Just how big should your tablet be? That's the question Samsung is posing with the launch of the new Samsung Galaxy View.
Having dabbled with virtually every screen size from 2-inches all the way to 10-inches, and beyond with products like the NotePro 12.2, the company's latest offering takes things more into the realm of TV scale. Because the View features an 18.4-inch screen, with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, 120ppi.
Dwarfing virtually very other tablet on the market (unless we're counting things like the 27-inch Lenovo Horizon table-top), is the Galaxy View a step too far or your perfect new play thing for enjoying content around the house and on the go? We had a preview of the new mega-sized tablet ahead of its official release.
Samsung Galaxy View: Design
Needless to say, the Galaxy View is big, that's the main takeaway here, although taking it away is the last thing you'll be doing. It isn't a one handed experience, it isn't something to take on the train, it isn't your average tablet by any means. It measures 451.8 x 275.8 x 11.9mm and weighs 2.65kg.
The screen dominates the View's design. It's bright, crisp, and clear, although also incredibly reflective. Samsung could have tried to address that by adding an anti-reflective coating, but that's not the case, which means if you are planning on using it near any natural light source you might have issues. Get past that screen issue and the View's design is, for the most part, what you would expect from a tablet. There are a collection of power and volume buttons, while a Micro-USB allows to you charge or connect controllers for gaming.
It's when you look around the back of the huge screen that you realise once again that this isn't your average tablet. Housed here is a huge stand, which incorporates a handle so you can lug the Galaxy View around your house. It's been designed to offer two positions: either let you stand the tablet upright for watching videos, or laying down at an angle reading. It's either one or the other, with nothing in between. You can't remove the stand, nor you can't lay the Galaxy View flat, which affects what you can and cannot do with the device.
One differece from the majority of other Samsung mobile devices is that this uses on-screen controls, rather than the physical home button. We can understand why.
Samsung Galaxy View performance
The Samsung Galaxy View tablet features a 1.6GHz octa-core processor, 2GB RAM, a front-facing camera (capable of 1920 x 1080 Full HD capture), 32GB of storage with support for a microSD card, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, and Bluetooth 4.1.
There's a 5700mAh battery (that's about the same as the Galaxy Tab S2), which claims to give you 8 hours of video playback.
We had a quick play of a couple of games, watched some video clips, but were in no way able to really push the tablet to its full capability in the time that we spent with it. It runs on Android Lollipop, with a range of Samsung tweaks layered over the top as we've seen on so many devices before.
That said, the Galaxy View is being pitched as a portable TV alternative and/or a video conferencing device for around the house. The idea is that you'll want to watch Netflix in the kitchen before walking the device to the bathroom to carry on your Narcos binge. It's about calling granny on Skype and having her big enough that it feels like she is in the room, albeit trapped in a 18.4-inch full HD screen.
It's more of a coffee table TV experience than it is a tablet. This isn't about portability on the sense we normally associate with mobile devices, it's about solving the puzzle of how to watch TV in your kitchen when cooking, or how to entertain the kids upstairs while the adults over-indulge at that dinner party downstairs.
Samsung Galaxy View: Accessories
You aren't really expected to take it with you on your travels, but there is a carry case accessory. Otherwise this isn't like the Apple iPad Pro with its Pencil stylus, or like the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book with their bolt-on keyboard options.
That's not to say you can't connect a keyboard or game controllers to the tablet to get more from it, but Samsung isn't offering such options itself.
There is no denying we are all watching more and more content around the house on devices that aren't our TV. Just most of them aren't larger than 10-inches: smartphones, phablets, tablets all let you access videos and TV from the sofa, in bed or in the bath.
We believe that's Samsung approach with the Galaxy View: to let you watch more on a bigger screen that isn't your TV. Rather than the Galaxy View, perhaps this tablet should have been pitched as the Samsung mini TV, giving an even clearer definition as to what the goals of the device really are. Looking at it any other way would be to not see it for what it is.
You might laugh, but seen as an intelligent portable TV for the home and the concept works. Many services from Sky to Netflix to BBC iPlayer to Hulu and beyond all offer Android apps to let you catch-up. The larger screen is big enough to watch something across the room without squinting, while the Android element gives you much more potential beyond just a Smart TV.
Pricing is still to be confirmed, it's expected to be available from November.