Do you shudder at the Rs 35,000 price tag on Samsung Galaxy Note, and wished it would come cheaper?
Have you ever considered buying the 6-inch Karbonn A30 because of its large screen, but was put off by the low resolution and the lack of brand value?
Have you considered buying a 7-inch tablet to be used as your main phone?
If you answer to any of the above questions is a yes, your prayers have been answered in the form of the new Samsung Galaxy Mega series — large (humongous) screen devices in the Rs 20,000 price range, aimed squarely at the affordable smartphone market.
Currently, for someone who is looking at large-screen phones priced in the Rs 10,000-20,000 range, the main contenders are the Samsung Galaxy Grand (about Rs 20,000), the Lava Xolo X1000 (price Rs 19,000), the Lava Xolo A1000 (Rs 13,500), the Karbonn Titanium S5 (Rs 12,000, qHD) and the Micromax Canvas HD A116 (Rs 15,000).
The Sony Xperia Z, LG Optimus G and the Galaxy S4 are all priced above Rs 30,000, while the S3 is available at about Rs 27,000.
Besides, all the above phones (except the Karbonn A30) have 5-inch displays.
But as some argue, if there is space for 6 inches in my pocket, why should I settle for a 5-inch phone?
You should not, says Samsung, with the new Galaxy Mega series. The series consists of two models, with the cheaper 5.8-inch model likely to be priced at about Rs 22,000, and the bigger 6.3-inch model likely to set you back by about Rs 28,000.
The idea is to offer an affordable (by Samsung standards) phone with the largest display that your palm (and packet) can take.
To keep the phone affordable, Samsung Galaxy Mega series has been developed on dual-core processors, unlike the Galaxy S series, which got quad-core processors nearly a year ago. The 5-inch Galaxy Note, priced at Rs 35,000, also has a quad-core processor.
It must, however, be said that the processor on the Samsung Galaxy Mega is not really too bad, and cannot be readily compared to that on the Grand.
The Mega, for example, comes with 1.5 GB RAM instead of the 1 GB on the Grand, and the processors are faster than that on the Grand.
The Mega 6.3 has a 1.7 GHz dual core processor, while the Grand has 1.2 GHz, and the new Mega 5.8 inch has a 1.4 GHz processor.
Another interesting aspect is that Samsung is selling the phones as true multi-taskers, implying that the processors must be sufficiently powered to handle the load.
The new Mega series is one “that combines the portability and convenience of a smartphone with the power, multitasking capabilities and extensive viewing experience of a tablet,” Samsung said in its announcement.
“The newest addition to the GALAXY family balances an optimal viewing experience on a 6.3-inch HD screen, yet is ultra-thin and portable enough to put into a pocket or hold in one hand. The GALAXY Mega offers a mix of popular smartphone and tablet features such as an effortless user experience, a split screen, multitasking between video and other apps and more,” it added.
Another downside is display resolution, which, in our opinion, makes the smaller, 5.3-inch device a unattractive, particularly for the price.
The device has a TFT (or normal) LCD display with a resolution of quarter HD. In other words, there would be only about 500,000 pixels on its screen. Of course, the phone is still a much better option than the Grand, compared to which it will have 30% more pixels on its display.
But anyone who has handled a 5-inch phone with an HD display (not full HD) knows that resolution does matter. A quarter HD display will look less sharp compared to an HD display. Since the Mega has a 5.3 inch display, the difference will be even greater.
However, if display resolution doesn’t bother you, the 5.3 inch device should offer a great choice between the Indian brands priced in the Rs 15,000 range and the high-end brands priced in the Rs 35,000 range.
The bigger, Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 does not suffer from any such issues. Of course, with a 6.3 inch display, anything less than the HD (720p) screen would have appeared grainy, as it does on the 6-inch Karbonn A30 phone.
The 6.3 does indeed come with an HD display, and has NFC (for using with mobile money apps etc) and Infrared port.
The battery life may not be as great as those of smaller sized phones due to the screen size. However, they do come with 3,200 mAh (3.2 Ah) and 2.6 Ah batteries. Given that the S4 comes with a 2.6 Ah battery, the devices should last through the day without much issue.
On the positive side, both run on Android 4.2 and come with 21 Mbps 3G HSPA, while most 3G handsets in India come with 7 Mbps 3G. Of course, 3G speeds are likely to remain at about 1-3 Mbps in real life due to network limitations.
While 7-inch tablets usually weigh about 320-360 gm, the 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega weighs about 200 gm and the smaller model weighs 182 gm.
The two will be launched in global markets, including India, and will start becoming available in Europe and Russia next month, followed by the other markets.
For more specifications, see the charts below.