IntroductionSamsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 official imagesKey features
- QUAD-BAND GSM/GPRS/EDGE; QUAD-BAND 3G WITH HSPA; LTE
- 6.3″ 16M-COLOR 720P TFT LCD CAPACITIVE TOUCHSCREEN; 233PPI
- ANDROID OS V4.2.2 JELLY BEAN WITH TOUCHWIZ UI
- DUAL-CORE 1.7GHZ KRAIT CPU, ADRENO 305 GPU;
- QUALCOMM SNAPDRAGON 400 CHIPSET
- 1.5GB OF RAM
- 8 MP AUTOFOCUS CAMERA WITH LED FLASH, 1080P VIDEO RECORDING @ 30FPS, CONTINUOUS AUTOFOCUS AND STEREO SOUND
- 1.9 MP FRONT-FACING CAMERA, 1080P VIDEO RECORDING
- DRAMA SHOT, SHOT AND SOUND
- DUAL-BAND WI-FI A/B/G/N/AC, WI-FI DIRECT AND DLNA
- GPS WITH A-GPS, GLONASS
- 8/16GB OF BUILT-IN STORAGE
- MICROSD CARD SLOT
- MICROUSB PORT WITH USB HOST AND MHL
- BLUETOOTH V4.0
- IR PORT FOR REMOTE CONTROL FUNCTIONALITY
- STANDARD 3.5 MM AUDIO JACK
- ACCELEROMETER AND PROXIMITY SENSOR
- ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION WITH DEDICATED MIC
- AMPLE 3,200MAH BATTERY WITH GREAT ENDURANCE; USER REPLACEABLE
- 8MM THICKNESS; 199G OF WEIGHT
- BIG, EVEN FOR A PHABLET
- RESOLUTION ON THE LOW SIDE FOR THE SCREEN SIZE
- MIDRANGE PERFORMANCE
- DESIGN IS A BIT PLAYED OUT BY NOW
- NO FM RADIO
- SHARED CAMERA INTERFACE MAKES FRAMING TRICKY
SAMSUNG GALAXY MEGA 6.3 IN OUR OFFICETHE SAMSUNG GALAXY MEGA 6.3 IS A HALF-STEP BETWEEN PHONES AND A 7″ TABLET. SOME SAY IT’S TOO BIG TO USE AS A PHONE AND TOO SMALL TO BE A TABLET. OTHERS RESPOND WITH “YOU CAN’T SLIP A TABLET IN YOUR PANTS POCKET, BUT THE MEGA 6.3 JUST FITS.” THERE’S CERTAINLY EVIDENCE IN FAVOR OF BOTH CLAIMS – JUMP OVER TO THE NEXT PAGE TO FIND OUT WHICH ARGUMENT PREVAILS AS FAR AS HARDWARE IS CONCERNED.SAMSUNG GALAXY MEGA 6.3 360-DEGREE SPINSAMSUNG GALAXY MEGA 6.3 NEXT TO THE GALAXY S4 (LEFT) AND GALAXY NOTE II (RIGHT)UNBOXING THE MEGA 6.3CONTENTS OF THE SAMSUNG GALAXY MEGA 6.3 BOXDESIGN AND HANDLINGTHE REVAMPED GALAXY DESIGN LANGUAGETHE GALAXY 6.3 IS LARGE EVEN FOR BIG HANDSDISPLAY STRETCHES 720P RESOLUTION ON 6.3″SAMSUNG GALAXY MEGA 6.3 HAS A HUGE SCREENSAMSUNG GALAXY MEGA 6.3’S SCREEN UNDER A MICROSCOPE
|Sony Xperia ZL
|Sony Xperia Z
|Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
|Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
|Oppo Find 5
|Samsung N7100 Galaxy Note II
|LG Optimus G Pro
|Nokia Lumia 920
|LG Optimus G
|Apple iPhone 5
ControlsEarpiece, front-facing camera and sensors above the screen • Menu, Home and Back keys below the screenVolume rocker • Power/Lock key • the keys are positioned relatively low on the sides of the devicemicroUSB port with MHL functionality and mic pinhole3.5mm audio jack, IR emitter and secondary mic on topThe large back cover houses the protruding 8MP camera, LED flash and loudspeakerThe 3,200mAh battery is removable and has NFC connectivity • the two card slots are stackedNew TouchWiz with lots of optionsThe lockscreen shows beautiful photos and cool widgetsFavorite Apps are the default for the Galaxy Mega 6.3 • the camera alternativeThe lockscreen shortcuts are not enabled by default but are still hereCustomizing the lockscreenThe new notification area is better than the one in stock Android 4.2HomescreenMega 6.3 rotates the homescreen like a tabletManaging the homescreen panesApp drawer • widgets drawerApp drawer at a glance • optionsThe small thumbnails of homescreen panes make finding room for a new widget a breezeThe app switcher • Task managerMulti-window mode on the Galaxy Mega 6.3Settings menuAir View and Smart Screen, S Voice and Google NowAir View turns your finger into an S PenThe gestures from S III and Note II are on board tooS Voice and Google NowS VoiceGoogle NowPhonebook is top notchPhonebook swipe optionsQuick contacts menuViewing contactEditing a contactReject list works greatAssign custom vibrationTelephony with all the bells and whistlesThe dialerThe call log • two view modes for Favorites
|Pink noise/ Music, dB
|Ringing phone, dB
|Sony Xperia Z
|Apple iPhone 5
|Nokia Lumia 920
|HTC One X+
|Asus Padfone 2
|Oppo Find 5
|Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
|Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
|Samsung Galaxy S III
|LG Optimus G
Messaging with room for customizationMessaging and swipe gesturesSplit-screen view in landscape modeChat view • attaching multimediaQWERTY keyboard • Continuous input • landscape modeFloating keyboardCustomization optionsScheduled messages • Spam filterGmail appGeneric email appGallery is aliveGallery • the list of albums • changing thumbnail sizeViewing image • Sharing optionsEditing a photoHighly customizable slideshowFile managerFile managerMusic player has folder supportSamsung Music playerMusic square options • peeking with Air ViewNearby devicesSoundAlive equalizer • Smart SoundNow playingMusic player options • controls in the notification area and lockscreenGreat audio quality
|IMD + Noise
|Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
|Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 (headphones attached)
|Samsung Galaxy Express
|Samsung Galaxy Express (headphones attached)
|Samsung Galaxy S4
|Samsung Galaxy S4 (headphones attached)
|Samsung Galaxy Grand
|Samsung Galaxy Grand (headphones attached)
|LG Optimus L9
|LG Optimus L9 (headphones attached)
