5 years back, a 3.5 inch screen phone was seen as a ‘large’ device. This was not only because of the fact that phones then, by average, used to be much smaller, but also because the phones used to carry massive bezels on all 4 sides. Come 2013 and we’re seeing phones as large as 6.4 inches, and we prefer calling them ‘phablets’ instead. The term ‘phablet’ is actually the result of phone+tablet; meaning a device with a large screen which sits between phones and tablets as far as size and usability is concerned.

In this post we would be discussing why it would be a good idea to buy a phablet instead of a regular smartphones in today’s age.

Today, an average phablet size has gone up from 5.5 inches to almost about 6 inches. This is because further reduction in bezel thickness; the part that surrounds your phone’s screen, which is usually of no use to the end user.

Huawei-Ascend-Mate-phablet

The extent of this reduction in bezel thickness can be estimated by comparing the Samsung Galaxy S4 to the Samsung Galaxy S3. The S3 is a device which came early in 2012 and with a 4.8 inch screen, was seen as the biggest a phone could get. But come 2013 and we have the Samsung Galaxy S4, a device with a larger (5.0”) screen but almost the same dimensions as the S3! This goes to show that larger screens can be fitted onto much smaller bodies overall.

Let us go ahead with this discussion and list out a few key points which make phablets a better choice than smaller phones (up to 4.5-4.8 inches).

Advantages of phablets over regular smartphones:

  • Bigger, and sometimes better display because of the extra available space.
  • Better utilization of pixels.
  • Much better multimedia performance.
  • Usually come with better (more powerful) processors as compared to smartphones
  • Better gaming experience; enough space to view and control gameplay.
  • Better readability due to enough spacing between words. Web browsing and e-book reading experience greatly improved.
  • Bigger keyboard; allows for a more realistic method of typing.
  • Much better for video calls due to the extra available space.
  • Increase in size allows for a bigger battery, which often results in greater battery backup.
  • Packing of components under the hood not as tight as smaller phones; overheating can be avoided.

However, it is not always cakes and cream. There are a few disadvantages of having a large-screen device as well, which may degrade the user experience. However, it depends from user to user when it comes to this.

Disadvantages of phablets over regular smartphones:

  • Limited one handed usage; due to the size, weight and centre of gravity, using phablets in one hand is pretty difficult.
  • Difficult to carry; due to the large size, phablets don’t usually fit into your pocket like smartphones do unless you’re probably wearing a cargo.
  • Looks awkward; given the much larger size, talking on phone using a phablet does look pretty awkward, since the device pretty much covers your entire face.
  • Longer charging duration; due to the bigger battery, the charging takes much longer to complete. Also, keeping the phablet plugged overnight might damage the battery.
  • Built-in batteries; most phablets of today come with built-in batteries which are not user replaceable, which means there option of carrying another fully charged battery is cut off.

This is what we think of phablets and smartphones, when it comes to usability. It is natural that different users have different needs. However, this article has been built upon keeping in mind the average user. Let us know what you think by commenting below!

2 COMMENTS

  1. IMO, A phablet would be ideal for a person who manages various accounts, calculations, truly needs the screen real estate and hardcore video watchers(if that’s the term). People with limited vision could use it for enlarging the text and still not let it become ugly. Also, for someone who might want to use the multi window feature in the galaxy lineup since that is a very thoughtful utilization of the screen space. Using widgets makes a lot of sense too.
    I have to disagree from here on out though specifically with two points:
    1. Better typing: In portrait mode, yes, definitely. But when it comes to landscape mode, you’re stuck in a middle ground which is not something anyone would appreciate. Let me elaborate. Using my S3’s keyboard in landscape becomes VERY uncomfortable since, even though I have long fingers, your thumbs really get a good stretch while typing the ‘ghtybv’ keys. Isn’t practical at all. Using two hands is out of the question unless your display is 7″ or more(a safe bet). Probably that is why my S3 hasn’t seen the light of auto-rotate in a long while.
    2: Battery: I just saw an acquaintance’s Galaxy Mega and to my surprise, the battery was less than 40% of the entire phone’s footprint. I know a 2.6 Ah battery would suffice for it’s hardware but if Samsung would have put in a little more thought into it, they could’ve easily bumped it up to 3000+.

    Another thing I would like to point out, as much as I have come to hate Samsung, I can’t help but accept the fact that the Note series is the only phablet that is worth buying since Samsung has had enough time with phablets to come up with some really useful features such as floating video, multi-window etc. that can truly take the advantage of the larger screen size. Other phones(even from Samsung) are absolutely horrible since the screen resolutions are way too low to let you take the advantage of that screen, save for the LG G2 maybe.

    A good perspective nonetheless.

    • Hi Mayur,
      Good points. I’d like to agree with you on #1, but as you mention yourself, typing is a hell lot easier in potrait. About #2, you have to realize that although the battery is about 40% of the phone’s footprint, the footprint is in fact enormous enough to make the 40% count. For example, had we been talking of a 3.5 inch screen, 40% would’ve then sounded bad. But with a device as large as your acquaintance’s Mega, the 40% does count in a big way.

      Cheers!

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