- 4K UHD resolution with up to 30,000 hours of light source life
- Light and portable with built-in Bluetooth speakers and Wi-Fi
- Pre-loaded streaming apps and app store
- Four-corner picture correction for off-center placement
- Acceptable input lag for gaming
- Mediocre HDR performance
- Inaccurate out-of-box color
The Philips Screeneo S6 is a decent 4K projector for someone looking to have a moveable lifestyle option for movies and gaming, but its out-of-box color inaccuracies make it less desirable than some direct competitors.
The category of lifestyle projectors continues to grow with the reemergence of the Philips brand and their Screeneo S6, available now on Amazon for $1,399 for Prime members only, or $2,299 for non-members. Much like the Optoma UHL55 and ViewSonic X10-4K I reviewed for ProjectorCentral in recent months, the S6 is designed to be highly portable and easily setup. Built-in Bluetooth speakers and Wi-Fi connectivity for streaming gives flexibility to where you can watch without needing to set up additional speakers or a separate source component. The S6 has a 1.2 throw ratio and uses the Aptoide TV marketplace as its app store—an Android-based platform that seems to be appearing in more budget projectors lately.
If the Philips Screeneo S6 looks familiar, that's because it's visually almost identical to the JmGO X3, save for a change in color from black to white. Inside, though, there are numerous differences described by Philips, including a different launcher menu, apps, and menu languages, as well as a more fine-tuned image color temperature and a gesture-controlled AirMote remote option (as described below). The 9x9.1x5.5-inch projector weighs only 5.5 pounds and is easily transportable. It has built-in stereo speakers (one on each side of the projector) so an external soundbar or home theater setup isn't necessary. As you would expect with built-in speakers in a small projector, the bass response is a bit lacking and the mids sound a little over-emphasized, which does help dialogue intelligibility. But, overall, the sound is decent for the speaker size and setup. A Bluetooth speaker can be connected to the Screeneo S6 if you'd prefer and I found setup and connection to be quick and easy through the projector's Bluetooth menu. The speakers can also be connected via Bluetooth to a streaming mobile device like a phone or tablet for music playback. While the Bluetooth function needs to be turned on in the menu (while the projector is on), I was only able to use the speakers for playback while the projector was in standby. Once the projector starts up, my playback device was disconnected.
As with most other lifestyle projectors we've seen lately, including the above-mentioned Optoma UHL55 and Viewsonic X10-4K, the Screeneo S6 is a DLP projector that uses an LED light engine as opposed to a traditional lamp. (Only the recently-announced Epson EF-100 steps outside that box with a laser light engine.) The LEDs in the S6 are specified at 2,000 LED lumens brightness, and, in Energy Saving mode, can last up to 30,000 hours. Lumens from an LED light source can have a higher perceived brightness than those from a traditional lamp. Our ANSI lumens measurement is about half of the published specification, but that's in line with what we've encountered with similar projector measurements. (You can read more about LED lumens here.)
The Philips Screeneo S6 uses a second-generation 0.47-inch Texas Instrument XPR DLP chip. TI's fast pixel-shifting technique is used to create the UHD image from the 1080p micromirror array in the chip. ProjectorCentral's tests suggest that, all other things being equal, there is no perceived loss in detail from the pixel-shifted 4K image over a native 4K chip from normal viewing distances. As with the first-generation XPR chips, there's a dark gray border around the image, but it's much improved over the distracting border found with the earlier chip. At a regular seating distance, the border blends into the darkness and isn't distracting at all (especially if you have black masking on your screen) and I only see it if I'm actively looking for it.
The projector accepts both HDR10 and HLG signals. It also supports Full HD 3D playback. When a source is connected, there's an option for selecting Off, Side-by-Side, Top-and-Bottom, or Auto for 3D. The auto-detect properly and quickly picks up the 3D signal. DLP-Link glasses need to be purchased separately.
An image up to 180 inches can be projected by the Screeneo S6. It has a fixed zoom, so distance from the screen is the deciding factor for the projected image size. With a 1.2:1 throw ratio, a distance of 8 feet, 8 inches will yield a 100-inch diagonal image. You can use the ProjectorCentral Philips Screeneo S6 Projection Calculator to determine distance for a particular screen size. The projector can be set up in a front, rear, or ceiling position. There are four adjustable feet that can be removed and those holes can be used as mounting points for a ceiling mount. If you choose to ceiling mount the projector you'll also need to find a way to mount the external power brick. The length of the power cable from projector to brick is just under 6 feet.
Keystone correction can be adjusted in the projector menu, and there's also the ability to adjust the four corners of the image independently. If projector placement right in front of the screen isn't possible, you can square up an image on your screen with the projector up to 45 degrees off axis to the left or right. As always it's best to limit the amount of keystone or corner adjustment to avoid any possibility of artifacts or a loss of brightness, but this feature is useful in a portable projector destined for casual viewing in impromptu setups.
