Light up your life with this phablet's built-in projector

The Akyumen Holofone shines a light on movies, presentations or lessons.

Richard Trenholm

Richard Trenholm

Movie and TV Senior Editor

Richard Trenholm is CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture over the past 15 years from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.

See full bio
3 min read

CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Fancy watching a movie or showing your friends a video without crowding round and peering at your phone's small screen? You need the Akyumen Holofone, a phablet with a built-in projector that beams your screen onto any surface.

The Holofone is a 7-inch phablet with a tell-tale bump on the back, housing the projector lamp. California-based Akyumen boasts that the projector beams an image as big as 16 foot from corner to corner. "Show me a theatre and I'll fill it!" beamed CEO Aasim Saied, when he showed me the Holofone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Enlarge Image

The bump on the top of the Holofone houses the 45 lumen lamp.

Rich Trenholm/CNET

If all this sounds familiar, that's because this isn't the first mobile device with a lightbulb in it. Back in 2012, Samsung went a bit giddy and released the Samsung Galaxy Beam, an Android smartphone with its own projector. We'd blame that on a sudden rush of blood to the head on Samsung's part, except it only went and made another one in 2014.

If on the other hand, that doesn't sound familiar, that's down to the fact the Beam didn't have a very wide release. Because who wants a phone with a projector in it?

The obvious uses are to show a movie or give a presentation. And the Holofone actually comes in two versions: a consumer version aimed at film fans that boasts 256GB of storage for $650 and a version aimed at schools that offers 128GB of memory for $450. The educational version goes in sale in India in April, and the consumer version, which also includes a number of accessories, goes on sale in the US in June.

UK and Australian prices have yet to be announced, but $650 roughly converts to £450 or AU$910, while $450 converts to about £315 or AU$630.

Akyumen Holofone has a built-in projector (pictures)

See all photos

I tried out the Holofone and even in a dimly lit room the projector gave a bright picture. It's only 720p, which means your movies and games won't be as crisp as a full high-definition projector. But what you sacrifice in resolution you more than make up for in portability.

The further away from the wall or projector screen you get, the bigger the image projected. The lamp outputs 45 lumens and in a properly darkened room can project a decent image from up to 30 feet away. (A lumen is a measurement of light, just so you know.)

Akyumen promises 2 hours of battery life if the projector's in continuous use, which is probably enough for all but the most ponderous of presentations or movies. If you need longer, it's easy to plug the Holofone into the mains with the USB-C connector. There's also a mini-HDMI slot if you want to plug it into a TV and watch your movie or presentation the old-fashioned way.

Related Links

One useful feature is that you can project two apps side-by-side thanks to the split-screen function in Windows 10. That could come in handy if you want to refer your audience to, say, a website or a video while continuing your presentation or lesson.

As well as the Holofone, Akyumen also makes two tablets and two phones, all with projectors built in. The tablets are the Falcon EDU, a Windows slate, and the Falcon M, which switches between Windows and Android. Both boast projectors that top 40 lumens.

Akyumen's phones are the Hawk Prime and Hawk Dimension. The Hawk Prime is an octa-core smartphone with a 45 lumen projector that pumps out movies and videos of up to 2K resolution. The Hawk Dimension, meanwhile, can handle video up to 4K, and is powered by a thumping great 10-core processor with a whopping 8GB of RAM.