Review of the Philips Screeneo U4: 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 native Full HD definition of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This chip uses wobulation (faster display of multiple 960 x 540 pixels qHD images staggered from each other) at 240 Hz to stream four qHD images at side-by-side to produce a 2.1 million pixel Full HD 60 Hz image. true. This chip is accompanied by a light source using four LEDs (RGBWhite) of 400 lumens. Less powerful than a lamp or laser source, diodes still benefit from some advantages, such as the long lifespan announced at 30,000 hours or immediate onset.

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

The Philips Screeneo U4 uses the concept of the outdated LG PH450UG we tested in 2017, but also the very good – and big – ultra short throw projector Philips Screeneo HDP2510 from 2016. This Screeneo U4 is offered through the Indiegogo platform around. 620 €, a pretty decent price for such a model, but Philips mentions a final sale price of almost 1200 €, which makes it less attractive.

The 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 is capable of projecting an image of 2 m diagonal with a reduction of only 30.5 cm. To make our measurements, we set the Screeneo U4 at 35 cm, more than the recommended value, to obtain an image of 2 m base that allowed us to compare the dimensions of the other projectors tested. Automatic focus adjustment, as well as 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 that uses wobulation, the image is not completely clear. Optics don’t help things, because if the image stays almost sharp in the middle, a lot of the sharpness is lost when 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 get the best display quality, we chose the Standard mode. If Cinema mode scatters more honest colors – if one can express it this way – with a typical delta E of 9.1, the gamma is completely odd with a typically overexposed image, perhaps to open dark areas. In Standard mode, we get an average delta E of 10.9, a very high value away from delta E at 3 below where the colors shown can be considered faithful to the transmitted 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 is clearly lacking in strength and the gray levels are all too bright. This process is often used by projector manufacturers to artificially increase the perceived light, but at the cost of grayscale accuracy.

Temperature curve

temperature

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

6890K

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

contrary

contrary

Editor's Rating: 2 out of 5

220: 1

Models using Texas Instruments wobulation tend to give little difference, rarely exceeding 800: 1. But the use of LEDs is less helpful. In our 1% white target, the difference was measured at a ratio of 220: 1, and even below 110: 1 in our 35% white target, all had a maximum brightness of 19 cd/ m². This is far from the 1340: 1 difference calculated on the Vava 4K UST Laser Projector, which has a 0.47-inch DMD DLP chip and a laser, from the 720: 1 measured on the Benq W1800i with 124 cd/m². , and more from the Sony VW290ES which rises to 135 cd/m² with a native difference of 2820: 1. In practice, the low contrast of the Philips Screeneo U4 results in washed out blacks. This has little effect on TV movies or watching sports, for example, but can be annoying in movies.

The Screeneo U4 does not use a color wheel, but red, green, blue and white LEDs to easily mix colors. The rainbow effect, visible on all projectors using a DLP chip, is limited. This phenomenon is more or less visible, or even does not depend on the people and the images, resulting in small rainbows around bright objects on a dark background.

The Philips Screeneo U4 is up and running!

The Philips Screeneo U4 is up and running!

Screeneo U4 shows show 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 with the controller and its effect on the screen. So we can consider playing this video projector without any problem.

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

Announced to be HDR10 compatible, this video projector actually only provides an image display that doesn’t really respect the HDR standard. It must be said that this model with limited power must be satisfied with a reduction in dynamic range, which eliminates all interest in HDR. If the software shows that the colors are completely wrong (average delta E HDR of 44), it is primarily due to a lack of light which means that the colors displayed do not match what is 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.

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

Functions and ergonomics

The Philips Screeneo U4 ultra short throw projector.

The Philips Screeneo U4 ultra short throw projector.

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 display its image with an ultra-short focal length. The 1.4 kg weight also makes it easy to move from room to room.

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

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

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

The connection.

The connection is quite classic because 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 the least important, is that it is possible to pair two Bluetooth devices on the U4 to enjoy the sound of two different headsets 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.

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

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

The remote control.

The remote control is light, simple and usable. We found access to all features, including adjustment of focus, volume, brightness, presets, as well as source change. It responds well and the rubber keys are quiet and pleasant to the touch. The system being so limited, the remote control does not bother a microphone.

Strong points

  • Design.

  • Compact.

  • Ultra short throw (easy to install).

  • Autofocus.

  • Built-in VLC.

  • Dual Bluetooth connectivity.

  • Reduce consumption.

Weak points

  • No onboard streaming app.

  • Limited variation.

  • Saba.

  • 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 nice product because of its small size and ease of use, but it makes a lot of concessions. There are, however, some good ideas, such as dual Bluetooth connectivity or the automatic pointing and standard correction system, but the image quality remains perfect, whether in terms of juice or fidelity. Similarly, the difference is so limited that it can be more than just an additional video projector where you can’t forget to attach an HDMI key to take advantage of streaming services.

Sub Notes

  • 2D image quality

    Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

  • Functions and ergonomics

    Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

  • The level of consumption and noise

    Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

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