Along the same lines, the Screeneo S6 has an auto-focus option to facilitate setup. It does a decent job, but occasionally would be slightly out of focus and I had to fine tune it with the focus buttons on the remote. But even when the center of the screen (where the focus image is located) is completely in focus, the edges of the image are slightly soft. With a smaller image it isn't noteworthy, but it starts to become noticeable around a 70-inch diagonal and beyond. It's enough that my wife commented on it a few times while we were watching television shows on our 80-inch, 16:9 screen.
All apps are through the Aptoide TV store that runs on the Android OS. There's an enormous number of apps available, from the recognizable Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube to lesser knowns like Tubi or Terrarium TV. One of the benefits of Aptoide TV is the ability to download web browsers to easily display on the projector. But in comparison to the functionality and ease of use of Amazon Fire or Roku, it still needs work. App load times on Aptoide have improved, but the stream video quality isn't as good and searching for apps in the store can be frustrating. Many times there are multiple versions for apps with no strong indication as to which is the correct one to use. For instance, there are three recommended Amazon Prime apps when I type Amazon into the search field (none of them rated higher than 2.5 stars out of 5), but while browsing through a list of apps even more versions come up. A few apps are preloaded—namely Netflix, Chrome, YouTube, TED, and two media file browsing apps Kodi and VLC. For those who seek a more polished streaming experience, a 4K-compatible Roku or Firestick are just a $50 add-on away. It's also possible to stream from a device to the projector via AirPlay or Miracast, which works without incident.
The remote is small although it has some nice heft to it for its size, and the buttons have a satisfying click to them. One of the buttons turns the remote into an "AirMote" wand that moves a cursor on screen to make selections. I found this to be a necessity for some apps, especially any web browsing. However, as with similar remotes supplied in recent years with some LG TVs and projectors, the accuracy of this on-screen pointer tends to drift, and I found myself pointing towards the floor at times while trying to click on an image along the bottom of the screen. The pointer can be recalibrated by using the edges of the screen to force the cursor back to its neutral center position, though it never seemed to hold its position for very long.
On the back of the Screeneo S6 above the fan exhaust are two HDMI 2.0 ports (one with ARC), two USB (one 3.0 and one 2.0), an Ethernet port for an optional wired Internet connection, and an optical S/PDIF audio out. There's the aforementioned Bluetooth that can be used to connect to a source or external speaker and WiFi to connect to your home network.
Here are some key features of the Screeneo S6:
- 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) resolution with 0.47-inch TI XPR DLP chip
- 2,000 LED lumens
- 1.2 throw ratio
- HDR10 and HLG support
- Auto focus
- Four corner picture correction
- Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity
- Two 7W speakers with Bluetooth capability
- Sliding lens cover
Preset Modes. The preset mode selection can be a bit confusing. In Projector Settings, Brightness can be set to Energy Saving, Normal, Presentation, and Custom. Selecting Custom opens up RGB gain adjustments. Brightness mode can also be accessed by pressing the Option button on the remote. This opens another menu where you can select Standard, Cinema, Presentation, and Custom. The Standard selection corresponds to Energy Saving and the Cinema to Normal.
Unfortunately, these RGB adjustments are only accessible through the main menu on the projector and not while watching any content. If you intend to use them to calibrate the color, you'll have to measure the test pattern (likely originating from the HDMI 1 input or USB port), go into the home screen menu to adjust one of the sliders, then navigate back out to the test pattern to check your results. Repeat until you get it where you need to, or until you're overcome by the frustration of the process.
When a source is selected, the Option button on the remote gains access to five different color settings—Vivid, Natural, Soft, User, and Game. User opens further menu options to adjust Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, and Sharpness.
The Presentation Brightness mode in Vivid offers the brightest image with an average light output of 1,019 ANSI lumens. As with the brightest mode in many projectors, the color balance is very blue (its color temperature measured over 10,000K). Unfortunately there isn't a picture and color mode that I would say is accurate out of the box. The closest two are Standard Natural or Cinema Natural, though Standard Natural adds a noticeable cyan tint to white, while the white in Cinema Natural mode is very green. Both have a magenta that is far too blue. I chose to go with Cinema Natural for two reasons—its average lumen output was higher than Standard Natural (908 vs 760), and its color temperature was the closest to the target 6,500K at 7,200K. Brightness uniformity measured just under 85% and there was no visible evidence of hot spots.
Using CalMan software, a Photo Research PR-650 spectroradiometer, and an AV Foundry VideoForge Classic pattern generator, I found all the Rec.709 color points to be a little oversaturated. Additionally, secondary color points (cyan, magenta, and yellow) measured some hue errors—both cyan and yellow were too green and magenta was extremely blue. These discrepancies came across both in test patterns and while watching movies and television. [Editor's note: To its credit, Philips acknowledged our results during our review fact-check process and says it will work to improve its out-of-box color accuracy in a future firmware update. Until further notice, however, our results here stand as written.—Rob Sabin]
HDR measurements exhibited similar color issues to what I saw in SDR testing. With the Cinema setting, colors like yellow and foliage were too green while purple and magenta were too blue. The Screeneo S6's EOTF curve, which indicates how close the projector's output is to the target HDR brightness, is under the target—though this is to be expected for projectors at this price point currently.
