Dec 09 AT 5:13 PM Nick Sarafolean 49 Comments

Why do you use a phablet?

Samsung Galaxy Note II

Since the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy Note, the XL phone segment has really taken off. Proponents of the sub-genre have even coined a new term: phablet, a hybrid mesh between phones and tablets. (Hint: they’re actually giant phones). With the amount of them that are sold, it’s easy to see that people like them. The question is, why do people like phablets? What drives them to choose a phablet over any other phone?

Obviously, the size is going to play a big part in this. Many who use phablets say that they simply enjoy the massive screens. But you have to go a bit deeper to figure out why they like that big screen to begin with. For some, it comes down to the fact that they watch a lot of video on their phones. In this case, it makes perfect sense as to why they’d choose a phone that can quite literally fit smaller phones inside of its screen. If you’re going to watch a lot of video on your phone, then a phablet is a perfect choice.

Others enjoy the extra screen real estate for different reasons. One of those is the added keyboard space. Physical keyboards on phones are practically extinct in this day and age. For someone wanting a virtual keyboard that’s roomy and easy to type on with two hands, a phablet fits the bill. Plenty of people simply enjoy the extra space to spread out across. For those who love to fill up their homescreens with widgets and folders, phablets provide extra room for just that.

There’s another aspect of phablets that isn’t always considered when looking at reasons to use them. Due to the fact that phablets are flippin’ giant, manufacturers often have a bit more room to work with when choosing internal specs. Phablets are often (not always) equipped with the most powerful processors, large amounts of RAM, quality camera components, larger storage sizes and possibly the most important feature: bigger batteries. And believe us, with the giant screens on phablets, you’re going to be glad of that mondo battery.

Certain phablets also have their own special perks and benefits. For example, the phones in the Galaxy Note line all feature Samsung’s stylus on steroids, the S Pen. But the S Pen isn’t just a new and improved stylus that doesn’t do much; it comes with a whole suite of software designed to take full advantage of its capabilities. For quick digital artwork on the go, the S Pen could be your best friend.

Continuing on that tangent of unique software, some phablets are designed with that exact purpose in mind. We hate to keep bringing up the example of the Galaxy Note series, but it proves this perfectly. Samsung has designed all sorts of applications that take advantage of the large screens phablets offer. These enhancements are designed to help you be more productive and make the most of the extra screen real estate. These same software enhancements help to bring people to phablets.

Now that we’ve talked about this for a little while, we’re bringing the question to you. Why do you use a phablet? We know that plenty of you do. And if you don’t use a phablet, why don’t you? What could be changed with them to make you use one? Hit up those comments, yo.

A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @nsarafolean.

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  • Slith

    I look at a lot of CAD drawings for work. My Note II blows away my coworkers iPhones. This is why I love it.

    • Richard Yarrell

      Plain and simple nothing beats Samsung or the Galaxy Note products period.

      They represent pure productivity, industry leading multitasking abilities and the best feature enhancements since the inception of Android.

      With great camera software and great battery life to boot I don’t see anything anytime soon being better for years too come.

      • squiddy20

        “With great camera software and great battery life to boot I don’t see anything anytime soon being better for years too come.” Yeahhh… you said virtually the same thing about HTC a few years ago, including how they’d “never be beat”. Now you’re singing to Samsung’s tune. Hypocrite.

        • philli

          With time things change. What you’ve never changed your mind? Relax a little.

      • redraider133

        Well the G2 has a great camera and software and also great battery life. The note has good battery life because the device is huge and for some that alone is a turn off.

      • Matthew

        Wow, work for Samsung much?

      • Anthony Giorgianni

        I agree. There is not another handset that approaches the Samsung Note 3. Simply the best!

    • Snowflakelord

      Cause they’re different things. Take an iPad Air or a Retina iPad Mini VS the Note II. I think you might get some different results. You can’t compare a phablet to a normal sized phone. That’s like comparing a regular tablet to a phone.

  • tommydaniel

    Screen, battery, and stylus are my reasons.

