Oct 08, 2013 12:21 PM EDT
As was posted in my previous article, Samsung offers many choices for tablets from all ends of the size and value spectrum. However, since 2011, Samsung has been offering devices from a new category: Phablets. As the creator and master of the Phablet class, Samsung has a plethora of choices worldwide such as the Galaxy Grand and the Galaxy Mega 5.8. However, for the purposes of this article, I will focus on the Galaxy Note III and the Galaxy Mega 6.3—the two phablets being sold in the US.
In 2011, Samsung released a brand-new device with a massive screen of 5.3”. It was deemed a bad decision, and many people, including me, mocked its size and lack of portability. However, the device sold well, and the following year’s 5.5” revision is still a hot item. However, the Note III’s ($700 unlocked) release was possibly the second most built-up of the year behind the GS4. Offering many improvements over the Galaxy Note II, the Note III has a 5.7” Super AMOLED 1080p screen, yet still manages to be near the same size as its predecessor. The Phablet is thin, despite the powerful 3,200 mAh battery and expandable storage inside. However, the best feature is the Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.3 GHz and the 3 GB of RAM. 32 GB of storage is the base offering, with a 64 GB option available. The Note III can handle any task with ease and speed, even if there are two tasks running at once with the multi-window feature that takes full advantage of the screen space. Another huge improvement over the previous model is the 13 MP rear camera and 2 MP front camera. Some people get upset over the faux-leather backing to the device, but it also helps consumers grip the monstrous device. Despite the usual complaints over being primarily plastic, the Note III has an attractive build, with hardly any bezel and the smooth, rounded edges that many people love. The S-Pen is a lovely addition that enables savvy users to access a whole new level of Smart Features and Handwriting capabilities, and the Smart Gestures are standard like the Galaxy S IV. Another bonus is the addition of the Galaxy Gear watch to keep you updated from your phone even when it's in your pocket or backpack, whether it’s checking messages, making calls, or using S-Voice. Of course, LTE capabilities and Bluetooth 4.0 are included. Lastly, the Galaxy Note III runs Android 4.3 with a Touchwiz UI. As far as Phablets go, the Galaxy Note III is the best high-end choice this year.
Samsung's other Galaxy Phablet offering in the U.S. is the Galaxy Mega 6.3 ($420 unlocked). The Mega is the cheaper, larger Phablet for those not looking for the same power (or price) as the Note 3. The first, most obvious difference is the screen. Obviously, the Mega is much bigger than the Note--almost encroaching into tablet territory--and the display is inferior with a 1280x720 resolution and a ppi of 233 on a. However, the 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and 1.5 GB of RAM keep the user experience feeling quick and smooth and may fool you into believing it is a higher-end device as long as the only tasks being done are simple messaging and browsing. 16 GB is included storage and a huge 3,200 mAh battery to match its size. The camera is also a downstep, with a capable 8 MP rear camera and 1.9 MP front camera and 1080p video recording. Some of the Note’s features are noticeably absent from the Mega, such as Galaxy Gear compatibility and all of the S-Pen capabilities, although the Smart Features like Air View and Smart Stay remain. Also the phablet keeps the speedy LTE and efficient Bluetooth 4.0 that is expected of most devices today--high or low-end. The Mega also comes with Android 4.2 with Touchwiz running over it. All in all, the Galaxy Mega fills a crucial gap for Samsung in both size and value. As far as price per inch goes, the Mega can’t be beat!
All things considered, as the pioneer in the field of phablets, Samsung offers the best selection for value and size worldwide--including the U.S.--and should be on the map for any potential phablet owner.
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