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 frequency responseDecent video player, but codec support falls shortVideo player • nearby devicesVideo playerPop up playSubtitles supportGood 8MP cameraSamsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 user interfaceCarousel and grid views for the Mode selectorA selection of color effectsPanorama sample from the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 camera samplesHDR off • HDR on • HDR off • HDR onPhoto quality comparisonSamsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 in our Photo quality compare tool1080p video cameraVideo quality comparisonSamsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 in our Video quality compare toolFlagship-grade connectivityWeb browser on a near tablet-size screenBrowsing GSMArena.com on the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3Page options and settings • tabsS Apps and moreGroup PlayMultiple phones can turn into a multi-channel audio systemSharing a photo and drawing over itGroup Play enables multiplayer gamesSamsung Link lets you access content from your computer remotelyS Translator can be invaluable when travelingWatchON has built-in TV guide integrationAdding a new room and a new deviceOffice Editor a no-goPolaris Office viewerOrganizer is as robust as everThe S Planner applicationThe calculatorThe Clock applicationDesk clockThe S Memo appGoogle Maps Navigation gives you the most out of GPSGoogle Maps includes Street View as wellGoogle Play now backed up by the Samsung Apps storeThe Android Market will give you access to hundreds of thousands of appsThe Samsung Apps storeFinal wordsSamsung Galaxy Note II N7100Huawei Ascend MateAsus Fonepad Note FHD6Acer Liquid S1
A big screen caters to our flawed human senses – often our eyes value size over resolution and so do our thumbs. So, while the pixel density of the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 screen is no match for the bleeding edge screens on current flagships, many will find it more comfortable to read off the big screen – a nearly 60% more screen real estate is nothing to sneeze at.
The Galaxy Grand is another device that favored display size over specs, but that’s in the lower end of the Android spectrum. The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 on the other hand has respectable specs, not too far off what passed as “flagship” last year.
So, it’s not just last year’s flagships, the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 borrows from this year’s model too – the latest Android version with latest TouchWiz enhancements, IR blaster, Air View, Multi-window and a bunch of other exclusive software goodies.
And while there’s no denying it’s a big device, it’s only slightly bigger than its 6.3″ screen. The other measurements – 8mm thickness and 199g of weight are actually pretty slender. It’s barely thicker than the Galaxy S4 and weighs only 16g more than the Note II (which is 9.4mm thick).
The 720p resolution is perhaps lower than some people would have liked, but the 233ppi pixel density is better than that of the Galaxy S II though not quite as good as the one on the Note II (no surprise given the different market segments). And the Snapdragon 400 chipset should be able to hold its own against the top quad-core chipsets of the previous generation like the popular Tegra 3 or Samsung’s Exynos 4.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 stands 167.6mm tall and 88mm wide. That’s about 20% more surface area than the Note II (151.1 x 80.5mm), and you do get just over 30% more screen real estate. This means Samsung has managed to cover a bigger portion of the front of the device with the screen.
Also, the Mega 6.3 is thinner (8mm vs. 9.4mm) and not much heavier (199g vs. 183g) than the Note II.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 came in a box just wide and tall enough to fit the large phablet inside. It was one of the eco-friendly boxes with soy ink printing. As for the contents, those were fairly standard – a compact charger, a microUSB cable to go with it and a one-piece headset (in-ear design).
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 follows the Galaxy S4 design language to a tee, just like the Note 8.0. It is a sort of a facelift of the Galaxy S III design, less rounded with slimmer bezel and a characteristic LED flash positioning under the back camera.
Another thing Samsung changed between the S III and S4 was the pattern of the plastic. We like the new one better, but the glossy hyperglazed plastic is still quite impractical – easily smudged and with poor grip.
Other than that, the general styling spans devices with screens from 3.27″ (Galaxy Young) to 8″ (Galaxy Note 8.0) and frankly it’s worn out and lacking in premium feel.
The screen on the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is bigger than most phones (including the Galaxy S4). It’s so big it barely fits on the device – the bezels are very thin, especially on the side.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 screen offers just over 30% more real estate than the Note II and nearly 60% more than the 5″ Galaxy S4. It makes very efficient use of the front surface, rivaled only by the S4 itself and the Sony Xperia ZL.
You can hold the phablet in one hand, though some will find it uncomfortable. The thin bezels offer no room to put your thumb and the slippery back doesn’t help. Using the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 with one hand is only possible for a limited number of tasks.
Samsung has enabled a smaller keyboard in some places (the QWERTY keyboard, the dialer keyboard), which does improve usability a bit. However, the notification area is completely out of reach and the lower corners are tough too, both areas are very important to working with Android.
You can pocket the Mega 6.3 and since it’s slim and fairly light it won’t bulge in your pocket or feel like a brick.
At the core of the Samsung Galaxy Mega .63 is the 6.3″ screen. It’s a massive TFT LCD of 720p resolution, which works out to 233ppi. While that’s nowhere near the 441ppi of the Galaxy S4 or even the 306ppi of the S III, it’s better than what the Galaxy Grand got and the same pixel density as the Galaxy S III mini.
You have to take into account that bigger screens are usually held further from the eyes, which partially makes up for the lower pixel density. If you’re coming from a Galaxy S4 you’ll immediately spot the lower sharpness, especially when looking at text, but other than that the screen image quality is good.
