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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 Review


 

We’re keen for calling large smartphones “phablets” these days, but what happens when you come within an inch of popular tablets? Well, you get the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 which, as its name implies, has a massive 6.3-inch display.
The Mega 6.3 hasn’t landed in the United States yet, though we hope it does in the near future. Read on for our full review of Samsung’s massive smartphone, which we recently called “Galaxy Note II on steroids” during our initial unboxing


Hardware


The Mega 6.3 might be big, but it doesn’t pack the fastest and latest components on the market. The Galaxy S4 offers a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, for example, while the Mega has a 1.7GHz dual-core processor. Instead of 2GB of RAM, the Mega 6.3 packs 1.5GB, and it has an 8-megapixel camera instead of the 13-megapixel on the S4. It’s available with 8GB or 16GB of storage (ours had 8GB), though that’s expandable with a microSD card. Last but not least, it employs a TFT LCD display with a 1280 x 720-pixel resolution instead of the full 1080p HD SuperAMOLED screen that the Galaxy S4 offers.
We had a black review unit and the back has the same finish as the glossy back on the Galaxy S4 with the same style print. It’s chic looking and we like the faux metal borders that run around the side, which adds a first-class touch.

Moving around the device, there’s a microUSB charging port on the bottom, a volume rocker on the left-hand side, a power button on the right-hand side and a 3.5mm headphone jack up top. There’s a microSD card slot for adding additional storage under the flimsy battery cover.
We can’t knock the phone for having a massive display, we assume consumers know what they’re getting into before they buy it, and we actually enjoyed the big screen. We were worried that the 720p resolution wouldn’t look that great across the full 6.3-inches, but text and video looked truly amazing during our tests.

The phone is so big that we found we didn’t use our iPad mini that often. That said, it could be a perfect option for anyone who is on the fence between buying either a phablet or a smartphone and a tablet.
Now the big question: can it fit in your pocket? We wear regular jeans and the device was able to fit into our pocket without any issue at all. We did notice it felt super bulky once we sat down, however, and we often took it out while sitting at our desk.
Overall, the hardware is good but not great.


Software


The Galaxy mega 6.3 runs Android 4.2 and has a ton of the features that the Galaxy S4 offers, including AirView, DualView for running two apps at the same time, AirWatch and more. We won’t dive too much into the software features because, generally, they’re very similar to what’s already available on Samsung’s other smartphones that we’ve covered in depth.
Surprisingly, we actually really liked Samsung’s TouchWiz (though it’s not really referred to that anymore) user interface on the much larger screen. We usually install third-party launchers, but felt the software worked perfectly and used the device as intended. Something about seeing everything bigger added a fresh coat of paint to it for us.
The software kept up well, even though the Mega 6.3 has a slower processor and less RAM than the Galaxy S4. We found it was adequate, though not the fastest device we’ve tested. There was some stuttering as we cruised through applications but apps loaded fine and played fine. The phone just didn’t feel as fast as the quad-core and octa-core devices we’ve been testing – though that comes as no surprise.
You can run multiple apps, for sure, but you will likely need to do some app management so that you’re not running too many at once.


Camera

 
The 8-megapixel camera on the Galaxy Mega 6.3 was average. It’s not the same 13-megapixel sensor on the Galaxy S4 and we’ve come to enjoy the high quality images on other devices, such as the HTC One.  Sure, it snaps photos just fine, and that’s probably not the main reason you’re buying this device. If you do want a better camera on a phablet, we imagine Samsung will pack a better sensor in the Galaxy Note III, which we expect to hit in the fall.
There’s also a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat which was adequate, but we’re rarely blown away by front-facing cameras anyway


Battery Life


Obviously with a massive screen battery life is always a concern; after all, displays drain the battery rather quickly. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 packs a large 3,200mAh battery that easily got us through a full day of use.
We took the Galaxy Mega 6.3 off the charger at about 7:30 a.m and used it to pull two email accounts all day, about an hour of phone calls, light gameplay and video viewing, more web browsing than usual because the screen is so large, and at around 11:30 p.m at night we still had about a 50 percent charge. We found that to be incredible and applaud Samsung on being able to achieve such a feat

Specifications

  • 6.3-inch 1280 x 720 pixels TFT capacitive display
  • 1.7 GHz dual-core processor
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS
  • 8MP auto-focus back camera with LED Flash
  • 1.9 MP front-facing camera
  • Dual SIM (GSM + GSM) with dual standby
  • 8.0 mm thick and weighs 199 grams
  • 1.5 GB RAM, 8 Internal Memory, expandable memory up to 64GB with micro SD
    •3G HSPA+21Mbps, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS+GLONASS
    •3200 mAh battery

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