Our list of the best phablets currently available to buy.
Phablets rose to prominence after Samsung launched the original Galaxy Note back in 2011. Since then their rise has been meteoric with a whole host of manufacturers launching devices to try and grab a share of the lucrative new market.
For the uninitiated, phablets sit somewhere between a smartphone and a tablet - offering the portability of a smartphone with a larger display that's more suited to multimedia playback and web-browsing. Some phablets are designed to be used with a stylus, most famously by Samsung on the Galaxy Note range with their S-Pen interface.
We’re getting to the point now where even normal smartphones are starting to approach phablet sizes and phablets could almost be small tablets, as each year manufacturers aim to make their new handsets stand out by, in part, making them bigger.
Even Apple’s got on board recently, bringing its first phablet to market with the iPhone 6 Plus and following it up with the iPhone 6S Plus.
We've reviewed almost all the phablets on the market and picked out our favourites. We've selected the best phablets across all operating systems, as well as the best devices for those on a budget. So from worst to best, here’s our list.
Not so long ago we’d have bet against Apple ever releasing a phablet, but it’s happened and the iPhone 6 Plus is a sublime first attempt.
Its 5.5 inch 1080 x 1920 display is small by phablet standards, but massive compared to previous Apple handsets and while its 401 pixel per inch screen isn’t quite the sharpest around it’s still crystal clear.
It’s also got one of the better displays on the market, with brilliant contrast and colour accuracy. So it’s got the size and it’s got the screen quality but the iPhone 6 Plus has a whole lot more too.
Being an iPhone you won’t be surprised to hear that the build quality is sublime, with a slim 7.1mm thick aluminium shell and stylish curved edges. In fact, it’s one of the best looking phablets available.
Its 8MP camera with optical image stabilisation and a dual-LED flash is also up there with the best around and of course it’s as slick and powerful as you’d expect from an Apple flagship, despite being almost two years old.
In fact, that age is in some ways a good thing, as it means the phone is cheaper than it once was.
Verdict: The iPhone 6 Plus is small by phablet standards and it’s still fairly expensive. But it’s powerful, beautiful, has a top flight screen and an equally good camera, which is just enough for it to make it into our top list.
The Honor 5X isn’t quite a flagship, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the phone, which has a beautiful brushed metal shell and a fingerprint scanner.
A 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 screen just about pushes it into phablet territory and the rich colours of the display make media a joy.
Elsewhere you start to see why the Honor 5X is priced below high-end phones, as it has a mid-range octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor and just 2GB of RAM – but that’s still enough for slick performance, even when gaming.
The 13MP rear camera and 5MP front-facing one are a standard spec for the price, but the big 3000 mAh battery ensures this thing can keep going all day and beyond.
Verdict: The Honor 5X looks like a flagship and almost performs like one, yet it costs a lot less, making it a phablet bargain. All things being equal the iPhone 6 Plus is a better phone, but it’s also older and a lot more expensive.
The LG G5 is a recent flagship and it shows, thanks to a powerful Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM, but it goes beyond sheer power, as it’s packed full of innovation too.
That’s most obviously the case in its modular nature, allowing you to plug modules into the phone to add a camera grip, extend the battery life, improve the audio and more.
But even without modules the LG G5 is a great phablet. It has a super sharp 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 screen, for a pixel density of 554 pixels per inch. It also has a clever dual-lens camera on the back, with a 16MP standard lens and an 8MP wide-angle one.
Add in a powerful 8MP selfie snapper, a speedy fingerprint scanner and a premium metal build and it’s easy to see why the LG G5 made our list of the best phablets available.
Verdict: The LG G5 combines power, innovation and a stunning screen. It’s not quite the most stylish phablet around, but it’s premium in every sense of the word.
Apple followed up its first phablet with the iPhone 6S Plus, a similar phone, but one that improved on the iPhone 6 Plus in a number of ways.
That all starts with the screen, which is still a 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 display, but now has added 3D Touch, meaning it’s pressure sensitive. This opens up all sorts of new ways to interact with your apps and the display has just as good contrast and just as natural colours as its predecessor.
There’s also more power this time around, with a speedy A9 processor, and the camera has been pushed up to 12MP. Megapixels aside it’s one of the best snappers on a smartphone.
The design hasn’t changed, but that’s ok, as the iPhone 6 Plus was already a beautiful phone and so the iPhone 6S Plus is too, with a slim, curvy metal shell.
Verdict: The iPhone 6S Plus is the best Apple phablet you can buy and very nearly the best phablet by any company. Stylish looks combine with slick performance, a great camera and an impressive screen for a complete flagship package.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is Samsung’s latest phablet, and it’s a seriously impressive device. Like any good phablet the screen is the star, coming in at a huge 5.7 inches and a resolution of 1440 x 2560, for a super sharp pixel density of 518 pixels per inch.
It's a Super AMOLED display too, meaning colours are bright and vibrant and it supports mobile HDR, giving it an edge over other smartphone screens. Plus, it has two curved edges, which both look great and add extra functionality.
The Note 7 takes advantage of its big screen with an S Pen stylus, so you can write by hand or sketch on the phone and it’s a beautiful device, with a glass back and a metal frame.
There’s a whole lot of power in it too, with an Exynos octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM, plus a big 3500mAh battery, a brilliant 12MP camera, a fingerprint scanner and even an iris scanner.
Verdict: The Note 7 is a phone that’s jam packed full of tech and features, but it gets the basics right too, with a great screen and loads of power.
You might have been expecting Samsung’s Note 7 to top this list, but the existence of another Samsung phone, namely the Galaxy S7 Edge, pushed it into second place.
Yes, the Note 7 is newer, bigger and sports a stylus, but as a complete package it’s just not quite as good as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, which omits the gimmicky iris scanner, but instead has a bigger battery, keeping it going all the longer.
Otherwise it’s a very similar phone, with a vibrant, curved 1440 x 2560 5.5-inch Super AMOLED screen – which is sharper for being smaller.
There’s a whole lot of power under the hood thanks to 4GB of RAM and Samsung’s homegrown Exynos 8890 octa-core processor, and the 12MP camera is one of the best in the business.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge also has a slim metal and glass build, that happens to be water and dust resistant, and a fingerprint scanner to secure the phone.
Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a near perfect phone. It’s slightly smaller than the Note 7, so if size is king that’s the one to go for, but with a bigger battery and a sharper screen the S7 Edge edges the victory.
©Copyright 2016 www.3G.co.uk - All Rights Reserved