With all this talk of pixel density, we have to mention the resolution and how it affects the interface. While the screen of the Mega 6.3 is much bigger than that of the Galaxy S4, it doesn’t fit more shortcuts or other UI elements. Samsung could have drawn the elements smaller, but that would have affected the image quality as smaller text doesn’t render as well on the relatively low pixel density (compared to the previous and current generation of flagships).
The Mega 6.3 screen has good viewing angles with no color shift and only slight contrast loss when looking at the display at an a angle.
The brightness control in the notification area is quite handy and can be hidden to make room for more notifications. It also features an automatic brightness mode with a slider to tweak the algorithm, making the display generally darker or generally brighter.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 features a standard set of sensors on its front (proximity and ambient light), a 1.9MP camera and a status LED, all clustered around the earpiece.
On the other side of the screen is the traditional arrangement of a hardware Home button and capacitive Menu and Back keys. Stock Android has moved away from this arrangement, but Samsung insist on it.
There’s extra functionality too: upon a double tap, the Home key launches S Voice, while a press and hold opens the task switcher. A long press of the Menu key launches Google Now, and a long press of the Back key toggles the Multi-window tray (the Multi-window feature needs to be active for this to work).
The Volume rocker is placed on the left side of the Galaxy Mega 6.3, while the Power/Lock key is on the right. Both are positioned proportionally lower on the tall device, so they are at about the same height from the bottom as the ones on the Galaxy S4.
There’s no dedicated camera shutter key, but the volume rocker can be set to act as a zoom lever, still or video camera shutter key.
The bottom of the Galaxy Mega 6.3 features a microUSB port with MHL functionality, so you can output HD video with the appropriate dongle. The mic pinhole is next to the USB port.
At the top of the device is the secondary mic (for noise cancellation and stereo audio capture), a standard 3.5mm audio jack and an IR emitter. The emitter is used for the remote control functionality, which is great but it makes a bad impression that it’s just a hole on the top of the device.
Around the back of the device there’s the 8MP camera lens, centrally placed at the top. It protrudes from the 8mm thick body and the device rests on it when placed on its back, which makes it unstable and means you should be careful not to put it on a surface that can scratch the lens glass.
Below the camera is the LED flash and at the bottom of the back is the loudspeaker grille.
The back cover is made of the hyperglazed plastic that Samsung favors in recent years and can be opened. Below it is the 3,200mAh battery, which can be removed too. We expected a bit more capacity from the battery, it’s barely bigger than that of the Galaxy Note II (3,100mAh), despite the Mega 6.3 being bigger (the screen especially). The NFC module is in the battery itself.
Right next to the battery is the combined microSIM / microSD card slot. The cards are stacked, the microSIM at the bottom and the microSD on top. The battery blocks the way, so you have to pull it out to change one of the cards. In fact, you’ll probably have to remove the microSD card to swap the SIM card too, as it’s hard to reach when the top slot is occupied.
We’ve already tested the Galaxy Mega 6.3 battery life and found it was pretty good. It scored an endurance rating of 60 hours. It did very well in the individual categories too, almost 20 hours of talk time and over 8 hours for both web browsing and video playback.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 comes with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, the latest release of the Google platform available and the same as what the flagship GalaxyS4 has.
The latest version of TouchWiz tries to stay relatively close to stock Android, but adds many options for customization and a host of new exclusive features. The amount of tweaks and options is so overwhelming that it can take days to learn, let alone master.
Here’s a user interface video to start you off, which also shows the new air and motion gestures in action.
The lockscreen features the new widgets introduced with Android 4.2, though Samsung fiddled with them a bit. The default lockscreen shows the time along with a personal message overlaid on beautiful photos pulled from TripAdvisor.
The water ripples have been replaced by a lens flare effect but you can switch back to the old one, or disable it altogether.
The lockscreen has multiple panes, each containing one widget. The page to the right of the default one is special and can either be a list of favorite apps (the default TouchWiz setting) or a shortcut for the camera (as in pure Android).
The pages to the left contain different widgets – email, Google Now, Messaging, music player, Yahoo! Finance and News, Smart Remote and you can download apps from the Play Store that add new widgets.
There are no app shortcuts at the bottom of the screen by default – the Favorite Apps widget to the right has taken over that role, but you can enable them and have up to five easily accessible shortcuts.
The greeting on the lockscreen can be changed – you can type something else, set a different font and color. You can also disable the personal message altogether and remove the time and date.
At the top of the notification area there are five (eight in landscape mode) toggles that can quickly enable and disable features. There are more than five toggles, of course, you can swipe horizontally to get to the others. Or you can tap the new button that reveals a grid of all the shortcuts, 20 in total. You can rearrange this grid (the top row toggles are always visible). A two finger swipe directly opens the grid of toggles. Another nice trick is to long press on a toggle to go to the related settings (e.g. Wi-Fi settings).
Below the toggles is the display brightness slider, complete with an Auto toggle. You can disable this slider to have more room for notifications.
The notifications themselves have not changed – they can be expanded to reveal more info and collapsed to save space or dismissed with a sideways swipe. Sometimes they also have helpful buttons on them like “Call back” and “Send SMS” on a missed call notification.
The homescreen looks mostly the same. Samsung has provided many of its own custom widgets like Samsung Hub, S Travel, etc. There’s the so called wrap around feature, which lets you scroll homescreens infinitely by always going from the last to the first one.
The Mega 6.3 homescreen auto-rotates, just like on tablets, enabling landscape use of the entire interface. Auto-rotation is more than welcome – the Note phablets don’t have it. We like it that the Galaxy Mega doesn’t stubbornly insist on being just a phone. The homescreen is a lot more comfortable to use in landscape, especially the dock icons.
You can pinch zoom to get into the overview mode of all homescreen panes. There can be up to 7 and you can easily add, remove and rearrange panes from here. One pane is marked as “home”, that’s the one you go to when you press the Home button – any of the available homescreen panes can be set as default quite easily.
