Dimensions: 167.6 x 88 x 8 mm (6.60 x 3.46 x 0.31 in)
Weight: 199 g (7.02 oz)
Display: 720x 1280 pixels, 6.3 inches (233 ppi pixel density)
CPU: Dual-core 1.7 GHz Krait
Camera: 8MP main, 1.9MP front
OS: Android 4.2.2 Jely Bean
- Massive, useful screen
- Thin body
- Plenty fast
- A little tall and wide
- Almost requires two-handed use
It’s a winner. Looking at simple math, it’s still smaller than a separate phone and tablet.
There is a far-too-often repeated saying that tells of good things coming in small packages. I am 5’3″ and generally in agreement with this statement, except when it comes to screen size. A phone that is designed to digest and create content isn’t the most pleasant thing when it is pint-sized. May times, I have lamented the lack of screen real-estate on the devices I use, and I think Samsung heard all that complaining. I got to the office one Tuesday, and on my desk was waiting the massive Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3. The first thought to enter my mind was “I think they took me too seriously.”
One look at this phone, and you’re bound to think the same idea. This thing is huge, even by phablet standards. The name clues you in, actually. It has a 6.3-inch screen on the diagonal, giving it the overall footprint of almost a small paperback book. I wear regular-sized man-jeans with appropriately-sized pockets, and the top of the Mega still peeks out just a sliver.
6.3 inches ventures dangerously close to tablet territory, so you wouldn’t be faulted for thinking it’s a pain to carry around. You would generally be correct, but it really isn’t the case here. The 6.3 is really quite thin. Despite the fact that it pops out of my jeans pocket, it lies perfectly flat, and didn’t really leave an unsightly bulge. As a matter of fact, I still had enough room to pocket my personal Galaxy S4, which itself is not a small phone.
Using the phone is as pleasant as you would expect from a Samsung Android device. Everything is buttery-smooth, lag-free and sharp, no matter how hard you try to muck up the system. Multitasking is nothing to the device, so feel free to swap from You Tube, to the browser, to Notes. Another thing that I am very happy to report, is that windowed multitasking is finally useful the way we imagined it to be. All that screen allows you to pop open a video, drop it off to one side of the screen, and use some other app on top of it. This is a feature that has been around for a while, but one that I don’t imagine many people really use because of the limited screen size with which they had to work.
The 6.3 also has LTE, and once I popped in my LTE SIM, I was in internet heaven. I can’t stress just how pleasant it is to browse websites on a massive screen, and with the speeds LTE affords its users, it’s as close as you can get to browsing on your desktop while on the move. You don’t have to spend nearly as much time pinch-resizing images, scrolling or flipping from one tab to another. This might seem a minor thing on paper, but when you’re there, trying to get the full text of a Wikipedia article on “Time Dilation” or some other wordy mess, it does a lot to speed up work and lower frustration. The screen, while not super-sharp, at least when compared against other, smaller devices, is plenty sufficient for tasks, up to and including reading text. Honestly, most users won’t even notice.
One thing you usually have to consider on devices with large screens is battery life. More screen means that it usually needs more power to keep running. This is, in fact the case, but the massive overall size means the Mega 6.3 can house an appropriately scaled, 3200mAh battery. With normal use, I found that the device could easily last over a day and a half. Even with what could be considered pushing the boundaries of moderate use, the Mega 6.3 managed to get home at the end of the day, with a little left to pull you through traffic. LTE connectivity, in particular Wi-Fi tethering will still kill the battery fast, but that’s just a consequence of that feature. It is, after all, a phone, not a wireless router.
Camera performance is not bad at all. The main snapper is an 8-MP deal that is also capable of taking 1080p video at 30 fps, and gives the usual Samsung performance you would expect from the device. It won’t be taking over for your dedicated snapper, but it is more than sufficient for sharing online or storing memories.
The price you have to pay for the experience is a large device overall. You only really start to notice this problem when you are using it for phone functions such as SMS, and calls, or when you have to use the device one-handed. Unless you have giant hands, you’re going to have a little trouble tapping the corners opposite where you have your hand. While it is possible to wield and use this phone one-hand, it really is much less frustrating as a two-hander.
Those who were disappointed with the finish on the S4 may also need fair warning, as the device is constructed with the same materials as the S4, just scaled up. The back panels, for example, are the same as the S4, just a lot larger. This is no concern for me, but I’m just putting it out there. I rather like how the device looks and feels, and how light it is, given the size.
I’m quite pleased with the Mega 6.3. It knows its place in the market, and does those jobs well. It’s a little on the chunky side, but not so large that you would leave it at home and not use it. If you have room for just one device in your arsenal, this might just be it.
Words by Ren Alcantara
First published in Gadgets Magazine, August 2013