Sep 12, 2013

Posted by in Featured, Mobile, Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3, size matters

Here comes another phone and tablet hybrid from Samsung, a phablet as people would call it. Samsung releasing yet another device in a new size was not a surprise at all. From the Galaxy Note, Samsung has explored on developing such devices because there seems to be a steady niche for biggie-sized phones. The Samsung Mega lives up to its name, taking it a notch higher when it comes to phone sizes. The review unit I got was a 6.3-inch model but Samsung also released a 5.8-inch version.

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Read on to know more how the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 actually fares.

Design

This goliath phone looks like a larger version of the S4. Its build quality is relatively good like its siblings as it sports a polycarbonate plastic battery cover and a metal bezel surrounding the soft-edged sides. While the plastic build of this device gives it a poor hand grip, it makes up for being lighter than expected. The Mega series comes in black and white variants.

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The front panel is mostly dominated by the 6.3-inch 1280×720 TFT LCD screen with a physical Home button at the bottom. There is a 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera located at the upper right portion in line with the speakers, power indicator and sensors.

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The power button is found at the right side of the phone and the volume controls on the left side. On top is the 3.5mm headset jack along with the infrared sensor and one of the two microphones, while at the bottom is the micro-USB connector and the other microphone.

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The back is made of hard plastic in a shiny coating with the same pattern as that of other current Galaxy devices. Here you can see the 8-megapixel camera lens with the LED flash underneath.

Hardware

Within the hardware spectrum, Samsung Mega still falls in the mid-range category. It is powered by a 1.7GHz Dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.5 RAM. It runs on the latest Android 4.2 Jellybean, made a little more interesting by the Samsung’s latest TouchWiz software. Internal storage is at 8GB but may be expanded via microSD. This phone also supports LTE network which is still a rarity among Samsung devices.

SMS

Texting using the Samsung Mega 6.3 was a bit frustrating at first since the spaces between the keys are bigger than the regular-sized touch screen phones. I have to exercise both hands and extend my fingers to be able to type efficiently. My muscle memory seems to have problems with using the Samsung Mega. Fortunately, this phone’s keyboard can be shrunk either to the left or right-hand size for one-handed touch typing.

Web Browsing and Multimedia

Web browsing is better with the Samsung Mega because you get a better viewing advantage using this phone over other devices and their small screens. One of the Samsung Mega’s best assets is its ability to provide good reader experience. Since the feel is much like a tablet, I did not have to zoom in to be able to conveniently read the texts.

The Samsung Mega supports LTE service for a faster browsing experience. I soaked myself into cyberspace with the fast connection. There were no hiccups with watching HD videos on Vevo and Youtube. If you’re looking for a future phone that’s made for browsing, you might want to consider the Mega.

Games

Playing games with the Samsung Mega was generally better than the normal sized phones but it does have its downside. I did not experience any lagging while in play, even those fast-paced puzzle games such as 2Fuse and Hardest Game Ever. The down side of playing time-based games with the Samsung Mega was still the distance that your fingers need to travel to accurately press the buttons. It would work well for building-simulation games where screen real estate is appreciated.

Meanwhile, Ironman, which is a CPU-intensive game due to its heavy graphics, was still okay when played although it is safe to assume that there will eventually have some considerable lags as you continue to play longer due to its mid-range memory capacity.

Camera

The performance of the camera did not disappoint even though the camera specs aren’t really that impressive. The 8 mexapixel rear camera did a good job producing good photos under well-lit conditions. Not so good on low-light settings though. The photos are grainy but it’s usually the same for most phone cameras, don’t you think?

Here are a few sample photos taken with the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3:

I believe Samsung has leveraged in their camera lineage by integrating a Mode option that includes some basic add-on features to the phone camera. There is the default Auto, Sports (for fast moving subjects), Panorama (for better landscape view), Rich Tone (HDR), Beauty Face (for the instant Photoshop look), Continuous (for capturing priceless moments), Best Photo (so you won’t have to worry that a single priceless shot of yourself was not properly taken), and one of the coolest setting for me, the Sound & Shot (to bring photo into life).

Battery Life

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Battery life is impressive for a device of this size. The Samsung Mega packs a 3200mAh battery that can keep the device alive for about 1 1/2 days with normal and mixed usage. This includes the usual texting and making calls plus a bit of browsing and gaming. To my surprise, it lasted about 8 hours of mostly 2Fuse-ing and a little bit of browsing before the Low Battery alert popped. I also noticed that even when connected through WiFi, it does not eat up as much battery life as expected.

Verdict

Overall, the Samsung Mega is able to perform the basic functionalities of a phone while giving you most of, if not all, the viewing benefits of a tablet. The compromise between a regular phone and a tablet is quite amusing. It has the multi-tasking capabilities and much of the user interface in previously released Samsung phones. The huge screen is the icing on the cake but it could also be a factor to put some potential buyers off. Size does matter.

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It does take some time getting used to especially with how your hand muscles work. Texting can be quite a challenge. Obviously, you don’t want to use the Samsung Mega single-handedly but I think it was not made to be used with one hand in the first place. Aside from the inconvenience of trying to fit it in your pocket, I find the right-mounted power button of the phone too “invisible” making it harder to access. Web-browsing and multimedia experience was enjoyable, not to mention the LTE connectivity and superb battery life. It’s portable for a tablet, but rather too immense for a phone.

SRP of the Samsung Mega is at Php23,990. If you’re not too particular with mid-range performance such as its general speediness and responsiveness for the price, then this might actually work for you.

Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 Specs:
6.3″ 16M-color TFT capacitive touchscreen, 720 x 1280 pixels (233ppi)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, 1.7GHz Krait CPU
Adreno 305 GPU
1.5GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, microSD up to 64GB
Android OS v4.2.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz UI
HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE
8 MP front camera, 1080p @ 30fps video recording
1.9MP rear camera, 1080p video recording
Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, IR, MHL
3200mAh battery
167.6 x 88 x 8mm
199 g
SRP: Php23,990


  1. The screen is too big. And the performance is average. Don’t like it much.

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