The app drawer hasn’t changed really since the early days of Nature UX. The app shortcuts are presented as a customizable grid, alphabetized grid or list and you can hide shortcuts (good for bloatware you can’t uninstall), view only downloaded apps, uninstall apps and add folders.
You can also maximize space in the app drawer by stacking apps into folders.
As before, widgets are in a separate tab in the drawer.
Pinch to zoom in the app drawer works the same as on a homescreen, giving you an overview of all panes as thumbnails. There’s, by the way, a dedicated pane, where all your downloaded apps go.
When you drag out shortcuts and widgets to the homescreen you get a list of small thumbnails of all the homescreen panes with the silhouettes of the widgets there so you can check how much space is available on each pane.
The App switcher interface is unchanged – there’s a list of thumbnails of all the recent apps, apps can be swiped to dismiss and there are three buttons at the bottom, Task manager, Google Now and Kill all apps.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 comes with Multi-window, which lets you run two apps side by side on the screen. You can adjust the dividing line giving one app more space. Only compatible apps can be used with Multi-window, for now that means mostly the ones that come preinstalled on the phone.
You can move the small arrow that brings up the taskbar with the Multi-window apps to make it easier to reach with your thumb. You can also move the whole thing to the other side of the screen. That improves ergonomics a bit.
Samsung tweaked the Settings screen to use a tabbed interface. There’s four of them – Connection, My device, Accounts and More. You can find the relevant features in their corresponding place – display, for instance, is in the My device tab.
It makes navigating the settings menu much faster and more intuitive.
We like what Samsung has done with the latest iteration of TouchWiz. The company has put together an impressive list of features and options, but that’s not a bad thing – the default setup is good enough for regular users, while power users get to have it their way without the need for third party apps.
On a side note, the TouchWiz on the Galaxy Mega 6.3 should be a good indication of what the Android 4.2 update for the Galaxy S III will be like.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 comes with a number of advanced features shared with the Galaxy S4. Some features are left exclusive to the flagship, but the Mega 6.3 still gets a good set.
The first one is Air View, which debuted on the Galaxy Note II and worked with the S Pen. There’s no S Pen on the Galaxy Mega 6.3, or a need for it – the phone can detect your finger hovering over the screen.
This enables information preview (e.g. texts, calendar entries and so on), previewing videos just by pointing to a spot in the timeline, the next track in the music player by hovering over the next button (works with the previous button too), previewing folders, speed dial contacts, and magnifying links in web pages. Air view detects fingers 1cm / 0.5″ away from the screen, so there’s no danger of accidentally tapping the screen when you meant to use Air View instead.
The familiar Smart Stay feature is enabled too. It prevents the screen from locking as long as the front-facing camera can see your face (great for reading).
Smart Rotate, Smart Scroll and Smart Pause are not included although the Mega has the required hardware for it (a front-facing camera), unlike the Air Gestures, which need a special new sensor on the front.
There are a number of motion gestures too, which are not exactly new. There’s direct call (dial the contact whose info you’re currently viewing by lifting the phone up to your ear), smart alert (makes the phone vibrate when you pick it up if there are missed events), zooming and panning in the gallery, a shake of the phone to refresh the list of Bluetooth devices and muting alarms or pausing music playback by putting the phone face down.
You can also pause the music player by putting your palm on the screen. A palm swipe takes a screenshot.
S Voice is Samsung’s answer to Apple’s Siri and Google’s own Voice Actions – it can be used to initiate or answer a call, dictate text, play music, open an app, change a setting, make a memo (including voice memo), add a reminder, schedule an event, set or snooze an alarm or timer, check the weather, do a search on the internet, take a photo, look for local listings (e.g. nearby restaurants) and even get an answer to a question.
The problem is S Voice is not nearly as fast or as accurate at recognizing your speech input as Now.
Naturally, being a Jelly Bean smartphone, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 also comes with Google Now.
Google Now integrates with your Google account and can access your daily routine, internet searches, email, etc. and give you information relevant to your interests and daily needs.
It provides traffic information to your work or home, knows those scores of sports teams you follow, has the weather forecast for your location and can even tell you who Kevin Spacey is.
Google Now also has its own separate widget on the homescreen.
The phonebook on the Galaxy Mega 6.3 packs an incredibly wide range of features. The four tabs on top are still present and provide access to the Phone app, Groups, Contacts and Favorites.
As usual, there are various options to filter contacts by phone numbers, groups and multiple sorting. You can import/export contacts to/from the SIM card but you can’t display them alongside the phone memory entries.
Samsung has a proprietary feature in the phonebook that enables quick dialing (by swiping a contact to the right) or sending a text message (left swipe), which are really handy.
The Quick contacts feature, upon a tap on the contact picture, shows a pop up menu with shortcuts to call, text, email or Google Talk.
Tapping on a contact displays all the details available. There are two tabs here – the first one is the About tab, which shows the person’s photo on top. If configured, the right tab displays the contact’s latest updates from social networks or Google Talk.
Information is perfectly organized into different sections for phone, email, etc. The top right corner has shortcuts to contact editing and favorites.
If the phonebook finds duplicate contact entries, it’ll prompt you to join them. Furthermore, there are a plethora of options once you hit the Menu button. You can view the call history, as well as join, unjoin and share contacts.
There’s plenty of contact information you can assign to each contact and it still remains neatly organized. You have all the types listed (numbers, email addresses, etc.) and, just like the previous version of TouchWiz, there’s a plus sign on the right – tapping it adds another item of that type. Pressing the minus sign under it deletes the unneeded field.
The reject list blocks certain numbers, or even prefixes (e.g. block foreign calls). It works great with preset numbers and you can also bar unknown numbers. There are third party blacklist apps in the Play Store but it’s nice to have this out of the box.
You can choose a specific vibration pattern as an incoming call alert, just like you would a ringtone. A set of predefined patterns is offered, but you can make your own too. You can also assign a custom vibration to specific contacts.
