Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 Android phone

The Galaxy Mega 6.3 offers excellent battery life and 4G connectivity, but performance is a mixed bag

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Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3

Pros

  • Excellent battery life
  • microSD card slot
  • Familiar software experience

Cons

  • Mixed performance
  • Glossy design is slippery to hold
  • Impossible to use single-handedly

Bottom Line

The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is a mid-range smartphone with a gigantic 6.3in touchscreen. It offers excellent battery life and 4G connectivity, but performance is a mixed bag and it's impossible to use single-handedly.

Would you buy this?

Smartphones with huge screens seem to be a growing trend in the market and Samsung is buying right into the hype. Its latest release is the ridiculous looking but appropriately named Galaxy Mega 6.3, a mid-range smartphone with a gigantic 6.3in touchscreen. It offers excellent battery life and 4G connectivity, but performance is a mixed bag.

Note: The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 hasn't officially been released in Australia. You can currently purchase it from online store MobiCity.

UPDATE: The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is available in Australia through JB Hi-Fi and Samsung Experience Stores in Sydney and Melbourne. It retails as an outright-only purchase for $599.

Ridiculously huge, even for a phablet

According to Samsung, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 is "a device that combines the portability and convenience of a smartphone with the power, multitasking capabilities and extensive viewing experience of a tablet." In other words, the company couldn't make up its mind whether the Galaxy Mega is a smartphone or a tablet but feels it's onto a winner with large screens. Who are we to argue with Samsung's profits?

None

The biggest smartphone we've ever reviewed, easily dwarfing the Galaxy Note II.

The Galaxy Mega 6.3 may be portable but make no mistake, it is absolutely huge. At 88mm wide and almost 198mm tall, this is the biggest smartphone we've ever reviewed, easily dwarfing the Galaxy Note II by some margin. It's also bigger than the 6.1in Huawei Ascend Mate, a phone that Huawei claimed had the "biggest screen in the world" back in February. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 weighs almost 200g, but it doesn't feel overly heavy in the hand considering its size.

The large footprint of the Galaxy Mega 6.3 means it's very difficult to use single-handedly. We managed to hold the phone in one hand to read, and one handed-browsing is certainly possible, but most of the time you'll need to use two hands to operate it. While it's easy enough to access the right-mounted power/lock screen button and left-mounted volume rocker single-handedly, it's nearly impossible to reach the home, menu and back buttons below the screen.

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The Galaxy Mega 6.3 might be mega in screen size, but it's not mega in specifications.

The sheer size of the Galaxy Mega 6.3 isn't at all helped by Samsung's now familiar glossy, plastic finish. While this design allows for a removable battery and a microSD card slot, it also makes the phone quite slippery to hold. It's basically an oversized Galaxy S4 and even comes in the same two colour variants, black and white. We do have to give Samsung some credit for the design, however, as the Galaxy Mega 6.3 is very svelte at just 8mm thin.

The Galaxy Mega 6.3 might be mega in screen size, but it's not really mega in specifications. It's screen has a lower, 720p resolution of 1280x720 when compared with most current flagship smartphones. If you're coming from a device like the Galaxy S4 or the HTC One you'll immediately notice a difference, especially when viewing text. However, image quality remains bright, clear and vibrant overall and most users won't notice a significant difference. The Super Clear LCD also has excellent viewing angles and sunlight legibility is good, despite the fact that the glossy surface can be very reflective.

The Galaxy Mega 6.3's screen is bright, clear and vibrant.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3's screen is bright, clear and vibrant.

A familiar Galaxy experience

Using the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is a very similar experience to the Galaxy S4. Like that device, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 runs the latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system, and is skinned with Samsung's latest TouchWIZ UI overlay.

The basic interface remains unchanged from the Galaxy S4. There are up to seven home screen for widgets and app shortcuts, handy toggles for commonly used features in the notifications panel, including a brightness slider, and the ability to hide apps in the app drawer or choose to display them in a grid or list format.

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Multi-window is an excellent feature given the huge screen size.

The Galaxy Mega 6.3 comes with the multi-window feature, which allows you to run two apps on the screen simultaneously. It only works with a selected range of apps but the likes of Google Chrome, Facebook, Gmail and Twitter are compatible. It's an excellent feature given the huge screen size. We also like the "one-handed operation" features, which position the dialer, the calculator and the unlock pattern towards the left or right of the screen.

