Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam preview: First look

GSMArena team, 9 April 2012.
Pages: 12345Ľ

Introduction

You don't see many of those around. Perhaps you're looking in the wrong place. As always, we're glad to be of service but, no, the Samsung i7410 didnít ring any bells. It was the good old Phone Finder again.

Anyway, this is how it started - if you'll excuse our hazy knowledge of the Asian market. The first projector phone was a dumbphone, but the whole thing wasn't such a dumb idea after all.

There was obviously potential waiting to be unleashed and no one could've done that better than Android. Now, wind back to 2010 and the first projector smartphone. And by the way, the Samsung I8520 Galaxy Beam was not just another smartphone - 3.7" AMOLED was quite the business back then. Not to mention the 8MP stills and 720P video.



But enough history. Here's what the new Galaxy Beam is all about.

Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam at a glance:

  • Built-in 15-lumen nHD projector
  • General: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, 3G with HSPDA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
  • Form factor: Touchscreen bar phone
  • Dimensions: 124 x 64.2 x 12.5 mm, 145.3g
  • Display: 4.0" 16M-color TFT capacitive touchscreen, 480 x 800 pixels
  • CPU: Dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory: 768 MB RAM, 8GB storage, microSD card slot
  • OS: Android OS, v2.3.6 Gingerbread with TouchWiz 4.0
  • Camera: 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash; face detection, geo-tagging; 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • Video recording: 720p video recording
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, standard microUSB port, GPS receiver with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Battery: 2,000 mAh
  • Misc: Accelerometer, proximity sensor, Swype text input, Polaris Office document viewer/editor

Now, we donít need to tell you the original Galaxy Beam didnít quite catch on. OK, a projector phone is not something you can expect to make huge money off. But it's not an idea either that you just throw in the bin.

So, Samsung's decision to stick with their plan gives us the I8530 Galaxy Beam. Given the original projector phone barely made an appearance outside the MWC venue, this is not what you'd call a grand return.

 Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam Preview  Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam Preview
The Samsung Galaxy Beam at HQ

It's a measured and cautious second try and we don't think Samsung can be blamed for playing it too safe. The truth is the new Galaxy Beam is actually a step down from what the original offered two years ago. AMOLED has been swapped for LCD, the inbuilt storage cut in half, the 8MP camera relegated to 5MP and the WVGA pico projector reduced to nHD.

Of course, the bump in processing power is welcome. The new Beam has a dual-core engine and double the RAM. The projector makes up for the lost resolution with increased brightness - 15 lumens, up from the original 10.

Ultimately, it wasn't Samsung's goal to upgrade the original. They wanted something doable instead, a sensible projector/smartphone combo and, not least, more affordable. It will take a full review to see if the I8530 Galaxy Beam is up to it. But this quick preview of an early pre-production unit should give us a good idea of what to expect.

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