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Galaxy Mega 6.3: It’s ‘phabulous’

The Galaxy Mega 6.3, one of Samsung’s newest “phablet” devices.

Ear we go again.

The naysayers were convinced few would buy the Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone because people would laugh if you held a humongous device to your ear. The original Galaxy Note’s screen was 5.3 inches. The Galaxy Note 2’s display is 5.5 inches. And the total number of Notes sold hit 10 million last month. That’s a lot of people apparently not worried about snickering.

The term “phablet” was coined to describe the Galaxy Note—meaning a cross between a phone and a tablet.

Now a true bridge device has arrived in Samsung’s Galaxy Mega 6.3, available from AT&T for $149.99 with a two-year contract.

It has a huge, 6.3 inch screen. Get it? Mega. Phone. Megaphone. Cute.

It’s 6.60 by 3.46 by 0.31 inches and weighs 7.02 ounces. That’s heavy for a phone, but light for a tablet. By comparison, Apple’s iPad Mini weighs 10.88 ounces and the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone weighs 4.59 ounces.

The Mega really does double adequately as a tablet along the lines of Apple’s 7.7-inch iPad Mini, which starts at $329.

Yet the Mega fits comfortably in my pocket—no Mae West jokes, please. And holding the Mega and thumb typing on it doesn’t feel awkward.

Some may be put off by the Mega’s relatively low 720p HD screen resolution (1,280 by 720 pixels) compared to the 1080p HD (1,920 by 1,080) of high-end smartphones.

But I watched movies on it and enjoyed the experience more than on my higher resolution but tiny by comparison iPhone 5 (4 inch display, overall 4.87 inches by 2.31 inches by 0.30 inch and 3.95 ounces) simply because the Mega’s screen is so much larger. And websites are much easier to read on the Mega, although they load a tad slower than on premium phones.

The Mega 6.3’s processor is pokier than that of the Samsung Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5. Because of that, if you’re a serious gamer, the Mega may not be for you.

Phablet fans with deeper pockets will want to opt for the Galaxy Note 3, which Verizon Wireless began offering for pre-sale on Friday. The Note 3 is faster, more powerful, has a higher-resolution screen than its predecessors and the Mega. And it’s jam-packed with new features. I haven’t gotten my hands on a Note 3 yet, so I can’t say if it’s worth the steep $299.99 (with a two–year contract on AT&T and T–Mobile price tag).

Most reviewer types are sniffing at the Mega and writing that no one with any standards would sacrifice screen resolution and processor speed for size and thrift.

Meanwhile, Apple seems to be poised to launch a cheaper, slower, low resolution, low cost iPhoneC at an event Tuesday, along with a high end iPhone 5S. Oddly, no one has been saying introducing an inferior iPhone is a bad idea.

Assuming the iPhoneC is available in the U.S., how does a poor man’s iPhone make more sense than a midprice Samsung Mega phone that doubles as a tablet?

Let’s say the iPhoneC, if it’s more than a rumor, costs $99. and the most basic iPad Mini is $329. That adds up to $428 compared to $149 for the Mega that serves both purposes.

The AT&T Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is a smart buy for those on a budget who aren’t tech snobs or posers.

And it’s fun phablet, to boot.

Michael Zitz:

mikez@freelancestar.com

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