When the Galaxy Mega first debuted on AT&T earlier this year, it was an absurd anomaly that defied convention. But its giant screen and low price made it sort of awesome at the same time. It’s no longer the only game in town, though, with new entrants into the extra-large phablet world like the HTC One Max and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. And while the Galaxy Mega is still the most screen for the least money at only $99 with a two-year contract on Sprint, its specs and features are starting to look and feel dated. If you’re trying to go big on a budget, the Mega is still a solid option, but our Editors’ Choice remains the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which actually adds real features that make that giant screen worthwhile.
We’ve already reviewed the Galaxy Mega on AT&T, so head on over to that review for a full rundown on the design and features. The Sprint version is physically identical so we’ll focus on the carrier differences for this review.
Network, Call Quality, and Bloatware
The Galaxy Mega runs on Sprint’s 3G CDMA network, but more importantly, it’s among the first set of phones to support the newly minted, tri-band Spark LTE network. Right now coverage is limited to just a handful of locations, but where it is available, we saw download speeds in excess of 30Mbps down and 20Mbps up, which is excellent. That was using the HTC One Max, though; the Galaxy Mega turned in a respectable 10-12Mbps, but didn’t see quite as dramatic an increase in speeds. It’s still definitely a plus for Mega owners and Sprint promises more coverage and even faster speeds within the next year. Also onboard are dual-band 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 radios.
Note: The slideshow below is of the AT&T Galaxy Mega, which is physically identical to the Sprint Mega.
I tested call quality in New York City. Like most modern Samsung Galaxy phones, the Mega is an excellent device for voice calls. Volume in the earpiece gets nice and loud, while voices sound clear and natural. Transmissions through the mic were also full and easy to hear, though they did have a slight trebly edge that verged on harsh at times. Reception was good, with the Mega easily latching onto Sprint’s growing LTE network wherever available. In our tests, the Galaxy Mega’s 3200mAh battery was good for 18 hours, 37 minutes of continuous talk time.
Out of the box, the Sprint Galaxy Mega has 11GB of free internal storage. There’s a good heaping of bloatware here, but luckily most of it is uninstallable, including pretty worthless Sprint media content stores and apps like eBay or CBS Sports. The Sprint Zone account managing app can’t be removed, and there are some annoying apps like the Lumen Toolbar, which adds a bar of shortcuts to the bottom of the default browser, that also can’t be removed.
In the extra-large phablet space, the Galaxy Mega now has some serious competition thanks to the HTC One Max, Sony Xperia Z Ultra, and Nokia Lumia 1520. All three offer sharper displays, more powerful processors, and high-end designs, but they all cost more than twice as much as the Galaxy Mega and none of them really make a compelling argument for their giant forms. Our favorite big screen phone remains the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, for its excellent multitasking and stylus features, but if all you want is moar phone and want to save some cash, the Mega is still an absurdly awesome, surprisingly affordable big-screen option.
|Phone Capability / Network||GPRS, GSM, CDMA, UMTS, LTE|
|Screen Resolution||1280 x 720 pixels|
|Dimensions||6.6 x 3.46 x .31 inches|
|Video Camera Resolution||1080p|
|Available Integrated Storage||11 GB|
|Processor Speed||1.7 GHz|
|Total Integrated Storage||16 GB|
|Screen Type||Super AMOLED HD|
|Operating System as Tested||Android 4.2.2|
|Camera Resolution||8 MP Rear|
|1.9 MP Front-Facing|
|Screen Pixels Per Inch||233 ppi|
|Bands||850, 900, 1900, 2100, 700, 2500|
|Form Factor||Candy Bar|
|Screen Size||6.3 inches|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc