For a brand renowned for deluging the marketplace with seemingly endless amounts of fast-changing TV ranges, Samsung sure is tentative about projectors. In fact, in the three years that I’ve been covering AV kit for TrustedReviews, we’ve only seen two Samsung projectors - and one of those, the SP-P400B was a little pocket-sized convenience job rather than a proper home cinema machine.
But today I’m about to raise the number of Samsung projectors we’ve covered to three, as I set about the SP-A600B - a model that arrives the best part of two years after Samsung’s previous home cinema contender, the SP-A800B. Here’s hoping Samsung has put all that time to good use in making the A600B a bit more stellar than the rather average A800B.
The A600B gets off to a tidy start, at any rate, by being quite cute to look at thanks to a seriously curvy - almost arched - shape and high-gloss black (or possibly very deep blue!) finish.
Its lens looks promisingly large for such an affordable projector too, and build quality seems solid if not spectacular. It’s also pretty well connected for a sub-£1,200 Full HD projector, with two HDMIs, a composite video input, an S-Video input, a component video input, a D-Sub PC port, and an RS-232C jack for system integration. In an ideal world we might have also found a 12V trigger out and a USB input, but as I so often have to say, since when has the world ever been ideal?!
The A600B's specs class as fair to middling. I’ve already noted the Full HD native resolution, and this is joined by a 4,000-hour lamp life (if you run the projector in eco mode), a promising 1,000 ANSI Lumens claimed brightness output, a good (for this price point) six-segment DLP colour wheel, and a passable claimed contrast ratio of 3,000:1.
If you’re thinking that this contrast figure looks very low compared with the 50,000:1-type figures bandied around by some rival projectors, then you should realise that in the A600B's case the quoted contrast ratio is a 'native' figure, not one that depends on some dynamic iris jiggery pokery.
So far the A600B has got me feeling reasonably optimistic about its chances. But my mood changes abruptly as I try to set the thing up and uncover a series of limitations.
First and worst, there's no vertical or horizontal image shifting. This made it really quite difficult to get the image correctly positioned on the screen in my test room - especially since my projector mounting position of choice is on a stand at the rear of the room, behind my seating position. In the end I had to use a far from ideal combination of the screw down 'feet' on the projector's underside and, um, a pile of magazines under the rear edge.
This situation also meant that I had to make liberal use of dreaded vertical keystone correction, whereby the projector effectively distorts the image's geometry in order to sort out the trapezoid image shape you end up with after tilting a projector up or down. Grr.