30
Aug
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The Galaxy Mega 6.3 is big. Really, really big. That is quite literally the entirety of the list of interesting features that distinguish it from other Samsung smartphones. It is a shamelessly single-minded product. In a way, that's a good thing - it's certainly a big part of what even makes it possible to sell the Mega for just $480 off contract ($150 on).

That's because the Mega really doesn't mess around when it comes to smart cost-cutting. Its 6.3" SC-LCD panel - which is only 720p, by the way - has no Gorilla Glass. It uses an economical Snapdragon 400 processor (a descendent of the Snapdragon S4, essentially). Its 8MP rear camera is straight off the Galaxy S III and Note II, phones that were released last year. It has 1.5GB of RAM (yes, really). The battery is a paltry 100mAh larger than the one used in the Note II, at 3200mAh, and of course the Mega lacks the Note's stylus functionality.

However, it's not as though this big phone is straight out of the jumbo-sized bargain bin, either. It has NFC, an IR port, microSD slot, LTE, 16GB of internal storage on the AT&T model (not bad, price considered), runs Android 4.2.2, and feels no worse in terms of quality than the Galaxy S4 (not the highest praise, but you take what you can get). Samsung cut smartly when it made the Mega, and I think I know why - the Mega's target markets are primarily developing regions or markets where most people buy their smartphones outright. It's a clever strategy, I will say that much.

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The question is, in the United States, who is the Mega for, exactly? Smartphone spec geeks will scoff at its middle-of-the-road silicon credentials, and your average consumer is going to look at it like some sort of massive monstrosity (I've showed such people, they do indeed find it quite ridiculous). I think Samsung's just as clueless on the answer here as I am, to be honest - the Mega feels like an experiment. "Hey, what if we took the Galaxy S4, cheapened it up a bit, and made it huge?" It actually is a really interesting question. I'm not sure what part of the market Samsung is looking to grab here, maybe on-the-go business users or the visually impaired, but the Mega's decidedly reasonable price of entry does mean even if its size is intimidating, some adventurous souls may take a chance on it.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3: Specifications
  • Price: $149.99 on contract ($479.99 off contract)
  • Processor: 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400
  • GPU: Adreno 305
  • Network compatibility: 3G (850/1900/2100) LTE (Bands 2, 4, 5, and 17)
  • Operating system: Android 4.2.2 with TouchWiz Nature UX 2.0
  • Display: 6.3" SC-LCD 1280x720 (233 DPI)
  • Memory: 1.5GB RAM / 16GB storage
  • Cameras: 8MP rear, 1.9MP front
  • Battery: 3200mAh, removable
  • NFC: Yes
  • Ports / expandable storage: microUSB / microSD
  • Thickness: 8mm
  • Weight: 199g

The Good
  • There is little denying the utility of a 6.3" screen. Everything involving reading, typing (assume you use two hands), watching, and generally looking at the display is made easier by the fact that this phone is ridiculously huge. This is the Mega's selling point, and it's a compelling one.
  • No worse built than a typical Samsung phone, which isn't necessarily great, but it doesn't feel like Samsung particularly skimped on the Mega or anything.
  • 16GB of internal storage as standard in a below top-tier Samsung device? Color me shocked.
  • It's cheap for what it is, at just $480 off contract - good luck finding a super giant phone (that isn't terrible) with this kind of value.
  • It's relatively fast and doesn't feel like it's been gimped for the sake of gimping it, even the camera is pretty decent.

The Not So Good
  • It's huge. Like, giant. It fits in my jean pockets, but your results may vary. This phone may well need to go in a purse or bag depending on your clothing situation.
  • The battery life is not the amazing holy grail of awesome you might expect. It's pretty average if you're actually using the phone a lot.
  • The screen has pretty visible pixelation if you get up close and personal with it. Retina, this ain't.
  • Typical Samsung creaks and snaps - par for the course at this point.

Hardware

Design and build quality

The Mega looks almost identical to the Galaxy S4, just scaled up around 1.3 inches (which is a lot more than it sounds like). The embossed pattern on the plastic is a grid of squares as opposed to a diamond weave on the S4, but in nearly every other way this phone tries to be exactly like Samsung's flagship. At least the product branding is consistent. There are some differences, though.

For example, the volume rocker and power button on the Mega are plastic, despite looking a great deal like the S4's, which are metal. The opening where the S4's RGB light sensor sits is absent (since the Mega doesn't have one), though the front fascia - down to the triangular cutouts on the corners of the transparent portion of the display glass - is otherwise identical.

