Hands on: Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen review

Samsung's versatile portable projector gets a sequel

What is a hands on review?
Samsung Freestyle 2nd Gen with remote on a table
(Image: © What Hi-Fi?)

Early Verdict

We'll need to get the projector into our test rooms to deliver our definitive verdict but if it's as enjoyable and appealing as the original, then Samsung could be onto a winner


  • +

    Cute, versatile design

  • +

    Auto keystone is back

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    Cheaper than original


  • -

    Will black levels be better?

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One of the pleasant AV surprises of last year was Samsung's The Freestyle, a neatly packaged portable projector with an attractive feature set and good picture quality. It impressed us during testing with its bright, sharp and colourful images, earning a solid four-star review.

Now, there’s a sequel in town and it’s called, unsurprisingly, The Freestyle 2nd Gen. And continuing the ‘2’ theme it also has a couple of new surprises up its sleeve. The projector was on display at Samsung’s booth at this year’s IFA consumer electronics show, so we wandered over to go hands-on with the new arrival.


Samsung Freestyle 2nd Gen with remote on a table

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Samsung's The Freestyle 2nd Gen is available to preorder now in both the UK and US and costs £899 / $800. These prices are actually cheaper than the original which set you back £999 / $900 at launch so on paper at least, you seem to be getting better value given the slightly improved feature count. Deliveries should start from the 22nd September in the UK and the 11th September in the US.


Three Samsung Freestyle 2nd Gen projectors in different wraps

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

If you’re familiar with the original Freestyle, then you’ll already know a big chunk of what the 2nd Gen has to offer. It looks pretty much identical, with its compact build, cylindrical body and podium-style base helping it stand out from rivals. And, once again, the main body can be swivelled through 180 degrees to help with flexibility and positioning.

Samsung offers an optional carry case (£59 / $60) for you to slide it in for protection plus three different weather-resistant skins (Forest Green, Coyote Beige, and Blossom Pink £29 / $50) that you can use to protect it from water and dust.


Samsung Freestyle 2nd Gen with remote on a table

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Specs-wise, it’s a case of more of the same for The Freestyle 2nd Gen. The resolution is 1920 x 1080 and there is support for HDR10+ and HLG. It uses an LED light source, with a claimed 30,000-hour life span, and a claimed peak brightness of 230 ANSI lumens. The built-in speaker capable of 360-degree sound that featured in the original is back, as is Samsung’s extremely clever auto keystone feature.

Once again, physical connectivity options are limited to micro HDMI, but it’s the simplicity and portability of this projector that are its unique selling points. With smart features and new gaming abilities built-in, plus the emphasis on portability, it’s unlikely you’re going to need or want multiple sources plugged in.

That connector does support HDMI ARC, though, in case you want to connect an external soundbar and you can also connect wireless speakers via Bluetooth, again, a handy feature that allows for greater flexibility.

Samsung Freestyle 2nd Gen remote control

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

To keep things simple and familiar, The Freestyle 2nd Gen comes with Samsung’s Tizen operating system in tow, which can be found on its TVs. As a result, you’ve got multiple streaming services to choose from including Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+, all of which are accessible via dedicated hot keys on the remote control.

Speaking of which, it comes with the company’s clever Solarcell remote which features a solar panel on the rear that, you’ve guessed it, can be used to keep the remote fully charged and removes the need for rechargeable batteries.

Samsung Freestyle 2nd Gen playing an Xbox game

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The first big new feature for The Freestyle 2nd Gen relates to gaming. It can no access Samsung’s Gaming Hub, so you can play Xbox games using an Xbox Games Pass subscription directly through it. All you need is an Xbox controller.

During our time with the Freestyle on the IFA stand we were able to take Team Sonic Racing for a quick blast and were impressed by the stability of the connection and apparent lack of any major lag between the Xbox controller and action on the projector screen.

The second new feature actually requires a second Freestyle 2nd Gen projector. While one unit can produce an image of up to 100in on its own, if you combine two together, Samsung’s smart edge blending technology allows you to produce an even bigger image of up to 160in. We’re not quite sure why you’d need two projectors in the one home, but we saw it in action and the results seemed pretty good.


Samsung Freestyle 2nd Gen showing a movie

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

We saw the projector throw out a couple of different image sizes in different use case scenarios ranging from inside the back of a camper van to an alfresco setting for a movie night under the stars.

However, a bright exhibition space is never going to be the best environment to see a projector in all its glory, especially when it comes to critiquing contrast and brightness. But we managed to see a couple of different clips and first impressions were quite promising.

Besides our Sonic gaming exploits, we saw a fast-paced piece of footage on a rollercoaster for some rapid movement and a slow-paced movie clip which brought a more natural colour palette to the screen.

There appeared to be decent detail to the picture, with solid enough colours and good definition and detail on faces and clothing. One of the areas we criticised the original for was the “below-par black levels” but it was impossible to really get an idea of this in an exhibition environment.

Early verdict

Two Samsung Freestyle 2nd Gen projectors using smart edge blending

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Of course, we’ll need to get in a proper review sample to be able to tell if those black levels have been improved or if it’s a case of more of the same picture quality as the original but for a slightly cheaper price.

However, that might not be a bad thing given how entertaining we found the projector the first time around. Once again, it seems like a neat solution for casual movie watchers and gamers too, even if it isn’t the cheapest portable projector on the market.


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Andy Madden

Andy is Deputy Editor of What Hi-Fi? and a consumer electronics journalist with nearly 20 years of experience writing news, reviews and features. Over the years he's also contributed to a number of other outlets, including The Sunday Times, the BBC, Stuff, and BA High Life Magazine. Premium wireless earbuds are his passion but he's also keen on car tech and in-car audio systems and can often be found cruising the countryside testing the latest set-ups. In his spare time Andy is a keen golfer and gamer.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.