Mobile World Congress 2012: Samsung Galaxy Beam hands-on [Video]

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Samsung didn’t hold a press event this year at Mobile World Congress, but that didn’t stop the Korean handset maker from introducing a series of tablets and phones. One phone that piqued our interest was the Samsung Galaxy Beam, an Android handset with a 4-inch WVGA display, 1GHz dual-core processor and an integrated pico projector.

The Beam is all about the projector and that’s the first thing you notice when you pick up the handset. The projector is located at the top of the handset which makes its easy to place the phone down on a desk and project your spreadsheet on the wall. The nHD (640 x 360) pico projector has 15 lumens of brightness and projects an image up to 50-inches.

We tested it in the busy conference hall and its worked well for what it is – a mobile projector. You won’t get the same quality as a dedicated projector, but it’s good enough for projecting on the fly in a darkened room. The toughest part is delivering a steady image without putting the phone down or using a mount. If you just hold it in your hand, any shakiness from too much coffee is extremely obvious. Sound is also another issue as the speakers on the Beam are good enough for a few people, but not loud enough to fill a small room.

To fit the projector, Samsung had to make some concessions and the most notable one is size. I’m not going to play it down, the Galaxy Beam is a thick phone. It may be the thinnest projector phone on the market, but it’s still a monster. The Beam measures 12.5 mm and, after handling the ZTC Era and the Huawei Ascend D quad, the Beam feels big in your hand. The only advantage to such an oversized phone is its roominess which let Samsung stuff in a 2,000 mAh battery.

Besides the projector, the Beam includes 14.4 HSPA+ and WiFi connectivity,  8GB of internal storage and a memory card slot. The handset also ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which in this era of the Ice Cream Sandwich, seems outdated. It will be bumped up to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in the future, but the Samsung reps wouldn’t disclose when the update would be released.

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