Originally launched in January 2022, the Samsung Freestyle projector was a finalist for CNN Underscored’s best of CES 2022 awards and subsequently became a huge hit due to its minute size, eye-popping design and easy portability.
And though you can nab the still-nifty 2022 Freestyle for $800, which is $100 less than its original price, Samsung announced a new version at CES 2023. Though there’s no date yet for when the updated projector will be available, here’s everything we know so far about the 2023 Freestyle.
Same sleek design with new gaming features
On the face of things, nothing is changing for the Freestyle. The 2023 projector looks just like its predecessor. That means you’ll still get a canister-shaped projector weighing under 2 pounds that can swivel up to 180 degrees. Point it and play just about anywhere, from a wall to a ceiling to an outdoor screen, with a picture that will display up to 100 inches in full 1080p (unlike the well-reviewed yet pricey XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K projector, the new Freestyle still won’t offer 4K).
But what will make a difference is its ability to access the new Gaming Hub on the built-in Tizen OS software. The Gaming Hub, which was announced late last year, is also available on all Samsung Smart TVs and lets you play video games from partners like Xbox, Nvidia GeForce Now, Amazon Luna and Utomik — all with no downloads, storage limits or consoles required.
So yes, this will count as an extra gaming device to take anywhere you go, and it can help end your kid’s nasty arguments about who gets more time with the gaming console. The 2023 version of the gaming hub will also include what Samsung is calling MiniMap sharing, letting players open and quickly see a minimap of their game while they play.
2 Freestyles are better than 1
Another interesting feature Samsung was pushing when we saw the new Freestyle at CES is something they are calling “Smart EDGE Blending.” The gist is that two projectors will automatically synchronize to provide a huge 21:9 configuration, without lining it up or any type of manual adjustments.
Though neat to look at, and seemingly simple to create the large-scale projection, you will need two of the 2023 Freestyle projectors to do it.
More fun for the Freestyle
Yes, the Freestyle made a splash when it was announced last year, even snagging an enviable position as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things. And the projector fits easily into Samsung’s lifestyle entertainment portfolio, aside other products with near cult followings like the art-forward Frame TV. But, in addition to its portability and small footprint, it’s all the little extras that make it truly stand out.
For instance, the Freestyle can stand in as a lamp and comes with a lens cap that doubles as a filter for funky light show effects — like Lava Lamp and Starry Night. It can also act solely as a wireless speaker, so you can play your tunes without projecting. All perfect party favors.
And then there are the accessories. Samsung offers a battery base ($190) to help keep it charged for outdoor sittings and a kooky screw-in socket adapter ($80) that lets you attach the Freestyle to things like a hanging lamp so you can project on a tabletop. And though the Freestyle itself only comes in white, you can make it more colorful with a Samsung skin ($28), which was available in Forest Green, Blossom Pink or Coyote Beige for the 2022 projector — though Samsung confirmed that we should expect more hues available in 2023. You can even find some outsourced accessories like this waterproof, foam-lined case ($49) to more safely tote the Freestyle.
There’s currently no price or release date for the 2023 Freestyle, but we expect it to arrive early in the year and cost roughly the same as its predecessor. We’ll be putting it through a full review once we get our hands on one, so stay tuned.