Everyone thought Samsung was totally nuts when it launched the first Galaxy Note, but now phablets have become so popular that Apple’s gone and made one. Love ’em or hate ’em, phablets are here to stay.
While the definition of the phablet is somewhat ethereal and hard to pin down, for our purposes, we’re going to say that smartphones with displays sized 5.5 inches and up are considered phablets and everything else is just normal. In truth, the standard flagship phone is now about 4.7-to-5.3-inches in size these days. Based on that criteria, we’ve rounded up our favorite king-sized phones into this convenient guide.
Google finally made a killer phablet with the Nexus 6P, which it built with Huawei. The all-metal device has a stunning 5.7-inch AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. Like all Nexus devices, it’s running the purest form of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and it’ll get regular updates, which isn’t something any other Android phone can say. The 6P is also one of the first Android devices with a fingerprint sensor and support for Android Pay. A 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 8-core processor and 3GB of RAM power the 6P, and it also supports USB Type-C quick charging. With its low $500 price and super spec sheet, it’s our favorite Android phablet.
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
After sticking to the 3.5-to-4-inch phone size for years, Apple finally entered into the world of the phablet with the iPhone 6 Plus. Now, it’s updated the phablet with the iPhone 6S Plus. The Plus dwarfs every iPhone ever made — even the 4.7-inch iPhone 6S — with its 5.5-inch display. It has the same aluminum body, but now it comes in rose gold, too. Apple also upgraded the rear camera to 12 megapixels and the front-facing shooter to 5 megapixels. The speedy A9 processor and 2GB RAM keep things moving, and iOS 9 looks as bright and colorful as ever while 3D Touch takes iOS to another level. It’s a truly incredible device for iOS users who’ve always wanted a phablet.
You can’t go wrong with these strong contenders
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Samsung has certainly made the Galaxy S7 Edge the “next big thing” — at 5.5-inches, the phone is a beautiful addition to the Korean company’s lineup, and a brilliant successor to the Galaxy S6 Edge. The S7 Edge improves on its predecessor in every way, with an Always On screen, better Tasks Edge features, and an IP68 waterproof rating. You’ll also find Quick Charge 3.0 helps give you juice faster, and the battery life is decent. The brilliant 1440p display has 550-pixels-per-inch, and is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820. There’s 4GB of RAM, and the S7 Edge comes with a minimum of 32GB internal storage. While the battery isn’t removable like LG’s G5, you still get access to a MicroSD card slot, allowing for up to 200GB of extended storage. The S7 Edge also improves on the camera, which boasts 12 megapixels, super fast focusing, and an aperture of f/1.7. It even performs pretty well in low-light scenarios. If you can get past Samsung’s clunky user-interface, the Galaxy S7 will leave you more than satisfied.
LG’s V10 is a real powerhouse. The V10 can take a tumble on the pavement unscathed with its stainless steel frame and scratch-resistant Dura Guard silicon back. It’s got a huge 5.7-inch screen, which is made up of two displays. The second, 160 x 1,040 pixel IPS screen sits unobtrusively above the primary IPS QHD (2,560 x 1,440 pixel) screen. The extra screen is always on, shows notifications, and gives quick app access. LG popped the power button, which houses a fingerprint sensor, on the back of the device and cut down the bezels to nothing on this phone. There’s also the matter of the impressive Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 4GB of RAM, and the sharp 16-megapixel camera to contend with.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Samsung more or less invented the phablet, and each passing Note has been better than the last. The Galaxy Note 5 has a 5.7-inch screen that’s even slightly bigger than what’s become the almost standard 5.5-inch phablet size. Perhaps Samsung’s greatest contribution to the smartphone industry is not just the idea of the phablet, but also the great stylus that goes with it. The S-Pen is an excellent tool that really sets the Galaxy Note 5 apart from every other phablet. Add to that the super fast Exynos 7420 processor, 4GB of RAM, Samsung Pay support, and a really great camera, and you’ve got a really productive phone. There’s always the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, if you’re into big phones with edges. It’s got the same specs as the Note 5.
Motorola Moto X Style Pure Edition
The Moto X Style Pure Edition is the real flagship killer of 2015, and it also happens to be a big phablet. It’s got a 5.7-inch Quad HD screen, a sharp 21-megapixel camera that takes great photos, and top-end specs — all for $400. The slightly curved back, metal frame, and sleek look make it easy to handle, and the design is fully customizable on Moto Maker. The Moto X also has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 and 3GB of RAM under the hood, not to mention the fact that it’s running the most gorgeous version of Android yet: Lollipop. Android purists will go gaga for this phablet.
The OnePlus 3 improves a lot on its predecessor and gains marks for being one of the best phones you can buy for $400. There’s no invite-system this time around, so you can buy one right now, and the device just fits the phablet range given its 5.5-inch build. The OnePlus 3 offers an all-metal body, an AMOLED display with 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution, a Snapdragon 820 processor, and a surprising 6GB of RAM to help you multi-task quickly. Moreover, if you were a fan of the sandstone backing the company first popularized with its previous devices, you don’t have to completely say goodbye, as OnePlus now offers a sandstone case. One of the best parts of buying this device? It comes with 64GB of internal storage, which makes this phablet, with its top-notch specifications and low price point, a steal.