Samsung SP-H03 review

Although flawed, this is the best pico projector we've seen so far. If you're planning on using it for PowerPoint presentations, bear in mind there's no remote control for the internal media player.

5 Feb 2011
Our Rating 
4/5
Price when reviewed 
218
inc VAT

Specifications

854x480 resolution, 30 ANSI lumens, 38x70x70mm, 210.0kg

Until now, there has been no pocket projector that we'd even have considered recommending. Although Samsung’s latest attempt, which is around the size and weight of a Rubik’s cube, addresses a few of our main complaints, it's still not quite good enough to win an award.

As it's battery powered, you don’t need a second power supply to hook it up to your laptop to make a presentation. The battery lasts around two hours, so should be enough for at least a couple of presentations.

Samsung SP-H03 battery detached

The built-in media player is a real bonus, since you don’t even need a laptop to show a PowerPoint slideshow, photos or videos. The 1W speaker is surprisingly loud, but you wouldn’t want to use it for a feature-length movie. Although the media player has a music section, we can’t see many people using it. There’s a composite video input - the stereo phono audio inputs are shared with this and the VGA input.

Samsung SP-H03 rear ports

As well as PowerPoint, the SP-H03 supports a wide range of formats including DOC, XLS and PDF, plus Office 2007 formats. It can handle plenty of video formats including MKV, M4V and MP4. It played some of our MP4 test files, but not others. Annoyingly, you have to resize photos, as the SP-H03 can’t handle JPEGs over 1,200 pixels wide.

There's 1GB of internal memory, but you can also play files from microSD cards up to 16GB and USB flash drives of any size. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support portable USB hard disks.

Video and PowerPoint playback are useful features, but other document viewers aren't much use. They default to showing whole pages, and it’s cumbersome to zoom in and navigate around pages to obtain readable text. There’s no remote control, and the touch-sensitive controls are all but invisible until you touch one to make them light up. As it's a smooth surface, there's nothing to alert your fingertip that it's over a button.

Image quality is a little better than we’d expected, although still far from the full-size projectors in the Labs (see pxxx). The widescreen resolution of 854x480 is low and not a standard resolution in Windows. Unless you can create a custom resolution, you’ll have to settle for 800x600, which makes text look fuzzy. Colours are fairly realistic, though, and contrast reasonable. It’s impossible to get perfect focus across the entire screen – when the top is in focus, the bottom is slightly out; the corners are fuzzy when the centre is pin-sharp.

The 30-lumen brightness can manage roughly a 30in screen under normal office lighting, only increasing to around 60in (5ft) in near darkness. There’s no keystone correction, so it's best to project from a flat surface, or use the tripod mount underneath.

Samsung SP-H03

Fortunately we didn't notice any rainbow effect and, while the focus issue is frustrating, the SP-H03 is the best pocket projector we've seen. It's reasonably priced for what it offers, but unless you need the portability, the sacrifice in quality and resolution mean a full-size projector is still better value.

Details

Price £218
Details www.samsung.co.uk
Rating ****

Specifications

Projector technology DLP
Lamp brightness 30 ANSI lumens
Lamp life 30,000
Lamp life in economy mode 30,000
Contrast ratio 1,000:1

Picture

Native resolution 854x480
Max compressed resolution 1,920x1,080
Aspect ratio 16:9
Other aspect ratios none
Max diagonal at 7ft 84in
Throw ratio 1:1
Optical zoom N/A
Projection distance 0.35m to 3m
Mirror image no
Invert image no
Lens shift horizontal N/A
Lens shift vertical N/A
HD Ready no
Special view modes none

Inputs/Outputs

VGA input yes
DVI input No
Sound inputs 3.5mm
Composite input yes
S-video input no
HDMI input no
Component input no
PAL support yes
SECAM support yes
NTSC support yes
Others inputs/outputs mini-USB input

Other

Noise (in normal use) 23dB(A)
Size 38x70x70mm
Weight 210.0kg
Internal speakers yes (1W mono)
Extras power supply, USB cable, AV adaptor cable, VGA adaptor cable, carry case, battery
Remote special features N/A
Power consumption standby 0W
Power consumption on 12W

Lamp

Lamp cost (inc VAT) N/A
Lamp supplier N/A
Lamp cost per hour of use N/A
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy) N/A

Buying Information

Price £218
Supplier http://www.play.com
Details www.samsung.co.uk

Read more