See that phone in the above photo? That's a Galaxy Note 5. And yet compared to Samsung's new, monstrous 18.6-inch Galaxy View tablet, the phablet looks downright tiny. Today, Samsung made its full unveil of the hulking device we first saw in September at IFA. And while it's sure to be ridiculed and laughed at by some, Samsung seems to think it's built the ultimate entertainment and consumption tablet. A really, really big consumption tablet. Let's be honest: this thing's almost more TV than tablet.
To start, yeah, it's got a built-in kickstand — and handle, to boot. But our guess that it would detach from the tablet was way off; it's permanently attached. In its regular position, the kickstand props the Galaxy View up at the right angle for setting it on a table or desk and watching from a few feet away. But the bottom of the kickstand also moves inward, which gives the device a slight incline when laid flat. There really is no "flat" with the Galaxy View, though; the kickstand is always sticking out somewhere, so it's not the most convenient thing to transport away from home.
But Samsung doesn't think consumers will do that very often anyway. For one, you'd look like a total moron trying to use this thing on the bus or train. Instead, the grand vision here seems to be a giant 1080p screen that you carry from room to room — but rarely outside the house. Put it in the bedroom for binging on Netflix before bed, or take it to the kitchen to watch some Hulu while making dinner. That's the idea, anyway. But it's also what normal-sized tablets already accomplish. Does anyone actually need a screen this massive over, say, an iPad Air 2 or Galaxy Tab S2?
So big that it feels wrong calling this thing a tablet
The display itself looks okay. It's a 1080p screen, which Samsung would argue is where most web videos and Android games currently max out in quality. But at 18-plus inches, you can definitely see pixels up close. No one's going to confuse this for a Quad HD or 4K panel. But Samsung says the immersion created by its sheer size is on par with big-screen TVs. Pushing that display along is a 1.6GHz octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM. On the audio side, a pair of 4-watt speakers handles sound output. And while most of your viewing will probably be tied to streaming, there's a microSD slot if you need more storage than what's built in.
The Galaxy View features a custom home screen that's filled with video apps like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. Swipe to the next screen over and you get Samsung's usual Android home screen. (The View also supports side-by-side apps and other Samsung features like SideSync.) The top left slot of that video grid is reserved for video apps from cable providers like Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and DirecTV. Sadly, you can't move around the tiles and apps featured or add your own favorites like Sling TV or HBO. Samsung says it'll update what's on the home grid periodically, and you can always download video apps — Amazon Video, Sling, and so on — and put them on the secondary home screen.
Pricing and availability info on the Galaxy View are coming very soon, but for now just marvel at the enormity of this Samsung tablet — and try answering the question of whether it's something you'd ever consider buying.