Samsung Galaxy Mega review
|Review: August 2013|
In a nutshell: The Galaxy Mega is a big phone that gives you a lot for your money. Its number-one selling point is the 6.3 inch screen, which is ideal for apps and games, but its size also makes it unwieldy.
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If you subscribe to the "bigger is better" philosophy, then the Samsung Galaxy Mega is the phone for you. With a 6.3 inch screen, this dwarfs most ordinary phones, and is very nearly a tablet. Some people like to call it a phablet, but at S21 we hate that word. It's clear that mobile devices now lie on a spectrum of sizes (with advantages and disadvantages at each scale) and the Mega is in the middle. That makes it a truly multifunctional and versatile device. Just make sure that you have deep pockets!
Design & looks
Let's deal with the size issue head on. This handset is big, very big. It's significantly bigger than even the Galaxy Note 2. But you already knew that. Big is good when it comes to screen size (more about that soon) but not when it comes to portability. It's heavy too, at nearly 200g. If you already use a bag to carry your phone, then this won't pose too many problems, but if you're used to tucking your phone into your pocket, you might need to rethink this strategy.
Despite the huge surface area of the phone, it's very slim, measuring just 8mm in the third dimension. That definitely makes it easier to handle. It's the same thickness as the ultra-slim Galaxy S4 phone or the Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet. In terms of design, it looks almost exactly the same as the Galaxy S4, just in a larger version. That means it has a plastic finish and a rather plain design, unlike the designer looks of the iPhone 5 or the HTC One. Most users will need to hold the phone with two hands, whether in landscape or portrait mode, and making phone calls is a struggle - you'll probably want to use a headset or use the speakerphone.
Now let's turn to the advantage of the Mega's size - the enormous screen. Measuring 6.3 inches diagonally, with a HD 1280x720 pixel resolution, it's an absolute beauty. Unusually for a Samsung it uses LCD technology instead of AMOLED, but nevertheless the screen is bright and has more natural colour reproduction than most AMOLED displays. Given that the Mega is aimed squarely at power users and that its screen is its number-one selling point, it's a shame that it doesn't have a full HD screen, but it has a reasonable pixel density of 233ppi, in line with the Google Nexus 7 or Apple iPad Mini tablets.
The bottom line is that the Mega will be too big for most users, but if you're a power user making few calls but using apps and data heavily, then the lure of the big screen may justify wielding such a big piece of kit.
Processor & memory
Curiously, the Mega comes with a relatively modest dual-core processor, although it's clocked at a fast 1.7GHz speed and has a meaty 1.5GB of RAM. That's a strange decision, given that nearly all high-end phones now have quad-core as standard. Performance can be an issue at times, although in fairness the processor can run most apps or games without significant problems.
The built-in memory is 8GB, which again isn't really enough to cater for the needs of demanding users, although you can add a microSDXC card up to 64GB.
The Galaxy Mega runs Google Android 4.2 and is overlayed with Samsung's TouchWiz user interface enhancements. Not everyone enjoys modifications to Android, but for most users it adds a useful layer of functionality, including widgets, but not incorporating some of the
gimmicks power features introduced for the Galaxy S4, such as Air Gesture and Smart Scroll.
Recognising that the Mega can be used much like a tablet, Samsung has modified the usual smartphone UI to take advantage of the screen size. A Multi Window mode enables easy multitasking, and the Tablet View makes the most of the wide screen in landscape mode.
The Galaxy Mega is equipped with a competent 8 megapixel camera, capable of taking good shots. It's equipped with all the features you'd expect, including autofocus, LED flash and digital zoom. It also comes with some extra features such as smile shot and panorama shot.
The camera can also record video at full 1080p HD resolution. A secondary front-facing 1.9 megapixel camera is available for video calling.
Any portable data-hungry device like the Mega will benefit from 4G connectivity, and the Mega supports LTE data downloads of up to 100Mbps and uploads of 50Mbps. In addition, 3G HSPA enables 42Mbps downloads and 5.76Mbps uploads. On top of that is Wi-Fi, including 5GHz dual band Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct.
The phone also supports Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and DLNA.
The Galaxy Mega has the largest battery of any Samsung phone to date, rated at 3200mAh. Of course that huge LCD screen eats power like nobody's business, but the phone will stand a full day of intensive use before needing recharging.
The story we expected to write here was that the Galaxy Mega extended the size and specs of the very successful Galaxy Note 2 and delivered a winning device for a niche part of the smartphone market. But that's not entirely true. While the niche market appeal is certainly true (this is not a mainstream device), and the Mega does extend the size of previous phones into uncharted territory, it doesn't always deliver what we expected.
The LCD screen is a departure for Samsung, and not necessarily a better option than Super AMOLED. The lack of 1080p resolution is also starting to show at this screen size, especially when compared with phones like the Galaxy S4. The lack of a quadcore processor and the relatively small 8GB of memory are frankly a let down, and the camera isn't up there with the very best.
And yet when it comes to pricing there's another surprise in store, for the Galaxy Mega retails for less than the Galaxy S4, leaving us wondering what the target market really is.
Let's just say that if screen size trumps other considerations, then the Galaxy Mega has your name written on it in huge letters, but if other factors like processor power, memory, camera performance and portability are also very important to you, then consider instead the Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S4 or the Sony Xperia Z.
Samsung Galaxy Mega features include:
- Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
- 8 megapixel camera with Power LED flash, autofocus, smile shot, panorama shot and 4x digital zoom
- Full HD video recording (Up to 1080p, 30 frames/sec), 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera for video calling
- Display: Super Clear LCD, 1280 x 720 pixels (6.3 inches) capacitive touchscreen
- Media player
- A-GPS / GLONASS with geo-tagging and Google Maps
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, email, Google Talk
- Advanced personal organiser functions
- HTML5 web browser
- Processor: 1.7GHz dual-core processor
- Memory: 8GB with 1.5GB RAM plus microSD card slot (up to 64GB)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, NFC, 3.5mm audio jack, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, MHL 1.2
- Quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900), multi band 3G, HSPA+, 4G LTE (800 / 850 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600MHz)
- Size: 168 x 88 x 8 mm
- Weight: 199g
- Battery: 3,200mAh battery
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Samsung Galaxy Mega user reviews
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Average rating from 4 reviews:
Reviewed by tevonne
on 19th Jan 2015
This phone is great...
Reviewed by richard waring
on 5th Nov 2013
Had the mega for a week now, first impressions big but don't let that put you of, if you want a tablet in you pocket this is just and I mean just right this is a phone and a tablet. Good speed very bright great battery got mine for £22.50 a month with 500 min unlimited text and unlimited data cant be bad.
Reviewed by Mark
on 4th Oct 2013
Don't be put off by the fact that it's a dual core processor or the non full HD display. The quality of this phone for the price is excellent. I have switched from an Iphone 5, as I wasn't happy with the new 5s. For me, the screen size is everything, watching films and you tube is just superb. One thing you need to try the phone in your hand first, as it's a big phone, but it does sit easily in a pocket, even in a leather case which mine is in. I was and still am very very impressed, first Android phone, still getting used to it, but a top decision at £300, unlocked!
Reviewed by diane from wales on 10th Aug 2013
I love my mega its not much bigger than the note and will fit in a pocket it fits in mine. the sound is loud the picture quality is what you expect of samsung. The battery lasts a long time but like other smart phones if you give it a hammering then you will have to charge it at the end of the day (no biggie). Ive found that the more i use mine the more the battery lasts. Videos and photos are terrific and gaming is a dream its quick no lag i would really recommend it to all