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Samsung Galaxy Beam Review

Samsung Galaxy BeamThe Galaxy Beam -- a smart phone that contains a projector.An unusual combination, but Samsung are certainly not afraid to come up with unusual ideas and make them commercially available! Featuring a rounded design, with a distinctive bright yellow stripe around the edge, the Beam feels light to hold but at 12.5mm thick it's not the slimmest mobile on sale.

The Galaxy Beam's projector is snuggled neatly into the top of the handset, and is activated by a little button on the side allowing you to project anything the phone's display is showing. There's no breakable bulb to worry about and in a dark room from at a distance of around two metres, the projected picture is bright and colourful but not HD resolution. But when the lights are turned on the effect is hugely diminished,  you definitely need a dark room to enjoy the projector's full capabilities. Using the projector will also take a toll on the battery, expect a maximum of 3 hours of projection time without mains power.

The built-in projector is obviously going to be the headline feature of the Samsung Galaxy Beam, but sadly it appears as if the rest of the phone is a bit low tech in comparison. For instance the display is a 4-inch screen with 480 x 800 pixel resolution with no sign of the Samsung AMOLED display technology that graces Samsung's other smartphones. The 5-megapixel camera is decent but basic, which is strange as you'll likely be projecting your own photos and videos onto walls and ceilings so it would be useful to have a great camera on board.

The Beam is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor, which is more than capable even though there are plenty of smart phones on sale that have better processors, the phone feels slick and quite nippy as you transition through home screens and Android's menus. The Samsung Galaxy Beam offers a reasonable 8GB of onboard storage which can be expanded using a microSD card. Annoyingly the Galaxy Beam ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, rather than the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. While Gingerbread is  a perfectly good operating system, it's not quite as tasty as an Ice Cream Sandwich! The latest version of Google's mobile operating system would have been nice. But of course you still get access to the Android Market and the Gingerbread interface still feels fresh, it's just that having an out-of-date operating system counts against the Beam i the very competitive mobile markets of the UK. Although Samsung have stated that the Galaxy Beam will be getting an updating to Ice Cream Sandwich but have not as yet released a date.

The projector on the Samsung Galaxy Beam looks like a great bit of kit, though if this technology does not really appeal to you there are many better Android smartphones out there. On the other hand, if you are looking for a smartphone with a built-in projector - this is definitely the phone for you!

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