Samsung SP-A600B projector review

3.5 out of 5
£1199.99

For

Detail, colour, deep black, styling

Against

Some judder, high price

While home cinema projectors are hardly "all the rage", if you find an affordable model you can live with the prize is irresistible; huge Full HD images that give games and movies a whole new feeling.

Unlike a telly, a projector is only half the story, but if you've already got a home cinema sound system - and a screen or big white wall - something like Samsung's entry-level SP-A600B could be just the ticket. Sitting just above the entry-level, the well-built SP-A600B's small size and good looks make this a step-up product for anyone after a serious, long-lasting bit of kit.

Its specs include 1,000 ANSI Lumens and 3,000:1 contrast ratio, neither of which is particularly impressive on paper, but the shiny black SP-A600B impresses nevertheless. Some of its key successes - with colour, detail and a true rendition of black (which in a projector is all about an absence of light) - are down to its reliance on DLP 1080p technology and a six segment colour wheel.

Such tech is renowned for its skill at reproducing the contrast-heavy elements of movies, and it's effective once again. DLP's disadvantage is something called "rainbow effect", whereby some people see a spectrum of colour across the screen as a direct result of the spinning colour wheel inside the projector. It does occur on the SP-A600B, but it's far less of a problem that we expected - don't let it put you off.

The SP-A600B's got plenty of ins and outs. Two HDMI ports is average return for projectors these days, but we do wonder if a third should be the default - a Blu-ray player is likely to be the main attachment, but what about a games console and a HD set-top box?

Setting up the SP-A600B is not as easy as it could be. There's no manual lens shift lever - as you'll find on other projectors, notably from Epson and Optoma - so you have to rely on some vertical keystone correction to get the geometry correct.

After a tweak or two to the colour temperature settings, the SP-A600B provides a perfect palette and some stunning contrast that gets the best from Blu-ray, though we did notice some judder. What's missing from the SP-A600B is a frame insertion, or film mode, that's becoming increasingly common on both TVs and projectors.

There's also a modicum of picture noise in some backgrounds, though it doesn't dent the SP-A600B's reputation as a seriously impressive beamer. What might annoy is the noise levels of the SP-A600B. For while it's far quieter than projectors were a few years ago, the casing is simply not big enough to funnel away all that hot air; what's left is a drone that could irritate if you plan to sit close to the projector during movies.

Verdict

For all its cinematic goodness, nice styling and ease of use, Samsung's SP-A600B is stuck somewhere between the real bargain Full HD projectors and the high-end. As such it's a step-up model for those who are after something more solid and dependable, though a lack of flexibility and its high price takes the edge off what is an overall very enjoyable DLP performance.