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In terms of fit and finish, you'd be hard-pressed to tell that the Mega is supposed to be the cheaper phone merely assessing its build quality. In fact, I'd say the Mega and S4 appear to be made of identical plastic, down to their ridiculously flimsy rear covers. One thing to note is that the Mega does not appear to be equipped with wireless charging compatibility, as there are no contact points for a wireless charging cover visible on the back of the phone.

The one missing element that may make a difference down the road, though, is one that can't really be seen: the Galaxy Mega does not have Gorilla Glass. This means it will get scratched substantially easier than phones which are equipped with Corning's proprietary panes. Considering its display is so large, and it will often be going in and out of your pocket / bag, a protective flip cover might not be a terrible idea for once.

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Otherwise, the Mega 6.3 is typical current-gen Samsung. It does feel kind of cheap, but it's not like it's carelessly assembled. Since the days of the Galaxy S and S II, I'd say Samsung's build quality has gone from "below average" to "average." It's good enough. It's just not great, and that largely appears to be down to the choice of materials at this point.

Holding the Mega is an interesting balancing act. I have long-ish fingers and can pretty easily accomplish most tasks with one hand on the Note II, apart from long text entry. I can use the Mega with one hand for simple things like scrolling through a web page or a feed, but anything more involved and my other hand instinctually comes in to provide support. I am constantly afraid of dropping it while using one hand, too - the Mega may be of plastic origins, but it still weighs in at a very substantial 199 grams (though that's only 16 more than the much smaller Note II).

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I would say, though, that the Mega makes as efficient use of space as it can. The bezels, vertical and horizontal, are very narrow. You're not going to probably ever see a significantly smaller 6.3" phone, and some of the Mega's competitors are substantially larger. The 6.4" Xperia Z Ultra is a full .45" (12mm) taller than the Mega and .16" (4mm) wider.

The Mega does fit in my front jean pockets, but I'm a big guy with big jean pockets. I can imagine many people would simply not be comfortable transporting it in this manner, if they even could. The pocket of a coat or jacket, a purse, or a messenger bag will probably be the Mega's preferred mode of storage for most buyers.

Display

So it's big. Duh. That's kind of the first thing that hits you when you turn on the Mega, and in a surprising "whoah" sort of way. Like the Note II, looking at the Mega while the display is off makes it appear significantly smaller than it actually is, particularly if you're not holding it. Apart from those people I have asked to actually place the phone in their hand, no one has so much as glanced at it, at least that I'm aware of. It looks deceptively small without a sense of scale provided by a hand, another phone, or the side of someone's face as they make a call.

Pick it up and tap the home button, and after a brief delay as the backlight warms up, the pixels come to life. It's then that you become distinctly aware that the Mega is, in fact, really quite huge. When I first removed it from the box and powered it on, I think my jaw actually went just a little bit agape as I swiped around the OS. You know that feeling you get when you try something brand-new and it's amazing and ridiculous and hard to believe all at the same time? Yeah, it was kind of like that. I chuckled to myself in mild disbelief that this was a phone.

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But it grew on me, a lot. I can go through emails without scrolling, I can type out responses (just not using Samsung's awful stock keyboard) and other longer text entries much more easily, pictures are big and beautiful, and webpages infinitely more readable. This is the Mega's advantage. You'll malign it for its dismal DPI of 233, but anyone who ends up buying the Mega 6.3 probably won't care about how many pixels their eyes can see. They'll just be pleased at that 6.3 inches of screen space. It's only 1.3 inches more than a Galaxy S4, though, you'll say. You wouldn't say that if you actually bothered to do some math.

The Galaxy Mega has a visible screen area of 16.96 square inches. The Galaxy S4, with its 5" display, has 10.68 square inches. That is a difference of (roughly) 6.3 square inches, which means the Mega is nearly an entire iPhone 5 display larger than the Galaxy S4. The Mega 6.3 even has a full 33% more display area than the already quite large Galaxy Note II. Is the size issue sinking in yet? I hope so, though it won't stop someone from trying to say that a 5" smartphone is "basically" not that much smaller than a 7" tablet. That's true, if you either A.) have hands that can palm a basketball like it's a grapefruit, or B.) have little to no understanding of the concept of surface area and / or are just being difficult and annoying.

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The display itself is pretty good, though not amazing. The resolution does mean if you get up close and personal, pixelation is evident. The LCD panel gets very bright, though, and works a hell of a lot better in sunlight than the Note II's dim AMOLED setup. Colors are reasonably accurate and Samsung's screen mode software is still in tow. Viewing angles are great.