Smart Stay, which uses the phone's front facing camera to determine when you are looking at the screen, refusing to timeout in that case, and Air View, which allows you to hover over the screen with your finger to display extra information are also included on the Galaxy Mega 6.3. Neither feature adds much to the overall user experience.

Using the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is a very similar experience to the Galaxy S4.
Using the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is a very similar experience to the Galaxy S4.

Basic tasks aren't as slick as the best devices on the market.

The Galaxy Mega 6.3 doesn't include a few of the S4's other software features like Smart Rotation, Smart Pause and Smart Scroll but they are mostly gimmicks that won't be missed. Thankfully, the built-in infrared port remains at the top of the phone that allows the Galaxy Mega 6.3 to act as a remote control for your TV and other home entertainment devices. There's also an S Translator app that can translate nine different languages using both text to speech and speech to text, and 'Group Play', which can send music photos and documents to multiple devices.

The Galaxy Mega 6.3 is unfortunately a mixed bag in terms of performance. It is fast and smooth for most part and handles the latest graphically intense games, such as Real Racing 3, without any issues. However, basic tasks like swiping through home screens and scrolling through lists and Web pages aren't as slick as the best devices on the market. In this case, the Galaxy Mega 6.3's 1.5GB of RAM and 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor don't perform as well as we hoped. However, if you haven't used one of this year's flagship Android phones, you aren't likely to notice this issue too much.

None

Good camera, Mega battery life

The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a front-facing 1.9-megapixel camera for video calls. The camera app is almost identical to the one used on the Galaxy S4 and we particularly like the excellent scrolling carousel to change camera modes.

Photos captured are above average in quality. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 suffers from excessive image noise when shooting in low light, but photos in well lit areas have impressive levels of detail and good colour reproduction. The sheer size of the handset can make it hard to keep the phone steady when taking photos, so you'll need to take extra care to avoid blurry shots.

A photo we captured with the Galaxy Mega 6.3. (click to enlarge)
A photo we captured with the Galaxy Mega 6.3. (click to enlarge)

Absent from the Galaxy Mega 6.3 are drama shot, eraser mode, animated photo & dual camera.

The Galaxy Mega 6.3 has 10 camera modes but unlike many of the phone's other features, most of them actually add to the experience. Modes include HDR, panorama and the sound and shot mode that captures an image with up to nine seconds of sound. There's also a night mode, and a best photo mode that takes eight photos in quick succession to ensure you capture the best image. Absent from the Galaxy Mega 6.3's camera are drama shot, eraser mode, animated photo, and dual camera, all of which come with the Galaxy S4.

Our GT-I9205 review model of the Galaxy Mega 6.3 came with 8GB of internal memory but Samsung also sells a 16GB model. Our review unit supported the 1800MHz 4G network band used in Australia by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone but it remains to be seen whether Samsung will officially launch this device Down Under.

None

The Galaxy Mega 6.3's 3200mAh battery is one of the strongest features of the phone. In our testing, the Mega 6.3 easily lasted a full day on most occasions, usually pushing close to 18 hours of use before requiring a recharge. Most users should easily be able to go a full day without charging, and less frequent use should see battery life push towards a day and a half.

The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is available in Australia through JB Hi-Fi and Samsung Experience Stores in Sydney and Melbourne. It retails as an outright-only purchase for $599.

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peter

1

A great Phone Yes! however your recommendation of Mobicity is concerning
After ordering my handset & reading the Terms & Conditions I expected my handset to arrive within 3-5 days as stated on the website. FWD 8 days later & no sign of handset. When I rang Hotline they explained that it was in stock & there was a 'delay at the warehouse' I stupidly believed them until I read the reviews & discovered there is ALWAYS a 'delay at the warehouse' It was only when I wanted to cancel my order as I was going away that suddenly had an upgraded version ready to magically ship.

The truth is this. Their website states that handsets are instock when they are clearly not. They take your money & wait for you to complain so that it gets 'excalated' Then when you realise as I did that they actually don't have it in stock & then subsequently want to cancel that they then will to do something for you.

If your willing to wait 3-6 weeks for your handset then get the run around from call centres who's only script is 'delay at the warehouse' or ' I'll escalate it'. It's all delay tactics to protect a business plan that is 1. take your money 2.then figure out stock levels 3.wait for you to complain or cancel.

