Review: Samsung Galaxy Mega smartphone is huge, with limited appeal

Sep 04 2013, 12:32 IST
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Samsung's new Galaxy Mega phone was too conspicuous for safety regulations. (AP) Samsung's new Galaxy Mega phone was too conspicuous for safety regulations. (AP)
SummaryIt shares the tablet's advantages in showing more detail in photos and video.

Please turn off all electronic devices, the flight crew instructs as we approach Los Angeles. With a small phone, I might have gotten away with ignoring safety regulations. Samsung's new Galaxy Mega phone was too conspicuous for that.

The Mega shouldn't even be called a phone, if it weren't for the fact that it makes phone calls. With a screen measuring 6.3 inches (16 centimeters) diagonally, the Mega is more like a small Android tablet computer. It shares the tablet's advantages in showing more detail in photos and video. Text is larger and easier to read, too.

That doesn't make the Mega practical, though.

As a phone, it's huge. It doesn't fully fit in the pocket of my jeans, and it sometimes pokes at my stomach when sitting. It doesn't feel comfortable in my hands. I'm unable to grip it tightly because it's so wide, so I feel as if it's going to slip out of my hands. Without that grip, I also feel that it'll be easy for a thief to snatch it away.

A friend jokingly said that it was bigger than her head as she held it up to her ear. A cousin called it ridiculous. A co-worker pointed out that cellphones used to be big, too _ in the 1970s.

It could have been worse.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet has an 8-inch (20.3-centimeter) screen, its diagonal length just a quarter larger than the Mega's. But the tablet is about twice the size of the Mega, in part because it has a thick frame. With the Mega, the screen stretches close to the edge, keeping the overall device relatively slim. Held on its side like a movie screen, the Mega is about as wide as a dollar bill, but slightly taller.

AT&T Inc. is selling the Mega for $150 with a two-year service contract, or $480 without one. By contrast, smaller phones such as Apple's 4-inch (10-centimeter) iPhone 5 and Samsung's 5-inch (12.7-centimeter) Galaxy S4 typically go for $200 with a contract and more than $600 without.

The Mega also costs just half of AT&T's contract price for Samsung's 5.5-inch (14-centimeter) Galaxy Note 2. It's like getting a bigger screen for less. The Mega is only a tad heavier _ at 7 ounces (198 grams), compared with 6.4 ounces (181 grams) for the Note 2. (Samsung is expected to announce the Note 3 in Berlin on Wednesday evening.)

The Mega is also coming to Sprint

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