Battery life

Surprisingly, it's not that amazing - if you're actually using the phone. The Mega 6.3's battery is only 100mAh larger than the Note II's, but its display is much bigger (and brighter), so that means it actually gets substantially worse battery life under moderate / heavy use. I'd say for longevity it's noticeably better than the Galaxy S4, in that it'll get you through a day and overnight without too much struggle. if you turn down the brightness, it's probably significantly better. But since Samsung's auto-brightness is far too aggressive (read: way too dim), I was often forced to set it manually. Annoying.

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Because it's so large, the Mega's display plays much more of a role in battery drain than it does on other, smaller phones. The more you use it (or crank up the brightness), the more noticeable the battery drain. To put it another way, the Mega's battery is a little under 30% larger than the Galaxy S4's, but its display is 60% larger. That's something to think about. The standby life is fantastic, though, as you'd expect from a dual-core chip and a 3200mAh battery.

Storage, wireless, and call quality

You have 16GB of space on the AT&T version of the Mega 6.3 (the 8GB version is not coming to the US, thankfully), of which about 10.5GB is usable. Is that all you could ever possibly want? No. Is the Mega a super high-end phone that should have 32GB as standard? No. There are tradeoffs here, and this is one of them. There's a microSD slot, of course, for your media storage needs.

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Wireless performance on the Mega has been pretty good. I do find the signal a little weak compared to my other AT&T devices at times, though, and the Mega seems a little more eager to flip over to HSPA+ when I know I'm in an LTE coverage zone. It wasn't a major issue. I also had a few instances where data just kind of stopped working, which is probably some kind of radio firmware glitch. Going into airplane mode or rebooting resolved it, and the problem wasn't particularly common. The Mega's Snapdragon 400 series chipset does not support 5GHz Wi-Fi, which probably makes sense, as it's based on an older dual-core Snapdragon S4 setup. Wi-Fi performance was otherwise admirable. Bluetooth worked OK, though I did have some difficulty detecting devices before I was actually paired to them - it took abnormally long for them to show up as available on the Mega. The Mega also has an IR blaster, if you were wondering.

What's been really weird is the disparity in LTE data speeds on AT&T. Using an AT&T HTC One mini, which is powered by the same Qualcomm chipset as the Mega, I achieved 3x the downlink speed on average, though upload speeds were roughly similar between the two. Something weird is going on there.

Call quality on the Mega has been strong, and its size means the microphone is closer to your mouth when making a phone call, so that probably helps on the other end, too.

Audio and speaker

Audio from the headphone jack has been perfectly good. That's more Qualcomm than Samsung, as the pieces responsible for digital to analog audio conversion and amplification are part of the Snapdragon chip. It hasn't given me any problems.

Samsung has upgraded, in a sense, the external speaker on the Mega, as it's much louder than the one on the Galaxy S4. It's not any better-sounding (it might actually be a little worse), but the added loudness means watching videos is something you can do in noisier environments, and notifications rarely go unheard.

Camera

Samsung could have shoved a cheapo 5MP camera from one of the Tabs into it and called it a day. Luckily, they didn't.

From what I can tell, the Mega 6.3 has the same 8MP module that was used in the Galaxy S III and Note II, and that's a good thing. While no longer on the cutting edge of mobile photography, the Mega's camera definitely gets the job done in most situations. It's not very good in the dark, it's not very good at exposure correction, but it's also far from being bad, which was definitely something I feared about the Mega initially. Take a look at the sample photos and see for yourself.

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Software

Performance and stability

The Galaxy Mega is reasonably quick, but it does feel substantially slower than the Galaxy S4 or HTC One. This is to be expected, as the processor in the MSM8930AB chipset is based on the old MSM8960, albeit with a refreshed Adreno 305 GPU. 1.5GB of RAM gives the Mega a substantial edge on mid-range devices with only 1GB of RAM, and seems to more easily avoid the memory traffic jams that plagued devices like the 2012 Nexus 7 and much of HTC's lineup last year. I don't know what it is, but Android really isn't handled optimally with less than 2GB of RAM. 1.5GB seems like a livable compromise, and I haven't had any of the rage-inducing slowdowns launching apps or switching tasks on the Mega that I have on the HTC One mini, which while it has the same chipset, only has 1GB of RAM.

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App compatibility has been pretty good, as has general stability. I found a couple of apps the Mega simply didn't work with, though they weren't particularly widely-used ones. I haven't had any random reboots or other strange problems with the Mega, either. It's been quite reliable.