The phonebook app on the Galaxy Mega 6.3 is really something. It’s almost too advanced for some users but its interface is simple enough so you can only use the features you need. Once you find your feet around you will appreciate having cool extras like call barring, which stock and most other forms of Android lack.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 offers top notch in-call audio and managed to hold onto signal trouble-free. Earpiece volume is great and Samsung has even gone as far as adding an in-call equalizer, which does wonders. Of course, no matter how hard they tried, the Mega 6.3 is obviously not the most comfortable piece of phone to hold up to your ear.
The phone app on the Galaxy Mega 6.3 features Smart Dial – it searches names and numbers simultaneously. Only one contact is shown (with contact photo) and you can tap the down arrow to view the rest (the number above the arrow indicates how many contacts have matched your query).
The keypad is pretty big, so you might want to enable the one-handed mode, which makes it easier to reach all the keys.
Direct Call is here too and lets you dial a number by lifting the phone up to your ear while browsing contacts or reading/composing a message. If you use quick dial but forgot which contact is assigned to which number, you can use Air View as a quick reminder.
Voice dialing is available too and taken care of by the newly added S Voice, which activates on a double tap of the home button. All you need to say is “Hi Galaxy” and speak your command (e.g. “call Dexter”). It takes a while to process voice commands but it has more uses than other voice-recognition apps for Android.
The call log is the tab next to the dial pad. It displays all the dialed, received and missed calls in one list sorting your call history by contacts.
Thanks to the proximity sensor, your screen will automatically turn off when you hold it up to your ear during a call. The available options during a call include taking a note, using the keypad, muting, holding the call or adding another call to this conversation.
The dialer also offers quick shortcuts for making a video call or sending a message instead.
We put the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 through our loudspeaker test and it scored a Good mark, very close to the Galaxy S4 flagship. You shouldn’t miss any calls in all but the loudest environments.
You can learn more about this test here.
The messaging department looks similar to the phonebook – you get a list of conversation threads and you can swipe on a message header to start a call or send a new message (this is a little redundant, but gets points for consistency).
Landscape has an optional split-screen view, which puts the list of conversation threads on the left and the messages in the currently selected thread on the right. That’s a great way to utilize the big screen.
There’s application-specific search that lets you quickly find a given message among all your stored SMS and MMS.
To add message recipients, just start typing the corresponding name or number and choose from the contacts offered.
The keyboard of the Galaxy Mega 6.3 displays an additional row above the letters for numbers – like a full-fledged computer keyboard does.
There’s also a Swipe-like mode which tracks your finger and guesses the word you’re trying to type. This feature works great but has limited language support for now. You can move the text caret by swiping left or right on the keyboard. Only one of these two features can be enabled.
On a screen this big, the floating keyboard is a nice option. It takes up less space on the screen and can be moved around, plus the smaller keyboard may be easier to type on for some (“smaller” here is relative, it’s still quite big compared to phone keyboards).
Adding any multimedia content to the message automatically converts it into an MMS. You can either quickly add a photo or an audio file to go with the text or compose an MMS using all the available features (like multiple slides, slide timing, layout, etc.). The multiple slides are all shown inside the compose box.
You can use S Voice to dictate your message or use Google’s built-in voice recognition software if you don’t feel like typing. Since this is a Jelly Bean device, you can also use voice typing without a data network connection, as long as you have downloaded the necessary language packs. Samsung also provides the option to change the default input method.
Samsung has left a lot of room for customizing your messaging experience. You can choose from different bubble styles and backgrounds and can use the volume button to increase or decrease the font in conversations to really make use of that 6.3″ screen.
When you’re composing a new message you can use the Translate option. The same goes for messages you’ve received. This feature probably won’t see much use but it’s there you ever need it.
What will come in good use, again, is the new Direct call feature. When you are reading a message from someone, their number will be automatically dialed by just lifting the phone up to your ear.
Just like the dialer, the Messaging app has a built-in spam filter. You can block some numbers (or all unknown numbers) and even add specific phrases to be blocked.
Moving on to email, the Gmail app has grown handy shortcuts at the bottom of the screen but is mostly unchanged. It supports batch operations, which allow multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted. The default app supports multiple Gmail accounts, but there’s no unified inbox.
A cool feature in Gmail is that you can swipe an open message left or right to go to the previous / next. Swiping on a specific line in the inbox will archive the message.
The Samsung Email app can handle multiple POP or IMAP inboxes. You have access to the messages in the original folders that are created online, side by side with the standard local ones such as inbox, drafts and sent items.
The Email app supports Air view, which offers a preview of an email when you hover over a line in your inbox.
In the upper-left corner you’ll find a context menu prompt, which lists all your folders. It’s not accessible with a swipe from the side so you’ll need to tap the mail icon each time you want to gain access to it.
Turning the phone landscape activates the split view – the left side of the screen shows the list of emails, while the right side shows a message. This is the same kind of interface we’ve seen on the Galaxy Tab.
Google Talk handles the Instant Messaging department. The G-Talk network is compatible with a variety of popular clients like Pidgin, Kopete, iChat and Ovi Contacts.
The gallery on the Galaxy Mega 6.3 can be sorted into albums, all photos and videos, time, location, etc. Just like in the phonebook, you can choose what kind of content should be displayed – photos and videos from the phone, Dropbox, Facebook or Picasa.
You can pinch to zoom in the gallery and thus manage the size of the thumbnails. Air view works in the gallery as well. You can hover over an image and you’ll get a bigger thumbnail overview or you can use it to peek inside folders.
Upon choosing an album (for instance Camera) you’re taken into that album’s stack of photos but a swipe to the right will list all albums. In this mode you can browse images in a dual-screen mode and easily select files from multiple folders.
Upon a press and hold on a picture, the gallery gives you the option to select multiple images, which you can then mass delete, share, copy or move.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 is great for viewing photos – the screen is as big as most photo frames and the lower resolution doesn’t really show. The great viewing angles do, however.
