For people who want a phone and tablet in one device
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 launched in the Philippines last month without too much fanfare. That’s perfectly understandable though since this is one of the most polarizing products offered by korean technology giant Samsung. At 6.3-inches the device is unmistakable huge! In fact at this size it’s noticeably larger than the premiere “phablet”, the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note 2. We were able to get a unit last week and we’ve been using it as our daily driver ever since our unboxing. We’ve had enough time with it to share with you guys a balanced and fair review.
Before anything else though let’s quickly do a refresher of the specifications.
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 Spec Sheet
- 1.7GHz Dual-core CPU
- 1.5GB RAM
- 16GB expandable via microSD up to 64GB
- 6.3-inch HD screen
- 8.0-megapixels rear-facing camera
- 1.9-megapixels front-facing camera
- 4G/LTE Connectivity
- WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth, GPS/aGPS, NFC
- Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
- 3,200mAh Battery
>>> SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 Unboxing and Initial Impressions
Okay, with that out of the way let’s get straight into our review!
Elegantly Designed but More of a Tablet than a Phone
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 follows the design principles and philosophies of the previous Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the Samsung Galaxy S4. It has the same compact plastic chassis with the plastic trim around the device which has a brushed metal finish. It even sports the same dotted pattern for the front and back covers. At the front we also have the physical home button at the bottom. In short, it’s a Samsung Galaxy device through and through.
Despite the massive 6.3-inch display, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 still manages to keep a rather slim profile. It’s just 8mm thick, making it one of the thinner phablet options in the market today. It also just weighs in at 199g which is just 16g more than the 5.5-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
At the back we have the removable back plate which reveals the micro SIM card slot, micro SD card slot (up to 64GB), and the big space for the 3,200mAh battery.
Despite Samsung’s efforts in trying to keep it slim, slight, and sleek, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 still comes across as a giant smartphone, dangerously hovering above the smartphone and tablet line. The Galaxy Note 2 was already a polarizing product… what more for something bigger.
If you think about it though that’s actually the true strength and beauty of the Galaxy Mega 6.3. It’s not for everyone. It’s specifically made for people who are predisposed to like the big form factor. That’s probably Samsung’s answer to the criticism they’ve been getting for releasing waves upon waves of smartphone variations. They realize that people have different wants and needs and all of those can’t be addressed with just one device. Solution? Offer as many devices as possible that will appeal to different groups of people.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 is equipped with a 720p 6.3-inch display. That comes out to around 233 pixels per inch and that probably doesn’t sound too impressive. Samsung also used a TFT LCD panel instead of the AMOLED display that Samsung flagships carry. The weakness though is only visible if you really look at it up close and personal (pixels start to show). However if you look at it from a distance (which is what big phones are meant for) you will barely notice it. In fact it’s actually good and those who will only raise hell about it probably have trained eyes already.
Another important thing about the display — it’s ridiculously bright and viewing angles are superb. With a huge 6.3-inch canvass people will use this as a media player (watch videos) so it’s a good thing that Samsung anticipated this and tweaked the display so that it can work very well even under direct sunlight and can accommodate several people watching the content (thanks to the viewing angles).
Dual-core but still quite a Powerhouse
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 has a dual-core processor. Now before you go off and curse the hell out of it let us remind you that different processors have different qualities. The dual-core MediaTek processors, for example, usually just deliver Antutu benchmark scores of less than 7,000. The quad-core MediaTek processors hit 12,000-13,000. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 has a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor with Adreno 305 GPU and 1.5GB of RAM. The result? Antutu Benchmark score of over 13,000. This device can run circles around your MediaTek quad-cores despite it being dual-core.
Core functions and basic animations and transitions were all smooth. We barely noticed any lag but one delay you can recreate is when you try to search for people in your contacts list and you have over 3,000. There’s a considerable slowdown that occurs which is kinda frustrating. This is something we’ve never experienced with the Galaxy S4.
Social networking apps like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram also worked pretty well on the Galaxy Mega 6.3. The display truly shines the most with this phone especially if you’re looking at photos (Instagram can get addictive with this phone).
As a general guide, the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is comfortable to use IF you use both hands. Trying to text with this using one hand is a crazy struggle so we highly recommend that you use both your hands when operating this device.
For the other usage scenarios:
Gaming: No Problems encountered
The 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB RAM, and Adreno 305 GPU can take most, if not all, of the games you want to play. We rarely encountered lag spikes or delays in any of the games we played and tested. This included Dead Trigger, Minion Rush (Despicable Me 2), NBA 2k13, Wild Blood, and… Candy Crush (lol).
Note though that we did encounter some slow downs when zombies started piling up on the screen with Dead Trigger. Other than that though it was all smooth sailing.
The Perfect Portable Media Player
Perhaps the defining feature and best use of the Galaxy Mega 6.3 is its media capabilities. The 6.3-inch display is simply AWESOME for watching videos, be it your favorite TV series or movies. It also helps that you can expand the storage with a 64GB microSD card which means you can fill this baby up with lots of content.
Images came out crisp and the screen was bright making it still enjoyable to watch videos even under direct sunlight. The external speakers were also quite loud so you can enjoy watching stuff on this without needing to get your earphones/headphones out.
During our test in the last few weeks, watching videos on the Galaxy Mega 6.3 probably clocked in the highest number of hours spent.
Offers One of the Best Compact Reader Experiences
It goes without saying that the reading experience is also superb. The 6.3-inch screen is great for reading e-books, blog entries, RSS feeds, and news sites. Our personal favorites, Pulse and Flipboard, looked fantastic on the Galaxy Mega 6.3. It actually got us back into our daily reading habit.
As far as performance is concerned, the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 can be a very good daily driver and portable media player. You might get a few hiccups with gaming but nothing that we can consider a deal breaker.
LTE Connectivity: A Major Feature
Another defining feature of the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is LTE connectivity. As per our tests you can actually connect to the LTE network of Smart with the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3. Smart has aggressively expanded their LTE coverage so this is a very good feature to have on the phone. It was actually the deciding factor for us which made us end up buying it.
With LTE you have much faster internet on the go and this will let you enjoy the Galaxy Mega 6.3 even more.
PS: Rumors are abuzz that Smart will offer the Galaxy Mega 6.3 with their LTE postpaid plans.
Camera: Standard 8MP
Next we have the camera. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 has the usual 8-megapixel shooter that Samsung packs in their cameras. Image quality is quite competitive but still far from the quality delivered by the Nokia Lumia 920 or high-end digital point-and-shoot cameras.
Here are some sample shots:
Not bad right? Optics are much better than the shooters being offered by a lot of local brands.
>>> YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO READ: Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 S-View Flip Cover
Battery Life: It Can Go the Distance
Powered by a 3,200mAh battery, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 can easily go the distance, especially if you manage 3G/LTE connections. With heavy usage (lots of calls, browsing, e-mails, and social networking) while on LTE, we lasted over 8 hours with the Galaxy Mega 6.3. With moderate use and consciously managing 3G/LTE we clocked in over 14 hours. Definitely an impressive feat.
Verdict: Phablet in the Truest Sense of the Word
7-inch tablets with phone capabilities are tablets with telephony functions. You can’t really use them like a usual phone because of the sheer size. You still have to compromise. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 is barely still considered a phone but has the size to still offer a good tablet experience. In short, it is the ultimate phablet.
That said, it’s definitely NOT for everyone. It is perfect though for people who don’t want to bring both a tablet and phone with them and just want one device.
Huge props to Samsung for daring to explore uncharted territories with their products.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is now available in Samsung stores nationwide. SRP is Php23,990 BUT some stores are selling it for Php24,990 (talk about taking advantage and overpricing).