7 Best Phablets You Can Buy in 2016

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What’s the best phablet on the market in 2016? There are a number of excellent models to choose from, all with different key strengths. We’ve rounded up the best phablets available right now.

Phablets aren’t quite as distinctive as they once were, with an increasing number of handsets now coming with 5.5-inch screens and larger.

If you want a true phablet then the Huawei Mate 8 is an excellent option, with a huge 6-inch screen and a decent-sized battery. If you’re happy to opt for something smaller, in the 5.5-5.7-inch range, then there are far superior options currently available. Then there’s the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, probably the best phablet you can buy right now. But that comes at a price.

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge is a gorgeous device, with a superb display and best-in-class camera, while the Nexus 6P is stock Android at its finest. Both are up there with the best Android phones you can buy today, and they happen to be phablets.

For those looking for something more affordable, the new OnePlus 3 is also a strong contender. At £309/$464, this buys you a handset with a 5.5-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 820 processor supported by 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage.

If budget isn’t such an issue, and for those specifically wanting iOS on a larger display, the iPhone 6S Plus is a good bet. It might only have a 5.5-inch screen, but it feels much larger.

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BEST PHABLETS – WHY SHOULD YOU BUY ONE?

Why have phablets become so popular? Many think it’s because people don’t want to buy a phone and a tablet, but there are a number of other clear advantages.

Screen Quality

Over recent years we’ve seen smartphones become larger in size. Phablets are generally regarded as handsets measuring 5.5-inches and above, and right now they’re immensely popular. The fact that Apple, which was once so opposed to big-screen phones, has joined the phablet fanfare demonstrates just how in-demand they are.

The most obvious benefits of owning a big phone come by way of the screen. Usually blessed with stunning displays, phablets are great for watching movies, playing games and reading. As such, they’re hugely popular among commuters.

While LG and Samsung were quick to embrace super-sharp QHD panels, Full HD on a large screen still makes for a superb viewing experience. 4K could also start to appear, especially on virtual-reality-based phones.

Performance and Battery Life

Since phablets are also more likely to be used for gaming than smaller smartphones, they tend to come with more powerful hardware. Almost all of the mobiles in this roundup can handle complex 3D titles without issue.

Phablets are also well endowed in the battery department. No longer will your concern be whether your mobile phone will make it through a day. The majority of phablets last around two days between charges; some can last even longer.

Other Things to Consider

Design and ergonomics are always important areas to consider when buying a smartphone, but they’re particularly important when buying phablets due to their size.

The majority of manufacturers put every effort into making their large-screen devices as user-friendly as possible, whether that’s through a slim frame, a dedicated stylus, centrally positioned soft keys, or a one-handed operation mode. However, we’d still recommend trying one out in a shop first, especially if you have small hands. This will also provide an opportunity to test the “pocketability” of the device.

Extra features such as fingerprint scanners, NFC and microSD card slots can also have a huge effect on the overall user experience.

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HUAWEI MATE 8

IT’S LIKE A NEXUS 6P. BUT NOT QUITE AS GOOD

Key features

  • 6-inch, 1080p screen
  • 4,000 mAh battery
  • Fast charging

The Huawei Mate 8 isn’t a perfect phone, but it is probably the most phablet-like device in this group. It’s gargantuan and unwieldy – well it is for our small hands – but it has plenty of the features you’d expect of a larger phone. Alongside a sizeable 4,000mAh battery, the Huawei Mate 8 also features a tremendous 6-inch screen.

As is true of the majority of Huawei phones, the Mate 8 is a looker. The metal unit is sleek, and its chamfered edges and slightly curved back make it comfortable to hold, if you have big hands. The device feels sturdy and durable, but not as thick as you’d expect considering the size of the battery.

Tucked inside the Mate 8 is a house-made Kirin CPU, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Even though it’s been on the market for a while now, the Mate 8 is incredibly fast and can handle whatever task you throw at it.

Although we wouldn’t normally include a phone that scored just 3/5 in our “Best of” roundups, when it comes to generous proportions, the Mate 8’s huge screen and battery make it an excellent phablet. However, be warned: the camera isn’t great, the software won’t be to everyone’s taste and we’ve experienced some issues trying to get our Google notifications to work properly.

At time of review the Huawei Mate 8 was available for £429/$644.

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ONEPLUS 3

A GREAT DEAL, AND A GREAT DEAL OF PHONE

Key features

  • 5.5-inch 1080p display
  • Snapdragon 820 CPU, 6GB RAM
  • 16MP camera
  • Dash Charging

Those who aren’t so keen on spending £500/$750-plus on a new phablet should take a look at the OnePlus 3. While the brand’s previous two cut-price flagships had their faults, the third iteration ticks nearly all the boxes.

It has a lovely metal body, which is similar in appearance to Huawei, iPhone and HTC devices. It has a sharp 5.5-inch, 1080p display and a surprisingly impressive camera that’s reliable in plenty of conditions. The phone is fast, too, thanks to a Snapdragon 820 CPU and a huge 6GB of RAM.

There’s a well-stocked 3,000mAh battery, and unlike the OnePlus 2, it doesn’t take an age to charge. Using the included Dash Charger, you can go from about 5% to 90% in about half an hour; a full charge takes just less than an hour. Our only annoyance is that charging the phone with any other cable will be slower. You’ll get a day of use without much of an issue, but the OnePlus 3 couldn’t be pushed much beyond that.

The software is much better than previous OnePlus devices too. It’s still OxygenOS, built upon Android Marshmallow, but it’s sleeker and far less buggy than before. There are some nice touches too: a dark mode system-wide, gestures, alterations to the buttons, and custom icons.

