This week we reviewed the Screeneo S6, Philips’ brand new 4K UHD HDR video projector. This versatile, ultra compact video projector sold for 1,799 euros runs Android and is compatible with Bluetooth, WiFi, DLNA, AirPlay, and Miracast transmission technologies. The Philips S6 can project a wide image which may reach up to 4.5 meters in diagonal. On paper, the Philips Screeneo S6 video projector has everything going for it, but does it deliver? This is what we’re about to discover.
Philips Screeneo S6: the brand
Philips started in 1891 with the creation of Philips & Co. by Anton and Gerard Philips. In the beginning, the company specialized in making carbon filament lamps and became one of the major manufacturers in the early 1900s. In 1918, Philips introduced its medical X-ray tube. This event marked the first step toward the diversification of the brand’s catalog. Seven years later, Philips was involved in the first tests to create what would later become the television. In 1927, the brand also started making radios. This new venture was an instant success and Philips quickly became the world’s leading radio manufacturer. During the 40s and 50s, the company also played an important role in the development of the recording, transmission, and reproduction process of televised programs. Philips introduced the cassette tape 1963 and started manufacturing its own printed circuit boards in 1965. Philips reached a milestone in 1983 with the launch of the compact disc. Around the same time, the manufacturer also celebrated the production of its 100,000,000th TV set. At the dawn of the 21st Century, Philips continued its path toward growth and evolution. The brand asserted its desire to offer state-of-the-art, user-friendly electronics designed to meet the needs and expectations of mainstream consumers. Today, Philips is one of the key players in the world of hi-fi and video with its range of LED TVs, OLED TVs, 4K UHD TVs, HD video projectors, and more recently, HDR 4K UHD video projectors, including the Philips Screeneo S6 that we will be reviewing today.
Philips has always taken pride in manufacturing elegantly designed and unique looking video projectors. Some models were even named after Hollywood icons, such as the Philips Astaire, Philips Bogart Matchline, Philips Monroe and Philips Garbo Matchline projectors. The Screeneo range debuted in 2014 and is now comprised of many emblematic models. The first generation of Screeneo video projectors consisted of the Screeneo HDP1590, HDP1550, HDP1690 and HDP1690TV. In 2016, the second generation of Screeneo projectors was introduced with the HDP2510. Five years after the release of the first model, Philips released the third generation of this range which includes the Screeneo S2, S4, S6 and U3. These new projectors are 1080p or 4K UHD models running an Android OS and featuring AirPlay, WiFi, Bluetooth, and Miracast compatibility.
Philips Screeneo S6: packaging and accessories
The Philips Screeneo S6 video projector comes with a power cable, a set of batteries for the remote control, a quick start guide, and a warranty card. You will have to acquire an HDMI cable to connect is to a Blu-ray player (ideally 4K UHD), or a DTV box.
Philips Screeneo S6: introduction
The Philips Screeneo S6 video projector features a DLP chip (0.47” first generation model, with the slight drawback of having a white frame around the picture) capable of displaying 16:9 format videos with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. The projection is handled by an LED lamp with a brightness of 2,000 lumens for a contrast level of 15,000:1. Consequently, this projector may be used to watch movies or play video games in a room that is not entirely dark. At least, this is what the specs suggest. The lamp has an estimated lifespan of 30,000 hours, enough to watch the entirety of the Star Trek franchise!
The Screeneo S6 is HDR compatible and can handle the HDR10 and HLG protocols to display highly contrasted scenes. It is therefore capable of displaying a plethora of details in the brightest and darkest areas of an image thanks to its extended dynamic range. Moreover, the Screeneo S6 is capable of reproducing 125% of the color spectrum of the Rec.709 color space, which is the standard used for high-definition picture in the audiovisual industry.
The Philips Screeneo video projector is fitted with 2 HDMI 2.0 inputs (HDCP2.2). This video projector is compatible with 4K UHD streams, up to 60 frames per second. It also features a digital optical output and two USB ports to play audio and video files stored on a flash drive or charge a portable device. It is therefore possible to bypass the integrated audio system of the Screeneo S6 to connect it to a soundbar, a compact home theater system or a full scale home theater installation for better sound immersion.