UI and features

This is mostly going to be a "I tell you what's different from the Galaxy S4's software" section. If you want to learn about the newest version of TouchWiz (TouchWiz Nature UX 2.0 or NUX 2.0), go read my Galaxy S4 review. It's probably the closest look you'll find at Samsung's software layer from a UI / feature standpoint.

So, what's Samsung up to on the Mega that differs? This is going to be nitpicky - you've been warned. Let's start with some random Samsung features and apps, which basically entails listing what Samsung has removed as compared to the Galaxy S4.

  • The notification bar power toggles no longer scroll through the entire list of toggles, only the first 10. You have to hit the pane flip button in the top right for the full list.
  • There's no mobile data toggle in the notification bar switches, which is weird.
  • The Mega does not do Smart Scroll, which is OK because it really sucks on the S4 anyway.
  • The Mega does not do Smart Pause, which also sucked.
  • The Mega does not do Air Gestures, which I thought were pretty useless.
  • No dual-camera photo or video.
  • No eraser mode, animated photo mode, or drama shot mode in the camera app.
  • No night shot, burst shot, or video stabilization options.
  • The Gallery app does not support DLNA photo sharing / device scanning or text detection on photos.
  • "Internet" has been renamed "Browser" (uh, ok).
  • The Messaging app appears to have a slightly newer look and a different icon.
  • The Optical Reader app is gone.
  • There is no S Health app.
  • The lock screen animation can't be changed (it's stuck on the "Light effect" one).
  • The "Professional photo" display mode option is gone.
  • No RGB color sensor for "Auto adjust screen tone" option and no "High touch sensitivity" option for wearing gloves.
  • There's a hearing aid mode in call settings, which isn't on the S4.
  • Driving mode doesn't support reading out new emails, voicemails, or the lock screen notification / time summary.
  • Power saving mode can now be toggled to come on automatically at 20% battery remaining.
  • One-handed operation mode is back from the Note II and appears unchanged.
  • Voice control call accept / reject on ChatON is gone.
  • The annoying "Help" option has been banished from most overflow menus and pushed.

Aren't you psyched you know all that now? That's pretty much the extent of the software changes I could find, which is to say aside from some stripped-out features and tiny tweaks here and there, this is near identical to the software running on the Galaxy S4. Once again, if you really want to know a lot about the Mega's software, then I would implore you to read my S4 review. It's not worth rewriting here.

I will comment on how well I think TouchWiz scales up to the screen size, though. I personally still don't use Samsung's multi-window feature. It's neat in concept, but I've found it's too cumbersome and tedious for me to even want to try to use it on anything resembling a regular basis. Advanced multitasking is a noble aspiration, but the implementation must be functional, fluid, and fast. Samsung's got an interesting idea functionally, but the user experience is anything but enjoyable. That said, if you already use multi window on a Note or S4, the Mega probably is better for it than either.

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Is having the notification bar at the top of a 6.3" display kind of a pain in the butt? I guess. Once again, I have long fingers, and so it's not as much of a problem for me. For some others, pulling down the notification bar single-handedly might be a serious frustration / precursor to screen breakage.

I really, really like browsing the web on the Mega 6.3. I have always hated navigating around even well-designed mobile web pages on a smartphone, and even my Note II feels a bit cramped at times. The Mega 6.3 is just right for viewing mobile web content, in my opinion. You can see a lot of information and content without scrolling or zooming, and it's great for reading longer articles or restaurant menus. This is easily my favorite part of using the Mega - I have what is essentially a small tablet in my pocket.

Otherwise, it's TouchWiz with Android 4.2.2. I'm not going to waste your time regurgitating what hundreds of people have already said over and over about Samsung's UI layer. If you like (read: don't mind) TouchWiz, great. If you don't, it's still TouchWiz!

Conclusion

The Mega 6.3 is obviously a device with very niche appeal. Galaxy Note fans may be apprehensive about giving up their beloved stylus (though I've personally never found much use for it), and everyday smartphone buyers will undoubtedly be wary of such a large handset. Meanwhile, spec geeks will lambast the display resolution, processor, and RAM. That said, I think for the price ($480 off contract, $150 on), the Mega provides a ton of value if you take it for what it is: a really huge phone that sheds some of the high-end bells and whistles you may not really need.

Could the screen be better? Yes. Could it be a little faster? Sure. But taken on its own terms, the Mega is probably the best balance of value, performance, and ergonomics (you can't deny there's very little wasted space) when it comes to the Super Giant Phone category. If you want a Super Giant Phone (maybe we can call them SGPs), I'd argue steadfastly that the Mega is the one to get. Not the Z Ultra, not the Fonepad, not even HTC's upcoming One Max (which will have a .4" smaller display and be ludicrously expensive). How many people are in the "I want an SGP" category? Hard to say. But the Mega 6.3 will probably please them.

