Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 review: Walking tall

GSMArena team, 16 June 2013.

Tags: Samsung, Android

Air View and Smart Screen, S Voice and Google Now

The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 comes with a number of advanced features shared with the Galaxy S4. Some features are left exclusive to the flagship, but the Mega 6.3 still gets a good set.

The first one is Air View, which debuted on the Galaxy Note II and worked with the S Pen. There's no S Pen on the Galaxy Mega 6.3, or a need for it - the phone can detect your finger hovering over the screen.

This enables information preview (e.g. texts, calendar entries and so on), previewing videos just by pointing to a spot in the timeline, the next track in the music player by hovering over the next button (works with the previous button too), previewing folders, speed dial contacts, and magnifying links in web pages. Air view detects fingers 1cm / 0.5" away from the screen, so there's no danger of accidentally tapping the screen when you meant to use Air View instead.

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Air View turns your finger into an S Pen

The familiar Smart Stay feature is enabled too. It prevents the screen from locking as long as the front-facing camera can see your face (great for reading).

Smart Rotate, Smart Scroll and Smart Pause are not included although the Mega has the required hardware for it (a front-facing camera), unlike the Air Gestures, which need a special new sensor on the front.

There are a number of motion gestures too, which are not exactly new. There's direct call (dial the contact whose info you're currently viewing by lifting the phone up to your ear), smart alert (makes the phone vibrate when you pick it up if there are missed events), zooming and panning in the gallery, a shake of the phone to refresh the list of Bluetooth devices and muting alarms or pausing music playback by putting the phone face down.

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The gestures from S III and Note II are on board too

You can also pause the music player by putting your palm on the screen. A palm swipe takes a screenshot.

S Voice and Google Now

S Voice is Samsung's answer to Apple's Siri and Google's own Voice Actions - it can be used to initiate or answer a call, dictate text, play music, open an app, change a setting, make a memo (including voice memo), add a reminder, schedule an event, set or snooze an alarm or timer, check the weather, do a search on the internet, take a photo, look for local listings (e.g. nearby restaurants) and even get an answer to a question.

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S Voice

The problem is S Voice is not nearly as fast or as accurate at recognizing your speech input as Now.

Naturally, being a Jelly Bean smartphone, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 also comes with Google Now.

Google Now integrates with your Google account and can access your daily routine, internet searches, email, etc. and give you information relevant to your interests and daily needs.

It provides traffic information to your work or home, knows those scores of sports teams you follow, has the weather forecast for your location and can even tell you who Kevin Spacey is.

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Google Now

Google Now also has its own separate widget on the homescreen.

Synthetic benchmarks

The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is powered by a Snapdragon 400 chipset, which packs two Krait 200 cores clocked at 1.7GHz, 1.5GB of RAM and Adreno 305 GPU. It doesn't sound as impressive as the Galaxy S4 flagship, but it should be good enough for a midrange phone.

Single-threaded performance is great, close to the Snapdragon 600 high-enders and ahead of older chipsets. As for multi-threaded performance, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 is between 25% and 50% slower than the quad-core flagships. It has an advantage over last year's Cortex-A9 based quad-cores though.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    132
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    132
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    147
  • HTC One
    151
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    169
  • Sony Xperia Z
    264
  • HTC Butterfly
    266
  • Oppo Find 5
    267
  • HTC One X+
    280
  • LG Optimus G
    285
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    305
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    330
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    350
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    359
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    362
  • Nexus 4
    431

Linpack

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    791
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    788
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    743
  • HTC One
    646
  • Sony Xperia Z
    630
  • HTC Butterfly
    624
  • LG Optimus G
    608
  • Oppo Find 5
    593
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    400
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    214.3
  • Nexus 4
    213.5
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    189.1
  • HTC One X+
    177.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    175.5
  • HTC One X
    160.9
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    141.5

Geekbench 2

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    3324
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    3227
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    3040
  • HTC One
    2708
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2173
  • HTC Butterfly
    2143
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1894
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1845
  • LG Optimus G
    1723
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1661
  • iPhone 5
    1601

Both full system benchmarks, AnTuTu and Quadrant, find the Galaxy Mega 6.3 competitive against quad-core A9s and not too far behind newer Krait-based quad-cores.

