The Pros and Cons of a Phablet: What Should You Go For?

by Dan Forster - , Last Updated on July 8, 2014, Buying Guides

Phablets are the new big thing, quite literally, on the mobile market, but are they right for you? We’re taking a look at the pros and cons of opting for a phablet, as well as giving you some great model choices. Is it time to upgrade to something, well, bigger? Read on to find out…

What a Phablet’s Got to Give

Phablet Size Comparison

Phablet Size Comparison

In very basic terms, a phablet is a combination of a phone and a tablet, hence the name. You get all the functionality that you’d expect from a smart phone, along with the larger screen more commonly seen on a tablet.

That means that the very obvious pro of owning a phablet is that you have a larger display. You get better viewing, whether for web pages, videos or even presentations or photo editing. You also get a whole lot more space to type in, making a phablet far easier to write on than the fiddly pop up keyboard that a smart phone offers.

What else are you looking at though? In truth, there aren’t huge differences in a phablet, other than that screen size. It’s true that the top end tablets tend to be big on specs, slightly bigger even than top of the line smart phones, but are you going to notice the difference in processor speed? Maybe, maybe not, depending on what you’re doing on your phablet.

What a phablet does offer is convenience. You get a little bit of the best of both worlds, without having to carry around both a tablet and a phone, something that some customers find a big selling point. Phablets are particularly popular with business people, students and frequent travellers, all of whom appreciate the convenience of having one device that can do it all.

The Down Side of a Phablet

Phablets - Not the Most Portable

Phablets – Not the Most Portable

There are two disadvantages to owning a phablet, however. One of these is quite simply price. You’re going to be paying a pretty penny for the convenience of having a phone and tablet all in one, and even budget models are going to set you back over two hundred pounds. Is it worth paying that much for a bigger screen? That’s a choice that you’re going to have to make.

The other down side of a phablet is portability. We’re so used to slipping our stream lined smart phones into our pockets that the larger size of a phablet can be a serious sticking point for some people. Is it easier to carry around than a tablet? Certainly. But there’s none of that portability that we’ve come to expect from a smart phone.

Whether or not a phablet is for you is a personal choice, and for some a phablet is a clear option. But if you’re shopping for a phablet device, then what should you go for? That really depends on your budget…

Money’s No Object

LG G Flex - At the Higher End of the Market

LG G Flex – At the Higher End of the Market

A top of the line phablet is going to run you over six hundred pounds, which is a big investment. You do get big specs for that big investment however. There are three models that really stand out at the top of the market.

The first of these is the most expensive and the newest model, and it’s the LG G Flex. The Flex comes with a six inch curved screen, designed to eliminate glare, which definitely gives it a space age look. It’s also got a quad core 2.3 GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM and a 13 MP camera on board too. It’s fast, good looking and powerful, making the G Flex really a top choice.

The Xperia Z Ultra is Sony’s contribution to the phablet market, and its 6.4 inch screen is probably the biggest around at the moment. Again, there’s a quad core processor, 2.2 GHz this time, along with 2 GB of RAM, but only an 8 MP camera, which is pretty disappointing for these kinds of prices. However, the Z Ultra is waterproof, meaning you can safely use it in the bath…

Finally, HTC’s offering is the One Max, which, to be honest, is a bit of a let down when compared to the other two top contenders. With a 5.9 inch screen, a mere 1.7 GHz of quad core processing power, 2 GB of RAM and a puny 4 MP camera, there’s little reason to opt for the HTC over the LG or Sony models.

A Little Less

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Slightly More Affordable

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – Slightly More Affordable

Even a middle market phablet model will cost you around five hundred pounds or so, which is a fair chunk of change. There are a couple of impressive choices here though.

Samsung have long been the king of phablets with their Note series, and the Galaxy Note 3 is a firm favourite (at least until the Neo upgrade releases in coming months). The Note 3 has a 5.7 inch screen, but that’s bested by the power that you get with a quad core 2.3 GHz processor and a whopping 3 GB of RAM. Oh, there’s a 13 MP camera too. The Note 3 really competes with the more expensive top of the line models, and in terms of power comes out on top.

If you fancy a Windows model, then take a look at the Nokia Lumia 1520, a decent Android alternative. A six inch screen, quad core 2.2 GHz processor with 2 GB of RAM, and a huge 20 MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics combine to make the Lumia 1520 a very attractive proposition indeed.

On a Budget?

Huawei Ascend Mate - Budget Phablet

Huawei Ascend Mate – Budget Phablet

What about for those with less to spend? You’re not going to get a phablet for cheap, but there are a couple of affordable models that you should keep in mind.

Huawei’s Ascend Mate has a very impressive 6.1 inch screen, a sturdy quad core 1.5 GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM and an 8 MP camera. That’s not bad for just a tad over three hundred pounds. You’ll be getting sexy slim line design as well, which is always a plus.

Nokia have entered the market with a low cost phablet that’s even cheaper though, retailing for around two hundred and fifty pounds SIM free. The Nokia Lumia 1320 gives you a six inch screen, a dual core 1.7 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM and a 5 MP camera. Those specs aren’t incredible, but the price tag frankly is.

A phablet isn’t for everyone. But if you’re looking for something that’s more than a phone but still has all the functions of your mobile, then any of the models listed above would make a great choice.

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