With the new Philips Screeneo projector series, you will no longer need to have any kind of special setup that is usually needed while initially installing a projector. The Philips screeneo HDP1590 and HDP1690 are what they are call an “ultra-short throw” projector. It is feature rich with Bluetooth connectivity, DLNA streaming and to top it all, an entire Android OS running. That is not all, it also has the ability to project 3D videos.
An Unconventional design
I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear the word “projector”, in my mind I have a fixed image of a rectangular box with a lens on the front and a bunch of connectors at the back. So, when I first had a look at the Philips Screeneo projector, I was immediately looking for the lens. When I could not find it, I questioned whether I was looking at the correct product. Soon after it became apparent that the lens is on the top which is unlike any projector I have ever seen.
The projector has a big body with curved front face and a relatively flat top with a rectangular slot-like shape from where the image is projected. The front face has a grill and a metallic Philips logo which is not fixed and it is actually a cover for the connectors sitting right behind it. Upon sliding the logo downwards you will have access to the HDMI port, the USB port, SD card reader slot, 3.5 mm audio jack and a focus control knob. Furthermore, on the rear of the projector you will have access to two USB ports, two HDMI ports, digital audio output port, an ethernet connector, stereo audio input and a 12V power jack.
Behind the front grill are two speakers that can pump out 26W worth of audio power. It is very rare to see stereo speakers in a projector, especially ones that are any good. However, Philips is targeting this product for use in compact places which means the addition of speakers is of more importance.The projector is indeed quite thick given that there are large speakers sitting inside it. After looking closer at the design it is apparent that the outer shell has a balance of matte and glossy surfaces. This uplifts the device from feeling cheap in spite of it being entirely made from plastic (except the grill which is metallic).
A truly modern projector…
Everything about this projector is way ahead in comparison to the usual projectors we see on the market. The Screeneo HDP1590 and the HDP1690 uses DLP technology which uses an LED lamp instead of gas discharge lamps. The good thing about LEDs is that there is no need to have any high voltage circuitry inside to drive the lamp. Another good thing about LEDs is you will be able to get a pure white light of high intensity without much hassle.They are also very energy efficient to run. On the other hand, traditional gas discharge lamps also produce pure white light but require bulky circuit to produce the high voltage required for creating the bright white arc.
The usual projectors on the market mostly make use of LCD technology that involves having tri-colour LCD panels with a weird little prism that eventually helps form a coloured image. Things get much more simplified and this is thanks to the MEMS technology which has allowed us to put many of the moving parts on tiny chips. Instead of having tri-colour LCDs, DLP technology uses Digital Micromirror Devices. If you haven’t glazed over already, these are simply extremely tiny mirrors that move away or towards the light to turn the pixels on and off. DMDs come in form of tiny semiconductor chips which have a similar appearance to a camera sensor.
Along with having wired connectivity to supply the projector with the video and audio, there is option to pair it over Bluetooth and also stream media over WiFi using DLNA. Speaking of DLNA, it also supports Miracast that enables users to mirror their mobile devices on to the projector screen. Surprisingly the Screeneo projectors run a full Android OS which is capable of downloading apps. This will allow you to use Chrome browser on the projector to browse the internet. If you do not wish to do that, you can always use the Miracast functionality to share your screen. Installing Android apps does sound fun, but using them is quite difficult because of the lack of proper user input. The long remote control provided does very little to make the human interface with the projector any easier.
Two additional models, HDP1590TV and HDP1690TV are pretty much identical except you will be getting inbuilt TV tuners enabling you to plug in an antenna or TV feed.
…that does not allow us to control it
All the media capabilities and modern hardware is of no use if it does not provide the user with rudimentary controls such as colour correction, zoom and focus. Zoom and focus may not be needed but colour correction is definitely a must. The Screeneo HDP1590 lacks the brightness required to produce a sufficient contrast ratio. Dark scenes in movies appear very dull and we are unable to see much detail. The basic customisation options do allow users to choose the colour of the wall, whether yellow, red, blue, green, but does not allow us to accurately control the projection colour which in fact could prove much more useful to many users out there. Most of the settings come as presets and changing any one of them immediately takes us to manual mode, which is alright, but there is just nothing much to change. On the other hand, the HDP1690, a better projector as compared to HDP1590, offers a much brighter projection and also brings control over colour correction.
