Nikhil SubramaniamMay 28, 2013 13:12:11 IST
Every now and then Samsung will throw a curve ball at its competitors. Count the Galaxy Mega among those. What was initially thought to be one phone turned out to be two variants under the same name. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 has a 6.3-inch display (duh!) and the other variant comes with a 5.8-inch display and is aptly called Galaxy Mega 5.8. Both phones have launched in India with the Galaxy Mega priced at Rs 25,100 and the Mega 6.3 at Rs 31,490.
Both phones will feature Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and dual-core processors, but there are some changes in the specs sheets on either side. For the purpose of this specifications review, we will be focusing on the Galaxy Mega 6.3. Let’s get going.
OS – Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz UI
That the Mega 6.3 comes with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is heartening to see in an age when software updates are becoming thinner by the day. However, the latest version of Android has been covered up by TouchWiz's bright, and peppy UI. There are some nifty additions to the interface, which Samsung claims will improve the overall user experience.
The homescreen has a cleaner design now and looks less cluttered. The app drawer looks the same as it did on the Galaxy S4, and the cosmetic changes in Samsung’s flagship have been retained in Mega 6.3 as well. The Settings page, for example, now has a tabbed interface, which is a great way to quickly spot what you want to change, instead of scrolling and trying to find the right setting. Samsung has taken Air View and Smart Stay to the next logical step and enhanced their functionality. However, we can foresee users getting confused by the plethora of software features in the phone. Thankfully, they are easily accessible through the two-finger drag on the notification bar. Galaxy Mega will also get the Multi-Window mode that was first seen in the Galaxy Note 2.
We expect many of the other features such as S Translator, the bevy of camera apps and the S Health app from the S4 to make an appearance in the Galaxy Mega as well.
The display is easily the biggest attraction of the Mega 6.3
Cellular connectivity – LTE and 3G (HSPA+)
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 comes with LTE connectivity, but if your region has no 4G infrastructure, it will still support HSPA connectivity. The phone supports Cat 3 LTE, so theoretically you will get download speeds of up to 100Mbps and 50Mbps for uploads.
Display – 6.3-inch TFT capacitive display; resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels
Of course, with a name like Mega, the smartphone has a giant display. The 6.3-inch display is the largest we have seen on a mainstream smartphone, and it dwarfs the Galaxy Note 2 comfortably. The display has a 720p resolution, which means a pixel density of around 233 ppi.
Form factor – Only slightly refreshed
Samsung has stuck to the redesigned Galaxy S4 body as a blueprint for the Galaxy Mega 6.3. The smartphone adopts angular lines on the sides, while the slightly rounded bends give it an elegant look. Despite its massive footprint, the Mega cuts a pretty, if somewhat plain, picture. The back of the phone has a very subtle cross-hatch pattern and the sides are covered by a faux-metallic material. We would have preferred actual aluminium, but it would have added greatly to the 199 g bulk. However, despite being slightly heavy, the Mega 6.3 is a very slim device with a depth of 8 mm. All in all, we can’t find many details that look out of place on the device and it should feel like home for Samsung aficionados.
Wi-Fi – Packed to the gills
In this department, Samsung has thrown in everything that’s top of the line in terms of wireless connectivity. The Galaxy Mega supports Wi-Fi 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n bands along with support for dual-band Wi-Fi. Multimedia content can be sent to your TV thanks to the DLNA, while Wi-Fi Direct can be used to share files with other phones on the same network.
SoC – Exynos 5250, dual-core 1.7GHz CPU with Mali-T604 GPU
Potential buyers of the Galaxy Mega can expect superb performance from the dual Cortex-A15 cores. The much-talked about Exynos 5410 Octa processor will not be seen here, but the replacement Exynos 5250 is no slouch either. You would have seen the processor being used for the Google Nexus 10 tablet, which was also made by Samsung. The dual-core CPU is clocked at 1.7GHz and it’s coupled with the Mali-T604 GPU. The Galaxy Mega has also been endowed with 1.5GB of RAM.
Internal storage – Two variants with microSD card slot
Users can get either the 8 or 16GB-toting Galaxy Mega and as usual, you will find a microSD card slot to expand the storage up to a further 64GB. That should be more than enough space to load up high-definition movies for viewing on the large display.
Despite the large display, Samsung has managed to keep the Galaxy Mega 6.3's waistline down to 8 mm
Cameras – 8 megapixel primary camera and 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera
While Samsung chose to endow the Galaxy S4 with a 13 megapixel camera, the Mega gets an 8 megapixel unit, which sounds very much like the module used on the Galaxy S3. Despite being a 2012 camera module in a way, the camera should benefit from all the imaging features that Samsung will be packing into the camera firmware. There’s an LED flash along with the primary camera, which should help in low light situations, but don’t expect miracles. Other features include touch focus, face and smile detection, and HDR mode for shooting stills.
The front-facing camera is a decent 1.9-megapixel, which should be more than enough for video calls and the odd self-portraits. Details about the maximum video resolution of the front-facing camera have not been revealed.
Sensors – The usual suspects
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 has the usual accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass and ambient light sensors.
Samsung has been including GLONASS support for a long time now and the Galaxy Mega also benefits from the chip. Along with Assisted GPS, the maps experience on the Galaxy Mega should be great, especially with all that screen real estate. Location lock times will be drastically lower, thanks to the GLONASS support.
Galaxy Mega has an NFC chip, which is becoming increasingly prevalent in all manner of devices. It is an essential component in mobile payments and can also be used to establish connections between devices and consequently to share files over Wi-Fi Direct.
Battery – Li-Ion 3200 mAh battery
Thanks to that large display, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 comes with a generous 3200 mAh battery, which sounds like a dream. Given the specs of the phone, we can safely say that the smartphone will be on for most of the day, unless your average use scenario is watching high-definition videos endlessly. The back of the Galaxy Mega is removable, so you can replace the battery any time you want.
The 8-megapixel camera is a holdover from the Galaxy S3 era
The bottom line
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 will please those who are looking for a Note-like device, but without the added baggage of the S-Pen or the higher price. The large display is a great point in favour of the Mega 6.3. Indeed, from the looks of it, it seems a worthy second fiddle to the Galaxy Note and could very well repeat the success of the Samsung Galaxy Grand in the big phablet segment.
If priced between Rs 25,000 and Rs 27,000, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 seems like a winner and could be an attractive alternative to potential phablet buyers. Overall, thanks to the Galaxy S4-like design, the massive displays and large battery capacities, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 sounds like a great proposition on paper.
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