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David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • NickAVV

    I wish there was a picture of you holding it against your head phone-call style for a size visual's sake

    • Danny365
      • NickAVV

        Wowza

      • live2ski

        the SGP makes this looks small

        • MannyLegacy

          .......What a handsome guy that Zack was!! .........He better watch out or Mr. Belding might take that phone away.

      • Chris

        See I really don't think that looks that weird...but I do have a Note 2 haha

    • obarthelemy

      That's the 0.01% of the time we use the phone for actual phoning, AND don't have a head set. The rest of the time it's used a a computer, and the screen matters wayyyyy more than what the fashion police think.

    • Green2u

      I guess I am not such a fashionista that I really care what people think when I make the occasional phone call! :) I have a Galaxy Note II and the only time anyone comments on its size is when I hand it to them to take a photo for me.

    • Gilles LeBlanc

      Though I wish it where more expensive and spec rich I love my mega 6.3. Replacing my Note 2 I can say the only other I might want is Z Ultra. Price is no hinderance I can afford any one of them. I rock the mega cause its the best device for me. If your a tall man and your a geek with debloating/optimization/rooting skills this is perfect mini tab for you :-)

      • MANthrax

        Price was not a problem for me either and I passed on the Note 3 for the Mega. Had to change carriers as well to get it. I hope the OEM's are reading this instead of all the stupid posts how big it is. They said the same about the original Note! Apple is finally getting into the 5" plus screen game.

  • CA719

    Forget TouchWiz, I want the Xperia Z Ultra.

    • SPtheALIEN

      This.

    • nevetsg

      No flash ruled it out for me.

      • CA719

        It seems to take okay low-light pictures, so this doesn't matter to me.

        http://youtu.be/6rYCYi-ZrW8

      • GraveUypo

        didn't notice that. a big part of a smartphone to me is being a always-on-me flashlight so i'd rule it out for that too, if i had any interest in using something so huge.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      Get one dude, I love mine!

  • tlzita

    The article mentioned they didn't know who would want one. I do!

    I've been thinking of getting this for my next phone/netbook. I am a SAHM to my 3 kids (1,3,5). I currently don't have a smart phone. I have a candybar phone and a netbook but I would love to have something I could carry in my purse and use off of wifi. I don't like cellphones generally for how they don't really come near my mouth and ear very well so I would get a retro inspired bluetooth handset to answer out of my purse.

    • mesmorino

      You'd most likely want to use a bluetooth headset with this phone as well... It's a bit too big to use comfortably otherwise. As a tablet though I think it would replace the netbook (and the candybar phone!) quite handily

      • CKH14

        Not Sure if you actually Own one or not ? But the mega isnt uncomfortable to talk on whatsoever. Also it has Some of the best speakers and mics of any phone I've ever had. The size is only a big deal to those whove never actually used one, and a huge benefit to those of us that Own them. I never use a Bluetooth headset as they are goofier looking than holding a large phone especially these days when the avg phone is around 5 inches. As an owner of 3 megas an S4 and a note 2 the megas are the perfect all round device and perfect size for those wanting a large screen mini tab Style phone that easily fits in your pocket.

  • flosserelli

    Samsung is testing the waters to see if this generates enough interest to sustain a product line, just like they did with the Note. If Samsung sells enough Megas this year, the next version will likely have a 1080p screen. But I bet the Mega line will continue to be a stripped down model, aimed primarily at users that don't want or need the latest & greatest chipset or gobs of memory. Rather, it will be intended for people that essentially want a small tablet that can make phone calls.

    • stevhorn

      "Rather, it will be intended for people that essentially want a small tablet that can make phone calls." Bingo! We have a winner! This is exactly what I want.

  • Chris

    I'm wondering why 720p was good on a 32" TV a few years ago and now it's bad on a 6.3" screen..Is something else coming into play I'm unaware of? I mean i get 1080p would be better, but isn't 720p still pretty damn good?

    • flosserelli

      It all depends on your eyes, and everyone is different. It also depends on what you want to do with the device. If you use it primarily for email, web browsing and occasional casual gaming, then 720p is probably more than adequate. But if you are a hard core mobile gamer or you watch a lot of movies on the go, then you'd probably better off with 1080p.

