Samsung Mega-sizes the phablet with a 6.3-inch display

At what point does a phablet become a straight-up tablet? Samsung is pushing the line with its new 5.8- and 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega "phones."

Just when you thought phablets couldn't get any bigger, Samsung has super-sized... no make that Mega-sized its Galaxy lineup with two more devices that straddle the line between smartphones and tablets.

On Thursday, the electronics maker announced the Galaxy Mega family, featuring 5.8-inch and 6.3-inch models. The 5.8-inch Mega is just a smidge bigger than the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II, while the Mega 6.3 is getting awfully close to Nexus 7 territory for something you're supposed to use a phone.

Even Samsung appears worried it may be pushing this whole phablet concept a little too far; the company plans to roll out the new Mega devices slowly. The new phablets will hit Europe and Russia in May, then fan out across the globe after that. There's no official U.S. launch date, but if you're excited about the prospect of using a phone that's around one and a half Hershey bars wide, here are the details.

Honey, can you answer the tablet?

Both handsets come with Android 4.2, Google's latest flavor of Jelly Bean, as well as a few Samsung niceties we've seen in other Galaxy devices.

Group Play connects up to eight devices on a local network for content sharing. Samsung WatchOn turns the Mega tablet into a TV remote using the device's built-in IR blaster, and you can also stream photos and video to your TV with just a few taps using Samsung Link. Mega devices do not appear to include the Samsung S Pen that ships standard with the Galaxy Note lineup.

The biggest Galaxy Mega features a 6.3-inch HD TFT display, with no word on the exact display resolution. The device also has a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB RAM, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera, USB 2.0, and NFC. Wi-Fi options include 802.11a/b/g/n, as well as the newer 802.11ac standard. You also get Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, HSPA+, and LTE. The Mega 6.3 features your choice of 8GB or 16GB onboard memory plus a microSD slot that supports up to 64GB, for a maximum storage size of 80GB. The Mega 6.3 weighs in at close to half a pound and comes with a 3,200 mAh Li-ion battery.

If that's a bit too much phablet for you, the more moderately-sized Mega features a 5.8-inch qHD (960-by-540) TFT display. The device is also rocking a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, and similar cameras to the Mega 6.3,but only comes with 8GB internal memory paired with a a microSD slot. It also lacks its bigger brother's 802.11ac and LTE support. The Mega 5.8 and its 2,600 mAh Li-ion battery tips the scales 0.40 pounds.

Pricing was not announced for the two devices. The coming calendar year is certainly shaping up to be an interesting year for tablet convergence. While Microsoft is reportedly trying to cram Windows into a 7-inch tablet, Samsung is expanding smartphones into mini tablets that are getting progressively larger with every new model.

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Ian Paul

PC World
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