Philips Screeneo U4 review: a compact LED projector with ultra-short throw

The Philips Screeneo U4 (SCN350) projector has a 0.23-inch DMD chip from Texas Instruments (DLP230NP) with built-in Full HD definition of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This chip uses wobulation (extremely fast display of multiple 960 x 540 pixel qHD images staggered) at 240 Hz to stream four qHD images side by side to produce a 2.1 million pixel Full HD 60 Hz image. genuine. This chip is connected to a light source using four LEDs (RGBWhite) of 400 lumens. Diodes that are less powerful than a lamp or laser source still have some benefits, such as a longevity advertised at 30,000 hours or even immediate start-up.

The small Philips projector also has two 15 W speakers attached to a passive radiator to enhance the presence of the bass. It has a keystone correction system and autofocus via a ToF (time-of-flight) sensor. If the Philips Screeneo U4 is powered by an AMlogic T972 processor, it does not host Android TV, but a personalized version of Android that offers a single app: the VLC media player. On the other hand, it differs from the competition in the integration of two Bluetooth chips, which makes it possible to connect two wireless headphones simultaneously and to control the volume independently.

Philips Screeneo U4 takes up the concept with the late LG PH450UG, which we tested in 2017, but also with the excellent – and bulky – ultra-short projector Philips Screeneo HDP2510 from 2016. This Screeneo U4 was offered through from the Indiegogo platform for approx. 620 €, a pretty decent price for such a model, but Philips mentions a final selling price of around 1200 €, which makes it much less attractive.

Philips Screeneo U4, its remote control and its external power supply.

Editor's rating: 3 out of 5

2D image quality

This video projector is equipped with a fixed lens with a ratio of 0.25: 1 and can project an image of 2 m diagonally with a drop of only 30.5 cm. To perform our measurements, we placed the Screeneo U4 at 35 cm, slightly more than the recommended value, to get an image of 2 m base, so that we can compare the measurements with the measurements from the other projectors tested. Focus adjustment is automatic, as is keystone correction. The process is efficient and it is still possible to adjust manually using the remote control. As is often the case with a projector using wobulation, the picture is not entirely clear. The optics do not help things, because if the image remains almost sharp in the middle, you lose a lot of sharpness as soon as you move away from it.

SDR Colorimetry - Standard mode

SDR Colorimetry – Standard mode

Colorimetry

Editor's rating: 2 out of 5

Delta E = 10.9

To achieve the best screen quality, we have selected the default mode. If Cinema mode spreads more faithful colors – if you can put it that way – with an average delta E of 9.1, the gamma is completely whimsical with a generally overexposed image, probably to cover the dark areas. In standard mode, we obtain an average delta E of 10.9, a very high value far from delta E of 3, below which the colors shown can be considered faithful to those sent by the source.

Gamma curve

Gamma

Editor's rating: 3 out of 5

1.9

The average gamma (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 the perceived brightness, but at the expense of the accuracy of the grayscale.

Temperature curve

Temperature

Editor's rating: 3 out of 5

6890K

If the curve lacks stability very little, the average temperature measured at 6890 K is quite close to the reference for the cinema (6500 K).

Contrast

Contrast

Editor's rating: 2 out of 5

220: 1

Models that use Texas Instruments wobulation tend to offer fairly low contrast, rarely exceeding 800: 1. But the use of LEDs does not help much. On our 1% white target, the contrast is measured in a ratio of only 220: 1 and even drops to 110: 1 on our 35% white target, all with a maximum brightness of 19 cd / m². This is far from the 1340: 1 contrast calculated on the Vava 4K UST Laser Projector, equipped with a 0.47-inch DMD DLP chip and a laser, from 720: 1 measured on the Benq W1800i with its 124 cd / m², and yet more from Sony VW290ES, which tops with 135 cd / m² with a built-in contrast of 2820: 1. In practice, the low contrast of the Philips Screeneo U4 results in washed out blacks. This has little effect on, for example, TV series or sports broadcasts, but it can be annoying with movies.

