Huge, towering and intimidating. Those are the three words I find appropriate to use to describe Samsung’s super-sized phone (is it even a phone?), the Galaxy Mega. The Galaxy Megas come in two sizes: the 6.3 inch and the 5.8 inch. I’ve toyed around with the 5.8 inch Galaxy Mega for a while and there’s no doubting, it is befitting all those three words. It is huge. Really huge. Towering, it scares the hell out of the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note II and can only feel at home when in the presence of its half-sibling, the Galaxy Mega 6.3. Intimidating? Yes, very much. Just popping it in front of friends totting 3.5 inch and 4 inch devices makes them cringe either out of respect, fear, disbelief or plain intimidation. Before you even look at any of the features and specs it packs, if the general aim of the Galaxy Mega superphones was to command respect and attract attention, then they do that right out of the box.
Here’s my review of the Galaxy Mega 5.8. It’s been long overdue.
There’s nothing special about the Galaxy Mega’s design. Save for its huge size, it is the Galaxy S4, stepped down abit in terms of features and hardware specifications but still retaining the standard 2012-2013 Samsung device looks. The same glossy plastic we’ve seen on Samsung devices all year long is still around and is complemented by the same shiny silver coating all around the device. It has average bezels on the sides of the display (not as big as those found on the galaxy Note 8.0 nor as slim as those found on the LG G2) in order to centrally place the device for content consumption (eBooks, movies, TV shows on the go, web surfing etc). Though I easily felt there was need for a stylus to take advantage of the extra display real estate, with continued usage, it feels just fine. Everything becomes normal. Normal to the point that making and receiving calls on the device is no longer something to be ashamed of.
The plastic back is removable and there in you’ll find a 2600 mAh battery. This is the same battery capacity as the Galaxy S4. On the front once you get over the display, everything from the sensors to the IR blaster, microphones and noise cancellation spots are located in the same exact locations as in the Galaxy S4. As usual, the speaker grill stays at the back of the device where it competes with the flash indicator for your attention with the camera coming in between them.
Being that huge, the Galaxy Mega still feels ok when used without a casing. Slap a casing and you add unnecessary weight. Contrary to what you may expect of such a large device, it is light. Not light as the Galaxy S4 is, but just light enough to surprise you. It is 182g.
In order to make the Galaxy Mega favourably priced, Samsung did make some specification trade-offs. Of the many culprits that were traded for average parts was the display. Here you won’t find the full HD Super AMOLED display that is present on Samsung’s flagship devices or the 720p one you find on the Galaxy Mega 6.3 but rather you get a qHD display with a pixel density of 190 ppi. 540 x 960 may not sound interesting when all the craze and frenzy at the moment is about 1920 x 1080 displays but for the case of my brief interaction with the Galaxy Mega, make no mistake, it delivers on what it set out to do.
There are a few downsides to that display though. The main one is that it seems a little washed out. Coming from someone who has been spoilt by the clear blacks of the Galaxy S4’s Super AMOLED display, it is easy to see the white effect. With prolonged usage this stops being a bother but it comes into play when you use the device in bright lighting like outdoors when the sun is in full force.
The Galaxy Mega’s speaker grill at the back is not over the top nor is it a non-performer. It is somewhere in between. When I wanted to listen to the smooth Wagon Wheel, it did just fine, when I switched to more high pitched tunes, it could still hold up. Though I did not have issues with the external speaker, I prefer using the earphones that come with the device. You can remember how highly I spoke of the Galaxy S4’s earphones, the Galaxy Mega’s do just fine.
The Galaxy Mega comes with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean out of the box though what you interact with right from the start is Samsung’s added layer, TouchWiz UI. With Android being phone-centric and also able to cater for tablets differently in its most recent implementations you have to appreciate what Samsung does with its custom overlay. It is the best way to experience such a huge device and make use of it to the fullest. All the standard Android Jelly Bean goodies are onboard and I can’t complain on that front. Infact, the Galaxy Mega is in line for an Android 4.3 update so if you are one of those who bought this phone, you’re in for a treat soon. It is October already so hold your horses.