When viewing a single photo, you’ll find several sharing shortcuts and a delete button above the photo, while below is a line of small thumbnails of all other photos in the album. You can tap those small thumbnails to move to other images or you can just swipe to the side.
You can easily retouch photos right in the Gallery itself. The photo editor gives you options like crop, rotate, color and effects. You can also make a memo on top of the picture.
The Gallery also supports highly customizable slideshows with several effects to choose from, customizable music and speed. You can also highlight specific images to be included in the slideshow.
You can print photos straight from the gallery, though this only works on Samsung printers.
The My Files app hasn’t changed really – it’s an efficient and simple to use file manager. It can move, copy, lock and rename files in bulk, even send multiple files to another phone. My files will only browse the memory card and the large internal storage (it can’t access the system drive). We wish Samsung had the same sidebar with the folders on the left, just like in the gallery.
The TouchWiz music player on the Galaxy Mega 6.3 is jam-packed with features and supports a wide variety of file formats, including FLAC, Wave, etc.
Music is sorted by the usual Artist, Album, Playlist, etc. but there’s also Folder support – it’s quite handy as it saves you the need to sort songs into playlists like on so many other players.
Then there’s Music square – it’s quite similar to the SensMe feature of Sony smartphones. It automatically rates a song as exciting or calm, passionate or joyful and plots those songs on a square (hence the name). Air View lets you hover over a square to see what kind of songs it holds.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 can also search for content on third party DLNA servers like PCs or other phones on the same network.
Samsung has enabled equalizer presets (including a custom one with 7 bands) along with the sound-enhancing SoundAlive technology, which features 7.1 channel virtualization. Samsung uses SoundAlive in some of their MP3 and Android-powered media players.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 Smart Sound, which equalizes the volume between tracks. Adapt Sound from the S4 is missing.
The Now playing screen gives you the usual options – a scrollable timeline, play/pause and skip controls, repeat and shuffle, volume control but it also adds lyrics support, an AllShare shortcut and a direct sound settings shortcut.
While listening to a song you can find music controls in the notification area and the lockscreen.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 did greatly in our audio quality test. The phablet didn’t really have outstanding volume levels in either of the test parts, but it had an impressively clean output, which is still a solid achievement.
When connected to an active external amplifier the Galaxy Mega 6.3 managed excellent scores all over the field with no weak points to its performance.
When we plugged in a pair of headphones, stereo crosstalk increased quite rapidly but the rest of the readings remained virtually unchanged. The volume levels were still somewhat low, though.
Here are the results so you can see for yourselves.
You can learn more about the whole testing process here.
The video player, found on the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 has the last watched video on top for quick access. There are three tabs below it – personal (showing you the videos on your local storage), Download (which lets into the Videos store) and Nearby devices, which shows the PCs and players on your local Wi-Fi network.
The video player lets you choose between three crop modes for how the video fits the screen. The video player lets you squeeze the best viewing experience out of the large screen. You can adjust video brightness, color tone and enable outdoor visibility too.
Some of the same SoundAlive audio-enhancing technology is available here too.
Hovering your finger over the timeline lets you preview part of the video in a small thumbnail – just like YouTube videos do when you hover the mouse.
Pop up play is here too – it moves the video in a small floating window and you can use other apps on the phone while still watching the video. You can use pinch zoom to adjust the size of the video. Samsung should probably retire this feature in favor of a Mutli-window app.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 offered a list of subtitles and let us pick. It scans for all subtitles, so the file doesn’t have to have the same name as the video file.
The big disappointment here is the relatively poor video codec support. It plays XviD, MP4 and MKV files of up to 1080p resolution, but DivX is not supported. AC3 and DTS sound also do not work.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 has an 8MP camera, just like the Galaxy S III. It captures photos of up to 3264 x 2448 pixels. There’s a 1.9MP camera on the front, but there’s no dual-shot mode like on the Galaxy S4.
The user interface is based on the Galaxy Camera interface. A virtual shutter key and a capture video button are always available in the viewfinder, so you don’t have to switch modes. However, this is certainly not the most convenient solution as, if you’re shooting full resolution 8MP photos, you’ll have to frame your videos using a 4:3 viewfinder.
The Mode button brings up a carousel with different shooting modes, each mode comes with a descriptive image and text. When you get familiar with those modes, you can switch to the grid, which drops the descriptions but is faster.
There are more settings in the top left corner, but they won’t be used very often. Still, there’re a number of interesting options here like the setting for the volume rocker to act as a still shutter key, a video shutter key or a zoom lever. Another interesting option is contextual file names – the Galaxy Mega 6.3 will name photos with your location (the GPS needs to be on for this to work).
You can customize the shortcuts available here, but most people will probably stick to the Mode selector.
There are relatively few manual settings, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 just gives you an ISO setting, white balance and exposure compensation. You can also use color effects too.
Let’s go over the different modes. There are standard modes like Rich Tone (HDR), Panorama, Night and Sports. Panoramas are not as impressive as on the Galaxy S4 – they come out with about 640px vertical resolution (lower if you don’t hold the phone steady). Here’s a panorama sample – the moving people and van got mangled, but the rest looks okay.
Other modes we’ve seen on previous Samsung phones like Best Photo and Best Face, which snap multiple photos and let you pick the best one (in the case of Best Face, you can tweak each face in the photo individually). Beauty Shot does some automatic touch up.
Then we get into the more interesting shots. Eraser helps you remove moving objects (e.g. passers by walking into your shot).Drama mode takes a moving object and clones it several times. Note that the resolution for this mode drops to 1080p.
Sound & shot captures a photo and records ambient sound. It sounds pretty cool – for example, you can hear the sea gulls in a beach photo or the roaring of car engines at a race – but we had problems sharing the shot. All the Galaxy Mega 6.3 would send is the still image, a JPEG, and the sound remains on the phone. Shame that Samsung didn’t use the standard Audio note feature of JPEG photos for this one.
