At the IFA, last September in Berlin, Samsung already hinted at the arrival of a huge tablet: the Galaxy View. When it became known that the device has an 18.4 “screen and weighs 2.65 kilograms, some frowned here and there. That is not a weight with which you would like to board the train or even hang on the couch. Is it a tablet or maybe more of a TV, or an all-in-one PC, since it has a kickstand? We were allowed to view the giant device at Samsung headquarters and it appears to have no identity crisis. It is according to the South Korean manufacturer a movable display and the idea is simply an extra screen for anywhere in the house, with which you mainly watch streaming video via a WiFi connection.
According to Samsung, 44 percent of online video is currently viewed on mobile devices and we consumers like to do that on a slightly larger screen. According to Samsung, that screen should not be attached to all kinds of cables, so that it can be moved. The Galaxy View is the result of that conclusion.
Essentially, the Galaxy View is a tablet. It has Android 5.1 on it, it has a touchscreen and is mobile. It can be used in and around the house, at the campsite and basically anywhere where there is a WiFi signal. This way you can, if you still want to, watch a football match in the garden next summer. You could also park your child in a random room if they want to see that one favorite episode of that hysterical cartoon again. Actually, the idea is not that crazy, but the question is of course how it has been worked out.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Galaxy View is that it has a flip-out kickstand on the back. It cannot be removed and can be placed in two positions with the help of strong magnets. In one position it allows the tablet to stand upright and in the other position you can place the tablet on the table and tilt it towards you for easier tapping and navigation. The tablet stands firmly on the stand and can nevertheless be moved easily. We do have some doubts about the plastic used. The Galaxy View has a suggested retail price of 699 euros and we would expect more luxurious materials for that.
The back and kickstand of the tablet are hard plastic and we wouldn’t be surprised if the kickstand breaks off once it hits the floor. There is also a handle built into the stand, with which you can easily transport the tablet through the house. The Galaxy View is not very thin at 11.9 mm and the edges around the screen are also quite large. All in all, we didn’t get a ‘premium’ feeling from the huge tablet. According to Samsung, it is therefore not aimed at that; it should appeal to modern families who do not want to pay the top price.
The fact that the tablet is not aimed at high-end consumers is also evident from the fact that the LCD only has a full-HD resolution, ie 1920×1080 pixels. That is low for an 18.4-inch screen when you sit close to it, as a tablet is normally used. However, that resolution is sufficient for a portable screen. We could no longer distinguish the individual pixels from a meter away, so as long as you keep at least that distance from the screen, the resolution is fine. Also important for a portable screen are the viewing angles; those are OK, although we’ve seen better. The colors were a bit disappointing for a screen intended for visual entertainment; they were on the faded side.
A disadvantage of watching video on a touchscreen is that you have to see through the finger swipes or often have to clean the screen. It would therefore not have been a superfluous luxury if Samsung supplied a cloth with the Galaxy View.
Hardware, battery and gaming
The Galaxy View has an Exynos 7580-soc from Samsung. It has eight cores that run at a maximum of 1.6GHz. There is also 2GB of ram and 32GB of storage memory, which is expandable by up to 128GB via the micro SD card slot. We experienced almost no stuttering in use, including when launching many apps and switching between them.
The battery has a capacity of 5,700mAh, with which the tablet should last 8.5 hours when watching video. Charging the battery takes 3 hours and 40 minutes. Of course we couldn’t test all that in the hour we were able to play with the View. On the front is a 2.1-megapixel camera. The camera is, as expected, rather mediocre, but it is only intended for video calling and not for taking beautiful photos.
Something that is quite important with a screen with which you mainly watch video is the sound. The Galaxy View’s stereo speakers sound decent, but don’t expect any bass. In terms of connections, there is a micro USB port, a headphone jack and a connection for the adapter. Devices such as a keyboard can also be connected to the View using Bluetooth 4.1. In addition, the View has WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac on board and GPS in the form of Glonass and A-GPS. It is not available in a 3g or 4g version, or with more storage memory.
According to Samsung, great games can be played on the tablet. The Mali-T720MP2 GPU should indeed be capable of that. However, many Android games are aimed at holding a phone or tablet in your hands and that is not the intention with the Galaxy View. For example, we installed the graphically fairly heavy Real Racing 3, which also runs smoothly on the View. We then took the tablet in our hands and … found that steering is not possible. For this, the tablet must be tilted and the View has no motion sensors. There is an app on the View that suggests games that are suitable for the tablet.
The software on the Galaxy View is fairly basic Samsung style, as we’ve come to expect from other tablets from the brand. Android 5.1 is on it and, according to Samsung, the tablet will be supported with updates for as long as smartphones and other tablets from the brand: about two years.
What is striking is the button with the television icon at the bottom, between the multitask and the home button. This button takes you to a ‘video-centric environment’ without a specific name, where you can navigate directly to the most used streaming services. Unfortunately, according to Samsung, this screen cannot be adjusted to your own taste.
There is also a shortcut to the Family Square app on the left. This leads to an environment in which you can add various family members via their telephone numbers. The members of the group can then share content in the form of both videos and photos with each other.
At first it was a bit unclear what Samsung wanted to achieve with a large and heavy tablet like the Galaxy View. However, if you put it in perspective, the 18.4″ tablet was made for a clear purpose. It is no more and no less than a portable WiFi screen, with Samsung not making too expensive choices. A suggested retail price of 699 However, the price is still quite high.The idea is fun and we secretly hope that we will see this kind of giant tablets more often, but for a more interesting price.