AnTuTu

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    26275
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    24716
  • HTC One
    22678
  • Sony Xperia Z
    20794
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    20056
  • HTC Butterfly
    19513
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    15547
  • Oppo Find 5
    15167
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    13621

Quadrant

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    12446
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    12376
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    12105
  • HTC One
    11746
  • Sony Xperia Z
    8075
  • HTC One X+
    7632
  • LG Optimus G
    7439
  • Oppo Find 5
    7111
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    7059
  • HTC One X
    5952
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    5916
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    5450
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    5170
  • Nexus 4
    4567

When it comes to 3D performance, the Adreno 305 is not the fastest, but it only needs to power a 720p screen. If we take the screen resolution out of the equation, GFXBench 2.5 Egypt posts results that are on par with the Mali-400 in the Galaxy Note II, while the newer GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex gives the Adreno 305 in the Mega 6.3 a slight advantage.

Note that both benchmarks were run in 1080p offscreen mode (that's over twice as many pixels as the Mega's actual screen).

GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    43
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    41
  • HTC One
    37
  • Oppo Find 5
    32
  • Google Nexus 4
    32
  • Sony Xperia Z
    31
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    31
  • Sony Xperia SP
    31
  • Apple iPhone 5
    30
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    30
  • LG Optimus G
    21
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    17
  • HTC One X
    11

GLBenchmark 2.7 T-Rex (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    17.1
  • Apple iPad 4
    16.8
  • Google Nexus 10
    13.9
  • LG Optimus G
    13.9
  • Sony Xperia Z
    13.5
  • Sony Xperia Tablet Z
    13
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    12.8
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    17.1
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    6.3
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    4.9

Epic Citadel shows what the Mega 6.3 gaming will be like at its own screen resolution and with current game graphics (the T-Rex bench pushes harder than any current game). The result is almost the same as that of Adreno 320 packing phones with 1080p screens, which shows the 305 is a good match for a 720p screen.

Epic Citadel

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    59.8
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    57.1
  • HTC One
    56.4
  • Sony Xperia Z
    55.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    55.5
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    54.2
  • Nexus 4
    53.9
  • Asus Padfone 2
    53.4
  • LG Optimus G
    52.6
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    41.3
  • Oppo Find 5
    38.6

JavaScript performance mostly depends on single-core performance and the Galaxy Mega 6.3 does very well here. Surprisingly, it held its own against the Android flagships when general HTML5 performance was tested with BrowserMark 2 and Vellamo (again, the lower screen res helps here).

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    804
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    810
  • Samsung Ativ S
    891
  • Apple iPhone 5
    915
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    910
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    972
  • HTC One X+
    1001
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1011
  • Motorola RAZR i XT890
    1059
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1065
  • HTC One
    1124
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1192
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1312
  • Sony Xperia Z
    1336
  • LG Optimus G
    1353
  • HTC Butterfly
    1433
  • Nexus 4
    1971
  • Oppo Find 5
    2045

BrowserMark 2

Higher is better

  • LG Optimus G
    2555
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
    2438
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    2323
  • HTC One
    2262
  • Sony Xperia Tablet Z
    2170
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2107
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2093
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1801
  • Oppo Find 5
    1797
  • Nexus 4
    1794
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    1774
  • Google Nexus 10
    1773
  • HTC Butterfly
    1475
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1247

Vellamo

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2418
  • HTC One
    2382
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2189
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    2078
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    2060
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    2056
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1887
  • HTC Butterfly
    1866
  • Oppo Find 5
    1658
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1641
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1568
  • LG Optimus G
    1522
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1468
  • Nexus 4
    1310
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