      • GraveUypo

        bs. for movies and pictures it's a heck of a waste, you can't tell the difference. The neighboring pixels are always low contrast as the entire image is naturally "anti-aliased" (for lack of a better term). in those conditions you'll be hard-pressed to tell the diference between 720p and 1080p. it's much more obvious when the image is digitally rendered (like games, text or webpages)

        for games it slows down the device for no good reason, drains extra memory and sometimes even breaks compatibility. which is why a good deal of them render the game in a lower resolution and then upscales (depending on the device)

        all in all, you got everything backwards. higher ppi is better for reading small text, so you need to do less zooming in and out. it's the only reason i don't say 1080p on 5' phones is completely useless.

        and... hardcore mobile gamer? ouch. uh, okay. i'll just go over there laugh about something else.

        • DannyJayFuller

          I have 9 GB of PSP ISOs, 3 GB of game resources and about 6 GB or other ROMs/ISOs. Hardcore mobile gamer is definitely a thing when your only other device is a ps2 hooked to a TV that's always showing Criminal Minds and a low-spec laptop that can barely handle KOTOR. As for the whole "Hi-res is basically useless for media" thing, I agree wholeheartedly. My G2X is 4 inches, 480x800 and the graphics on some Android games blow my laptop and TV far out of the water simply because the density on a small screen is so much higher.

    • Mike Harris

      I think you're confusing good with acceptable. There's nothing necessarily "bad" about 720p, but 1080p on much smaller screens is already pretty common, so why would a phone with a much bigger screen size than normal go down in screen resolution? 720p is definitely better than 480p (and 480i, obviously), but now that the cost of 1080p has come way down, why wouldn't we as consumers want it?

      I see your point, but all you've really done is highlighted how quickly we've advanced, technology-wise.

      • CKH14

        I'll tell you why I'm glad my mega isnt 1080 p, battery life. As is I get 5 to 6 hours of on screen time and a total of 30 hours standby running full brightness constant syncs air view an nearly every option on constantly. If it was a 1080 screen the images and picture quality would be negligible but would literally halve the battery life. 1080 is a waste on screens smaller than 12 or so inches. given unless 2 devices are side by side Youd never Know the difference and even then its negligible. For example my 2 mega's look nearly identical to my s4 abeit the amoled saturation and coloring but not as far as detail quality, even side by side I really cannot see any differences. Yet even the much Smaller 5 inch 1080 screen on my S4 drains the battery at nearly double the rate. This is also why I was hoping Note 3 would not be 1080. I'd rather get several hours of use Out of battery than be able to say its full HD. Battery life is huge and beneficial 1080 HD on a Small screen is pointless and does more harm than good for actual use

        • PAD

          i agree, battery is the main reason

    • Matthew Fry

      720p is still (actually) pretty acceptable both on a TV and on a phone. It's the distance away from the screen that matters. However, the math will tell you that on a 5" device, 12" from your face, you can't distinguish between pixels on a 720p and 1080p display but there's something definitely different. The S3 and the S4 are almost the same size but the S4's 1080p display is easily identified as better.

      • Chris

        Yeah, and I get that. My Note 2 vs my Wife's S4 it's definitely different, but I'd never call the Note 2 a bad screen

    • Oobiewan

      You don't normally read on a tv screen, so it doesn't matter how readable are texts with small letters. Also, you watch a tv from meters distance, you cannot make out pixels even in the case of standard ntsc/pal resolution. For example, I just hate my gf's note 10.1's screen, because all I see is pixels... Although it's 1280*800. But actually, for me, 720p is fine on devices up to 9", but higher resolutions still give you more a beautiful display, and they are even better to read books and articles on them.

      • John O’Connor

        Reading this article on my 1080p 65" HD TV. could it be better? Yes. Does it work? yes.

    • Krzysztof Jozwik

      I'm guessing you're one of those who sits 9" away from the TV?

    • Peacen1k

      Galaxy Mega's screen is 233 ppi, so definitely acceptable. I'm still using my SGSII and it has 217 ppi which I find perfectly usable.

      • Herman

        The Mega's screen fits nicely between the other specs of the phone.
        It's perfectly usable, it's just that it all could be better.
        I won't be buying this, but I might recommend it to someone who likes huge phones. After all, we don't all have the money to buy the best so this is as useful to some as smaller high-end devices are useful to others.

    • GraveUypo

      i agree. 240ish dpi isn't top-of-the-line, but it's nowhere near awful or unusable.

      • Chris

        But see that argument doesn't make sense. We get to a point where 100,000p isn't much better than 10,000p, even tho it's 10x the resolution.

    • Stacey Liu

      Because you sit far away from a TV. It's the same reason why 260 PPI on an iPad 4 is acceptable but it's not acceptable on a smartphone... you hold smartphones closer to your eyes than tablets.