Considering it’ costs only £309/$464, it’s probably the best deal out there at the minute.

At time of review the OnePlus 3 was available for £309/$464.

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SAMSUNG GALAXY S7 EDGE

SAMSUNG HAS JUST MADE THE BEST-LOOKING PHONE EVER

Key features

  • 5.5-inch quad-HD display
  • 4GB RAM
  • 12MP camera
  • Fast charging

Bizarrely, the Galaxy Note 5 never arrived on UK shores, and if you’re won over by S6 Edge+ then your best bet is the excellent Galaxy S7 Edge.

It’s one of the smaller phones on our list, and is far more manageable than the iPhone 6S Plus. It also possesses some of the best features of any phone right now.

The 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display is gorgeous; the 12-megapixel camera with a wide f/1.7 aperture is best in class; and the battery – complete with rapid charging – can easily make it through the day.

The Galaxy S7 Edge is also the best-looking phone we’ve included on this list; the Edge’s curves are eye-catching and while the screen is sizeable, it’s easy to hold in one hand.

The only real downside is the price.

At time of review the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was available for £579/$868.

moto x 5

MOTO X STYLE / MOTO X PURE

A LOT OF SPECS, FOR A GREAT PRICE – IT’S MOTO’S BEST FLAGSHIP IN YEARS.

Key features:

  • 5.7-inch, quad-HD display
  • 21-megapixel camera
  • 32GB/64GB storage (plus micro SD slot)
  • 3,000mAh battery

The Moto X Style is a high-end phablet, but it costs almost £300/$450 less than the iPhone 6S Plus. For £359/$538 you’re getting a fantastic quad-HD display, beefy battery and a clean build of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

The curved back and almost non-existent bezels make it a pleasure to hold and Moto Maker lets you add a bit of personality, with leather and wood backs.

A weakness of older Motorola phones, the 21MP sensor on the back captures crisp photos and there’s support for 4K video capture too. The combination of Snapdragon’s 808 CPU with 3GB make the Moto X Style a smooth performer.

At time of review the Moto X Style / Moto X Pure was available for £359/$538.

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IPHONE 6S PLUS

APPLE’S LATEST PHABLET IS STRONGER, WITH A NIFTY NEW DISPLAY AND ACE CAMERA

Key features:

  • 5.5-inch, Full HD display
  • A9 CPU / 2GB RAM
  • 12MP iSight camera
  • 5MP Facetime sensor

Apple’s latest phablet looks just like the 6 Plus, but as with any ‘S’ release there are lots of new features to get excited about. On the back you’ll find a 12MP sensor, complete with OIS, and it now shoots 4K video. A new software feature called Live Photos adds a bit of video either side of your shot, though time will tell whether or not this is just a gimmick.

The biggest new feature is 3D Touch, which gives the 5.5-inch, 1080p display added depth. Press harder on an app icon and a few new options will pop up. The uses are limited at the minute, but hopefully developers will get on board and built it into their apps.

Stronger alumnium ensures there’s no repeat of the bendgate scandal, but the battery didn’t get the boost we were hoping for.

At time of review the iPhone 6S Plus was available for £699/$1,048.

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SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 7

THE PHONE TO BEAT THIS YEAR?

Key features

•    5.7-inch mobile-HDR quad-HD screen

    •    Exynos 8890, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage

    •    IP68 water-resistant

    •    USB-C, 3,500 mAh

The first Galaxy Note was the original phablet. It made big phones acceptable and the latest iteration is the best yet. But that shouldn’t be be a surprise to anyone who has used either the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 takes a lot of what made them so great, and adds in a smattering of unique additions. A few of the same components have been carried over, like the Exynos CPU and 4GB RAM. While the 12MP camera is also the same. Don’t let that put you off as they’re the best best around.

The 5.7-inch quad-HD Super AMOLED display is bright, colourful and the mobile-HDR tech makes supported content look great. The panel curves too, sloping down on either side.

Slotting into the bottom, the S-Pen makes a welcome return. It’s more sensitive than before, making it even better for doodling and jotting down notes.

Along with looking sleek, the metal and glass body is rated IP68 for water-resistance. Dunk the Note 7 into 1m of water for 30-minute and it’ll live to tell the tale.

With the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung has finally released a phone with USB-C, but there’s still fast wireless and wired charging onboard. Thankfully you won’t be reaching the plug that often, as the 3,500 mAh battery is more than capable of going the distance.

At time of review the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was available for £900/$1,350.

Nexus 6P

NEXUS 6P

HUAWEI AND GOOGLE TEAM UP TO CREATE THE PERFECT ANDROID PHONE

Key features:

  • 5.7-inch, quad-HD display
  • 12-megapixel camera
  • 32GB/64GB/128GB storage
  • Snapdragon 810 and 3GB RAM

Here at TrustedReviews, we don’t often award a product 10/10. But the Nexus 6P deserves this accolade, it really is a fantastic device.The mixture of metal and glass looks the business, while the clean version of Android 6.0 runs like a dream thanks to the Snapdragon 810 and 3GB RAM.

Google has ditched microUSB for the shiny new USB-C standard, a reversible connector that provides rapid charging but it will render your entire drawer of older cable useless.

The 12MP camera is the best ever on a Nexus device and it’ll shoot 4K and slo-mo footage, with all your snaps backed up to Google’s Photo service.

At time of review the Nexus 6P was available for £499 / $649.99.

(trustedreviews.com, http://goo.gl/1ykWrb)

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