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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.


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.


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.

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.

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Aug 30, 2013, 11:05 AM

Straight From The Island of Misfit Toys.

Samsung cut out way too much to meet the $149.99 w/ contract price.

Their target market, as it's been said "consumers who want a phablet without the $299.99 price of admission." This market does not exist!

The Note II is more powerful, better resolution, handy stylus with air view, enough processing power to get out of the way of its own shadow and if you do your homework can be purchased NEW from indirect channels may be for the SAME $149.99 "sweet spot" (maybe even less once the Note III drops)

May I add "mid-line" Samsung smartphones are lackluster, buggy, and fail to meet expectations. Just make you feel bad that you didn't ante upthe difference. Its almost like they cantracted the prodution of their mid line to either ZTE or K...
One of the most idiotic posts I've ever read. Not everyone has $300 to spend on an on-contract device. It's like saying Kia should stop making cars because Jaguars are better. It's like saying BMW should hang it up on the 1 series because a 3 is su...
You have obviously never been in sales. Do you know how dumb consumers are? People want cheap stuff. That is why the cheap business works. That is why there are free phones in the wireless market.

Yes I agree with you on the device. I would spe...
So you know people who would go for a drive without their drivers license? Smart.

Also - if your phone is all-encompasing, so important and needed that you sweat or can't go anywhere without your phone, that person should probably get a life.

Rusty Shackleford

Aug 31, 2013, 2:00 AM

This is a purse phone

These kinds of phones are not for men to carry around in their pockets so the absurdity of carrying one of these beasts around that way won't be an issue. They are designed for ladies and metrosexuals to carry around in their purse so that they can sit back and read celebrity gossip when sipping lattes at Starbucks. When you carry a purse it would be trivially easy to carry one of these beasts around and it makes sense to have an entry or two for this segment of the market.
I think Jerry Seinfeld put it best when he said "It's not a purse, it's european!"

You are 100% right, however - I don't think this phone would fit in any of my pants pockets, you'd need something to carry it around in.

Aug 29, 2013, 3:40 PM


First I want to point out that is the first thing I noticed and made me really not want to even consider the phone the fact that the size of the screen is 6.3 but the quality of the display is terrible. :/ What good is a 6.3 inch screen when you can still see pixels.

The other is I want to point out the hilarity of your comparison it made me laugh for a while.

"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."

hahahaha immediately thought of Shaquille O'Neal in Shazzam and Steel. Thanks for that laugh.

Then this "I dropped it a lot, and felt stupid using it as a phone to make calls. "

With a 6.3 inch phone I agree that it is very silly t...
I don't think Samsung meant this phone to be a superior device. I believe it is meant to be a large affordable phone. The phone itself is only $149.99 with an upgrade while the note 2 was $299.99. The Note 3, which is rumored to be launching soon, wil...
Riot Sr.

Aug 29, 2013, 11:35 PM

I miss

The time when Eric used to write a few lines dedicated to the performance of the mini amplifier for the headphones.
"Music sounded really good through my favorite pair of..."

It is very important for me to have a decent music player in my phone.

I would really like to have a device like this one (specially now that I deal with lots of emails from clients). So sad it just has a so-so battery life. It would fit well inside my big pockets (I'm most often wearing shorts).
To be honest, phones have come a long way. They rarely sound "bad." If they did, I would point that out.

Aug 30, 2013, 9:38 AM

No air gesture

There's no setting for air gesture.
Unless it's hidden somewhere I'm not seeing it.
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