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Summary:

How big of a phone will U.S. consumers carry? We’ll soon find out as the 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega debuts on three carriers this month, offering a tablet-like experience with cellular voice capabilities.

Galaxy Mega

Samsung isn’t waiting until September to debut all of its new products. On Monday the company announced the 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega will arrive in the U.S. before the end of August on AT&T, Sprint and US Cellular.

Here’s an early look at the device from AT&T, which will start selling the Galaxy Mega on August 23 for $149 with 2-year contract or $24 a month with AT&T Next:

Although I have my money put aside for a new Moto X smartphone, I’m intrigued by the Galaxy Mega, mainly because a year ago, I suggested that tablets will replace smartphones. There have been large handsets introduced since then but the Galaxy Mega is what I’d say is the first real tablet-sized smartphone in the U.S. Overseas, many 7-inch tablets have cellular voice capabilities, but that feature is typically removed for the U.S. market.

So what do you get with this tablet, besides the voice calling abilities?

The 6.3-inch display uses a 1280 x 720 Super Clear LCD screen with wide viewing angles. A 1.7 GHz dual-core CPU — just a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 —  is paired with 1.5 GB of memory and the device runs Android 4.2.2. Samsung didn’t specify the internal storage capacity as that could vary by carrier. However, the Galaxy Mega does support up to 64 GB of expandable storage through a MicroSD card slot.

Galaxy Mega front

Samsung will also offer an S-View cover, similar to the Galaxy S 4′s, which shows a portion of the display for notifications, even when the cover is closed. The Galaxy Mega also has several Galaxy S 4 features, such as AirView and the option to run two apps at the same time on screen; a perfect use case for a larger device.

So if tablets are going to replace smartphones, the devices have to be as portable as their smaller cousins. But weighing 199 grams (7.01 ounces) and measuring 168 x 88 x 8mm (6.61 x 3.46 x 0.32 inches), the Mega will feel more like toting a tablet; not a smartphone. On the plus side, it has the potential to replace two devices by itself thanks to the big screen.

  1. Price and battery life will be the big things to tablet fans who want to make regular phone calls. The voice enabled Samsung tablets seem to be reasonably priced, I just got to figure out how to get one…

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  2. I’m three months in with my Galaxy Note II and there’s no looking back to a smaller screen. That said, it’ll be interesting to see whether something this large will be portable enough to make it useful for everyday use as a phone. If I were due for an upgrade I’d certainly be interested in checking it out.

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  3. Geez…you need a backpack to carry this phone!

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  4. I want a small pocketable tablet with 3G to supplement my Galaxy S4 Mini. The Nexus 7 is too big and heavy for my likes so this might be perfect, or it might not :-)

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  5. Freddy Raybould Friday, September 13, 2013

    To quote product designer Dieter Rams, “Good design is as little design as possible”. A smartphone is miles more discrete than a tablet; say you were going on a date, would you take your phone with you? Sure. Would you take your ipad with you? Don’t think so. Users require something that will fit into the palm of one hand. Going about their daily business they won’t want to watch a film or play games, however, say they’re on a long train journey, they might – that’s the tablet’s niche. I think there is a line between large smartphone and tablet, also on that line is whether or not it will fit into the palm of one hand. It is not a question of function (since the compromise in terms of performance is not so vast) but of ergonomics. Ease comes before pleasure; it is more pleasant to watch a film on a tablet but easier to carry a smartphone.

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    1. I agree with Freddie except there’s a caveot… The Mega actually does fit in my pocket. I bought one to use as a cellular data capable tablet during travel (pop my sim in) with the idea of keeping my iPhone as my daily phone. Problem is I’m using the Mega so much that I’m considering using it as my phone instead. Battery is “good enough” and virtual keyboard use at this size screen is a dream. Lack of amoled is a huge plus – waaay less drain than the note series with web use. Just a nice footprint.

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  6. Virginia Southerland Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    I’m two months into the Samsung Galaxy Mega and I really like the size of it, I’ve enclosed it in an Otter-box case and use the plastic stand that comes with it as a screen protector when I put it in my purse, the large keypad is a must for me because those small little ones were so frustrating to me, I’ve heard a lot of negative things about it but I don’t see it that way, I’m glad I bought it because it satisfies the desire for a phone and a tablet.

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