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AT&T Samsung Galaxy View hands-on: 18.4 inch Android tablet serves as a cord-cutter's dream

At first I thought the Galaxy View was a ridiculous device, until I spent a couple weeks enjoying streaming media content on it. It's a tablet that cord-cutters will enjoy and the price was recently dropped $100.

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When I first read of the Samsung Galaxy View I almost fell off my chair laughing at the ridiculous idea of a massive tablet that required a built-in handle to move it around. I then spent a couple weeks with the AT&T model and think it may be perfect for the right buyer.

I have a small eight inch tablet that I use primarily for watching English Premier League football via the NBC Sports Live Extra app, Netflix, Amazon Video, and Google Play movies. It's nice for watching this content on an airplane or during my daily commuter train ride, but something much bigger like the Galaxy View is more enjoyable around the house.

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There are people who live without multiple TVs in their homes, those who do not have television service, and those who want a device for their own media experience. The Samsung Galaxy View is a cord-cutter's dream and could easily serve as the only streaming media device for many people.

Hardware

The Samsung Galaxy View WiFi model can be purchased from Samsung for $499.99. It recently dropped $100 in price. The AT&T LTE model is $30/month on a 20 month installment plan or $499.99 with a two-year contract.

Specifications of the Samsung Galaxy View include:

  • Processor: Samsung Exynos 7580 1.6 GHz octa-core 64-bit
  • Display: 18.4 inch 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution TFT
  • Operating system: Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 64GB internal storage with microSD card slot
  • Camera: Front facing 2.1 megapixel camera
  • Wireless: Bluetooth 4.1 BLE, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, LTE
  • Battery: 5,700 mAh battery
  • Dimensions: 451.8 x 275.8 x 11.9mm and 2.65 kg (5.84 pounds)

The 5,700 mAh battery provides a reported 8 hours of life for viewing media content. That should be plenty to get you through a couple days of binge watching.

I expected to see a bit more RAM here, but then again most people will be using it for watching one streaming service at a time and I never saw any performance issues with just 2GB of RAM. It's too big to play intensive games and works well for its intended function.

The device is dominated by the 18.4 inch display and it looks great. There is a basic front facing camera for video conferencing and no rear camera. Tablets shouldn't have rear cameras and thankfully we won't see anyone holding this tablet up to capture a youth basketball game.

The power and volume buttons are on the top while the headphone jack and charging port are down on the right side. A microSD card slot and SIM card tray are found behind a door on the lower left side.

There are two stereo speakers on the back, hidden underneath the hinge/handle piece. The speakers sounded pretty good as the sound bounced off the hinge/handle piece, but for the best media experience you should be using an external speaker or headphones.

The handle works well for its intended purpose and the kickstand holds the tablet up securely. There is no option to change the angle of the hinge, but you can set the Galaxy View down on its back for a lower viewing position. The Galaxy View cannot lie flat on a table due to the stereo speaker design.

You can check out the full CNET review where the Galaxy View earned a 7/10 rating.

Software

The Galaxy View runs a very light version of Samsung TouchWiz, even lighter than what we see on current Galaxy smartphones. It's primary focus is streaming media so there is a media interface that presents large tiles for various services when you press the home button.

There isn't a ton of preinstalled apps, but since the one I tested is from AT&T there are several AT&T apps. These include AT&T Ready2Go, AT&T AllAccess, AT&T Locker, myAT&T, and more.

Since DirectTV is now a part of AT&T, that integration is also included on this device. DIRECTV subscribers gain some additional benefits and access with the Galaxy View, but I was unable to test out this functionality.

Daily experiences

While NBC has English Premier League football matches on TV, there are only a couple shown each weekend. Thus, I end up streaming my Everton matches using the NBC Sports Live Extra app. This experience was awesome on the large Samsung Galaxy View. I was able to watch the match, follow other matches, and view live stats during the match.

I also watched movies and TV shows via Amazon Video, Xfinity, and Google Play. The streaming video experience is excellent on the Samsung Galaxy View.

The Android tablet experience is fair, but there are apps that are not optimized for such a large display that end up looking weird. It's too big to be very efficient for entering text on the keyboard and productivity is not really a focus of the Galaxy View.

The LTE version of the Samsung Galaxy View could serve people well at a tailgate party to watch other games or other coverage while you wait for the game to start. I'm not sure too many people are going to be carrying such a large tablet around outside the home though.