The Results Are In
Yes, you read that correctly.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both right around the corner, so there’s no better time than the present to come out with a phablet guide for our readers. But first, it would probably help a lot for you to know what exactly a phablet is.
What Is a Phablet?
Phablet is the term used for mobile smart devices that have screen sizes between 5 and 8 inches. It’s a happy medium for people who want something bigger than a standard smartphone, but don’t want to lug around a full-blown tablet. You likely won’t be able to fit a phablet into a jean pocket, but jacket pockets, purses, shoulder bags and anything of that sort won’t have an issue carrying one.
Unlike smartphones, a lot of phablets come equipped with a stylus for convenience. Smartphones are in a great place in 2019, so if you are a very casual smart device user, you probably don’t need to invest in a phablet.
But if you use your smart device frequently — be it for work, video games, or streaming videos, tv shows, or movies — you will get more out of a phablet than a standard smartphone.
What to Look for When Buying a Phablet?
There are a couple of things everyone should take into consideration when buying a phablet, but like most things, some factors are more important than others, and some might not be important at all. You'll need to weigh the following for yourself.
Computers are capable of a lot more than laptops are, but because of this, they also take up a lot more power. The same concept applies to phablets and smartphones. A phablet with poor battery life is probably the worst combination you can think of and all but turns the term smart device into an oxymoron.
A bigger screen is one of the main reasons people invest in a phablet, so make sure you purchase one with a satisfactory screen size for whatever it is you’d like to use your phablet for.
Additionally, you also need to keep in mind your day-to-day dress wear and/or your bag/purse options to ensure you can carry a phablet around. It’d be pretty embarrassing buying one of these devices, going home, and realizing that you only wear skirts and pocketless pants, and only use tiny purses.
Stylus or No Stylus?
I know a lot of people joke that texting is dead due to people’s ineptitude at texting, but this isn’t the case, so you’ll want to be comfortable when doing so. Unless you’re Gregor Clegane, you might have to say goodbye to dual thumb texting while holding your phablet.
Wider screens with wider keyboards are typically a good thing. But texting on a phablet can take some getting used to. Even when placed on a flat surface, texting with both hands is still a bit awkward. A stylus fixes this up nicely and is especially beneficial for those who like the drag word style of texting.
As with any smart device, you will want to make sure the one you purchase is of excellent build quality. Screen protectors for phablets are much less readily available than ones for standard smartphones, so make sure you purchase a phablet that can take a hit or two and not shatter to pieces.
Phablets are meant to be an effective compromise between a smartphone and a tablet, which can save you some money in the long run. When looking to purchase a phablet, understand what it is you want from it, and make sure your purchased phablet is capable of the performance you are looking for.
Best Brands for Phablets
When it comes to phablets, the front-runner brands are the usual suspects in the technology industry.
Arguably the head of the Android pack, Samsung makes excellent phablets.
Huawei, while considered potentially untrustworthy for reasons unrelated to the quality of its smart tech, is a strong contender for the best brand when it comes to phablets.
Google is sinking their teeth into the phablet industry and has had a strong showing with phablets like the Google Pixel 3 XL.
Rest easy Apple loyalists, you can have an Apple phablet.
Best Phablets of 2019
Now for the main event! Here are our picks for the best phablets to pick up come the end of November 2019.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
The Galaxy Note 10+ is Samsung’s best phablet yet, and our pick for best overall phablet of 2019.
It comes equipped with a 6.8-inch AMOLED display and a great battery life. The 4,300-milliamp-hour battery can also be charged very quickly, so if you only have time for a quick charge, you’ll still have a solid amount of battery life.
The Aura Glow model of the Note 10+ looks fantastic and appeals to a lot of folks. You can purchase either a 256-gigabyte (though there is little reason to) model or for $100 more, a 512-gigabyte model. This phablet also has a MicroSD slot, so you can add on even more storage space.
