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Phablets: big phones with big screens

A ‘phablet’ is so called because it lies somewhere between being a phone and a tablet.

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What’s a phablet?

It’s definitely a phone - you can make calls on it, send texts, and use mobile internet - but in terms of size, it edges a bit closer to being a tablet. It’s a smartphone with a very big screen, in other words.

How big exactly? Well, there’s no real consensus here. A display larger than five inches is getting there, and once it hits five and a half, it most certainly counts as a phablet. Some can have screens as big as six inches and beyond.

If you’re after a phablet, you probably use your phone’s display more than you use your handset to make calls. You want lots of screen real estate for using apps, or you may rely on your phone for work or business purposes - emails are a lot easier to manage on a big screen.

So, which phablets are worth getting? Here are our top picks for phablets and big smartphones with large screens.

iPhone 7 Plus

Screen size: 5.5 inches, 1080 x 1920px

If you’re an Apple fan who wants a phablet, you can’t do much better than the iPhone 7 Plus. Its 5.5-inch screen has a wider colour gamut than previous iPhones, so colours pop just that bit more, and it’s water resistant so you can use it in the rain at last. It’s even got a better camera than the regular iPhone 7, rocking a dual-lens setup, and surprisingly good battery life for a phone this size - especially for an iPhone, for that matter.

iPhone 6s Plus

Screen size: 5.5 inches, 1080 x 1920px

The iPhone 6s Plus is a step back from the 7 Plus in terms of its processors, cameras, and features, but since it’s only one generation older, it’s still at the top of its game. Its big screen is identical in both size and resolution, for a start.

This is the best phablet to get if you prefer iPhones, want a mobile with a standard headphone jack - which you don’t get with the iPhone 7 - and want to spend a little less cash.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Screen size: 6.2 inches, 1440 x 2960px

Big screens don’t get much bigger than this. The display on the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is absolutely massive, has a really high resolution - 529ppi is incredible for a screen this size - and it takes up almost the entire front of the phone, curving down at the edges. The lack of bezels means you get more screen space without having to deal with too large a handset, and its slim shape means it’s easy to hold.

As for the insides, there’s a lot going on there too, with insanely fast processors, up to 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage and wireless charging.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Screen size: 5.5 inches, 1440 x 2560px

The Galaxy S7 Edge may be a year older than the S8, but its specs are on par with all the latest mobiles and phablets. We’re talking octa-core processors, 4GB RAM, a 12MP camera, and a nice big 3600mAh battery.

Actually, it’s got pretty much everything you could want in a phone: it’s water-resistant, there’s an SD card slot, and you get a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. And unlike the S8, there’s no annoying Bixby button to spend your life trying to avoid pressing.

Huawei Mate 9

Screen size: 5.9 inches, 1080 x 1920px

Huawei’s Mate 9 packs a lot in: a stupidly good camera with dual Leica lenses, a frankly massive 4000mAh battery, and even some clever machine learning that adapts to how you use your phone and (in theory, anyway) improves how it works. And despite that, it’s still cheaper than most phablets with similar specs, with good build quality to boot.

The screen isn’t quite as crisp as a lot of high-end phones, but it’s hard to really be disappointed with full HD resolution. Especially on a phone that you can get Amazon’s Alexa on.


Screen size: 5.5 inches, 1440 x 2560px

HTC’s latest big-screener, the U11, is suspiciously good. It’s got lovely slick software, based on Android 7.1 Nougat; an octa-core Snapdragon chipset; excellent cameras; and up to 128GB of storage.

Design wise, it’s got a shiny two-tone look that feels a bit less… business-y than a lot of phablets. It’s just more fun. And as a weird bonus, it’s squeezable: squish the edges of the phone and you can take photos with the camera, skip songs on the music player, or whatever else you want to program it to do.


Screen size: 5.7 inches, 1440 x 2880px

The humungous screen on the LG G6 has an almost 2:1 ratio, so you can split the display into two perfect squares for two apps - a great boon for your productivity on the go. It’s also HDR (high dynamic range) ready, so you can watch HDR videos with all the extra colour details.

Specs are a little lower than some of the other phones on this list - like an old generation quad-core processor - but they’re still more than good enough for the job. Plus, you get some very nice cameras with near-manual controls.

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