Gadgetslab: Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 Duos

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GadgetsLab .inddSPECIFICATIONS:
OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
CPU:1.4GHz dual-core
Screen: 5.8in. qHD (960x 540) TFT
display
Camera: 8MP (rear); 1.9MP (front)
Dimensions: 162.6 x 82.4 x 9.0mm
Weight: Approx. 182g
Memory: 1.5GB RAM, 8GB ROM
(expandable to up to 64GB via
microSD)
WHAT’S HOT:
• Huge screen
• Dual-SIM support
·Suitable battery life
WHAT’S NOT:
• Not that portable
• Low screen resolution
·Difficult to operate with one hand
BOTTOM LINE:
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 Duos is a great pick for those who want to enjoy a large display on a smartphone for a mid-tier price.GadgetsLab .indd

These days, smartphone variations within a brand are becoming more like French fries sizes in a fast food joint. In the line-up of Samsung Galaxy smartphones, the equivalent of large fries is the Galaxy Mega, which interestingly comes in two sizes. Here, we examine the Mega 5.8-the smaller order of two “large fries” options.

Like the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy Mega 5.8 has a plastic shell. It’s still very elegant-looking despite this, specifically because the exterior is fittingly glossy. The Mega 5.8 is almost as big as an Archie Double Digest and is about as slim as this magazine.

The key selling points of the Mega 5.8 Duos are in the product name itself: the massive screen and its duai-SIM capability.

The device’s 5.8-inch screen gives it both advantages and disadvantages. The size of the display makes several things enjoyable, like texting, browsing, reading eBooks and web pages, and framing photos and videos.

Texting is a joy on the Mega 5.8, thanks again to the huge screen, which makes it roomy enough for the letters on the virtual keyboard to be comfortably spaced. You’ll also be able to read a good amount of text on the screen, whether you’re checking email or reading articles on the web. The size of the screen also makes gaming a gratifying experience as your fingers have more room to play around.

On the other hand, having a giant screen also makes it difficult to carry around. As you would expect, the Mega 5.8 does not easily fit in a regular pocket. Also because of its size, the Mega 5.8 is very difficult to operate with a single hand. To make it easier for the user to do so, Samsung threw in a “One-handed Operation” option, which places the keyboard on the right or left side of the screen instead of being spread across the display. Theoretically, this enables the user to text and dial numbers using only one hand. Realistically, it’s not that helpful; some keys are still hard to reach.

The resolution ofthe screen is 960×540 with a pixel density of 190ppi, which isn’t all that bad on paper. However, on a 5.8-inch slate, the screen fails to deliver stellar quality. Viewing angles are okay, but the screen exhibits ghosting when scrolling.

Now let’s deal with the latter part of the product name. The Mega 5.8 comes in a duai-SIM variant, which is the device we have on-hand. With the Mega 5.8 Duos, both SIM cards are active and on standby to receive voice calls and SMS. To give the user more control over the operation of each SIM card, the device provides the user with an option to select the preferred SIM that will handle either voice calls or data traffic.

Inside the Galaxy Mega 5.8 Duos is a dual-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz and 1.5GB of RAM. Although I wasn’t able to run the device through a benchmark to come up with exact figures, I was able to execute basic functions like texting, taking photos, and launching the browser without any glitches. I managed to get a smooth-running operation in general, save for the two-second lag I experienced several times upon hitting the home button in a currently running app.

In terms of gaming performance, casual games like Jetpack Joyride run well, while titles with heavier graphics like Iron Man 3: The Official Game do suffer occasional hiccups.

As it runs Android Jelly Bean, the Mega 5.8 uses the latest iteration of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface, which flaunts a host of features. Multiwindow Mode, for instance, lets you keep several apps open simultaneously in their own window. The device’s large screen makes this function incredibly usable.

The camera app essentially gets the job done. It lacks Night Mode, though, which is something you’d expect to see on almost any digital camera, but it makes up for it by providing an integrated LED flash next to the rear camera.

Both the speakers on the rear and the earpiece upfront are a bit tinny, but are nonetheless capable of producing adequately clear audio. The built-in microphone is especially commendable as it is able to capture sound clearly.

The video player has a pop-up window feature that enables you to play the video in a smaller window on the screen while doing something else in the background. The music player, meanwhile, provides controls on the lock screen.

Surfing the web using the native browser is a relatively seamless experience, except for when it needs to load content-heavy web pages. What’s awesome about the native browser, though, is that it has a feature that allows you to load a web page sans extra content, like ads, thus enabling the page to load more quickly.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G/4G and Bluetooth. Additionally, the device comes with NFC capabilities, including the Group Play function found on the S4.

What really eats up the power is the screen. Keeping the screen at moderate brightness can last you until the end of the day with normal usage, a data connection, and with two SIM cards running. It doesn’t sound too appealing, but it’s a remarkable feat for a device in its class.

The Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 Duos is a giant smartphone, and does a fairly good job at it. Its crazy-huge screen makes texting, reading email, browsing, and gaming a delightful experience, but at the same time, it can be limiting because the user almost always has to use two hands to operate it. What also needs to be improved to make the experience rewarding is that it has to have a higher resolution so that it complements the screen size. As a duai-SIM phone, it handles the job efficiently, and that’s a big plus. Those who cannot afford a Galaxy S4 will do just fine if they plan on settling for this worthwhile device,

4.0

 

First published in Gadgets Magazine, July 2013

Words by Racine Anne Castro