  • 64BitJosh

    I have been using the One Note Max for almost 3 weeks and I absolutely love it. No more squinting to read screens and actual comfort to text with. I also do not need to lug my tablet with me everywhere now. The ONM fits in my suit or my outercoat and my tablet has become my at home device when I am not working on my PC. I really see more and more of this type and size of device becoming pervasive.

  • SGB101

    Battery was my primary reason for the note2 , but soon found it more convenient than a tablet, and retired both the ipad2 and n7

    Infact I got the note2 before the n7,used the n7 twice, and since them I only have touched it to update it. My son soon adopted it though

  • Dima Aryeh

    Because I’m a MAN!
    Really, because it invalidates the need for a tablet, for me at least. Plus the S Pen is a wonderful tool.

    • Brett

      This is very true, I have a Nexus 7 (2012) and it now collects dust. Also just to see everyone’s face when I pull my phone out, “that’s the biggest phone I’ve ever seen”! Then getting to reply,” giggity, that’s what she said. ” it’s priceless!

  • Shane Kmet

    Web browsing and the comfort of being able to view the whole page more comfortably on the Note1.

    Pictures, games, movies, just about everything is more enjoyable when you don’t have to squint or hold the phone up against your face.

    Though the size does have its drawbacks regarding single handed use, primary phone is now HTC One.

  • Luigi2012SM64DS

    imo, I love pablets because I do watch alot of videos, You can’t beat it. Also the amazing battery life.
    (Too bad I will never actually have a phablet to enjoy one.)

  • Kurt

    I read and study, email and text a lot along with a few games and small amounts of video. I used to carry a nexus 7 and an htc one x around almost everywhere I went. The problem with 2 devices is that when I tried to do something on one that I would usually do on the other it was not setup the way I liked it and didn’t seem to the right fit. Phone wasn’t a good reader and the tablet sucked at phone calls. Now I have a samsung mega 6.3. It is (obviously) significantly larger than the one x and although the screen size is slightly smaller the body of the device is significantly smaller (bezels!). So now I have one device that does what used to take 2 and it is closer in size to the one x. Now I look at the one x’s screen sometimes and wonder how I used something so small and at the nexus and wonder how did I pack around something so clunky.

  • Name

    Not yet using one but expecting to sometime. Here’s why.

    - pen.
    - large size, so I wouldnt need a tablet. Browsing sites and apps with maximum estate and clarity is important for artists and roaming webmasters.

  • Andy

    I an considering a note 2 or , other than price (I’m not due for an upgrade yet) I do watch a lot of video and Netflix at the gym doing Cardio . However I also use my Ph as my music player and I hasn’t seen an arm band or otherw convenient way to Carry a phablet and that’s a problem for me so when the time chines I may have no choice but the galaxy 4 or 5

    • Clark Thomson

      Check out shocksock on amazon. They make arm bands for phablets.

    • GE918

      Checkout the Android and Me store. They have arm band style case for all of the Notes.

    • Darren

      Buy some Bluetooth headphones, no need for arm band and the lack of wires is handy in the gym I find….

  • thymeless

    Everything in one good device. I’ve got a Note 3. So a large hi-res screen, bright even in sunlight.

    It does everything pretty darn well. No need for the extra bulk of a tablet and all the convenience of a cell phone. No need to tether if your carrier plan punishes that behavior.

    Plus, with aging eyes, the screen is easy to read even without my reading glasses–the only correction I need.

    Only one device to manage, less bulk to carry, just one charger to keep track of and haul around on trips. And yet, battery life is just as good on my Note as on my Xoom.

  • Vlad Metrik

    #Phablets take away the need for a tablet. Honestly, calls are the last thing we do with these devices, so having something that fits in your pocket and takes care of your tablet need is perfect. Also they’re virtual wallets now.

  • Note 3 owner

    I love my phablet. Reasons are because of the big screen, the S Pen and I prefer Samsung/Android rather than Apples iPhone. These phones are a lot better too, I love new technology, something Apple does not have!! Note 3 all the way!!

  • Mike

    1) Screen Size- Believe it or not, a lot of phablet owners wouldn’t mind even larger screen sizes. We wouldn’t even mind a slight increase in overall size to get this extra screen real estate.

