Samsung’s latest sweeping projector is secretly the best gaming console you can buy this holiday season

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Close-up photo of Samsung Freestyle 2 projector light

Alison Murray/ZDNet

There is a saying that goes something like, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” I firmly believe this — especially when it comes to technology products and their sometimes pointless updates.

However, after experiencing the recently upgraded generation Samsung Freestyle 2This portable projector may take the cake for the best tech gadget I’ve ever tried in 2023.

Revaluation: Samsung The Freestyle: A well-rounded projector, inside and out

But first, what is the change? There aren’t many significant differences between the original model and the second-generation projector, but there are a few worth noting: Smart Edge Blending, which allows you to create a large image with support for widescreen content from one side using two freestyle projectors. Up to 29.3:9 aspect ratio, a solar remote instead of a battery-powered one, increased memory for faster performance and the most notable difference — the Samsung Gaming Hub.

Although I’m not a gamer, my husband is a casual one, so I checked him out to try out this feature. What’s great about the Samsung Gaming Hub is that you don’t need a physical console to play a game, just the Freestyle 2, internet access and a game controller.

Also: Best outdoor projectors for epic movie nights

You have to subscribe to cloud streaming like Xbox, GeForce Now, Luna and others, but there are also free games that you can play right off the bat.

A white Samsung Freestyle 2 projector sits next to a pink Xbox controller on its battery base

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Samsung Freestyle 2

The Samsung Freestyle 2 projector has upgraded features like Smart Edge Blending and Samsung Gaming Hub integration that make it a worthy upgrade over the previous generation.

My husband could play Rocket League Including a free membership to GeForce Now, and other free games Fortnite was also available. The overall gaming experience will depend on your Wi-Fi connection, but graphics were crystal clear, and Freestyle 2 loaded games quickly with virtually no issues.

It was a unique experience to be able to lay down and play games outdoors or cast to our ceiling without being confined to a specific room or a specific gaming console.

The Samsung Gaming Hub's screen is projected onto a slanted ceiling

Alison Murray/ZDNet

Now, in terms of gaming, Samsung Freestyle 2 is really a quality projector. It’s super easy to set up and get going — all you need is a Wi-Fi connection And you don’t need to plug in an extension cord because its portable battery easily connects to the device, allowing you to use it virtually anywhere (which was perfect for our backyard).

It comes preloaded with streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Prime Video and more, so you can quickly sign into your accounts and start streaming.

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By far, what impressed me most was the sound: it comes from the built-in, 5W 360-degree speakers, and it packs a punch for such a small speaker. While streaming a movie on a very windy night, we could hear the sound clear and loud, almost as if we were indoors and the sound surrounded us.

The Samsung Freestyle 2 impressed me with the image quality, auto-focusing ability — whether it’s projected onto a slanted ceiling or projector screen — and the overall experience of both setup and streaming. To me, technology should make things faster and more accessible, and this device does just that – especially with its portability aspect.

ZDNET’s buying advice

If you’re a gamer and want the ability to play a variety of titles without a console, the Samsung Freestyle 2 is a great option that lets you play games while camping, outdoors, literally anywhere.

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However, if you are buying a Samsung Freestyle for the cinema experience, then first generation The specs are quite similar to this New model You can save hundreds of bucks while getting a top projector.

Whichever model you choose, if you’re looking for a portable or outdoor projector, this is, in my opinion, the best on the market.

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