Samsung Galaxy Mega review: Make room for Samsung's newest smartphone
Samsung doesn't shy away from making large smartphones; just ask the millions of people who own the Galaxy Note and Note 2. But the company's newest release, the Mega, makes its point clear: Go big or go home.
Sporting a 6.3-inch screen, the Galaxy Mega is nearly a full inch larger than the Note 2, and is for the person who wants the best of both the smartphone and tablet worlds but doesn't want to split time between multiple devices.
For $150 with a two-year contract through AT&T ($480 without), it's easy to see why people would want to consolidate devices and choose to use something like the Mega for an all-in-one device.
Though the screen size will have its fans, and though the price will definitely convert people to the Mega, the device doesn't excel on a technical level, especially when compared to other popular Galaxy devices like the S4 and Note 2.
Instead, it's perfectly adequate for everything you toss at it.
The screen, the Mega's main appeal, isn't a Super AMOLED display, and it shows. Colors aren't as vivid or accurate as they are on other devices, and the LCD's 720p resolution results in rougher looking text when browsing the Web or texting.
But the screen's size is impressive. Surfing online and watching video is less strenuous on the eyes, previewing photos is a great experience, and reading eBooks and comics is a pleasure.
Samsung also makes it easy to use the Mega's screen, by giving the option to split it between two apps, and giving the user a more tablet-like experience in landscape mode.
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The Mega's size also makes the phone a tad more difficult to use for the normal person with non-Shaq hands. Texting with one hand is doable but not completely comfortable. And though there is a one-handed operation mode, that mode works only on the number keypad and the calculator app, so I was always using two hands to do things like text.
The Mega comes loaded with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, a dual-core 1.7 GHz processor, 1.5GB of ram, 8 or 16GB of storage, and has expandable storage up to 64GB with a microSD card. These specs make for a device that's smooth and a breeze to use, is capable of handling the most intensive apps and is roomy enough for all those apps, videos, pictures, music and more.
The Mega's 8-megapixel rear-facing camera does its job and, though it didn't perform as well as the S4's 13-megapixel camera in the tests I performed, it did handle lowlight settings incredibly well. It doesn't produce the most defined images, but for general use, it's great. The 1080p video I took with the device turned out about perfect, but the 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera is nothing special.
I was able to get 16 hours of life out of the battery with heavy use, which included video streaming, photo taking and editing, Web browsing, and texting and calling, all over AT&Ts 4G LTE network.
The more time I spent with the Mega the more I realized it's not trying to be a one-handed device. Its best and most distinctive attribute means the user should use two hands to get the full experience. Combined with the intuitive preloaded Samsung apps, getting accustomed to the larger screen is painless and quick.
Who cares if you look silly when you use it to make a phone call? The Samsung Galaxy Mega does the job of several devices and, while it isn't for everyone, it's a niche product that will definitely fill pockets for a small asking price.