    2) Specs- As you so eloquently put it, phablets tend to have awesome specs. In fact most phablets have on par or better specs then the so called feature smartphones of a manufacture. An example of this would be the Galaxy Note 3 compared to the Galaxy S4, or the Nokia 1520 compared to the Nokia 1020.

    3) Battery Life- Large screens drain a lot of power, hence phablets have huge batteries. But, these batteries last a very long time. In fact some of the best batteries on smartphones come on phablets. Makes me wonder why smaller smartphones still struggle with battery issues, I feel like the manufacturers of phablets were paranoid about battery life and gave these phones more than enough juice.

    • alexanderharri3

      I’d wager that screen on time is a big part of that. The huge battery of a phablet enables a similar screen on time to a smaller phone with a smaller battery (especially a phablet at 1080p) – but screen off time there is no difference between the devices in terms of power draw – a win for the phablet. As someone with big hands, the S4 “fits” like most people would fit a S4 “mini” at 4.3″ – the iPhone is just comically narrow and small. The current line of phablets shrink the bezel significantly and fit a large screen in a smaller body – but too much bigger and we’re arriving at clunkers like the Galaxy Mega.

  • Tracer

    I’ve been using the Samsung Note 2 and will be upgrading to the 3 plus the Samsung Gear later this week. The screen size and high quality display knocked me out. Sitting next to the IPhone and HTC One they looked like toys. The Note 2 has not disappointed ma in any way. The UI, the speed and very decent selection of apps have made using this device a real pleasure. Multitasking is a cake walk and voice quality superb. The days of the days of the 3.5 screen are gone. The specs on the 3 are scary. Blazing speed and now an integrated watch….what more could one want. It the Samsung 6.3 Mega met the Note 3s specs that would have been in the running. Once you get used to a high quality large display there is no turning back.

  • Nigel

    What it the size of phablet? Is a Nexus 5 one?

    • SoRHunter

      Over 5”. The original Samsung Galaxy Note was 5.3” and it was the device responsible for this phablet ‘niche’. Its successor, the Note II, was what make it famous – and had a 5.5” screen.

      In simpler terms, the ones bigger than the Nexus 5 and lesser than the Nexus 7.

  • SoRHunter

    I use a Samsung Note 2 and it is a blast! When I decided to ditch Nokia (because of the same old Symbian OS and not giving enough love to the one thing it could save them the awesome Nokia N900), I went the Samsung way and got a Galaxy S2.

    Then, when came upgrading time, the Note 2 was what I really wanted. The only caveat was the doubt: would it fit in my pocket? I tried it and never looked back…

    The screen is a wonder on its own. The AMOLED tech makes it a real treat for the eyes in every situation. The call quality is top shelf (yes: it is a phone!) and the virtual keyboard is big enough to not goof around (though Swifkey helps a lot when texting in a hurry). The battery last for days if I don’t stress the phone too much; otherwise, the juice is well used in the games I play, as the big screen makes it a wonderful experience when gaming. The top-of-the-line specs (for 2012 and still going strong today) help with all tasks, and multitasking (as in two apps at the same time) is painless. Lastly, the stylus is a very nice addition that lets me scribble my notes and leave everybody stunned as I do it.

    The downside of it comes mostly for not having a physical shutter button for the camera. It’s sometimes hard to take a picture and not shaking the phone (blurring the shot). Still, I’m quite happy with the overall experience.

  • G2

    For gaming, streaming purposes.
    Hi! Here’s my humble entry. :)
    plese watch and like.

  • Richard Yarrell

    To make it look like me smart

  • Bruce E Harang

    The screen size, the battery capacity, the screen image quality, the butter smooth operation, but most of all the S-pen.

  • Charles Easton IV

    I got the HTC One Max and It is the best phone I’ve ever owned. I’m captivated by just looking at it.

    I bought it because I like to listen to music out loud or watch videos and it has the best phone speakers on the market with a huge HD screen, along with an SD card slot to hold all my content. The big screen too is awesome for games and reading, which I find myself doing more of now because of it.

