Despite its painful price tag, Samsung’s Freestyle projector is pretty excellent. It’s small enough to fit in a bag, its 1080p picture looks great, and it can tilt at all angles. Now, Samsung is launching the Freestyle Gen 2 projector, an iterative upgrade that adds built-in cloud gaming capabilities. The Freestyle Gen 2 costs $800 and is now available for pre-order, with orders shipping August 1st.
To reiterate, this isn’t a major upgrade over the original Freestyle projector. Most of the specs are totally unchanged, including the 1080p resolution, 360-degree speakers, 1.2:1 throw ratio, and 230 ASNI lumen brightness. The Freestyle Gen 2 also retains the auto-focus and auto-alignment features from its predecessor, and it comes with the same solar-powered rechargeable remote.
There’s just one major change here; the Freestyle Gen 2 runs an updated version of the Tizen OS firmware. This opens the door to Samsung’s Gaming Hub, a cloud gaming interface that debuted on Samsung smart TVs in 2022. You can access Xbox Cloud Gaming, NVIDIA GeForce NOW, Amazon Luna, and several other cloud services through the Gaming Hub, all without connecting a PC or console to the projector. (Of course, most cloud gaming services require a subscription, a decent internet connection, and a Bluetooth gamepad.)
Samsung says that it increased the Freestyle Gen 2’s RAM (by an unspecified amount) to make this firmware update possible. So, in addition to the improved Tizen OS experience, Freestyle Gen 2 should be a bit more responsive than its predecessor.
Note that Freestyle Gen 2 also offers the “Smart EDGE Blending” feature that Samsung showed off at CES 2023. Smart EDGE Blending allows you to combine the projections from a pair of Freestyle Gen 2 units into a single ultra-wide 21:9 image. But, for whatever reason, Samsung’s product page and press release make no mention of this Smart EDGE Blending.
You can pre-order the Samsung Freestyle Gen 2 today for $800 (that’s $100 less than the original model’s MSRP). Orders begin shipping on August 1st, but if you buy this projector during the pre-order period, Samsung will throw in a free water-resistant carrying case. Note that Samsung also sells skins, external batteries, and light bulb socket mounts for the Freestyle Gen 2 (you’ll see these add-ons during checkout).