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Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 review (video)
It seems as if Samsung is on a quest to offer a smartphone in just about every size. While many don’t like big phones like the Note 2, Samsung decided to go even further with the Galaxy Mega 5.8, the little brother of the Galaxy Mega 6.3, which is easily one of the largest smartphones on the market.
We already took a look at the Mega 6.3, so what does the Mega 5.8 have to offer? While there aren’t many software differences, a lot has changed under the hood, effectively making it a mid-range device. As you can see, it’s a lot smaller than the Mega 6.3, as well.
If you’re in a rush, jump straight to the video, otherwise, stick with us as we take a closer look at the Galaxy Mega 5.8, a decidedly mid-range handset.
The design of the Mega 5.8 is almost an exact duplicate of its big brother, the Mega 6.3, expect it’s, well, smaller. Not too small, though, as it’s still noticeable larger than the venerable Galaxy Note 2.
Much like any other phone in the Galaxy lineup, the general setup and button layout is the same — power button on the right, volume rocker on the left, headphone jack up top, and USB port on the bottom.
Even with the one handed operation options, this is still a very trick device to use with a single hand. That said, you’ll want to stick with using two for optimal, and comfortable use.
While we weren’t happy that the Mega 6.3 was only 720p, the qHD resolution of 960 x 540 on the 5.8 is even less promising, providing a pixel density of just 190ppi.
At the very least, things do look very sharp, for the most part. Pixelation and lack of sharpness are definitely apparent if you look closely, but most of the time you should be holding the Mega 5.8 far enough away that it shouldn’t be as noticeable, if at all.
Being a TFT display, colors are well represented without being overly saturated, though some buyers may be a tad disappointed that the Mega 5.8 isn’t equipped with one of Samsung’s own Super AMOLED displays. Overall, the screen is generally bright, thought it’s glossy surface does make it difficult to see in the sunlight. However, it’s still an all-around, nice screen.
It’s unusual for Samsung to put a Broadcom CPU in its devices, so we were interested t see how the Mega 5.8 would perform in benchmarks.
As per the norm, we started with the tried and true AnTuTu benchmark. We ran the test 10 times, and while scores are nearly identical every time, they actually varied quite a bit. We saw scores ranging from the high 7,000s to the low 10,000s, finally coming up with an average score of 9,419.
Next, we loaded up Epic Citadel. The Ultra High Quality setting wasn’t available, so first we tried High Quality mode, reaching an average framerate of 56.1 FPS. High performance mode barely made a difference, coming in at an average 56.7 FPS.
The hardware is powerful enough to keep the UI responsive and apps running smoothly, but you might want to look elsewhere if you plan on heavy gaming. However, light gaming will do just fine.
The Galaxy Mega gets its name from its 5.8-inch qHD display. Under the hood, we’re looking at a 1.4GHz dual-core Broadcom CPU, 1.5GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage, expandable by a microSD card.
The primary rear-facing camera is 8-megapixels, and it is indeed capable of 1080p video capturing. Looking around the front, we have a 1.9-megapixel camera. As for power, the Mega 5.8 has a 2,600 mAh unit. The model we’re reviewing here is the Duos model, so it also has support for dual-SIMs. Other than that, it’s pretty identical to the single-SIM model.
The Galaxy Mega 5.8 is running Android 4.2.2 with the latest version of TouchWiz. Like the Mega 6.3, the 5.8 includes a landscape or tablet mode. It’s unlikely that you’ll want to use this particular device for simple tasks, such as making a call, but it’ll prove to be a handy device for entertainment reasons.
Since no carrier got their hands on our review unit, there was very little bloatware included, aside from Samsung’s usual bevy of apps — S Memo, S Planner, S Translator, S Voice, and it’s own app store. However, apps that we usually see on Samsung’s devices weren’t included, such as Flipboard. That was definitely appreciated, given the low amount of internal storage the Mega 5.8 has.
Samsung’s Galaxy Mega 5.8 is loaded with a 2,600 mAh battery, and with relatively modest hardware, you can expect to get a good deal of juice out of the Mega 5.8. After 16 hours of of benchmarking, testing, and downloading a few apps, the battery still had a whopping 68% of juice left. However, the screen brightness was fairly low and so SIMs were installed, so that may have contributed to that number quite a bit.
Even with fairly heavy use, the Mega 5.8 should hold up well during a full day of work and beyond. However, if you still manage to find yourself running out of battery life, there’s a power saving mode that can be setup in the settings menu.
As for the camera, the Mega 5.8 has a standard 8-megapixel rear-facing shooter, and photos are what you would expect from a mid-range device.
The camera app includes Samsung’s usual bevy of shooting modes — Auto, Best Photo, Continuous Shot, Best Face, Sound and Shot, Panorama, and sports. I captured my test photos in Auto mode with everything set to default, excluding the resolution, which I cranked up to max.
Colors reproduction is done well, but much like my thoughts on the Mega 6.3, photos could have been a little sharper. The 1080p video capture is solid, and colors are as vivid here as they are with still photos. The only real disappointment here is that there are no fun video options like SLow or Fast Motion, though it’s unsurprising since they weren’t included in the Mega 6.3, either.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 is one of those Samsung phones where it’s hard to figure out who exactly it’s for, due to its very niche audience. If you’re looking for an even bigger phone with mid-range specs, the Mega 6.3 outperforms the Mega 5.8 in every aspect. Not only that, but both devices can be found online for, relatively, the same price, which currently sits around $550.
However, if you’re in the market for something in a smaller size, but with better performance, the Galaxy note 2 is the way to go. Nonetheless, if you need dual-SIMs, the Galaxy Mega 5.8 will prove to be a good option and a great performer.
Brad Ward contributed to this review.