      On a TV, you won't make out individual pixels unless you're watching from 2 feet away.

      You're also generally not reading on a TV, making resolution much less of an issue.

  • Oobiewan

    Yes, but look at the Fonepad's pricetag and specs. Not really the same category

  • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

    Great article, although I'm happy with my Note II. Also, shouldn't the line "The standby life is fantastic, though, as you'd expect from a dual-core chip and a 3100mAh battery." say 3200mAh?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      You're right. Fixed.

  • obarthelemy

    I can't help but wonder if a http://www.geekbuying.com/item/Ulefone-U650-6-5Inch-OGS-FHD-Screen-MTK6589T-1-5GHz-Quad-Core-Smart-Phone-2GB-RAM-32GB-ROM-13-0MP-Camera-Android-4-2-3G-GPS-Black-318259.html wouldn't be better, at about half the price.

    The screen is OGS so should be good, but there's ne review of it, and I'm leery of gotchas.

  • Ionuț Leonte

    At the very end of the article it reads:

    How many people are in the "I want an SPG category"?

    I'm pretty sure that's supposed to be SGP. Either that or somebody is about to go all Rambo.

  • southerndinner

    Holy crap a Samsung review that isn't ridiculous hyperbole that no one actually cares about? This can't be a Ron review and thank god it wasn't

  • Dante-fu

    Unless the AT&T version is gimped compared to international one, you have some facts wrong.
    Mega does come with 5 GHz wifi (even the newest AC mode) for one.

  • Nian

    Good review, I wouldn't buy one but its food for thought on someone who doesn't want a tabler and a phone but something that does both (and can't afford a Note II/III).
    The only issue with your review however, is your opinion on build quality. You personally may not like it, but many people do. Its the ever repeating argument over Plastic vs Glass/Metal. Glass and Metal don't bounce, Plastic usually does. Plastic feels flimsy, Glass and Metal feel solid. Go figure. Also let me remind you that if plastic was so inferior, why does samsung have such a huge market share? Food for though.
    Another point is that you can't deny that the devices as they are with replaceable battery covers and battery. give a substantial advantage, something you don't get with many other brands.
    If I damage my phones battery cover, I can fix it with a simple ebay purchase and a 10 second change over. HTC/LG/Apple just don't give you that simplicity.
    As for batteries, Mugen Power.... Enough said!
    Reviews should be void of debatable opinion. Build quality thats based on what materials it is made from is certainly something a good writer should avoid.

    • AHWH

      Honestly, I hated Samsung's plastic too. There is simply no excuse of them to use the kind of plastic finishing/materials they use because there are way better plastic materials/finishing to use out there and it is not as if they never did a well-designed/built phone before with plastic. Or for the record metal (ATIV S).

      And no, just because Samsung have a huge market share doesn't means everyone love plastic. I never understood where people get that notion from because it is simply untrue if you were to actually go around and ask people why they even bought a Samsung phone at the first place. Half of them will reply you along the line of everyone is buying Samsung, so it must be good and thus i bought one.

      FYI, if anything Apple's glass back is replaceable at the expense of voiding your warranty. But there are definitely tons of aftermarket iPhone back covers ranging from plastic to metal.

      As for removable battery and storage, it will really differ from one to another so substantial is not really a word to put it. I never see the point of having that anyway since I never find myself running out of my internal storage and I live well with my phone's battery life. Beside I have never plan to use my phones beyond 21 months, so the chances of the battery dying is hell slim.

      And really a reviews void of debatable opinion might as well be a review done by only looking over the specs sheet cause every part of a review is debatable as experience may differ from each person. I always like reviews with reviewer's opinion weaved in it as it gives a sense that the reviewer had actually use the phone and is not just reviewing off the specs sheet.

      • Nian

        Polarised debateable opinion however is bad form. May as well have a review complaining that a ford is crap because its not a toyota...
        As for saying market share isn't a good indicator for preference of build. Bollocks! Most people play with the mock phones in the shop before buying it. If they didn't like how it felt, they wouldn't buy it.
        Another point to make is that samsung is putting allot of development in that plastic which you think is so cheap. I certainly don't know about its special properties, and I don't think you do either. Unless you have a Phd in Plastics.
        That been said, theres talk of Samsung putting money into carbon fiber. Won't that be nice.

        • AHWH

          If that's the case ask how many people how the iPhone felt then? The sharp edges aren't exactly nice to hold but it still sold Millions, so?

