Hey gang, Valkor here. A couple of weeks ago, I spent some time with the folks at Samsung Mobile, checking out some of their latest wares that would soon be hitting the shelves or coming out in the near future. One topic that arose was tablet size and I let it be known that the perfect size for a tablet is 7" – it's not too big or small. A 7" device can easily be carried around, great size to read books, comics and still be quite productive. Now prior to that meeting, Samsung had announced the "Galaxy Mega", a 6.3" phablet (phone/tablet); a phone so big that it easily eclipses other phones and makes you wonder if such a phone is capable of everyday use without being too cumbersome? Well I'm here to tell you that yes it can, but it's definitely not for everyone.
The Galaxy Mega is the latest smartphone in the Galaxy series and it is without a doubt the biggest. Pictured below from right to left you have the Galaxy S4, the Note II, and the Galaxy Mega just to get an idea just how big it is. The phablet is 6.6" long with curved edges and sports a 6.3" touch screen, (also comes in a 5.8") with a resolution 1280 X 720 HD. At the top face of the device you have your status light, proximity sensor (for the Smart Stay feature) and a 1.9MP front-facing camera. At the bottom you have your physical home button and on either side of that there's your touch Menu and Back key. At the very top is your 3.5mm headphone jack, on the left side is the volume control, the right is the power/lock/standby button and at the bottom is your Micro USB power/sync port. Finally at the back of the device you have your 8MP rear camera with a flash below that, further down on the device you have your speaker and the entire back plate can be lifted to gain access to the battery and SIM/MicroSD card slots. Just FYI, the SD slot is above the SIM slot; yea I was a little confused by that as I'm used to the two being seperate.
Like the S4 but unlike the Note II, the Mega's OS runs on Android Jellybean 4.2.2 with Samsung's latest TouchWiz UI; so you get all of the advantages of the latest android as well as gaining access to some Samsung specific features such as S Beam, home screen rotation (horizontal or vertical action), multi window, etc. Internally the Mega sports a 1.7GHz Dual Core processor with Snapdragon 400 and 1GB of RAM. As far as storage, you can get it as low as 8GB and as high as 16GB with expandable memory of up to 64GB. Finally, for such a big phone, you're gonna need a big battery and the Mega sports a 3,200 mAh lithium ion that lasts pretty much the entire day and then some. I set the device to display the percentage and as I began my commute, I'm emailing, texting, listening to music and maybe taking a call or two. With each instance I watched the percentage drop and towards the end of my day I was worried I wouldn't make it home without a recharge. But I was surprised, I did make it back to base with more than enough juice. I know this is jumping the gun from the Breakdown, but it is a pretty impressive feat.
If you wanna talk features, we've covered much of them with our S4 coverage, and though the Mega is not the "life companion" as the S4, it still does much of the same with a bigger real estate. Features include:
- Air View – just like using the S Pen with the Note II, you simply hover your finger over an item to get additional features or hold over an item in your calendar to expand it.
- Smart Stay – Will pause/dim your screen when you look away
- S Translate – It can translate visually as well as verbally up to nine different languages
- Infrared port/ WatchOn – Your Mega becomes the ultimate universal controller. And if it doesn't know your appliance, it can learn from it by simply pointing the remote into the phone.
The camera comes with a host of features, including ten modes such as HDR, Panorama, Sound and Shot and Best Shot. So while it doesn't have as many features as the S4, it still does a pretty decent job of taking just the right pic for of the moment.
But the biggest hurdle many will face when deciding whether to buy the Mega is the size – it really is big and smaller hands may want to steer clear. However I'm here to tell you why that shouldn't matter, in the TOV Breakdown.
Sure the Mega is impressively large, but it's also very lightweight and thin enough that it easily slipped into either my shirt or pants pocket with ease. But no matter the shirt, it does stick out quite a bit but then that makes it easier to get at. Though you may want to be mindful when walking around in public as it makes it easier to do a "bump and grab". Some folks may find it unwieldy, but I guess because of the size of my paws I didn't have too big of an issue handling the device. And I'll be honest, I had a much better time using the Mega over the Note II; both handle great but the larger screen size gave me more to work with. I could multitask with ease as multi window works best on the Mega than it does on the S4 or the Note II - much, much better; the dual screens fit nicer and it's easier to read and see what you're doing. On top of that, the extra real estate you get also works well with browsing, allowing you to surf a standard website just as easy as you would a mobile one. and the phone does a great job of adjusting the size of the site to fit the screen (pic below very related); everything fits to proportion and it looks mighty fine. The resolution, while lower than some of the latest phones on the market, still offers up super clarity and great image quality. Images and vids are clear and it's brighter than the S4. Gaming was another plus when testing out the Mega and I was impressed at how sharp and fluid the graphics and animation was; now I'm not sure if it was an update of the app or the phone itself, but I have a fondness for "Tap Tap Revenge 4" and having played it on the previous Galaxy phones, the game would usually be out of sync. However with the Mega, I was able to hit the notes just fine, almost to perfection and I'll just come out and say it, I had a much better time playing it on the Mega than I did the iPhone 4S, which was the last time I actually enjoyed playing the game. And even watching films, reading books (both eBooks and Comics) look great, plus you don't have to hold the phone too close to your face. I didn't have to with the S4 or the Note II but I can keep the Mega at a greater distance. Voice quality was pretty solid and clear, no complaints there. And finally the camera; while it's only 8MP compared to the 13 that's the S4, it still takes some damn good photos, especially outdoors. Colors look good, darks are bold (Samsung displays always handles darks well), and image quality is crisp and clean. Not 100% of the time, but you'll get some great shots regardless. In the end, the Mega while it is large, it's definitely in charge and well worth the investment if you're looking to be more productive with your phone.
I only have one issue with the Mega and it's with the colors – they appear not as bold as they would on the S4 or the Note II. Side by side, the difference is definitely noticeable; while the Mega looks brighter, the S4 and the Note II offer richer color detail.
Samsung's Galaxy Mega does an excellent job of bridging the gap between a smartphone and a tablet, creating a wonderful mobile device that's perfect for productive minds as well as increasing entertainment value with a larger screen to toy with. Some might find the Mega to be unwieldy, but given time you'll come to appreciate the importance of its size. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give the Galaxy Mega a 4.5 and it's been Valkor tested, TOV Approved.