Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 Review: Final thoughts on the big phone slash small tablet

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 20 Aug 2013

It’s officially been four weeks since I powered down my Galaxy Note II, popped out my SIM card, and then shoved that tiny piece of plastic inside Samsung’s largest phone currently on the market, the Mega 6.3. In that time, I’ve learned as much about myself as I’ve learned about the Korean handset maker. You see, before I bought the Note in January of this year, I carried an iPhone 4 for approximately 28 months. Jumping from a 3.5 inch screen to a 5.5 inch screen made me appreciate what big phone lovers have been ranting and raving about. Leaping from a 5.5 inch screen to a 6.3 inch screen, however, has given me a glimpse into the future of computing.

Let’s get a few things out of the way. Yes, the Snapdragon 400 inside this phone isn’t a powerhouse, but I rarely catch myself thinking it’s impeding my experience. Yes, 720p resolution on a 6.3 inch panel isn’t super-ultra-ultimate retina, but my eyes adjusted quickly enough. And no, Samsung didn’t ask me to review this phone, I personally emailed them, practically begged, to get my hands on one.

So what’s life like with a phone this big?

We all remember the first time we browsed the internet on a mobile phone. It might not have been a pleasure to do on a sub 3.0 inch non-touch screen display, but looking up things on Wikipedia and reading breaking news back at the turn of the century made us all ridiculously optimistic the direction that mobile computing was heading towards.

When using the Mega, those same decade old feelings returned. Reading for extended periods of time is a breeze since your eyes can quickly capture an entire page of text. Scrolling through Facebook feels like you’re flipping through full size photographs of your friends. Watching video … it’s insane. I’ve easily watched at least four or five movies on the Mega, dozens of video podcasts, hours of music videos, and there’s really nothing like it.

Five years ago, would you have believed me if I told you that one day you’d be able to shove a 6.3 inch HDTV inside your pocket, and oh by the way, that HDTV has a 100 megabit per second wireless internet connection? Of course not.

But is this phone too big? In my honest opinion, yes, just a tad, but it’s not unwieldily.

When the first rumors about the Galaxy Note III surfaced, saying the phone would have a 6.3 inch panel, I immediately declared my disinterest in the device. But now that I’ve used a 6.3 inch phone for a month, I’m actually a bit upset that the latest Note III rumors suggest the phone will “only” have a 5.68 inch panel. Ideally I would’ve wanted a 6.1 inch phone; I know how nuts that sounds.

Sony sent me an Xperia Tablet Z to review, it’s a 10.0 inch Android tablet, and it’s been sitting on my coffee table collecting dust. Android at that size is pure and complete garbage. And while I’m tempted to buy the new Nexus 7, it’s so “big” that it wouldn’t fit in my pocket. If you convince yourself the Mega 6.3 as a micro-tablet instead of a jumbo-phone, your entire perception of the device changes. So much so that I actually hope Google announces a “Nexus 6” next year.

Are tablets pointless then? People who know me know how much I hate stuff. The fewer things I own, the happier I am. I don’t want to lug around a bag full of gadgets when I go traveling, I want to carry one gadget. Period. The Mega 6.3 may not be the perfect device, but it’s an experimental form factor I want to see the company relentlessly iterate until they discover the right formula.

Will I buy the Mega 6.3?

No, but that’s not because I don’t like it, it’s because I don’t “side-grade”. That is, I don’t buy one gadget of a similar caliber to another gadget because I’ve changed my preference. Every piece of technology I spend my money on is always better than the last in terms of pure specs.

That being said, I’m going to keep my SIM inside the Mega 6.3 until Samsung demands the device back. The Note II will remain in a box in a closet until a guy from Korea comes over to my house, serenades me with some PSY tunes, then takes the phone away from me when I’m not looking.

It’s that good.

Oh and one more thing: If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m platform agnostic. I would be just as happy using iOS as I would be using Android. I choose to use an Android phone because Apple doesn’t satisfy my needs, which in this case is a large display. There are rumors about Apple testing a 4.7 inch and 5.7 inch iPhone. If the latter comes out, then I’m 99% sure I’ll switch back to iOS.

Note: This is the fourth installment of the Mega Review.

  • Part one contains my smartphone history and first impressions of the device after an hour of use.
  • Part two explains my fascination with the ever increasing size of devices and first impressions after 48 hours with the phone.
  • Part three is my review of the device after using it for 13 days, and that’s where I list many pros and cons.