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Review: Samsung Galaxy Mega for AT&T

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Aug 29, 2013, 3:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung brings its largest Android phone yet to the U.S. with the Galaxy Mega super phone. This huge handset offers plenty of real estate, but may be too much phone for some people.

Is It Your Type?

The Samsung Galaxy Mega is an absurdly large "phone." It takes the idea of the phablet -- or phone/tablet hybrid -- much closer to the tablet end of the spectrum. If you want the biggest screen possible on a device that's still portable, the Mega may be up your alley.

Body

People were aghast when Samsung announced the Galaxy Note in 2011 with its 5.2-inch screen. "Crazy," "Huge," "Ridiculous," some called it. The Galaxy Mega, as the name implies, dwarfs the Note with its mega proportions. It has a 6.3-inch screen and a massive 6.6 x 3.46-inch footprint. It's not that much smaller than some tablets.

The family resemblance between the Note and the Mega is clear. Held side-by-side, they are almost indistinguishable, aside from the difference in size. The Mega has the same chrome-colored rim and speaker grill, the same coloring, and nearly identical button shape and placement as the Note. It's a decent-looking device, though it of course uses the same cheap-feeling plastics common to Samsung smartphones. It comes across as classy and elegant sort of in the way Shaquille O'Neal does when wearing a suit rather than his basketball uniform.

The Mega's size is obvious to everyone. My daughter walked into my office while I was working on this review and said, "Whoa, Dad, that's a big phone." Everywhere I took the Mega over the course of a week elicited similar comments and reactions. The size also makes it more difficult to use. There's no such thing as one-handed use. My thumb could only reach about 50% of the screen. You have to use two hands, and the Mega doesn't come with stylus like the smaller Note does. My hand suffered fatigue from using the Mega. It's not that heavy, but my palm really has to stretch to properly hold the phone. I dropped it a lot, and felt stupid using it as a phone to make calls.

The Mega will fit in some pockets (thanks mostly to its thin profile), but certainly not all. It had no problem slipping into some of my jeans and cargo shorts, but tighter jeans that have smaller pockets left the Mega sticking out in an unsightly fashion. If you have small hands, chances are the Mega is not the phone for you.

 

Body

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The front of the phone is nearly all screen, but there's a thin bezel above and below the display. Each has silver accents that help break up the black sea of screen. As on many Samsung Galaxy devices, the Home button is a physical key that has a nice shape and good action to it. It’s flanked by two capacitive buttons for the Menu and Back functions. The capacitive keys worked well, too.

The volume toggle is placed along the left edge. It’s easy enough to find. There's plenty of travel to the toggle, but the feedback produces a loud "clack" sound that I wasn't overly fond of. The screen lock button is on the right edge of the phone. It’s small and doesn't have a large enough profile, especially considering how big the rest of the Mega is. Travel and feedback are minimal. Samsung could have done a better job with this button. The stereo headphone jack is on top, and the microUSB port is on the bottom.

The battery cover is removable, a feature Samsung has retained on its devices. The cover itself has a dotted pattern on it that looks decent, though I prefer the faux brushed look of the Note II. It is thin and cheap feeling. Under the cover you'll find the large (and also removable) 3,200 mAh battery. Memory cards can be swapped without yanking the battery.

Samsung did a fine job designing and assembling the Mega, but the size may be too much for many buyers.

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Subject Author Date
Straight From The Island of Misfit Toys. MadFatMan Aug 30, 2013, 11:05 AM
This is a purse phone Rusty Shackleford Aug 31, 2013, 2:00 AM
Bummer. KOL4420 Aug 29, 2013, 3:40 PM
I miss Riot Sr. Aug 29, 2013, 11:35 PM
  • Re: I miss by Eric M. Zeman   Aug 30, 2013, 7:10 AM
    • Re: I miss by Downscripting   Aug 30, 2013, 7:14 AM
      • Re: I miss by Riot Jr.   Aug 30, 2013, 10:35 PM
No air gesture whocares Aug 30, 2013, 9:38 AM
 
 
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