Overall, Samsung has copied most of the features of the Galaxy S4 camera, but left out some of the premium options. The 360 photo (Photo Sphere) is missing, there’s no dual-shot or color effects, even the Cine photo (cinemagrams) has been dropped.
Photos have a lot of fine detail and low noise levels. Colors are slightly oversaturated but fairly accurate and white balance is halfway between neutral and cold (typical for Samsung phone cameras). The Mega 6.3 preserves detail in the shadows, sometimes at the cost of detail in the highlights. You can use the HDR mode to remedy this.
The Field of View is wider than that of the Galaxy S4, it’s about the same as the S III’s. That’s good news since the narrow FoV was one of the complaints we have against the S4 camera.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 has the previous generation of flagships to contend with in our Photo quality compare tool. Tablet cameras are usually too low-res for a meaningful comparison with the Mega 6.3.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 stores videos in MP4 files with a bitrate of 17Mbps. Stereo audio is recorded at 120Kbps and a sampling rate of 48kHz. Those are the same numbers as on the Galaxy S4. You can capture 1080p photos during recording, which is a little pointless.
Touch focus is available before and during video recording and you can switch back to continuous autofocus. The continuous autofocus tends to trigger a bit too often, so it’s a nice option to be able to switch between the two.
Videos captured with the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 have a good level of fine detail, though not as good as the S4. The compression occasionally smudges out the detail slightly (but you have to look closely to notice it). Noise levels are low, colors and white balance are similar to those in still images, overall accurate but slightly oversaturated and with a cooler white balance.
You can also take a close look at the quality of Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 videos in our Video quality compare tool, there are a number of phablets and even tablets you can pit it against.
The Mega 6.3 may have mostly midrange specs, but Samsung didn’t skimp on the connectivity features. The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 has the basic quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and 3G connectivity, plus LTE in some markets.
The phablet has Wi-Fi support which includes a/b/g/n/ac, with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz band compatibility. The 802.11ac standard is the newest and fastest form of Wi-Fi available. There’s also the low-power Bluetooth 4.0 on board.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 allows you to share all sorts of media via NFC by simply touching the Mega and other later-generation Galaxy devices back-to-back. You can share with other NFC devices as well, but functionality is limited to what is provided by the stock Android Beam.
The AllShare DLNA functionality, which used to be a standalone application, is now more tightly integrated into the respective Samsung applications. To share or access content on nearby DLNA-enabled devices, you do this directly from the My Video app and the Music Player.
There’s also an IR-port, which allows you to control various TV’s and other devices using Samsung’s WatchON app, which we’ll cover below.
And finally, for wired connectivity we have the MHL port. By all appearances it is a normal microUSB port and works as one (a charger port as well). But the MHL port enables video output by using a MHL-to-HDMI dongle. There isn’t one included in the retail box and those can be hard to come by.
Once you plug the dongle into the phone you also need to plug a charger into the additional microUSB port on the dongle and the Galaxy Mega’s screen will be mirrored on the TV.
The MHL port has yet another feature – it features USB On-The-Go. You’ll need an adapter for that too (there isn’t one in the box) but this one is fairly straightforward – you plug it into the Galaxy Mega 6.3 and plug a standard USB cable on the other end.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 has a large enough screen to rival 7″ tablets in terms of comfortable web browsing. The pixel density of the screen isn’t very high, but that only matters if you like reading text at low zoom levels (it gets fuzzy).
The browser supports both double tap and pinch zooming along with the two-finger tilt zoom. There are niceties such as multiple tabs, incognito tabs, text reflow, find on page and so on. You can also tell the browser to request the desktop version of web pages if you don’t want to fiddle with mobile page design for the smaller ~4″ screens.
The Brightness and Colors option gives you four different presets to adjust the display according to your preferences. Automatic brightness is an option, too, and works only within the browser.
Air View and Smart Stay both work in the browser, the first of which lets you simply hover your finger over a web element and it will act as if a mouse cursor was over it instead, which is great for websites not optimized for mobile devices.
The web browser also works nicely with Multi-window and there’s a translate option in case you come across a website in a language you don’t speak.
Flash cannot be enabled even in the stock Android browser as support for plug-ins has been dropped.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 features a wide array of advanced features and applications out of the box.
One of the coolest apps is called Group Play. It shares various multimedia across multiple devices in the same room, but unlike DLNA it’s interactive.
One use case is to play a music track on the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 and use multiple phones as speakers. You can pick the role of each phone (e.g. left channel, right, etc.) all the way up to surround sound. This way you can control the music on one phone but use the loudspeakers of all.
Of course, the other phones will need to support Group Play – the phones communicate over Wi-Fi (your Mega 6.3 becomes a hotspot that others connect to) and the pairing is done via NFC.
More useful are the options to share a picture or a document – you can have the same picture appear on everyone’s phone and you can draw over it if you need to highlight a certain element of the image.
Finally, perhaps the coolest feature of Group Play is that it allows for multiplayer games to be played on several phones simultaneously. Of course, only supported games work.
Moving on, there’s Samsung Link, another way to share content between devices. Unlike Group Play, Samsung Link is intended for personal use. You can link the phone to a computer that is synced with Dropbox, SkyDrive or SugarSync and remotely access content on that device.
S Translator will help travelers – it can translate between two languages with either typed text or speech recognition. It can read out the resulting translation too, if you don’t think your Korean accent can cut it. S Translator supports all the widely-spoken languages – English, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and, of course, Korean.
This app can work together with Photo Reader, which employs Optical Character Recognition so you can just snap a photo of the text instead of having to type it in (which can be quite a challenge, imagine typing Chinese if you’ve never studied it).
Samsung WatchON is the primary app used with the built-in IR emitter on the top of the phone. The app starts out by asking your zip code and pulls up a number of TV service providers in that area.
This is so that the app can offer you a TV guide with shows currently on or upcoming on the channels offered by the service provider. You can read a description of the show, check out its popularity in up/down votes (and vote yourself, of course) and comments. You can also set reminders for shows you don’t want to miss.
