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Review: 'Mega' phone is huge, with limited appeal

By Anick Jesdanun

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4 2013 6:48 a.m. MDT

I am impressed by the Mega's battery life. Despite the larger screen, which uses more energy, the Mega outlasted the Samsung's flagship phone, the S4, in streaming video on Netflix. I got nearly six hours on the Mega, compared with nearly five hours on the S4. The Mega is packed with a larger, higher-capacity battery — something the S4 couldn't have because of its size.

As with other Samsung phones, the Mega comes with an array of Samsung apps, including ones for translating text, taking notes and controlling a TV by turning the phone into a remote control. There's also an easy mode with limited options for first-time smartphone users, plus ways to perform tasks without actually touching the phone. Some of these features can be useful. Others are gimmicky or duplicate what comes standard with other phones running Google's Android system.

I decided to use the Mega to finish reading the e-book "Up in the Air" near the end of my flight to Los Angeles. I figured it was fitting given that its main character spends his life racking up frequent flier miles on planes. But a flight attendant spotted it on my lap and said, "You can turn that off now, please."

Busted.

About 20 minutes later, we landed. I called my brother to pick me up at the airport. For that, I used the smaller iPhone 5.

The Mega remains a novelty that will appeal to people who primarily want a tablet and make few calls. For everyone else, small is the way to go.

Anick Jesdanun, deputy technology editor for The Associated Press, can be reached at njesdanun@ap.org.

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