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Samsung Galaxy Beam review

A projecting piece of kit: but will it leave you beaming?

Our Verdict

If you're looking for something niche and different to show off, the projector does the trick, but the specs just aren't up to scratch otherwise for a phone of this cost.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 8 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 20 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 480 x 800

View full specification

For

  • Good battery life
  • Projector capability
  • Decent camera quality
  • Additional battery

Against

  • High cost
  • Projector needs darkness
  • Screen terrible in sunlight
  • Niche market appeal

Forget HDMI-ready devices, Samsung has decided to go low-maintenance…got a wall? Got a Samsung Galaxy Beam? Great: project your puppy pictures, downloaded episodes and PowerPoint presentations at will!

As we pointed out in our hands-on test, this isn't the first time Samsung has tried foisting a projector phone on an unsuspecting public: but perhaps this will be the first time it succeeds?

It's not cheap either: £31 a month contract and a £400+ SIM-free price make it hard to recommend to the budget brigade... and with these specs we'd expect to have something a bit more wallet-friendly. But it's got a whopping projector stuffed in there, so let's not be too harsh.

Samsung Galaxy Beam review

So: down to the nitty gritty. For a handset packing a 15 lumens projector, the Samsung Galaxy Beam does a good job of slimming its hardware into a decently lightweight package.

Samsung Galaxy beam review

It's a sporty-looking number, thanks to the yellow and chrome bezel and the soft, rubberized battery panel on the back. It weighs in at 145g; just 5g more than the Apple iPhone 4S and the projector is sleekly moulded into the frame.

At 12.5mm it's a little chunkier than most smart phones, but for obvious hardware-related reasons. If you have smaller digits, the relative girth of the chassis makes it a little precarious and the smooth panelling makes it feel as though it's about to slip away from you when held one-handed.

If it does though, the Samsung Galaxy Beam is a bit of a tough nut – it came away from two or three accidental drops with nary a scratch.

Because of the projector placement, the 5MP camera sits a third of the way down the back of the phone: makes it a little too easy to accidentally cover with a finger, but ho-hum.

Samsung Galaxy Beam review

The front of the Galaxy Beam bears only an external home button, VGA camera, thin chromed speaker and touch-screen keys.

The sides of the handset pack in all the additional buttons: power and projector buttons, volume rocker, SIM and micro SD slots (up to 32GB additional storage), Micro USB, 3.5mm jack and the projector itself, the crowning glory on the top of the phone.

Samsung Galaxy Beam review

The back panel eases off nicely and the phone itself comes with a spare battery and standalone battery charger – meaning you never need to be without charge.

Samsung Galaxy Beam review

Our SIM didn't pop in and out easily, but this is likely down to using a micro SIM in a holder rather than a regular SIM.

Samsung Galaxy Beam review

Given the placement of the projector, the 3.5mm jack sits on the left-hand side, which is a teeny bit annoying when trying to snugly fit this beast into pockets.

Samsung Galaxy Beam review

The external body of the Samsung Galaxy Beam seems to stack up so far against its rival high-cost smartphones (coming in at just under £400 SIM free), but what is it packing inside?

Well, that would be Android 2.3 Gingerbread, though an Ice Cream Sandwich update is rumoured. It features a bright 4-inch WVGA touchscreen that indoors is perfectly bright and vivid in its display, but falters somewhat in daylight.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory8 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value0.28 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyGalaxy Beam
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported2
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSamsung
Battery Talk Time20 Hour
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)148 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerST Ericsson
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3.6 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeMMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging, SMS (Short Message Service)
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density233 ppi
Height123.9 mm
Width64.2 mm
Depth12.6 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerSamsung
Product NameGalaxy Beam
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeNovaThor
Product LineGalaxy Beam
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeGyro Sensor, Digital Compass, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-I8530BAABTU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Discover the freedom to share content - almost anywhere. The Samsung Galaxy Beam features a powerful built-in beam projector, offering great definition and a picture as large as a TV. You can capture amusing photos and videos with Galaxy Beam's camera, and then use the projector to show them to friends instantly. You can also beam images or video to decorate your surroundings, or magnify and project physical notes, pictures and more. And, with high battery capacity, great video streaming and lots of storage space, you'll be able to share everything you want.

Limited Warranty2 Year