Anyway, the key element of the app is the IR remote control functionality. The app can control TVs, DVD and Blu-ray players, streaming media players and air conditioners. Devices are organized by rooms.
One thing we really liked about the app is that it knows some home setups are messy – some let you change channels with the TV remote, others require you to use the set-top box remote for that. Same for the audio, you might be using the TV to output the sound or an AV receiver. The app will ask about your setup and present a unified remote control interface even if you have multiple hardware remotes to control all the devices.
Unlike the Galaxy flagships, the Galaxy Memo 6.3 gives you only the Polaris Office viewer functionality, rather than the full-fledged editor. The viewer does not show up in your app drawer, but instead only opens when you select the relevant document from the My Files app.
Nevertheless, you can view most document types, including PowerPoint, Word, Excel as well as PDF. We suspect Samsung will make sure a full-fledged editor is available for download from the Samsung Apps (now called Centro apps) by the time the smartphone goes on sale, but even if not there’s plenty of alternatives in the Play Store.
The S Planner takes the place of the regular Calendar app. It has the same basic functionality – it can be viewed by Day, Week, Month or Year, or by a list of all your upcoming tasks or events. The small date cells display only limited info on the events for the day, but thanks to Air View you can point to a day to read the full description.
Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.
There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized – the buttons are big enough and easy to hit.
The Samsung Galaxy Memo 6.3 features a decent alarm clock application which allows a huge number of alarms to be set, each with its own start and repeat time. There’s also a World clock, a stopwatch, and a timer. They are easy to work with and can come in handy.
The Clock app also has a Desk clock mode, which shows the time and a calendar. There’s a full-screen mode that the lockscreen shortcuts. Keep in mind that this mode can use up your battery pretty quickly if the Galaxy Mega 6.3 is not plugged in.
We’re familiar with the S Memo app ever since its debut on the Galaxy Note, and its functionality remains more or less the same. It allows you to create notes either via a virtual keyboard or simply by doodling with your finger.
The Samsung I9200 Galaxy Mega 6.3 comes with a GPS receiver, which got a satellite lock in couple of minutes with A-GPS turned off. A-GPS can speed this up quite a bit, but requires Internet access. We have to say, we didn’t experience any issues with the GPS performance.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 comes with Google Maps and Navigation. Voice-guided navigation has become a viable solution since the v5.0 update. Vector maps are smaller and easier on the data traffic and reroute is an option if you go off course without the need to connect to the Internet. In fact, the only time you need a data connection is when you initially plan the course – Navigation will cache the needed maps.
Quite naturally, the app also supports the Street View mode. If it’s available in the area you’re interested in, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the surroundings. When the digital compass is turned on it feels like making a virtual tour of the location.
If Google Maps Navigation doesn’t do it for you, you can grab an alternative app from the Android Market – there are both free and paid ones.
The Google Play Store is laid across several scrollable tabs – categories, featured, top paid, top free, top grossing, top new paid, top new free and trending. Apps usually have several screenshots (some even offer a demo video) so you can get an idea of what the app looks like before installing it.
You can also check out comments and ratings, as well as the number of downloads and so on, to help you decide whether the app is worth it.
The Google Play Store is full of all sorts of apps. From music / video players, to file managers and various tools, you’ll always see something worth a try.
Samsung is throwing its own app store to the mix. It features largely the same type of interface as Google Play, except here you’ll find a more limited number of apps. The good news is Samsung uses this repository to distribute some exclusive titles and some promotional offers, available only to customers.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 doesn’t have a lot of competition – the good thing is it easily stands out, the bad is that the lack of devices might be due to the lack of potential buyers. Not that Samsung has ever been afraid of exploring uncharted market territories.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 has a lot going for it – the big screen obviously, but also a good mix of flagship features from this year and the last. We’re not big fans of the design, but that goes for most of the Galaxy lineup, where every device looks identical to the S4 except for size.
Speaking of it, 6.3″ is too big for comfortable phone operation. And calling is pretty basic, anything more advanced and you’ll need both hands on the screen. But you know what they say about cameras – “the best camera is the one you have with you”. The same goes for mobile devices and the Mega 6.3 easily beats 7″ tablets in terms of portability.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II is a higher-end model, but based on performance alone you’d be hard pressed to tell, it’s the difference a year makes. However, the Note has a very good Super AMOLED screen (5.5″ 720p) and is much easier to handle with one hand. The S Pen stylus can offer unique advantages too.
Currently it’s also more affordable than the Galaxy Mega 6.3 and it will inevitably get Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update, so until the price of the new phablet settles down it will remain the smarter purchase.
The Huawei Ascend Mate comes close to the Mega 6.3 in terms of specs and while it’s not as sleek and doesn’t have LTE or NFC, it is priced accordingly. So if it’s cash per inch you’re interested in, it’s well worth a look.
Asus recently entered the 6″ playing field with the Fonepad Note. It was just announced so details about pricing and a launch date are scarce, but it packs a sharp 1080p 6″ screen of 367ppi density and a dual-core Atom CPU, which should be able to outperform the Snapdragon (power consumption is a different question altogether). There’s a stylus too, and front-mounted stereo speakers.
The final recently announced option is the Acer Liquid S1. It’s somewhat smaller with a 5.7″ 720p screen and is a little underpowered in comparison (quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU, 1GB RAM), but if it’s priced right it could be a good alternative.
By the way, Acer is yet to announce the complete specs, but the S1 is quite weighty for its size at 195g.
We checked around online stores to get a feel for the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 pricing and frankly it’s higher than we believe it should be. We found that the Note II is cheaper and the Ascend Mate cheaper still. To be fair, the Note II and Mega 6.3 were fairly even in our tests and the Mega has 30% extra screen space. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 is still on pre-order and we expect the price to head down soon after launch.
At a lower price point, the Mega 6.3 will be a great midrange deal. Modern smartphones are quickly growing out of the “phone” part and everything else – web browsing, email and chat, watching videos, using apps and playing games – is better on a bigger screen