CNN Underscored is bringing you the best of CES 2022 all week — be sure to check out our coverage hub for the biggest tech products worth getting excited about.
Samsung always brings something wild to CES, and this year is no different. The Freestyle is a teeny, tiny $899.99 projector that feels tailor-made for the millennial generation.
Yes, it can be your TV with the ability to project up to a 100-inch screen on seemingly any surface — but it can also be a speaker, a light or a groovy star show projector. Plus, you can even screw it into a standard lightbulb 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 Samsung’s Dan Schinasi, director of product planning for TV, and Lydia Cho, head of product marketing for TV. Oh, and if you’re sold, The Freestyle is up for preorder now at $899.99 and will ship on Jan. 24.
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 lifestyle home entertainment products from Samsung. It’s described as a “portable screen,” which is fitting.
The Freestyle itself looks like a canister projector that sits in a cradle that can swivel up to 180 degrees. It’s also pretty darn light at under 2 pounds and takes up much less space than a conventional projector. We’ll need to see it in person to see how it measures up to Anker’s Nebula projectors, though. You could easily carry this gadget around in one hand or toss it in a bag for easy portability.
And out of the box, you’ll get everything you need to use it. Since the cradle is built in, you can position The Freestyle to project onto a wall, a ceiling or really any imaginable surface.
“I always imagined like, hey, what if you put your TV on your ceiling? Oh, well, that’s sort of dangerous, right. But now you could use The Freestyle to just be lying down and just be, you know, watching it just from anywhere,” says Cho.
The Freestyle is powered via USB-C, and once you plug it in, you’re ready to project up to a 100-inch screen. The smallest it can project is 30 inches. It will auto focus for a clear view, and thanks to onboard sensors — like gyroscopes — it will be able to auto level the screen as well. The Freestyle delivers a full 1080p HDR-capable view as well, which is pretty impressive for a projector of this size. Samsung is also promising strong sound with 360-degree audio built in.
There are also microphones enabled for voice control from both near and far. This way you can ask Bixby or Amazon’s Alexa for specific content to view. You could also ask more smart speaker-centric questions like for the weather or a fun fact. And if privacy is a concern, you can disengage the microphone.
“It’s got all of the smart features that you would expect from Samsung,” says Schinasi. That means that it features a Tizen interface…