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Sean Bacher

Samsung Forum 2014: Bigger is better

At last week’s Samsung Forum 2014 in Malaga, Spain, SEAN BACHER experienced a range of emerging market TVs, a new line of high-end curved TVs and a new tablet range.

Samsung’s top-of-the range 78‚” U9000 curved television, launched at last week’s Samsung Forum 2014 in Malaga, Spain, has the unusual distinction of being the most curved TV in the world right now.

The extent of a TV’s curvature dictates the user’s viewing experience and the U9000’s curvature of 4200R (screen curvature is measured in radius, denoted with an R) is claimed to offer an optimal viewing experience from 3-4-metres away. The TV is Ultra High-Definition (UHD), which not as sharp as 4K, but it’s impossible for the human eye to notice the slight difference.

In fact, after watching a few minutes of high-definition content I felt completely enveloped and in my own world the sounds in the show hall being the only distraction. Colours are bright, the contrast ration is great, with blacks being blacker and whites whiter. The TV uses Auto Depth Enhancer technology that allows users to view 3D TV without the need for 3D glasses, allowing friends and family to enjoy 3D content, not just the person wearing the glasses.

A 78‚” TV is rather big for most homes and so Samsung has extended the line to include smaller models, starting at 22‚”. The top of the range curved TV comes in at 105‚”.

The beautiful Goliath in the room

However, the TV that stole the show was not curved. It was the Samsung flat panel UHD 110‚” TV. Standing on the sidelines, I noticed that no one walked past the TV without marveling at its sheer size. This is the largest UHD in the world, and you don’t appreciate its size until you stand in front of it and watch it or try and watch it. I found myself standing more than five metres away and still getting dizzy from the larger-than-life images.

The TV comes with its own stand that lets users tilt it vertically. Due to its size, it cannot be mounted on a wall. It also cannot be bought in a store, and is built to order. It costs a cool R3-million and, yes, delivery and installation fees are included.

Faster and bigger tablets

Samsung is one of the world’s two leading tablet manufacturers, along with Apple. It has won massive market share from the iPad maker and, with the new Galaxy NotePro and TabPro devices displayed last week, the company is planning on gaining more tablet ground.

The Galaxy NotePro uses a 12.2‚” WQ-XGA (Wide-Quad Extended Graphics Display) resolution, offering a resolution of over 4-million pixels. This means sharper images and crisper text, but at 12.2‚” I found it rather big – bigger than many notebook displays. However, the tablet is targeted at the businessperson, and with a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage space, the device can easily replace a notebook.

The large screen means that, when the virtual keyboard pops up, users will have enough screen space to see the app they are working on and use the virtual keyboard without having to minimize. The virtual keyboard’s buttons are also quite large which, in most cases, will eliminate the need for an external keyboard. Users can now use multi-button shortcuts like CTRL+C to copy text and CTRL+V to paste it.

The large 12,2‚” screen also improves the tablet’s multitasking capabilities, with users now being able to open up to four apps at the same time each one of them running concurrently and not being sent to background as with many other tablets.

I found two processor intensive games, which I opened at the same time, then launched a web browser. Simultaneously, while I watched a pre-loaded movie, each app was displayed in a separate window, and each one ran without showing any signs of lagging. The only thing slowing the NotePro was my inability to concentrate on four things at the same time.

The Samsung Galaxy TabPro uses a WQ-XGA 8.4‚” screen that offers the same resolution as the NotePro. It is also powered by a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor running at 2.3GHz and uses 3GB of ram with 32GB of storage. I found the 8,4‚” screen much easier to handle, and felt there was less chance of dropping it, since I could easily wrap my left hand around it while typing with my right.

The TabPro also offers advanced multitasking features, but the smaller screen means that windows will be smaller and the keyboard will be a little more difficult, but not impossible, to use. It is after all an inch and a bit bigger than the 7‚” tablets.

Both tablets use the S Pen, a stylus stored in the side of the tablet, which allows users to jump from app to app seamlessly. Users can also upgrade their storage capacity on both tablets via SD card. Both come pre-installed with Android 4.4 or Kit Kat and a range of premium apps.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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