Think of a projector, and traditionally you’ll think of a big cinema screen, throwing out huge images for a popcorn-fest film marathon. But as projector technology improves, their potential use cases are multiplying, too.
Unusually, Philips will first offer the Screeneo via an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. And while its price and release date is yet to be announced, those that sign up for details on the project will get first dibs with a giant 45% off whatever the final price ends up being.
First, the key specs – this is a Full HD, 1080p projector, as opposed to a 4K one, though it does have HDR 10 support as far as its 400 lumens of brightness allows.
With a throw ratio of 0.25:1, you’ll be able to make a screen as small as 15 inches or as large as 80 inches with the display. Getting to that extreme size only requires a small distance between the projector and the surface you’re projecting onto, too – beaming an 80-inch image requires just a 12-inch gap for the projector.
What makes the Screeneo U4 particularly versatile however is its size. At roughly 5 x 3 x 9 inches, Philips is billing it as a portable projector – at least within the home anyway, as it still requires a power outlet to work. A USB-A port is onboard, as are two HDMI ports (side and back), capable of 4K input at 60Hz (even if the projector maxes out at 1080p output). It’s capable in the audio connectivity department too, with a headphone jack flanked by dual, simultaneous Bluetooth 5 connections.
Philips’ promotional video for the projector sees it primarily being used as a secondary screen in a home office and, as remote working becomes increasingly popular, you can see the appeal here in having a small device that offers a bigscreen experience for video calls and multiple workflows, without taking up the footprint a monitor would on a desk.
How far that 1080p display can go in a modern working environment remains to be seen, as does the projection’s ability to be legible in broad daylight. But, as the video shows, being able to drag it to the kitchen after hours to watch a Netflix stream while cooking – without taking up a huge amount of surface space – is a benefit other screens can’t provide.
The AI features kick in when it comes to image placement. Getting a projector lined up for a perfect screen ratio without distortion can take some time, and that’s a key annoyance if the device is designed to be moved around regularly. Philips is hoping its implementation of AI to automatically adjust focus and keystone settings will mean you can just place the projector down and let it do the work of making sure the image isn’t squeezed or stretched unnaturally. Again, the promo video shows someone accidentally knocking the projector, and the Screeneo U4 automatically adjusting itself to present a non-skewed image.
There’s potential here then, and while the Indiegogo sales strategy may be off-putting considering Philips’ scale, it’s got experience with product launches of this kind, putting out the PicoPix Max projector through a similar method back in 2019. It’s definitely one to watch then.