1080p/SDR Viewing. Since color accuracy seemed to be an issue during measurement testing I decided to check that out first with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The opening scene has some great earth tones in the desert that transition into a forest that the train travels through. There's usually a slight patina to the picture that gives it an old-time feel, but the extra green here made it look a little unnaturally bright. Since the film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio with black letterbox bars, the slightly soft edges that I saw while focusing the projector were not really an issue and overall the image looked nice and sharp. There's also plenty of light output for regular viewing in a room with some ambient light, although I'd avoid any strong sunlight coming through the windows if you can.
One of my favorite things about the new Disney+ streaming service (aside from having the Star Wars universe at my fingertips) is being able to relive my childhood cartoons. One of the first shows I pulled up when the service went live was Gargoyles. It has a darker tone than most other Disney cartoon fare, but it still has some vibrant coloration. The color inaccuracies of the Screeneo S6 didn't bother me as much here with this animated content. In fact, the oversaturation added a bit to the fire burning the gargoyles castle against the deep blue night sky.
As is the case with all the LED DLP projectors I've seen, rainbows were not present at all.
UHD/HDR Viewing. Solo can be a difficult test for HDR on projectors, especially for depth in blacks. While the Millennium Falcon flies through the Maw there are flashes of electricity against the deep black of the space of the Maw. At one point the Falcon flies away from the camera with its engines illuminating the space around it. On the Screeneo S6 the engine glow didn't have the pop that I've seen on other projectors that are closer to the EOTF curve. The lightning strikes were a bit dull as well. When the shots switch into the cockpit the blacks were also a bit crushed and there was a loss of detail to the panels and switches behind the pilot's chair. Admittedly, though, a portable LED-driven projector can't necessarily be expected to provide the same pop as lamp-based models. When there are brighter scenes, such as the escape from Kessel before our heroes fly into the Maw, the detail from the S6 was excellent.
I spent some time with the Spears & Munsil test demo on their UHD HDR Benchmark test disc. The greens of trees in particular looked unauthentic and yellows were too orange. The image looked sharp at its center, but since this content fills the projector's full 16:9 aspect ratio with no black letterbox bars to hide the top and bottom, the softness of the lens at the edges was more distracting than with the 2.4:1 aspect movies I viewed.
3D Viewing. The Screeneo S6 had no problem detecting the proper 3D signal when put in auto mode. Coraline had some nice depth to it, but I occasionally noticed some 3D crosstalk distortion, primarily with objects that were further back in the shot. There's enough brightness for the picture to look good and detailed in a dark room, though any ambient light tended to wash out any detail in dark images. As usual, it's best to keep the curtains closed for any 3D viewing.
The Philips Screeneo S6 delivers most of the qualities you'd want in a portable lifestyle projector. It's easy to move around if you want to set it up outside for some nighttime movies or take it to a friend's house for some casual gaming—which is aided in this case by a reasonably acceptable 42.5 ms measured input lag. The auto focus does a good job most of the time, and the four-corner keystone adjustment is unusual for an inexpensive short-throw projector and could come in handy. Plus, with the projector's good-sounding built-in speakers, and integrated Wi-Fi connectivity for streaming, it's an all-in-one solution.
Unfortunately, though, the S6 has some pretty noticeable color inaccuracies with any of the default settings out of the box, which is how most people will use it. And while the light output is enough for SDR viewing, its dynamic range is somewhat lacking with HDR. Add to this the noticeable lack of uniform focus at the edges of the screen, and it becomes a tough recommendation against other similar and better-performing lifestyle projectors we've tested around the same price or cheaper.
Brightness. In the Presentation brightness mode with Vivid color mode, the Philips Screeneo S6 measures 1,019 ANSI lumens from its LED light source. Cinema brightness mode with Natural color mode measures 908 lumens, Standard Natural is 760, Custom Natural is 973, and Presentation Natural is 990. Game mode brightness in all color modes is identical to Natural. In Energy Saving lamp mode, lumen output drops to 74.8% of full brightness. ANSI color brightness measured an excellent 100% of white.
Philips Screeneo S6 ANSI Lumens
Brightness Uniformity. Brightness uniformity measured at 84.7%. There wasn't any perceptible brightness variation in either test material or movies and television.
Fan Noise. The fan noise on the Philips Screeneo S6 is suitably quiet even in Presentation mode. The only way the fans would be distracting is if you had to sit directly behind or next to the projector. There is no high altitude mode on the S6.
Input Lag. When in the Game color mode, the Screeneo S6 has an input lag of 42.5ms in 1080p, which is fairly good among projectors generally but well off the 16 ms or smaller lag times seen on dedicated gaming projectors. For the casual gamer this shouldn't pose a problem, but if you're a seasoned first-person shooter player it could cause your scores to take some negative hits.
- HDMI 2.0 (x2)
- USB 2.0
- USB 3.0
- S/PDIF optical out
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Philips Screeneo S6 projector page.