There are a lot of smartphones out there with nifty little gimmicks, but have you ever heard of a smartphone with a Pico Projector? The Samsung Galaxy Beam is a quirky mid-range handset which sports a 1GHz dual-core ST-Ericsson NovaThor U8500 processor, a Mali-400 GPU and a Pico Projector. The Galaxy Beam has 768 MB of RAM and 8 GB of internal memory. Unfortunately 4 of those GB are eaten when you take it out of the box, but luckily Samsung made room for a Mirco SD card.
The 4” LCD display has a resolution of 480×800. The colors are vivid and the smartphone has very good viewing angles. Its 400 nits of brightness are very respectable, in fact, above average and the 233 pixel density is decent for a mid range phone.
The Pico projector is 15 lumens and works quite well. The projection is obviously best viewed in complete darkness. We tested it out and after a two hour movie, the battery only had a little bit of power left. But Samsung considered that and included an extra battery pack so you don’t have to drop everything and charge.
Although the Beam doesn’t come with any stand or way of holding the projector phone in place, it doesn’t heat up much and is easily propped up on blankets or whatever you have handy. If you’re planning on using the projector phone in a boardroom or office, I suggest devising some sort of stand for the device.
The phone itself is running Android Gingerbread, so if you’re currently using Ice Cream Sandwich it may be a little bit painful. The Galaxy Beam is a mid-range phone and should compete well in that market. It offers good performance, a relatively long battery life and the addition of the Pico projector is an interesting perk.
The price is a little higher than you might expect of a mid-range smartphone, between $550 and $800, but when you consider that the Pico Projector itself would cost you about $200, the phone becomes a good deal.
Despite its weak software, the Galaxy Beam’s luminous Pico projector pushes the boundaries of the smartphone and the handset’s strong performance makes it a solid choice.