- Built-in sound system works well
- Decent all-round picture quality
- Ultra short-throw design is brilliantly convenient
- Black level response could be better
- You can get better pictures for the same money or less from conventional projectors
- Slight loss of focus in the corners
- Ultra short-throw DLP projector
- Full HD native resolution
- Built-in 26W 2.1 sound system
- Supports multimedia streaming from phones and tablets
- Carry handle and ships with a carry bag
- Manufacturer: Philips
- Review Price: £1,499.00/$2,2485
WHAT IS THE PHILIPS SCREENEO 2.0?
Now for something completely different: a DLP projector that wants to be both a big-screen TV and a sound bar, and resembles a bucket. Confused? Welcome to the weird but wonderful world of the Philips Screeneo 2.0.
PHILIPS SCREENEO 2.0 – DESIGN AND FEATURES
The Screeneo 2.0, or officially the Philips HDP2510/EU, really looks like a bucket. From the fold-down silver carry handle to gentle downwards tapering, the Screeneo wouldn’t look out of place on a beach with a spade propped up against it.
It’s not ugly, though. The black-and-silver colour scheme is smart and the finish quality is high. The Screeneo is actually a triumph of design for all the functionality it crams into its reasonably compact body.
What you get is ultra short-throw projection technology and a potent integrated audio solution. The point of the Screeneo 2.0 is to recreate the experience of watching a huge television for a fraction of the price.
Let’s first look at the projector. It’s a single-chip DLP system capable of punching out a claimed 2,000 lumens of maximum brightness, with a vast contrast ratio of 200,000:1. That means it’s definitely a video product, rather than the sort of thing you’d use for PowerPoint presentations.
The DLP optics also deliver a Full HD resolution plus a claimed 1.07 billion colours from a six-segment (RGBRGB) colour wheel system. The 250W UHP lamp inside the Screeneo 2.0 is supposed to last more than 10,000 hours – a huge figure by projector standards, and one that should greatly reduce running costs over the projector’s lifetime. This is a big deal for a workhorse projector that’s designed to potentially replace a living room TV.
The single most remarkable thing about the Screeneo 2.0’s projection system is its throw ratio. The reason for its bucket-like shape is that it contains a projector firing upwards from its bottom. It does this via an optical array that ultimately produces a picture through an angled “window” on the upper edge. This makes it possible to achieve a huge picture from a tiny throw distance.
Sit the projector just 10cm from your screen or wall and you can enjoy a picture 50 inches in diameter. Stretch that distance to 42cm and you get a 120-inch picture. There is no zoom feature, so the only way to way to adjust the picture size is to physically move the Screeneo 2.0 closer to or further away from the wall.
There are real advantages to having a projector that can sit so close to a wall. It functions like a television in terms of the impact it has on your living room layout. It doesn’t need to be placed in the centre of your room, as you would a normal projector, and there’s no need to worry about long cable runs.
It carries three HDMI video connectors rather than the two found on the vast majority of projectors. It’s also equipped with Bluetooth, so you can effortlessly stream video, photos and music files to the projector from smart devices. There’s also a USB port for memory sticks.
Other connections of note include a 12V trigger output for firing up a motorised screen; a headphone port; an optical digital audio output; audio inputs and outputs; a composite video jack (although this should only be used as a last resort given the relatively low picture quality it carries); and a VGA PC port.
It is compatible with 3D, although no glasses are included.
PHILIPS SCREENEO 2.0 – SETUP
The Screeneo 2.0 is a mixed bag when it comes to setup. It’s pretty cool that you can just plug in the projector and enjoy big images straight away, but there are a couple of potential complications.
Firstly, the motorised focus adjustment, accessed via the remote control, is imprecise. You can hear it chuntering along for quite some time without making any significant impact on the image’s sharpness. It gets there in the end, but the adjustments are so gradual that you are never entirely convinced that you’ve got it totally spot on.
Secondly, it lacks any sort of vertical image shifting or zoom. That makes positioning a little trickier if you use a screen instead of a wall.
The settings are comprehensive, with a helpful series of gamma presets and both colour and white balance management.
Key setups: I’d recommend using the Cinema lamp mode for dark room viewing and the Daylight mode for bright room viewing. For me, the default PrimeTime mode falls between the two.
It’s also essential that you turn off the Flow Motion processing, since it causes some pretty nasty artefacts. I’d recommend leaving the Dynamic Contrast feature on, although the difference it makes is marginal.
If you’re using your wall rather than a screen, it’s definitely worth checking out the Wall Colour Correction option. This is a very handy shortcut for neutralising the impact your decor may have on picture quality.
PHILIPS SCREENEO 2.0 – PICTURE QUALITY
The Screeneo 2.0 does an excellent job of retaining image geometry, despite its ultra short-throw optical system.
