Philips launches its ultra-short throw projector at a low price (but it won’t last)

Small projector, (very) big screen! After its flashy but overpriced Screeneo U3 sold for nearly €2,000, Philips is doing it again with its Screeneo U4. Launched on the platform fundraising On Indiegogo, where it raked in nearly €1.9m in orders, this ultra-short throw projector is still on offer there for €599, up from €1,199 when it’s in stores. A good deal ? “20 Minutes” was able to test it in preview.

2 meters diagonally 30 cm from the wall

Unpacked, the Screeneo U4 surprises with its very small size. Measuring 12.35 x 8.15 x 22.35 cm (for 1.4 kg), the device comes with quite a sleek design. Adding to its discretion, this video projector has an ultra-short focal length. This means that it is possible to place it very close to your projection screen or wall. Judge for yourself: it offers a screen diagonal of 15 inches (38 cm) at 19.5 cm distance, and up to 2 m diagonal at 30.5 cm! This is a positive point that makes it a champion of discretion. But also equipment that can be easily moved from one room to another.

Accounting Full HD, HDR10, they are quite well equipped to satisfy our increasingly hungry desires for images. For this it has two HDMI sockets (including a CEC) and a USB 2.0 socket. Its audio section is pretty well equipped too, with, on board, a pair of 2x 15-watt speakers. Originality: the Screeneo U4 is also Dual Bluetooth. This means you can connect two wireless speakers to it, but also headphones or earphones for stereo listening. A wired headset will also work with a 3.5 mini jack.

XXXL image but XL shine

We saw it during our test: the Screeno U4 is the embodiment of simplicity. With no adjustments required (the camera focuses and corrects keystone distortion on its own), it’s ready to go. All you have to do is enter its Menu to adjust the brightness and select the desired audio output. Next, connect a Blu-ray/DVD player, computer, USB key… and enjoy your content with the remote control in hand.

The Screeneo U4 is an ultra short throw projector. -PHILIPS

If the “wow” effect is essential when the image is displayed very, very large and very clear, while the device is placed at the foot of our white wall, however, we quickly had to draw the curtains in our living room to offer you a environment most conducive to the quality of its exhibition. The reason ? With its 400 lumen brightness, the projector is struggling in a room where darkness is not made. Hence contrasts that really lack depth and blacks that are a bit washed out. Screeneo is therefore more suitable for a real film/series session in a darkened room than for television use.

A true cinema experience.

For its part, the audio quality it offers is quite convincing, given the small size of the product. The fan noise of the device is perfectly covered. The combination of two Bluetooth speakers (as long as you have a pair and they are powerful) adds to the user’s immersion and allows you to expand the sound spectrum by placing the speakers on either side of the image. The result is a true cinematic experience.

The connection of the Philips Screeneo U4 video projector.
The connection of the Philips Screeneo U4 video projector. -PHILIPS

Compared to the Screeneo U4, the overall impression is quite good. For the rest, its brightness deserves to be reinforced, finally it lacks enough to repatriate content without the need to connect any reader. We would have very much liked it to be Android TV natively, just to further simplify its use. Instead, you will have to add a Google Chromecast key (69 euros), an Amazon FireStick (59 euros) or an Apple TV box (from 159 euros)…

Quite interesting for its exclusive launch on Indiegogo (599 euros, a very good price for an ultra-short throw projector!), the Screeneo U4 risks becoming a little less exciting when it hits the market in August, at 1,199 euros. Then you’re looking at less expensive, better-equipped projectors like Samsung’s brand-new The Freestyle (a short-throw model that sells for €819). Even compared to classic projectors, but better connected and brighter, such as the BenQ W1800i (1,290 euros). This model of Android TV shows a brightness of 2,000 lumens. And it’s UltraHD.

Leave a Comment