The Philips Screeneo HDP1590 and Screeneo HDP1690 project an image resolution of 1280 x 800 which is equivalent to 720p HD. The image quality is alright, not too good, not too bad. What is interesting about this projector is it comes with option to project 3D images which requires the viewer to wear active shutter 3D glasses.
3D glasses contain a small battery that does the job of blanking either right or left eye at a given time depending on the synchronization signal from DLP projector. The 3D image quality is average and cannot be called the best. It is indeed acceptable but you may experience ‘fuzzy’ motion in 3D mode which may be partially due to the low resolution of the projector.
This projector is an excellent choice to play games on. The large screen truly gives an immersive experience to the gamer, especially in a dark room. The ultra short throwback feature allows the projector to throw a huge 50″ image while sitting only 12cm away from the screen. The image stretches to a threshold of 100″ when it is 44cm away. Short projection distance allows gamers to place this projector besides their gaming console and not require any kind of drilling and fitting for it. This also makes the projector very easy to setup.
When you try to stream a higher resolution video over it, the projector will not be able to handle it at all. Either the image will be fuzzy or the audio will stutter, usually both would happen. Another problem with this projector is the low speed WiFi chipset which cannot handle streaming high bit rate video and audio. A better option would be to use a faster WiFi dongle or Chromecast. Alternatively you could just hardwire it in with the ethernet port.
The inbuilt speakers are able pump 26W of RMS power which is pretty loud if you were to actually hear it. Given that this projector is meant to be used in compact places, 26W is more than enough. It is not just the stereo speakers that come inside this projector, there is a sub woofer sitting there as well. The combination results in deep, thumping bass, quite acceptable mids and highs. We all know Philips makes good quality audio gear and it would be a shame if the audio quality on Screeneo projectors was not up to the mark.
The 3.5mm can only output the audio where you can either plug in your headset or larger stereo speakers. So, if you are thinking of using it as a PA system by plugging in a hand held mic, it won’t work.
The Philips Screeneo HDP1590 and the HDP1690 may not be the best projectors out there but they do give us a glimpse of what is to come in the future in terms of projector technology. Vast options available for pushing content to the screen is very much welcome and we do not even see those features regularly on projectors even today. The ultra short throw feature will definitely help in preserving your gaming setup at home without requiring you to wall mount the projector. It can simply sit besides your PS4 or Xbox One. The Screeneo series of projectors may not deliver the best picture quality, but it definitely pushes the projector technology forward by integrating the modern media protocols and better connectivity with mobile devices.
3D compatibility: Yes
3D glasses included: Yes
AC adapter frequency: 47/63 Hz
AC adapter input voltage: 90 – 264 V
Batteries included: Yes
Built-in display: No
Built-in speaker(s): Yes
Cables included: AC, HDMI
Card reader integrated: Yes
Carrying case: Yes
Colour of product: Black
Compatible memory cards: SD
Composite video in: 1
Contrast ratio (typical): 100000:1
DLNA certified: Yes
DVI port: No
Depth: 28.7 cm
Form factor: Desktop
Full HD: No
HDMI ports quantity: 3
Handheld remote control: Yes
Headphone outputs: 1
Height: 14.8 cm
Image formats supported: BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG
Internal storage capacity: 4 GB
Lamp type: LED
Native aspect ratio: 16:9
Noise level: 25 dB
Number of built-in speakers: 2
Operating system installed: Android 4.2
Operating temperature (T-T): 5 – 35 °C
Package depth: 38.9 cm
Package height: 27.7 cm
Package width: 44.6 cm
Power source: AC
Projection distance: 0.1 – 0.44 m
Projection technology: DLP
Projector native resolution: WXGA (1280×800)
Quick start guide: Yes
RMS rated power: 26 W
Screen size compatibility: 1270 – 2540 mm (50 – 100″)
The Screeneo series of projectors may not deliver the best picture quality, but it definitely pushes the projector technology forward by integrating the modern media protocols and better connectivity with mobile devices.