The Galaxy series from Samsung doesn't look like it will rest or retire any soon. Samsung has been spewing out a new Galaxy variant into the market almost every month to please every possible user. From simple small screen smartphones to king-sized phones and tablets, there's one for everyone. So be it a smartphone for standard use and power users to convenient large screen phablets and tablets, Samsung seems to cater to all those who need a smart handheld device. Recently, Samsung gave the market two variants of the Galaxy Mega with screen sizes 5.8-inch and 6.3-inch displays. We have the 5.8-incher with us. Let’s take a peek at what’s unique about it.
5.8-inch TFT qHD display, Dual SIM, 8MP rear camera
Design and build
The Galaxy Mega 5.8 looks almost identical to the Galaxy S4 except for the large form factor. In fact, the design and build is so identical that we don’t have anything much to say about it if you have read the Galaxy S4 review or witnessed the handset. Hence, we shall only spot the major differences between the two. The Mega is a tad thicker than the S4 by 1.1 mm, i.e., at 9 mm, and is almost 50 grams heavier than the latter at around 182 grams. Similar to the S4, the Mega too has flat edges with a silver trim around. The volume rocker and power button are placed on the left and right side respectively. The audio jack is on the top while the micro USB interface is on the bottom. The rear panel is a bit different and similar to the Galaxy S3 variant with the camera placed between the LED flash and the speaker. The entire rear panel is glossy with a textured design similar to the one on the Galaxy S4.
Broadcom SOC with 1.4GHz dual core CPU and VideoCore IV GPU
Below the rear panel is the main battery and two microSIM card slots, one placed on the top and the other below the battery. Wireless charging option and NFC are not available on this handset. Towards the bottom right side is the slot for a hot-swappable microSD card for memory expansion. Heading back, the Mega is taller than usual to accompany the large screen size. It stands tall at 162.6 mm and is 82.4 mm wide. The form factor is longer in order to help gripping the phone/phablet comfortably; however, the phone is still a bit inconvenient handle by one hand.
1.5GB RAM, 8GB internal storage expandable up to 64GB
The Galaxy Mega has a huge specification difference under the hood. The phablet sports a dual-core Cortex-A15 processor running at 1.4GHz and is based on the Broadcom SoC. The chipset also sports the VideoCore IV GPU and is supported by 1.5GB of RAM. The internal storage is 8GB, of which around 5.5GB is available for your apps and other data. This can be expanded using a microSD card all the way up to 64GB. The rear panel sports an 8MP shooter along with an LED flash light capable of full HD videos at 30 fps and the front camera has a 1.9 MP sensor.
9 mm in thickness, weighs 182 grams
The 5.8-inch display panel is the main reason behind the large form factor. The display is a standard TFT panel with a resolution of 540 x 960 (qHD) pixels and holds a pixel density of just 190 ppi. The Mega is a dual-SIM smartphone/phablet and needs microSIM modules instead of the regular mini SIMs. The network and connectivity support available on the Mega comprise 3G, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n (Dual band 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz), EDGE, GPRS, Bluetooth v4.0, GPS, GLONASS and USB. Sensors present in the device are available for accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Light, pressure, proximity and gesture. The Mega is powered by the Android Jelly Bean v4.2 operating system and as usual runs on the Samsung TouchWiz user interface. The smartphone is fuelled using a 2600 mAh battery, which is bound to give you around 10 to 12 hours of regular usage.
Audio port on the top, microUSB port on the bottom
Benchmarks run on the Mega speak well of the internal core hardware. In our tests, AnTuTu scored 9080, Quadrant scored 4192 and NenaMark2 scored 58.6 fps. Linpack gave results of 48.15 MFLOPS and 86.27 MFLOPS in the single-thread and multi-thread tests respectively. Considering the scores from the benchmarking utilities, we can state that the Mega is definitely faster than most dual-core smartphones out there. The reason for the better performance could be the superior CPU and GPU and the higher RAM deployed to the system.
