A smart phone for those who like 'living large'

The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 weighs slightly more than 7 ounces and is 0.315 inches thin.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 weighs slightly more than 7 ounces and is 0.315 inches thin.
The DROID Ultra, shown left, and DROID Mini, shown right, both employ DuPont Kevlar construction.
The DROID Ultra, shown left, and DROID Mini, shown right, both employ DuPont Kevlar construction.

The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is a handful. The oversize smart phone, which is available exclusively from AT&T, endeavors to combine the portability of a smart phone with the viewing experience of a tablet. In other words, it's a "phablet."

The "gi-normous" box tips you off immediately that the Galaxy Mega is big -- really big. Its 6.3-inch HD screen is so immense it allows split-screen multitasking between video and other apps. Yet, with all the real estate the screen affords, the handset itself is light and the case surprisingly slim.

Sadly, the unit only comes with a 720p HD LCD display, so widescreen views of games, videos, photos, and other content are not razor-sharp. Audio quality is average, but unless you're super-finicky, the device is more than adequate for watching videos or feature-length films.

Samsung, of course, loads the Galaxy Mega with its most popular apps, such as Air View, which lets you control the device without ever touching the screen; Group Play, which enables easy content sharing for up to eight devices on the same Wi-Fi network; WatchON, which allows the Mega to become a TV remote control; and Samsung Link, so you can easily streams photo, videos, notes, or music to your television, tablet or computer.

Also part of the package is an 8-megapixel, rear-facing camera with a 1.9 megapixel front-facing counterpart, Android 4.2 ("Jelly Bean"), a dual core processor, 4G LTE/HSPA+ networking, and up to 64GB of expandable memory.

Does it surpass the Samsung Galaxy Note II or the soon-to-hit-stores Galaxy Note III as the ultimate phablet? Honestly, no. Either version of the Galaxy Note offers more power, better features, a sharper screen, and stylus input.

Where the Galaxy Mega finds its niche, however, is value. The unit sells for $149.99 with a new, two-year contract, which makes it appealing for anyone who finds themselves in need of a tablet more often than a phone. For more information, visit Samsung.com.

DROID Trio features Google's answer to Siri

Samsung and Apple seem to grab all the press when it comes to smart phones, but Google and Motorola are still in the game. I'm still waiting to get my hands on the new Moto X, but Motorola DROID smart phones, available locally through Verizon Wireless retailers, haven't generated much buzz lately. The recently released DROID trio, consisting of the DROID ULTRA, the DROID MAXX, and the DROID MINI, could change this.

To begin, the new models all have the new DROID Command Center, an exclusive home screen widget that lets you easily access notifications for text messages, missed calls, battery level and weather.

Taking and sharing photos is now as easy as shake, tap and swipe. Quick Capture lets users access the 10-megapixel camera by shaking the phone twice, then tapping anywhere on the screen. Sharing photos can be easily accomplish with the DROID Zap feature, where swiping up on a picture instantly shares it with other new DROID owners who happen to be nearby.

You can also interact with your new DROID by saying "Ok Google Now." Google's always-listening answer to Apple's Siri lets you make calls, send texts, get directions, play music, set a reminder and much more without having to unlock the phone.

The compact DROID MINI provides a 4.3-inch HD display and wireless charging capabilities. Thin and lightweight, the unit is easy to hold and operate, yet solidly-built to take bumps, scrapes, and spills in stride.

The DROID ULTRA is the thinnest 4G LTE smart phone available, comes in red or black, and features a 5-inch, edge–to–edge (1280 x 720) Super AMOLED display, Android 4.2 ("Jelly Bean"), and the formidable Motorola X8 mobile computing system (1.7 GHz dual–core application processor, 400 MHz quad–core GPU).

The new DROID MAXX has specs identical to the ULTRA, plus a 3500mAh battery that provides nearly two days of battery life on a single charge (up to 25 days standby), making it the longest lasting 4G LTE smart phone available.

All three DROIDs have unibody construction made with DuPont Kevlar fiber. Accompanied by a new two-year service agreement, the DROID MINI goes for $99.99, the DROID ULTRA for $199.99, and the DROID MAXX for $299.99. For more information, visit Verizon Wireless on the Web.