updated 08:30 am EST, Tue February 28, 2012
We try the Samsung Galaxy Beam at MWC 2012
We got the opportunity to try the newly rekindled Samsung Galaxy Beam on the Mobile World Congress show floor and brought back impressions to match. The device in many ways behaves like a typical Android 2.3-based, TouchWiz-using Samsung phone, but it's that projector that makes all the difference. Check ahead for our first take.
When we tried it, we had the chance to see it both in the ideal dark as well as on the bright expo floor. In the dark, the picture is usable, although it's still not any competition for a dedicated projector. In brighter conditions, it's at once impressive and disappointing: that it shows a definable picture at all is good, but it's not something you'd want to use to show a movie.
Projector functions are largely handled in one, self-explanatory app. You can turn on the projector on a basic level to show whatever happens to be on the screen, including stock OS elements. You can bring up a handy Quick Pad to draw notes on what you're showing, and you can even enter a Visual Presenter mode where what's on the rear camera goes through the projector, such as for a live presentation. We somewhat question the need for an ambience mode, although the torch (flashlight) mode could give it a distinct edge in the dark.
Performance on the phone itself was roughly that of the Galaxy S Advance, which is to say smooth, if not as quick as on the 1.5GHz processors dominating the show. The display, a four-inch, 480x800 screen, is typical Samsung in having fairly rich color, although the overhead lights weren't always kind to visibility.
In some senses, you may already know if you want the Galaxy Beam or not. If you like the idea of presenting family photos or a work slide show without needing a dedicated projector, then it's mostly settled. Most will want something either in a similar class of performance but cheaper without the projector, or else a more advanced device, will go elsewhere. We do wish Samsung was more exact on when Android 4.0 would arrive, though; the phone could stay forever in a niche if it's still running Android 2.3 by the time 5.0 ships.
Launch details haven't been made clear so far.