Are you the kind of person who looks at a Note 2 and thinks: “that is way too small.” Well, luckily Samsung hasn’t left you out in the cold, as they’ve proven with the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3.
While the device and screen are both fairly large, the specs lean toward the middle of the spectrum. Whether or not this is a problem really depends on how you use your phone. That said, is this the phone for you? Read on to find out.
Okay, let’s get this out of the way right out of the gate: this thing is big. At 6.6 inches tall and nearly 3.5 inches wide, the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 isn’t quite tablet sized, but you aren’t going to be easily using it one handed either. It can be done; just not easily.
The Mega 6.3′s large size makes it seem thinner than it truly is. It’s about as thick as a Note 2–a little thinner actually–but it seems much thinner. Looking at its shape, it’s immediately apparent that this is a current-gen Galaxy device. The unit that I used for testing was black, though there is a fine almost dot matrix pattern on the bezel and the back of the device.
Though it is still a polycarbonate build, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 feels very solid to me. Like the Galaxy S4, it feels as if the polycarbonate used is both lighter and more rigid than what Samsung used in earlier devices.
A screen this size in full 1080p, and I would have fallen in love immediately. But no, the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 settles for a 720p display that, while nice, leaves me wondering what could have been.
At a resolution 1280 x 720 and a display size of 6.3 inches, we’re left with a pixel density of around 233 ppi, which is starting to feel on the low side. That said, to Samsung’s credit, this is a pretty nice looking display. Pixelation is almost nowhere to be found, and there is no noticeable lack of sharpness.
Unlike many Samsung phones, the display on the Galaxy Mega 6.3 is not Super AMOLED, but a TFT LCD. This means that compared to a lot of its Galaxy-branded brethren, the Mega doesn’t have the super-saturated colors that Samsung displays are known for. Some (myself included) prefer this, while others prefer the flashier colors of the AMOLED displays.
To get an idea of how the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset in the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 performs, we ran it through our usual suite of tests. As usual, we started with AnTuTu.
When testing, we run AnTuTu Benchmark 10 times, in different situations and average the result. This time, the numbers didn’t vary too much, with the lowest score being 12,505 and the highest being 13,586. Once we added up all the numbers and calculated the average, we arrived at our final AnTuTu score of 13,309.
Next we launched Epic Citadel. The relatively new Ultra High Quality mode was somewhat rougher on the Mega than the other two modes, giving us an average framerate of 32.9 FPS. High Quality, on the other hand, cranked out 57.4 FPS while High Performance mode gave a marginal framerate increase to 58.5 FPS. While we’re still a little disappointed in the screen resolution, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 would have needed a Snapdragon 600 to churn out decent framerates at 1080p.
Moving on to real world use, this is where the lines begin to blur. Apps launched quickly enough that it was nearly indistinguishable performance-wise from more powerful devices. We gave the Mega 6.3 a quick run of Real Racing 3, and the device handled itself well.
Right out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. Even better (if you happen to like TouchWiz, anyway) it runs the newest version of Samsung’s TouchWiz, so you’ll be looking at a user experience very similar to the Galaxy S4 only minus a few bells and whistles and much larger.
Due to the large size of the device, Samsung has included an almost tablet-like landscape mode for when you turn the device on its side. The dock moves to the right side of the screen and the widgets stretch out to accommodate the increased horizontal screen real estate. Whether or not you’ll use this is another question, but in testing the Galaxy Mega 6.3, I found myself using this mode quite a bit.
All the standard Samsung apps that you would expect are here, including some that debuted on the Galaxy S4: S Memo, S Planner, S Translator, Story Album, you name it. Watch On is included again, though it still wouldn’t work with my television. Many more code options were available this time though, so I expect that it will work in time.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 used for this review is not tied to any given carrier, so it was essentially bloatware-free (assuming you don’t count the Samsung apps as bloatware). If you buy this phone through a carrier though, expect that to change.
The rear-facing camera on the Galaxy Mega 6.3 is, unfortunately, nothing to write home about. Though it offers 8 MP resolution, every photo I took seemed to lack the sharpness that I expected. This was present no matter what the lighting situation was, even in bright sunlight.
The 1080p video capture, on the other hand, looks nice and sharp. Colors tend to be a little washed out, but the motion is nice and smooth. Strongly contrasted situations, such as a bright sky above dark trees, will lead to either part of the video being too dark or part of it being too bright, but it is definitely fine enough for capturing a moment.
The Camera app itself offers quite a few features, including HDR, Best Photo, Drama Shot and Sound and Shot. Sadly, the cool but generally not-too-useful features for speeding up and slowing down video were left out.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 packs in a 3,200 mAh battery, which isn’t much bigger than the Note 2′s battery, but combine this with the power-efficient Snapdragon 400 chipset and the 720p screen, and you’ve got a device that will keep going for quite some time.
Though I didn’t think to test what the battery was at after a day of testing, I can tell you this: I tested for a few hours and then set the Galaxy Mega 6.3 down sometime in the mid-afternoon to get to work on another project. When I picked the Mega back up fairly late in the evening the next day, it had about 15% battery left. Now, I was only connected to WiFi as there was no SIM in the device at the time, but that still isn’t too bad.
If you keep the brightness at reasonable settings and don’t use the phone for every imaginable task during the day, you’ll easily have a 24 hour charge. Even if you use it as much as possible, it should get you through the day.
While part of me would love to see the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 packing a Snapdragon 600 chipset and a 1080p screen, not everybody needs that much phone. On the other hand, this is clearly a phone meant for enthusiasts, so maybe they might like a little more in the specs department.
Where do you stand when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3? Let us know in the comments below!