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Samsung goes big on tablets with the 18-inch Galaxy View; starts at $599 from November 6 (hands-on)

Samsung debuts the largest Android tablet ever, a giant-screened model aiming to be a luggable TV replacement.

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If bigger truly is better, Samsung has just taken the wraps off the best tablet we may have ever seen. Its name is the Galaxy View and this hefty goliath has a whopping 18.4-inch display. You read that correctly -- 18.4 inches from corner to corner of its widescreen display.

Ridiculous though that might sound, Samsung reckons the View serves a noble purpose: couch potato nirvana. It's geared solely towards watching video. That's something you can already do on smaller tablets, of course, but the View's huge size will make movies and TV shows a lot more immersive.

It'll hit US stores on 6 November with prices starting at $599. UK and Australian details have yet to be announced, but the US price converts to around £390 or AU$830.

The View is far less portable than most any other tablet, of course. It's heavy (2.65 kg or 5.8 pounds), you won't fit it into a backpack (it's 452mm long by 276mm wide by 11.9mm deep), and you'll look really daft using one on the bus. It doesn't need to be tethered to a power socket though, so unlike your TV you can watch it in your bedroom, carry it into your kitchen, and even pay a visit to the bathroom, all without missing a moment of "Spongebob".

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It's running Android at its core -- version 5.1 Lollipop, to be specific -- but Samsung will load the slate with a custom overlay that puts streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and so on right at your fingertips. (Your media selection will vary by market: The UK, for instance, gets BBC iPlayer as well.)

You can switch back to the regular Android interface if you prefer, and you'll have full access to the Google Play Store, so the full realm of Android apps and games will be available to you. With Google Docs downloaded, and with a wireless keyboard attached, the View could also make a fair replacement for a desktop all-in-one PC. It also a 2.1-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, stereo speakers and support for LTE networks.

Being an easily portable media machine for the home means the View is targeted much more towards families than the Android power user. As such, Samsung hasn't equipped the View with particularly high-end specs. It has a full HD display (1,920x1,080 pixels), rather than the higher resolution ultra HD screens seen on its smaller Tab S2 line and its octa-core processor runs at just 1.6GHz. I'm not expecting that chip to fly -- gamers will probably want to look elsewhere -- but for the movie-munching tasks it's built for, I imagine it'll cope well.

The battery is expected to provide up to 8 hours of video playback, which is enough even to sit through "The Hobbit". It has a built-in stand too, which lets it lay almost flat, making typing and sketching easier, or to stand almost upright -- better for propping up and watching flicks. Internal memory is either 64GB or 32Gb and it has a microSD cards slot.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Samsung hasn't paired the View with a stylus, as with its Note range, but I can really see this being a benefit on future models. As well as graphic designers appreciating the larger screen, I can picture families sitting around the View, creating all kinds of fun sketches together.

Outlook

Just as Samsung's Galaxy Note phones blur the line between phone and tablet, its Galaxy View blurs the line between tablet and TV. I'm not entirely certain that's a line that needed to be blurred, but I can't deny that a large, immersive movie display that I can still move easily around the house is appealing.

Waning consumer interest in tablets hasn't stopped manufacturers from trying to breathe some new life into the category, and Samsung is the latest to jump on the supersized tablet bandwagon. Earlier this year Apple introduced its biggest tablet ever, the 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro, but like the 27-inch Lenovo Yoga Home 900 and 18.4-inch Asus Transformer AIO, it's geared towards helping you get work done. The big screens on these giant slates are meant to function as wide workspaces for using office apps anywhere you go. The Galaxy View is a slight departure from this trend, instead setting out its stall as a simple oversized tablet for binge-watching TV shows and sharing with the family.

Check back soon for a full review of the Samsung Galaxy View once we get (both) hands on one.

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