Philips Screeneo S6: Android, AirPlay, Miracast, Bluetooth
Announced by the brand as an all-in-one solution, the Philips Screeneo S6 fulfills this promise particularly well thanks to the addition of the Android OS which provides access to a wide selection of content. For example, once the projector is connected to the Internet via its WiFi controller or an Ethernet cable, it is possible to install numerous apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Youtube, etc. The projector is also compatible with the AirPlay and Miracast protocols which allow you to easily stream videos from an iOS, Android or Windows smartphone or tablet. Consequently, we were able to watch videos from Youtube, Mycanal, and Eurosport on our wide screen by streaming them from an iPhone. Streaming music is also possible via Bluetooth. To do so, when the Screeneo S6 is in sleep mode, select it as a source on a Bluetooth compatible device.
Thanks to its two USB ports (one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0), the Philips Screeneo S6 may be used to play videos, audio files, and photos stored on a flash drive or a hard drive. Most audio and video formats are handled, including AVI, MKV, MOV, MPG, MP4, MPEG, and MKV in 1080p and 4K HDR resolution, as well as MP2, MP3, AAC, AC3, PCM, ADPCM formats for music.
Philips Screeneo S6: testing conditions
For this review of the Philips Screeneo S6 video projector, we paired it with the Lumene Coliseum UHD 4K/8K Platinum projection screen. This model is a motorized screen fitted with an extremely smooth, tab-tensioned, 240 cm screen specifically designed for Ultra High Definition projection. We placed the Philips Screeneo S6 video projector approximately 2.8 meters away from the screen and positioned the projector lens slightly below the level of the screen. To compensate for the difference, we adjusted the level of the front feet of the video projector.
In order to precisely adjust the frame, we used the test pattern which may be accessed via the Screeneo S6’s menu. This function is named “Correction” and lets you adjust each angle of the picture precisely in order to accurately define its outline so that it matches the screen.
We were particularly impressed by how simple setting up the Philips Screeneo S6 was, especially when using the automatic focus system. Shortly after turning it on, the video projector automatically adjusts the focus in under 2 seconds. The focus can be adjusted at any time so that the picture stays clear and crisp, even if you move the video projector. At least in theory, because in practice, the optimal focal point is at the center of the screen. The edges of the picture sometimes lack detail depending on the image displayed on the screen. We tried to correct this issue by manually adjusting the focus and by moving the projector around a little in order to deactivate the autofocus, but we only noticed slight improvements. This is not extremely bothersome, but it can be disappointing for perfectionists looking for a perfect picture.
Let’s say it right off the bat: the Philips Screeneo S6 default color settings are very disappointing. The picture is far too warm, making people’s skin look orange and white areas look yellow. It is therefore necessary to adjust the colors manually to obtain a more natural result. This is where things get complicated. The Screeneo S6’s colorimetry can only be adjusted by modifying the colors red, green, and blue. Brightness and contrast cannot be adjusted manually and only a handful of presets can be selected: Natural, Gaming, Standard, and High brightness. Moreover, the color settings cannot be adjusted using a test pattern available on a calibration disc such as the Inakustik calibration disc. Consequently, you have to go into the projector’s settings menu, adjust the colors, then go back to the calibration pattern to observe the adjustments. If the new settings are still not satisfactory, you have to repeat the process several times, which quickly becomes a hassle. We finally managed to achieve proper color calibration after quite a while. Below are our calibration settings:
- Red: 62%
- Green: 97%
- Blue: 89%
Philips Screeneo S6: our impressions
For this test, we first connected the Philips Screeneo S6 video projector to the Pioneer UDP-LX500 4K UHD Blu-ray player using an Audioquest Cinnamon HDMI cable. As we expected, video projection in broad daylight was far from satisfactory, especially considering how bright our test room is due to its wide window. Although the resulting picture is bright and fully legible, it suffers from a serious lack of contrast. We ended up closing the blinds to make the room dark. The picture contrast and clarity instantly increased, despite some remaining light, not unlike the conditions in a standard living room.
Full UHD 4K Blu-ray
Seated about 4 meters away from the screen, the Blu-ray version of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody left us puzzled. The colors were satisfactory and the contrast was adequate, but the blur around the edges of the picture which we noticed during the calibration process of the Philips Screeneo S6 was still a problem. When Rami Malek (the actor portraying Freddie Mercury) was in the middle of the screen, the picture was extremely crisp and we could almost count the hairs in his moustache. But as soon as he left this area, his face became a lot less detailed. In both 60 and 24 fps, the overall restitution lacked smoothness, even with the FlowMotion function activated. This wasn’t particularly bothersome for a movie like Bohemian Rhapsody, but it was a lot more problematic when we watched action scenes from the 4K UHD and HDR Blu-ray version of Mad Max Fury Road.
