The Philips Screeneo U4 projector (SCN350) is equipped with a 0.23-inch DMD chip from Texas Instruments (DLP230NP) with native Full HD definition of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This chip uses wobulation (extremely fast display of multiple 960 x 540 pixel qHD images offset from each other) at 240Hz to stream four qHD images side by side to produce a 2.1 Full HD 60Hz image. million pixels. real. This chip is coupled to a light source via four 400 lumen (RGBWhite) LEDs. Less powerful than a lamp or laser source, diodes still have some advantages, such as a long life span announced at 30,000 hours or even instant start.
The small Philips projector also features two 15W speakers paired with a passive radiator to enhance bass presence. It has a keystone and autofocus correction system via a time-of-flight (ToF) sensor. If the Philips Screeneo U4 is powered by an AMlogic T972 processor, it does not host Android TV, but a customized version of Android that offers a single app: the VLC media player. Instead, it stands out from the competition for the integration of two Bluetooth chips that allow you to connect two wireless headphones at the same time and control the volume independently.
The Philips Screeneo U4 takes up the concept of the defunct LG PH450UG we tested in 2017, but also the excellent – and bulky – Philips Screeneo HDP2510 ultra short throw projector from 2016. This Screeneo U4 was offered by the Indiegogo platform for around € 620. , quite a decent price for such a model, but Philips quotes a final sale price of around 1200 €, which makes it much less attractive.
2D image quality
This projector is equipped with a fixed lens with a 0.25: 1 ratio and can project a 2m diagonal image with a slope of only 30.5cm. To carry out our measurements we positioned the Screeneo U4 at 35 cm, just over the recommended value, in order to obtain a 2 m base image allowing us to compare the measurements with those of the other tested projectors. Focus adjustment is automatic, as is keystone correction. The process is efficient and it is still possible to manually adjust using the remote control. As is often the case with a projector that uses wobulation, the image is not perfectly sharp. Optics don’t help matters, because if the image stays nearly sharp in the center, you lose a lot of sharpness as soon as you move away from it.
Delta E = 10.9
To get the best display quality, we have chosen Standard mode. While Cinema mode delivers truer colors – if you can put it that way – with an average delta E of 9.1, the gamut is completely extravagant with a generally overexposed image, likely to uncover dark areas. In Standard mode we get an average delta E of 10.9, a very high value far from the delta E of 3 below which the displayed colors can be considered faithful to those sent by the source.
The midrange (1.9) is far from the reference value (2.2). The curve clearly lacks stability and the gray levels are all overexposed. This process is often used by projector manufacturers to artificially increase perceived brightness, but at the expense of grayscale accuracy.
If the curve lacks very slight stability, the average temperature measured at 6890 K is quite close to the reference for cinema (6500 K).
Models using Texas Instruments’ wobulation tend to offer rather low contrast, rarely more than 800: 1. But using LEDs doesn’t help much. On our 1% white target, contrast is measured at a ratio of just 220: 1 and even drops to 110: 1 on our 35% white target, all with a maximum brightness of 19 cd / m². It is a far cry from the contrast of 1340: 1 calculated on the Vava 4K UST laser projector, equipped with a 0.47-inch DLP DMD chip and a laser, from 720: 1 measured on the Benq W1800i with its 124 cd / m² and more more from the Sony VW290ES which peaks at 135 cd / m² with a native contrast of 2820: 1. In practice, the low contrast of the Philips Screeneo U4 results in washed out blacks. This has little impact on TV shows or watching sports, for example, but can be annoying with movies.
The Screeneo U4 doesn’t use a color wheel, but red, green, blue and white LEDs to quickly mix colors. The rainbow effect, visible on all projectors using a single DLP chip, is limited. This more or less visible phenomenon, or even not at all depending on the people and the images, results in small rainbows around bright objects on a dark background.
Screeneo U4 shows a display delay (input delay) of 29.4 ms in game mode, resulting in a delay of two frames from the 60 Hz source, which limits the latency between the action with the controller and its impact on the screen. We can therefore consider playing on this projector without any problem.
Light. max. : 19 cd / sqm
Delta E = 44
Billed as HDR10 compatible, this projector actually only provides an image display without really adhering to the HDR standard. It must be said that this model with limited power has to be satisfied with a very small dynamic range, which thwarts all the interest of HDR. If the software indicates that the colors are totally wrong (average delta E HDR of 44), it is mainly due to the lack of brightness which means that the displayed colors do not match those expected in HDR. In general, projectors have a lot of problems with HDR content, but with the Philips Screeneo U4 it’s better to just settle for SDR content.
Functions and ergonomics
With dimensions of 22.3 x 12.3 x 8.1 cm, the Philips Screeneo U4 is a compact model that can easily be placed on a piece of furniture close to the wall to project its image with its ultra short focal length. The weight of 1.4 kg also makes it easy to move from room to room.
On the left we find the camera used for autofocus, while the Tof (time of flight) sensor on the right is used for automatic keystone correction. Finally, in the center, we identify the optical unit in charge of image projection.
The connection is quite classic since it consists of two HDMI 2.0 inputs, one of which is positioned on the side, a headphone output and a USB 2.0 port that can be used to connect a storage device or power an HDMI key (Fire TV Stick, Chromecast with Google TV, etc.). Another special feature, and not least, is that you can pair two Bluetooth devices with the U4 to enjoy audio on two separate headphones allowing for individual volume control. A very practical feature that partially masks the noise of this projector, which unfortunately is not silent.
By pressing the home button on the remote control, you can choose between HDMI source or media player. The latter is simply the Android version of VLC; a guarantee of quality, but which clashes a bit at a time when competitors instead offer access to video streaming applications (YouTube, Netflix, Disney +, MyCanal, etc.). With this projector you must therefore go through an external box (Shield TV, Apple TV), or an HDMI key such as Fire TV Stick or Chromecast with Google TV. Also this model does not have a network connection (wired or wifi): you must therefore install the films in a USB stick or an external hard drive to enjoy them with VLC …
The remote control is light, simple and functional. We find access to all features, including adjusting focus, volume, brightness, presets and source switching. It responds well and the rubber keys are quiet and pleasant to the touch. Since the system is very limited, the remote control does not disturb with a microphone.
Ultra short throw (easy to install).
Double Bluetooth connection.
No integrated streaming app.
Lack of sharpness.
How does the evaluation work?
The Philips Screeneo U4 Ultra Short Throw projector is an attractive product due to its compactness and ease of use, but it makes too many concessions. However, there are some good ideas, such as the double Bluetooth connection or the automatic focus and keystone correction system, but the image quality remains perfectible, both in terms of sharpness and fidelity. Likewise, the contrast is far too limited to make it something more than an extra projector to which you shouldn’t forget to attach an HDMI key to enjoy streaming services.
2D image quality
Functions and ergonomics
Consumption and noise level
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