Just a few years ago, a smartphone that featured a screen bigger than 4 inches would’ve been considered overkill. Wasn’t the point of owning a mobile phone to have something portable? Something that fit in your palm, could be used with one hand, and slipped easily into your pocket?
Then phablets arrived — a smartphone and tablet hybrid that featured massive 5.3″ screens and an even bigger chassis. Back then, with my 3.8″ smartphone, the concept of a phablet — clunky as it was — felt like it would make me look as awkward as a toddler trying to make a call on an iPad.
But here we are, barely 3 years later, and the standard smartphone size has been bumped up from 3.8″ to 4.7″ (minimum) and phablets have actually carved themselves a loyal niche following.
They walk a fine line between being functional and comical: phablets seems too big to actually be portable — which is what a phone should be — but they are apparently the price people are willing to pay to enjoy media better.
I’ve never been a fan of tablets or even the phone/tablet combo, but I am curious enough to wonder what the real draw is. So I’ve rounded up some of the reasons why people choose phablets over the more reasonably-sized, reasonably-priced smartphones.
1. Battery Life
Power has always been a massive issue with smartphones, but with a bigger chassis comes a bigger battery, which translates to longer battery life. Of course, it would also be right to assume that bigger phones have bigger displays, require faster CPUs and have more pixels to push, diminishing any increase in battery life that comes with its bigger battery. Based on anecdotal experience, however, larger smartphones do offer a significant difference in terms of battery life.
2. Media Experience
Phones do so much more than text and call these days: it’s all about gaming, movies, music, books and Internet browsing. A bigger screen means your handset is better suited for all these things.
3. Easier Typing
One of the things I miss about the good old days of the Blackberry (and everything before that) was the tactile keyboard that came with our smartphones. Thumbing through an email or message is easily one of the main things that you have to get used to with smartphones, and the larger keypad found on phablets just makes it easier and faster to do so.
4. Seamless Consolidation
Admittedly, my refusal to use a tablet or phablet means I have to carry a phone and laptop around on any given day. Phablet users can actually survive a day without one. While it’s not enough to make you give up desktops or laptops, phablets will suffice in place of basic tablet access. You can easily check spreadsheets, documents, and powerpoints on it.
Quick note-taking has become easier with phablets. While smartphones still make you feel like you’re thumbing through your phone to take down notes, all you need, with phablets, is to use the stylus and literally write what you would’ve written down on a post-it.
Bottom line: phablets may be (literally) a big slab of tech, but that is the point. It comes down to lifestyle and whether or not you can exchange palm-sized convenience for a massive multimedia experience.