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There's nothing like wacky convergence to brighten up a long day at the Mobile World Congress phone extravaganza. So we were keen to take a look at the Samsung Beam i8520, the phone with a tiny projector in. Will it light up our lives?

We headed for the Samsung stand in search of illumination. We wanted to shed some light on the question of whether a projector as small as a mobile phone would be worthwhile, or whether the projector would make the phone too unwieldy.

There isn't much compromise in size, happily. The Beam isn't as dramatically different to the norm as the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj, the oversized camera that crams in a projector.

We wonder if this will see the start of wacky gimmicks being bolted on to phones -- hey, it works for cameras. What other crazy convergence ideas would you like to see in your phone? We suggest a phone with a stapler in. Clamshell phones are already the right folding shape, and the big benefit is that if you clap the phone to your face hard enough -- hands-free!

But back to the Beam. Click 'Continue' to find out if the Beam is a bright idea, or leaves us in the dark.

Here's the projector, with a dial to focus.
Cleverly, the Beam can simultaneously project the image it's filming in glorious 720p high definition. Useful for meetings or fun in the pub; perfect for narcissistic exhibitionists.
The projector technology is furnished by Texas Instruments. Y'know, like the calculators.
The projector doesn't add much bulk to the handset. The Beam could pass for a chunky business phone.
You'd think in the controlled, darkened environment of Samsung's own booth, the Beam would look the business. Unfortunately it seems rather lacklustre. We imagine it would work in a darkened room, a nightclub or a coal mine. But in a normally lit room -- or worse, daylight -- we reckon the Beam would struggle.


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