At the core of the Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 is the 5.8" screen. It's a massive TFT LCD of 540 x 960 pixels resolution, which works out to 190ppi. Unfortunately, this is even lower than what's found on the 720p 6.3" screen of its elder brother, and is a far cry from the 441ppi found on most 1080p 5-inch flagships.
You have to take into account that bigger screens are usually held further from the eyes, which partially makes up for the lower pixel density. If you're coming from a Galaxy S4 you'll immediately spot the lower sharpness, especially when looking at text, but other than that the screen image quality is good.
With all this talk of pixel density, we have to mention the resolution and how it affects the interface. While the screen of the Mega 5.8 is much bigger than that of the Galaxy S4, it doesn't fit more shortcuts or other UI elements. Samsung could have drawn the elements smaller, but that would have affected the image quality as smaller text doesn't render as well on the relatively low pixel density (compared to the previous and current generation of flagships).
The Mega 5.8 screen has good viewing angles with no color shift and only slight contrast loss when looking at the display at an angle.
The brightness control in the notification area is quite handy and can be hidden to make room for more notifications. It also features an automatic brightness mode with a slider to tweak the algorithm, making the display generally darker or brighter than the surrounding ambient light.
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
|Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8||0.32||335||1045||0.56||559||1003|
|Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3||0.12||160||1364||0.32||440||1379|
|Samsung N7100 Galaxy Note II||0||215||∞||0||402||∞|
|LG Optimus G Pro||-||-||-||0.41||611||1489|
The screen is a bit reflective though, which brings the sunlight legibility down.
You can find all about our display testing routines here.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 features a standard set of sensors on its front (proximity and ambient light), alongside a 1.9MP camera and a status LED, all clustered around the earpiece.
On the other side of the screen is the traditional arrangement of a hardware Home button and capacitive Menu and Back keys. Stock Android has moved away from this arrangement, but Samsung still holds to it.
There's extra functionality too: upon a double tap, the Home key launches S Voice, while a press and hold opens the task switcher. A long press of the Menu key launches Google Now, and a long press of the Back key toggles the Multi-window tray (the Multi-window feature needs to be active for this to work).
The Volume rocker is placed on the left side of the Galaxy Mega 5.8, while the Power/Lock key is on the right. Both are positioned proportionally lower on the tall device, so they are at about the same height from the bottom as the ones on the Galaxy S4.
There's no dedicated camera shutter key, but the volume rocker can be set to act as a zoom lever, as well as a camera shutter key.
On the bottom you'll find a microUSB port alongside a microphone pinhole.
At the top of the device is the standard 3.5mm audio jack.
Around the back of the device there's the 8MP camera lens, centrally placed at the top. It protrudes from the 9mm thick body and the device rests on it when placed on its back, which makes it unstable and means you should be careful not to put it on a surface that can scratch the lens glass.
On either side of the camera lens you'll spot the LED flash and the loudspeaker grille.
The back cover is made of the hyperglazed plastic that Samsung favors in recent years and can be opened. Below it is the 2,600mAh battery, which can be removed too. The battery is smaller than that of the Galaxy Note II (3,100mAh), but the lower screen resolution of the Mega 5.8 must've been considered.
Underneath the back panel is where you'll also find the microSD card, and, as our model features dual-SIM support, two SIM card slots on opposite ends of the battery. Both slots require the battery to be removed in order to be accessible, so no hot-swap there. The microSD card is hot-swappable.