The Samsung Galaxy Mega is a 6.3-inch phablet that is about to roll out for AT&T on Friday, with U.S. Cellular and Sprint following suit in the coming weeks. The Galaxy Mega will cost about $150 for AT&T users who renew their two-year contract. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 - last year's flagship phablet - is now within the same general price range, depending on whether you're starting an AT&T account, renewing a contract, or adding a line. So the question is, should you pay $150 for a brand-new Samsung Galaxy Mega phablet, or pay just a little more (or even less, depending) in order to get the Galaxy Note 2. Let's take a look first at the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 to get a baseline.
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Unveiled in August of 2012, the Galaxy Note 2 has some of the best specs of a phablet to date. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen with a HD 720p display and up to 64GB of internal storage, with 32GB and 16GB models available also. The Galaxy Note 2 also has a microSD card slot for up to 64GB more storage. The Galaxy Note 2 has an 8-megapixel main camera and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is powered by the Exynos 4412 quad-core system, with a Cortex A9 processor clocked to 1.6GHz and assisted by 2GB RAM, and comes with a 3,100 mAh battery and Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2. When the Galaxy Note 2 was released, it packed a bunch of new Samsung features, like its enhanced photography software, S-Voice, the TouchWiz UI, and of course the S-Pen stylus.
Compared to the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note 2 display, the Samsung Galaxy Mega's 6.3-inch touchscreen really is "mega." If you're planning on mostly watching movies or browsing the web, that fact might already put the Samsung Galaxy Mega in your pocket -- if you can fit it in.
But instead of the Super AMOLED screen in the Galaxy Note 2, the Galaxy Mega's display has a step-down in the HD Super Clear LCD, which is necessarily thicker than AMOLED because it is backlit, bulking up the phablet even further. However, it's top resolution matches the Galaxy Note 2 at 720p.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 is powered by an ample 1.7GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU with an Adreno 305 GPU, and 1.5GB RAM, but that doesn't mean it delivers an all-around more powerful performance than the Galaxy Note 2. Additionally, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 only comes with an 8GB or 16GB storage options, making it less capable than most versions of the Galaxy Note 2. However, with 64GB of media storage possible in a microSD card slot, that shouldn't matter, unless you're planning on downloading a lot of games. The phablet is powered by an almost identical 3,200 mAh battery, but runs the newer Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean (which the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 still doesn't run, probably because it's waiting on the Android 4.3 update). That newer operating system has performance improvements that might give the Galaxy Mega 6.3 an edge on battery life.
Besides the lack of an S-Pen, the Samsung Galaxy Mega shares a lot of features with last year's Galaxy Note 2, including an 8-megapixel camera, Samsung's TouchWiz UI, and Samsung-specific software. However, the Galaxy Mega may make a better living-room accessory; it has an IR Blaster, which the Galaxy Note 2 sorely lacks.
So the final decision? That's up to whoever is buying: Do you want a mainly media-centered phablet for watching and controlling movies or do you want a more versatile all-around workhorse? The former should probably get the Galaxy Mega and load it with a huge microSD card. The latter should either get the Galaxy Note 2 or save up extra cash and wait until mid-September, when the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is expected to start hitting store shelves.