The Note 10+ has new and improved S Pen features and air gesture mechanics, but they are more gimmick than a standout feature. Some of the features can act a bit wonky and remind me of the dreadful Xbox Kinect. They’re fun for a while, but the novelty will run dry fast.
The Galaxy Note 10+ has a great battery life, camera and video-taking abilities, but it does not rank number one in any of these categories. There are a few competitors who have the Galaxy Note 10+ beat there. But overall, it’s still the best phablet money can buy in 2019.
Huawei P30 Pro
Packing a 6.47-inch HDR OLED display and a Kirin 980 processor, the Huawei P30 Pro is nothing to laugh at. The P30 Pro has the best battery life of all top phablet picks. It comes in 128-gigabyte and 512-gigabyte variants and has a fantastic Leica Quad Main Camera that is capable of 10X hybrid zoom that can produce near-flawless images, even at 10X. You can go as far as 50X, which sets a new standard for zoom functionality on smart devices.
This phablet uses an RYYB (Red-Yellow-Yellow-Blue) sensor that significantly improves its ability to absorb light. For photography aficionados, the 128-gigabyte variant of the P30 Pro is a great cheap option.
The P30 Pro’s EMUI 9.1 software isn’t the best on the market, and despite the standout camera features, the P30 Pro is a bit lacking overall when compared to competitors — but it has earned its spot on this list.
Google Pixel 4 XL
The upgraded Pixel, the 4 XL, has a 6.3-inch QHD display that refreshes 90 times a second. The 3,700-milliamp-hour battery offers up a very good battery life and should satisfy most customers.
Huawei’s P30 Pro is a top contender for best phablet camera, but we give the number one spot to the Pixel 4 XL. The P30 Pro’s zoom capabilities are incredible, but we believe the Pixel 4 XL camera offers more overall.
Pictures are colorful and maintain their quality even with long-distance shots. Google’s Night Sight mode always makes shooting spectacular photos in the dead of night a fun activity instead of a frustrating chore.
Google Assistant is here and works well for those looking for smart AI. The Pixel 4 XL’s Snapdragon 855 processor isn’t the best-in-class, but it gets the job done. The Pixel 4 XL also only comes in 64-gigabyte and 128-gigabyte variety with no option for expandable storage which is disappointing.
Another oddity about the 4 XL, is testing shows that it is inferior in some areas to its predecessors.
The Pixel 4 XL is hot off the press, and it might be hard for you to purchase one depending on where you look too.
iPhone 11 Pro Max
For those who can’t be without an iPhone, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the tablet for you.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max packs a 6.5-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display, which works great. If you’ve watched TV recently, you’ve surely seen the commercials for this phablet, and the highlighting feature is the camera(s).
This device comes with several cameras, a 13-millimeter Ultra Wide, a 25-millimeter Wide, and a 52-millimeter Telephoto camera and they all do their jobs quite well. I wouldn’t say the 11 Pro Max’s night mode is superior to that of the Google Pixel 4 XL, but it’s up there.
Consumers can also shoot video in 4K, which is a very useful feature to have. The battery life in the 11 Pro Max has been significantly improved, thanks in part to the A13 Bionic chip. Apple claims that you can expect up to five hours of improved battery life over the standard 11 Pro.
Apple is still Apple, however, and stagnation is the name of the game. Nifty camera functionality aside, the lack of innovation has been the largest and most consistent criticism of their smart devices and the iPhone 11 Pro Max is no different.
Another thing we disliked is the fact that the base option for the 11 Pro Max is a measly 64 gigabytes. If you’re going to be shooting videos in 4K, 64 gigabytes isn’t going to last long. There also isn’t even an option for a 128-gigabyte model. We hope Apple can get a little more inventive in the next Apple phablet.
That brings our 2019 phablet guide to an end! By now, you should have a great grasp on what a phablet is, what to look for in one, and the best options available on the current market.
Remember to wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday though. Smart devices are getting quite expensive, so always look to save when you can!