Screeneo U4 does not 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 phenomenon more or less visible, or even not at all depending on the people and the images, results in small rainbows around bright objects on a dark background.

Philips Screeneo U4 in action!

Philips Screeneo U4 in action!

Screeneo U4 shows a display delay (input lag) at 29.4 ms in game mode. This results in a delay of two frames compared to the 60 Hz source, which limits the latency between the action of the controller and its after-effects on the screen. We can therefore consider playing on this video projector without any problems.

EOTF curve in HDR10, 10% window

EOTF curve in HDR10, 10% window

HDR luminance curve, 10% window.

HDR luminance curve, 10% window.

EOTF

Editor's rating: 2 out of 5

Light. max. : 19 cd / m²

Editor's rating: 2 out of 5

HDR colorimetry

HDR colorimetry

Editor's rating: 1 out of 5

Delta E = 44

Advertised as HDR10 compliant, this video projector actually only provides an image display without really respecting the HDR standard. It must be said that this model with limited power has to make do with a very reduced dynamic range, which eliminates all interest in HDR. If the software indicates that the colors are completely 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 is better to just settle for SDR content.

Editor's rating: 3 out of 5

Features and ergonomics

Philips Screeneo U4 projector with ultra-short throw.

Philips Screeneo U4 projector with ultra-short throw.

With dimensions of 22.3 x 12.3 x 8.1 cm, the Philips Screeneo U4 is a compact model that can be easily placed on a piece of furniture near 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.

The optics in the center surrounded by the camera on the left and the Tof sensor (flight time) on the right.

The optics in the center surrounded by the camera on the left and the Tof sensor (flight time) on the right.

On the left we find the camera used for autofocus, while the Tof sensor (flight time) on the right is used for automatic keystone correction. Finally, in the middle, we identify the optical device that is responsible for projecting the image.

The connection.

The connection is quite classic as it consists of two HDMI 2.0 inputs, one of which is located 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 important, is that it is possible to pair two Bluetooth devices with U4 to enjoy sound on two separate headsets by allowing individual volume control. A very handy feature that partially masks the noise from this projector, which unfortunately is not silent.

Very basic interface.

Very basic interface.

By pressing the home button on the remote control, you get the choice between the HDMI source or the multimedia player. The latter is simply the Android version of VLC; a guarantee of quality, but which collides a bit at a time when competitors prefer to offer access to video streaming applications (YouTube, Netflix, Disney +, MyCanal, etc.). With this projector you therefore have to go through an external box (Shield TV, Apple TV), or an HDMI key like Fire TV Stick or Chromecast with Google TV. This model also has no network connection (cable or wifi): you must therefore install the movies in a USB key or an external hard drive to enjoy them with VLC …

Philips Screeneo U4: a compact LED projector with ultra-short throw

The remote control.

The remote control is light, simple and functional. We find access to all the functions, including adjusting focus, volume, brightness, presets and source switching. It responds well and the rubber keys are quiet and comfortable to touch. As the system is very limited, the remote control does not bother a microphone.

Strengths

  • Design.

  • Compact.

  • Ultra short throw (easy to install).

  • Autofocus.

  • Built-in VLC.

  • Dual Bluetooth connection.

  • Reduced consumption.

Weak points

  • No built-in streaming app.

  • Limited contrast.

  • Noisy.

  • Image fidelity.

  • Lack of sharpness.

Conclusion

Global brand

Editor's rating: 3 out of 5

How does grading work?

The Philips Screeneo U4 ultra-short-throw projector is a captivating product due to its compactness and ease of use, but it makes too many concessions. However, there are some great ideas, such as the dual Bluetooth connection or the autofocus and keystone correction system, but the image quality remains perfect whether it is sharpness or fidelity. Similarly, the contrast is far too limited to make it more than an extra video projector that you should not forget to attach an HDMI key to to take advantage of streaming services.

Subnotes

  • 2D image quality

    Editor's rating: 3 out of 5

  • Features and ergonomics

    Editor's rating: 3 out of 5

  • Consumption and noise level

    Editor's rating: 3 out of 5

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