top, it takes a while getting used to this layout. To add on, the dedicated camera button is marked by a thin line, with no indication of its purpose. On long press, the Quick Pad button can also be used to activate the projector.

 Flanked on the left (from top to bottom of the phone) is a projector focus dial, volume controls, and a microUSB port. The placement of the focus dial makes it ergonomically easier for users to change focus as and when they decide to enlarge or minimize their projection.

Overall rating 8.5/10
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The Good
Good projector performance with well-suited apps
Extremely responsive UI
Great battery life
Beautiful 3.7-inch Super AMOLED display
The Bad
Samsung UI features that cannot be disabled mar the Android experience
Bulky physical appearance
Decidedly average multimedia capabilities