Don't waste your time or money. If you've been trapped already then call this Australian number instead.
07 3040 4380

Buyer Beware!!!!!!!

soken

2

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Jennifer Robinson

3

Bought mine in UK - duty free but about the same price as advertised at 399GBP (about 620 dollars Au)
Not had a smartphone before so don't miss any of the quality issues that the OP reviewer mentions.
It's a great piece of kit for a 60+ yo person - the screen is readable and the alpha numeric keys huge!
It's easy to programme and the apps work quickly and well - showed it to a phone store lady and she was stunned at the quality of a movie I had on it.
The fact that it shows photos at a decent size means I can show pics of my hobbies (astronomy and landscape photography) at a viewable size.
No cons as far as I can see.
The 720p format is fine by me - my eyesight is about 720 anyway!

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Nic

4.5

1

Pros
Wifi and 4G speeds exceptional, No need for two devices, Web browsing and page render is excellent, Screen resolution better than expected, Battery life surprisingly good
Cons
Camera is poor in low light situations, buttons on either side could do with better placement
• • •

I've had this phone a full month now. It replaces an iPhone 5 which I loathed after just a week.
My drivers for purchasing the device were:
* screen real estate - I am a tall person and have big hands so touch screen typing has never grabbed me.
* I wanted to consolidate devices from two (a tablet and phone) into one for portability
* undertake basic document editing if needed with Google Drive
* have access to soft copy notes that i could read in meetings Dropbox and Drive
* email more efficiently with a bigger key pad area.
The phone has met all of my expectations and in the case of editing documents it has exceeded them.
The screen is better than I expected despite claims it is under spec.
The pricing point for the phone is perfect given the hardware inside. You pay for what you get and this phone delivers a good user experience given what is inside.
Camera use in lower light is average - an update is needed in this area for sure.
I would prefer the on/off button to go on top of the device as it sits right where the joint of the right thumb rests when holding the phone. On the left side there is a volume rocker to contend with.
Software bundling is good but like all phones with 8GB internal it could do with letting users shift some apps to the external memory card, but that is a general comment and common to other phones.
Ear piece volume is ok, it could be a bit better. Users need to place the hole fairly precisely to get best sound call quality.
External speaker is average, if this phone was a little more expensive I would expect stereo speakers, but again at the price the speaker does a passable job.
The RAM is enough and hasn't been a perceptible problem
Google Drive is great with this phone.
It Fits! The phone fits in all of my pockets as I expected - actually I hoped.
This phone will be a struggle to hold one handed if you have medium to small hands.
Headphone output is ok but could do with a 5-10% increase in maximum volume. I don't have bad hearing at all.
Lack of a S Pen is no issue, I never had a Note 1 or 2 so I don't know if I am missing anything and having an S Pen would not have influenced my decision anyway.
Street cred factor; I haven't had any weird looks holding the phone to my ears though when a female friend tried it she looked like she had a paper back novel held to her head.
Business cred factor; several colleagues are either getting one or investigating getting one after seeing me use it in meetings.

Wifi and 4G download and upload speeds are exceptional. Really impressive actually.

Conclusion: A great first Phablet from Samsung with keen pricing and relatively good specs. My next phone will be a Phablet.

It would have got 5 but for low light issues with the camera and button placement.

this phone to all the body builders out there

3.5

2

Pros
if you monster sized then it's for you
Cons
be happy like kingkong
• • •

Regardless of all the cool features it might have or not,
or to talk about its looks! my concern is quite different.
Its size!! this phone! its just so massive!! Its going to
be extremely tough to fit this in your jean pockets. But
if you try sneaking it in and do succeed please don't
bend down or sit on a couch, you might end up tearing
your pants or hurting yourself, it happened to me with
the samsung note 2 and mind you this is way bigger
than that. Buy this only if you're ready to hold it in your
hands 24*7. Also weighing at 200 gms I would
recommend this phone to all the body builders out
there(you won't miss your dumbell believe me) I on the
other hand certainly won't like or bother to carry this
mega thing in my hands all the time! don't want arm
aches you know! lastly i hope this phone doesn't bring
the men's shoulder strap purses back into fashion!
thats gonna look so gay!

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