    I did not buy the phone for the fingerprint scanner, I have no intention of using it but don’t mind it’s presence. The only area that could use improvement is the camera.

  • Bala K

    Mobile Apps!

    is that a revelation???

    A hand-held device that allows you to run a DB application on the field, with remote access to your servers. You need (a) screen size (b) smart (db etc) functionality (c) internet access

    Think India. Think microfinance. Think millions of small transactions on the field where you don’t have roads, water, electricity, let alone wifi.

  • Prince77

    First of all I think this phablet term needs to go away. It’s a phone, that’s what everyone uses and buys them for. People with smaller phones do the same thing so stop calling them phablets…PLEASE!!!!!!

  • Jose


  • Jack Dunn

    I have tried out many smartphones during the past year, the Xperia Z, iPhone 5, HTC One (I did love that phone), but my Note 3 is by far my favourite. It’s a beast when it comes to specs, has a great screen that surpasses any others I’ve used, it’s great for gaming and watching videos. The S Pen has also proved itself useful often, and when it’s tucked away within the device it’s easy to forget it’s even there. I have an S View case for easy access to info and notifications, and to be honest while I have to juggle it around in my hand fairly often, it looks like a normal sized mobile to me now, I couldn’t bare to have one that was any smaller. The only issue is build quality compared to the iPhone and HTC One isn’t as great, but it beats the Xperia Z, has a nice feel to it, and I still love Sansung’s determination to keep removable batteries and as cards. I’m a huge Android geek and even after months of usage I haven’t had the urge to swap phone yet because it hasn’t yet been outdone in my opinion. Perfect.

  • Wagner Bonfiglio

    S Pen, S Pen, S Pen and big screen… And multi window is awesome with S Pen!

  • Xperia z ultra.mother of all phablets. I wach tons of 1080p content on it. Its like having a mini sony bravia tv with you all the also look fantastioc on its 6.4 inch screen.i just love it. Trust me when it comes to screens bigger is always better.

  • Jake

    I like the large format phones (I refuse to use the term phablet) because my hands are the size of dinner plates. I literally cant use a device like an iPhone or even a Nexus 5 because its just too small. I have been using large format phones since the Dell Streak first came out.

  • Naomi

    A small dev

  • Naomi

    A smaller device like the iPhone is undoubtedly better for use as an actual phone. But now the trend is to use your phone more as a portable computer and mini entertainment device, so I’m shocked that apple are still only releasing 4 inch phones. I upgraded to a phablet because I got so sick of trying to browse the internet on my iPhone or watch movies on it, yeah it’s more hardly for calls and slipping in your pocket to check email, but it cannot compare to carrying a phone with a decent sized screen in your bag

  • Griffin

    Because it’s easier to take my phone out of my pocket than it was to go to the bathroom and grab the (now sold) tablet off the back of the toilet.

    Note taking with stylus is nice too.

  • GE918

    Screen size, S-pen, Battery life, and Specs

  • jerrbomb

    It kinda takes the need away for a tablet while at the same time is a phone…

  • dublj110

    I travel for a living. I need the size for the GPS Navigation Functionality. I also use the Note for work to take pictures and document notes..

  • donger

    Have a phone and a tablet, but if you want both get a phablet.

  • OMGitsHUGE

    Phablets are for the folk who are comfortable with their large phone size, who are not bothered by ‘will it fit in my pocket’ comments, who secretly chuckle at the folk watching a video on their small 3 to 4 inch phone while we enjoy large full screen video, who like to see the full website without multiple zooming ins and outs, who enjoy playing games, who want a tablet and a phone but don’t want to carry two devices around with them, who probably own wireless, Bluetooth devices such as headphones, headsets, smart watches, who are artistic and like drawing with their fingers or stylus, who have big hands and fingers, who like typing on full screen keyboards, who use to carry a large Tom Tom or Garmin satellite navigation kit, who multi task and love seeing two applications on the screen at the same time, who love listen to music and seeing band information, who love taking photographs and videos, who have poor eyesight and let’s face it, five inches or less is just embarrassing.