There’s no bowing along the top or bottom edges of the kind I’ve seen with other ultra short-throw projectors. While you may have to use some keystone correction to keep the sides perpendicular, this does not cause much in the way of artefacts or loss of resolution.
The image is also free of brightness the hotspots and inconsistencies that generally affect ultra short-throw projectors.
A slight loss of sharpness is evident in the corners, and this becomes more apparent as you increase the size of the image. As a result, I would limit the image size to 90 inches at a push. This issue is common among ultra-short throw projectors and the Screeneo 2.0 suffers less than most.
Particularly impressive is the projector’s colour handling. The range of tones it delivers is strikingly well suited to video playback right out of the box. Skin tones look natural and full of tonal subtlety, rich colours looking bold but never over-stressed or unbalanced, and even dark colour tones look both authentic and full of shading detail.
There’s no sign of posterisation (colour striping) issues either.
The impressive colour performance of the Screeneo 2.0 helps to give its Full HD pictures a good sense of detail and texture, and this isn’t damaged excessively by motion judder. This is a relief given the unusable nature of the Flow Motion processing system, which should be kept off.
Pictures look markedly brighter than those of its predecessor, resulting in images engage even in a bright room. The brightness boost also delivers an uplift in shadow detail in dark scenes.
Thankfully, this boost in brightness has not had a negative impact on the projector’s contrast performance. Dark scenes don’t appear to be any more prone to the classic low-contrast grey mist effect.
That said, the Screeneo 2.0’s black levels are only maybe a touch above average by the standards of the home entertainment projector market at large.
In other negative news, I occasionally spotted signs “rainbow effect” colour striping noise over stand-out bright objects. My test sample also showed a faint dust “sphere” in the bottom-right corner of the image. No amount of cleaning the image “window’” shifted this, proving that the dust was tucked away somewhere inside the projector’s optics.
There’s a very good chance that a Screeneo 2.0 projector you buy won’t suffer with such a dust issue – but clearly, there’s potential for dust to get into the projector’s optical path.
Given that the Screeneo 2.0 is designed to sit right next to the pictures it produces, it’s great to find that its bucket-shaped body is completely free of light leakage.
The Screeneo 2.0’s practical, multi-functional design makes it a potential favourite for gaming as well as movie watching. With this in mind, an input lag figure of 38ms is solid enough, despite falling a few milliseconds shy of the very speediest projector responders.
PHILIPS SCREENEO 2.0 – SOUND QUALITY
The bottom half of the bucket contains a three-speaker audio system. Two main drivers and a subwoofer put out 26W of power in a Dolby Digital 2.1 configuration.
The Screeneo 2.0 has a huge advantag over rival projectors with built-in audio in that it keeps the picture and sound close together. The device’s speakers throw their sound wide – at least as wide as a 100in image – and even attempt to introduce a degree of height.
The built-in audio is also able to go louder than any rival, and even serves up some real bass. There’s at least a sense of rumbling beneath action scenes, and this provides for a far more powerful, cinematic feel than the weedy, treble-biassed audio from most projector speakers.
At the highest volumes, action scenes can sound a little harsh. The usually solid bass can occasionally drop out or “phut” as the bass drivers struggle to cope with sustained and/or extreme low-frequency effects. Voices can also become muffled during action scenes. Keep away from the Wide Sound mode, which increases both the harshness and the loss of vocals during action scenes.
One final issue is that there seems to be a very slight delay between the audio and video tracks. This can usually be fixed by tweaking the audio delay feature that most Blu-ray players carry these days. Overall, though, the movie sound pros far outweigh the cons.
The Screeneo 2.0 can even play music streamed from your smartphones and tablets. And it does this well, especially if you take the time tweak the equaliser.
One last thing to mention here is the remote control provided with the Screeneo 2.0. Basically, this is a pretty uninspiring affair thanks to it lacking any backlighting and a tendency for its buttons not to react properly at the first push.
SHOULD I BUY A PHILIPS SCREENEO 2.0?
The Screeneo 2.0 delivers a formidable mix of convenience and performance that ensures it’s far from the gimmick it might sound on paper. It offers an effective and genuinely innovative solution to a number of traditional living room projection issues, making it unique in its field.
There are some compromises, but these aren’t severe when you consider the multiple advantages. The biggest argument against the Screeneo 2.0 is its £1,500 asking price. You can certainly get projectors that deliver a better picture performance for less; models such as the £800 BenQ W2000. Sony’s phenomenal VPL-HW40ES home-cinema projector is available for the same £1,500.
Then again, the Screeneo 2.0 is much more than simply a projector. It’s a projector for people whose homes may not be compatible with regular projectors. It’s a decent sound system for those who don’t want separate speakers. Furthermore, the mega-sized TVs the Screeneo aims to replace typically cost many times more.
The Screeneo 2.0 outperforms expectations on every front to deliver an innovative and genuinely effective big-screen solution for home-cinema fans.