System information as per AnTuTu
Since the Mega runs on the TouchWiz user interface, it is easy to find your way around if you have been using the Galaxy series smartphones earlier. The UI is smooth and does not tend to lag any given time. The notification bar sports all the quick toggles that need to be enabled. These include regular features such as Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, sound, rotation. Additionally, a few other options such as smart stay, multi-window are also incorporated. Since the smartphone has a large form factor, almost the size of the user’s palm, the display has a large span too. It is not as easy to operate the phone with one hand and you would need to use the phone with two hands for most of the functions, especially the keyboard. Samsung has taken care of the same by implementing the option for single hand use in certain main applications such as the phone dialer and the calculator for now. This option is available in the settings. However, users with smaller palm sizes will find it very difficult to handle the phone and use it with a single hand. The phone has a glossy surface on the rear panel, which also makes it difficult to grip and there is always a certain threat of the phone falling off the while using it with one hand. Other areas where the large screen benefits are while watching movies and browsing the Internet. Since the Mega also does not incorporate a Gorilla Glass, it seems like a piece that needs extreme care during handling.
Android Jelly Bean v4.2 operating system with TouchWiz User interface
Display and media
The quality of the large 5.8-inch TFT display on the Mega is pretty good even though it sports just a qHD resolution. We did expect the display to at least have an HD resolution (similar to the one on the Mega 6.3), but it does not disappoint anyways. The viewing angles are pretty good, although you can notice a minor change in the colour shades when viewing from different angles. The display quality is crisp with a good balance of brightness and contrast. Even though the display is larger, you will only be able to see the minute pixels when you are pretty close to the screen. This can be noticeable especially when viewing text-heavy documents and websites.
Multitasking available to run two applications at the same time
Single handed use option available, toggle switches on the notification bar
The Mega supports the usual range of media files: MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM in videos and MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA in audio. Though these formats can be played via the stock media players, other formats would have to be managed using a third-party media player. Video playback on the Mega play was flawless when tested with HD and full HD test videos. We could not find any major jitter or framing in the videos either. The onboard speaker is sufficiently loud but a little too shrill. High pitch sounds are a bit disturbing and you will need to lower the volume marginally. Using the bundled headphones for better quality audio is suggested.
Outdoor shots are good with a nice balance of colours, brightness and contrast
The rear camera has an 8MP sensor and is supported with an LED flash for low light and night shots. Outdoor shots clicked by the camera are well above average. Colours are well balanced and so are the brightness and contrast levels. Images are sharp too. Indoor shots are average—without sufficient lighting, the shots are slightly darker. Using an image editing utility, you can increase the quality of the photographs, but brightly lit areas cause a little flare and get washed out too. Overall, the performance of the camera is good enough for casual everyday photography.
Features available in the camera application
Indoor shots are decent and could be even better with more light
The 2600 mAh battery powering the Mega is sufficient to last you through a working day even if you are using it for most of the time. Depending on the type of usage and applications, the battery can last you a maximum to 12 to 15 hours. Since the display is larger, the device tends to use more power to light up the entire frame and also run the large TFT panel. If you are using it for entertainment (videos and gaming) you can expect almost 4 to 6 hours of continuous battery life. Overall, the 2600 mAh battery is good enough for a device this big.
Macro shots are above average
Verdict and price in India
The Samsung Galaxy Mega is a smartphone too big. Most consider 4.5 to 4.7 inch to be an ideal size for a smartphone for both comfortable and single handed use. A 5 incher can still be a bit comfortable for some and the Mega 5.8 is definitely a king-size smartphone. Now imagine using the Mega 6.3 on your ear, which is almost like using a tablet to make calls. However, the Galaxy Mega 5.8 is well-priced—for a blend of a smartphone and a tablet in a single device. The performance is good and so are the features and battery life. What could go against the Mega is its handling due to the enormous size, but that is finally left on the user to decide his comfort level of use. If you are looking for a smartphone with a really large screen without weighing down your pocket, the Mega 5.8 is a good option for Rs 24,900. If you are looking for phones with a better performance and display in the similar budget, the Nexus 4 or the Samsung Galaxy S3 are other choices with smaller screen sizes.
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