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

The Philips Screeneo U4 (SCN350) projector features a 0.23-inch DMD chip from Texas Instruments (DLP230NP) with Full HD native definition of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This chip uses oscillation (extremely fast display of multiple 960 x 540 pixel qHD images staggered relative to each other) at 240 Hz to transmit four qHD images side by side to produce a 2.1 million 60 Hz Full HD image. of pixels. This chip is coupled to a light source using four 400-lumen LEDs (RGBWhite). Less powerful than a lamp or laser source, diodes still have some advantages, such as an advertised long life of 30,000 hours or even instant start.

The small Philips projector also has two 15W speakers associated with a passive radiator to improve bass presence. It has a keystone correction system and autofocus through 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 rather a customized version of Android that offers a single application: the VLC media player. On the other hand, it differs from the competition by integrating two Bluetooth chips that allow you to connect two wireless headphones simultaneously and control the volume independently.

The Philips Screeneo U4 takes a bit of the concept from the late LG PH450UG that we tested in 2017, but also the excellent and cumbersome ultra-short throw projector Philips Screeneo HDP2510 2016. This Screeneo U4 was offered through the Indiegogo platform for around €620, a fairly decent price for a model of this type, but Philips mentions a final sale price of around €1,200, which makes it much less attractive .

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

Editor Rating: 3 out of 5

2D image quality

This video projector is equipped with a 0.25:1 ratio fixed lens and can project a 2m diagonal image with a drop of only 30.5cm. To carry out our measurements, we placed the Screeneo U4 at 35 cm, a little more than the recommended value, to obtain an image with a 2 m base that would allow 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 it using the remote control. As is often the case with a projector that uses oscillation, the image is not perfectly clear. The optics don’t help, because if the image is almost sharp in the center, you lose a lot of sharpness as you move away from it.

SDR colorimetry: standard mode

SDR colorimetry: standard mode

colorimetry

Editor Rating: 2 out of 5

Delta E = 10.9

For the best viewing quality, we have chosen Standard mode. If the 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 capricious with a generally overexposed image, probably to expose the 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.

gamma curve

Spectrum

Editor Rating: 3 out of 5

1.9

The mean gamma (1.9) is far from the reference value (2.2). The curve clearly lacks stability and the gray levels are all overexposed. Projector manufacturers often use this process to artificially increase perceived brightness, but at the expense of grayscale accuracy.

temperature curve

Temperature

Editor Rating: 3 out of 5

6890K

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

Contrast

Contrast

Editor Rating: 2 out of 5

220:1

Models using Texas Instruments oscillation tend to offer fairly low contrast, rarely exceeding 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 at a maximum brightness of 19 cd/m². This is a far cry from the 1340:1 contrast calculated in the Vava 4K UST laser projectorwith a 0.47 inch DLP DMD chip and laser, the 720:1 measured at the benq w1800i with its lamp at 124 cd/m², and even more sony vw290es which reaches a maximum of 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 sports, for example, but can be annoying with movies.

The 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 non-existent depending on people and 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 display lag (input lag) of 29.4 ms in game mode, which translates to 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. Therefore, we can consider playing on this video projector without any problem.

EOTF curve in HDR10, window 10%

EOTF curve in HDR10, window 10%

HDR luminance curve, 10% window.

HDR luminance curve, 10% window.

EOTF

Editor Rating: 2 out of 5

Light. max. : 19cd/m²

Editor Rating: 2 out of 5

HDR Colorimetry

HDR Colorimetry

Editor Rating: 1 out of 5

Delta E = 44

Advertised as HDR10 compatible, this video projector actually only provides an image display without actually adhering to the HDR standard. It must be said that this model of limited power must make do with a very low dynamic range, which nullifies all the interest of HDR. If the software indicates that the colors are totally wrong (mean delta E HDR of 44), it is mainly due to lack of brightness, which means that the colors displayed do not correspond to those expected in HDR. In general, projectors have a lot of trouble with HDR content, but with the Philips Screeneo U4, it’s better to just settle for SDR content.

Editor Rating: 3 out of 5

Functions and ergonomics

The Philips Screeneo U4 ultra short throw projector.

The Philips Screeneo U4 ultra short throw projector.

Measuring 22.3 x 12.3 x 8.1 cm, the Philips Screeneo U4 is a compact model that easily sits on a piece of furniture near the wall to project your image with its ultra-short focal length. The 1.4kg weight 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 (time of flight) sensor on the right.

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

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 projecting the image.

The connection.

The connection is quite classic since 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 dongle (Fire TV Stick, Chromecast with Google TV, etc.). Another special feature, and no less important, is that it is possible to pair two Bluetooth devices with the U4 to enjoy the sound in two separate headphones by allowing individual volume control. A very practical feature that partially masks the noise of this projector, which unfortunately is not silent.

Very basic interface.

Very basic interface.

By pressing the home button on the remote, you can choose between the HDMI source or the media player. The latter is simply the Android version of VLC; a guarantee of quality, but which is a bit shocking at a time when the competition prefers to offer access to streaming video applications (YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, MyCanal, etc.). With this video projector, therefore, it is necessary to go through an external box (television shield, AppleTV), or an HDMI type key fire tv stick Where Chromecast with Google TV. This model also does not have a network connection (wired or Wi-Fi): therefore, you must install the movies on a USB key or an external hard drive to enjoy them with VLC…

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

The remote control.

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

Strengths

  • Design.

  • Compact.

  • Ultra short throw (easy to install).

  • Auto focus.

  • Integrated VLC.

  • Double Bluetooth connection.

  • Reduced consumption.

Weak points

  • No streaming app on board.

  • Limited contrast.

  • Noisy.

  • image fidelity.

  • Lack of sharpness.

conclusion

world brand

Editor Rating: 3 out of 5

How does the rating work?

The Philips Screeneo U4 ultra-short throw projector is endearing for its compact size and ease of use, but it makes too many compromises. There are, however, some good ideas, such as the dual Bluetooth connection or the automatic focus and keystone correction system, but the image quality is still perfectible, either in terms of sharpness or fidelity. In the same way, the contrast is too limited to be more than an extra video projector to which you should not forget to attach an HDMI key to take advantage of streaming services.

secondary notes

  • 2D image quality

    Editor Rating: 3 out of 5

  • Functions and ergonomics

    Editor Rating: 3 out of 5

  • Consumption and noise level

    Editor Rating: 3 out of 5

Leave a Comment