1080p HD and 4K HDR UHD in USB mode
The Philips Screeneo S6 video projector is fitted with two USB ports which allow you to play video and audio files. To test out the performance of the integrated multimedia player, we connected a 2TB hard drive on which multiple, more or less compressed 1080p and UHD 4K files were stored. We first watched the movie Avatar in uncompressed 4K UHD and HDR 10. The quality of the picture was mesmerizing, the color saturation and brightness were spot-on, mirroring the experience of watching the film in a movie theater. The benefits brought by HDR technology were clearly noticeable. The contrast was enhanced and the overall experience was a lot more comfortable. Nevertheless, the lack of smoothness we observed with Blu-ray discs was still an issue here. We then watched the movie The Wolf’s Call in 1080p. The picture was gorgeous. The Screeneo S6 successfully restituted the different shades of color inside the submarine. Some of the very dark areas were a bit grainy, but it is fair to assume that this is caused by the video compression as we did not encounter this issue with Avatar.
We ended our test of the multimedia player with a few audio files. The Philips Screeneo S6 worked marvels here and handled all of the different formats we listened to flawlessly. We were even surprised to observe that it had no trouble playing FLAC files up to 24-bit/192kHz.
The Screeneo S6 video projector is fitted with an audio system capable of delivering up to 2 x 7 watts. Despite this modest power rating, we were pleasantly surprised by the sound during our test. Dialogues were clearly audible, even during action packed scenes such as the car chase in the desert. It is therefore suitable for watching a movie or a TVprogram without having to add speakers. Note that you will have to turn the volume up a bit (between 30 and 40 %) in order to cover the noise of the fan, although the latter is fairly quiet. On the other hand, the audio processor of the Philips Screeneo S6 video projector is not compatible with the DTS audio tracks of certain films. Which means you will have to select a different audio track or connect an external amplifier to enjoy all audio formats.
Like any other video projector, the Philips Screeneo S6 heats up and requires ventilation in order to maintain the components at an optimal working temperature. Philips worked hard on this aspect to make sure this projector would be as quiet as possible. The announced sound level is below 35dB, but keep in mind that video projector manufacturers have a tendency to embellish these numbers a bit. This is why we actually measured the noise level using an app on our phone. Surprisingly, we measured an average noise level of 32dB at a distance of 1 meter with the brightness turned all the way up. We can vouch that the Philips Screeneo S6 is actually fairly quiet for a 4K UHD and HDR video projector, and that it is only heard during very quiet scenes or if placed right next to the spectators.
Philips Screeneo S6: compared to…
BenQ W2700: also 4K UHD and HDR compatible, the BenQ projector offers a more detailed picture and is expertly calibrated right out of the box. It also features a much more comprehensive range of settings to adjust the picture. However, it lacks the connectivity options of the Screeneo S6. To access these functions it is necessary to add a ChromecastUltra or an Apple TV.
Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector: the Xiaomi projector has the advantage of being equipped with an ultra short throw lens, which means it can be placed directly under the projection screen. It runs Android and features a Chromecast module for audio and video wireless streaming. Apart from AirPlay compatibility, it offers the same functions. On the other hand, the Xiaomi projector is limited to Full HD 1080p video and is not HDR compatible.
Philips Screeneo S6: conclusion
The Philips Screeneo S6 projector is capable of delivering a wide, bright, and relatively well contrasted picture, as long as the colors have been properly calibrated beforehand. We would have liked a more comprehensive range of settings to allow experienced users to personalize the picture to their liking and benefit from a brightness level completely suited to the room. The slight lack of sharpness around the edges of the screen can also be bothersome for demanding spectators. On the other hand, the addition of Android, Miracast, and AirPlay is the true strength of this projector. It will win over anyone who is looking for a versatile model to watch a wide range of content on a large screen without accumulating numerous boxes.
What we liked:
- The autofocus function
- The Android OS
- The integrated audio system
We would have liked:
- A more comprehensive range of settings
- Compatibility with DTS tracks
- A clearer picture around the edges