          I never think plastic is cheap, hell plastic is more expensive than metal in its raw form. Of course I don't know Samsung used polycarbonate in their phone because I don't have a Phd in physics. I also for sure have no idea that all the other nicer looking and sometimes sturdier plastic used in other brands are all just polycarbonate also. Yup definitely need a PHYSICS phd for that kind of knowledge.

          Well I rather they put their money in graphene, it has way more potential than carbon fibre. Besides if I dig the look and strength of carbon fibre, Motorola would seem be a better choice. Kevlar is slightly stronger than carbon fibre.

          • Nian

            Kevlar has a shelf life... Either way, Samsung has invested in Carbon Fiber. Expect it in the not too distant future.

          • Airyl

            I've used Chinese phones with better plastics and build quality than Samsung. Read JiaYu G4, Oppo Find 5, Meizu MX2, THL W11.

  • CeluGeek

    As a person with low-vision, I have been really interested in the Mega 6.3. Then again, Android 4.2 has a screen magnifier that is actually practical to use, unlike the one in iOS or Windows RT devices. So I'm on the fence whether I should grab a Mega 6.3 or wait for the Note II to get updated to Android 4.2 or 4.3. By then, the Note III might be released and the Note II's price might drop a little bit too. I'm on AT&T Go Phone service and I'm happy enough with the service that I won't be changing that. Decisions, decisions... Meanwhile I'll stick with my Captivate Glide.

  • http://marthafaye.blogspot.com/ Marti Abernathey

    I'm not sure how many people actually still put their phone to their ear. I don't think I've done that in years. I have both a wired headset and a bluetooth headset and I'd LOVE to have an even bigger phone. I'd love to have a phone that's even bigger. In fact, I'd love to have a tablet sized phone. Because I already take my tablet with me everywhere in my purse/backpack and it would be one less device for me to have to carry and I could surf my tablet and talk on the phone at the same time.

  • CaibreGreyblade

    For next pair of daily drivers I choose this and Note 3. Why carry three devices when you can have two!

  • Dave

    I have had the note 2. I purchased thus mega and i am impressed.The display is a split second slower but clear and easy to view. My wireless connection is greatly improved. Filming is still fantastic, only downside is the slo mo feature is gone. Spen feature i do not miss. I love my new phone and it doesnt look as stupid as critics claim while making a call. 8/10.

  • Ittiam

    For markets where people buy phones at full price, this seems to be a winner... Recently, as per my anecdotal observation, Samsung Galaxy Grand is gaining lot of popularity, since its as big as S4 and gives good value for money at half the price.

  • John O’Connor

    I'll wait for the Note 3. It's too bad you didn't throw a note 2 between the s4 and mega to get a side-by-side comparison, for LxWxH or bezel comparison.

  • anon ymous

    My international-spec Mega supports both 5Ghz wifi and 802.11ac. Are you sure the AT&T version doesn't?

  • BigAll

    I'm reading this from my mega and what can I say i totally love it. Before i had note II but I'm into big screens so why not buy a mega. I don't regret not at all.

    • Romell Bateman

      is the Mega better than the note 2?

  • http://www.ebog.me/ Ebog

    It's too big with me

  • Phil

    buying this phone tomorrow!

  • Milt McD

    Maybe I am just too old. There is a very specific niche for a product like this. Those of us who are tired of carrying too much gear. I do not see the Mega as an oversized phone. I see it as a Tablet with Phone capability. I am amused by pics where people hold it up to their ear. Aren't they aware of bluetooth? Of course I am also amazed by people driving in the left lane 10 miles under the speed limit with a wireless phone to their ear.

    Why do we have smartphones? Because we want all the automation that comes with it. The Mega can provide a way to have the automation without two devices, two data connections and two sets of service charges.

    • David

      I wrote to Samsung re the durability of the screen--and they claim that the Mega DOES have Gorilla glass. where did you get the information that it does not?

  • David

    Your review notes that the Mega does not use Gorilla glass. I have seen other reviews which specifically say that the Mega 6.3 does come with GG, so I'm confused. I checked the list of devices with GG on the Corning site, and the Mega is not listed. However, I wrote to Samsung, and they replied with a note stating that the Mega does, indeed, use GG. Do you have definite info one way or the other?

  • tiylor Hill

    I have a mega I run my own business and yes it is perfect for " on the go " business needs. The only down side I have found is I cant seem to be in public and use my phone without at least one person stopping me to ask me about my phone. But on the filp side I spin that into making new clients. Lol

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    You can get a free UMI ZERO smartphone on banggood.com.As long as you do as the activity.The activity link is http://www.banggood.com/umi-zero?bid=7773

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