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Samsung Galaxy Mega hands-on review

We attempt to get our hands around Samsung's largest smartphone to date
Thu Apr 18 2013, 17:32

KOREAN PHONE MAKER Samsung recently launched the 6.3in Galaxy Mega, its largest smartphone to date, if you look past the 8in Galaxy Note tablet that can make phone calls, that is.

However, Samsung is marketing the Galaxy Mega as a smartphone, claiming it's ideal for those who want their phone to offer a big-screen media experience. But does anyone really want a 6.3in phone? We went hands-on with the device to find out.

There's not really a nice way of putting this, as the Samsung Galaxy Mega is on first impression far too big. At 9mm thick it's not a chunky device, but with measurements of 168x88mm, it's simply impossible to use with one hand. We struggled to clasp our fingers around the Mega, and once we did, we struggled to keep hold of it.

The Samsung Galaxy Mega has a polycarbonate casing

This isn't helped by the handset's polycarbonate casing, which as well as making the handset look like a blown-up version of the Samsung Galaxy S4, gives the handset very little grip. It also makes the handset, despite its size, feel fairly cheap. That might be reflected in the handset's price, although Samsung has yet to reveal how much the Galaxy Mega will cost.

Within this casing sits a 6.3in 720x1280 LCD capacitive touchscreen. We picked up the handset having played with the Galaxy S4 beforehand and the Mega's screen is pale by comparison, no doubt due to its lesser 233ppi pixel density and its lack of Super AMOLED technology.

The Samsung Galaxy Mega has a 6.3in LCD screen

However, it's worth noting that the Galaxy Mega will launch as a mid-range smartphone, so users shouldn't expect a crystal clear screen. While it doesn't match the Galaxy S4 display, picture quality isn't bad, offering decent colours and good viewing angles.

The interface on the screen looks nearly identical to that of the Galaxy S4, as the Galaxy Mega arrives with Google's Android 4.2 Jelly Bean mobile operating system, skinned with Samsung's Touchwiz user interface.

We have yet to explore this interface fully, but on first impression, it's what you might expect. Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is heavily coated with Samsung widgets and preinstalled apps, including its productivity tools such as S Note and Calendar.

Samsung Galaxy Mega S Note app

However, unlike the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 tablet, the Mega doesn't come with a stylus. We scoured the edges of the phone before realising it lacks a Samsung S Pen, which might put off those looking to doodle on the phone.

This is sort of compensated for by the handset's general performance, though. Thanks to its Qualcomm dual-core 1.7GHz chip, the handset seemed impressively nippy to use, matching its quad-core rivals. That's quite a mean feat for a mid-range phone, and it might be the handset's best selling point.

So, does anyone want a 6.3in smartphone? Let's put it this way - we don't. The handset was almost inoperable with one hand, not a trait we like in a smartphone. That said, it does have a number of redeeming features, so it could manage to win over some punters. As long as they have large hands, that is. µ

 

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