My two months with a ‘phablet’

“I have never been tempted by massive phones. The 5-inch Galaxy S4 is already a bit of a stretch when you’re using it with one hand, and the 5.9-inch HTC One Max just seems excessive, particularly when placed next to the 4-inch iPhone 5s,” Sophie Curtis writes for The Telegraph. “However, analysts point to the growing popularity of ‘phablets’ (a horrible word to describe something between a phone and a tablet). In parts of Asia, they’re more popular than laptops and tablets combined, and even Apple is rumoured to be working on a larger-screen iPhone.”

“I decided it was about time to explore this new phenomenon for myself, and scooped the One Max into my handbag,” Curtis writes. “One (Max) thing you notice very quickly when you’re using a phablet is the expression on people’s faces when you take it out – a combination of intrigue, horror and ridicule. My HTC quickly became known as the ‘clown phone’ in my house because, like a clowns’ giant shoes, it somehow makes the rest of you look smaller.”

“It’s not a device I could imagine a man using, because it fits in very few pockets… At 217g, the One Max is not the lightest device to carry around with you, although admittedly far lighter than an iPad Mini or Kindle Fire tablet. The problem for me was that I just couldn’t quite get over the feeling of looking ridiculous,” Curtis writes. “I will be surprised if phablets really catch on – and this is not just a comment on the HTC One Max, but on all large-screen smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy Note, the Sony Xperia Z1 Ultra, the Nokia Lumia 1520 and others. While they have their advantages, they are unwieldy and, unless giant pockets come into fashion next season, they remain slightly impractical.”]

“I will also admit that, by comparison, the smartphone I am using now – the 4.3-inch Sony Xperia X1 Compact – feels incredibly small, and my typing has gone completely down the pan,” Curtis writes. “For now, however, I’ve decided that phablets are not for me. I can’t think of any applications other than gaming that are better suited to this size of device than any other – and I’m no gamer.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: She really wants an iPhone. Pity that she doesn’t seem to realize it as she mows through a field of iPhone wannabes, also-rans, and roadkill.

Sophie, come on, go get yourself the real thing now!


  1. when apple comes out with the iphone phablet, i will buy it
    bought every iphone from the 3g to the 5 and just bought a galaxy note 3 last week

    IOS is better than android, but some things like reading a book on a crowded train are a lot better on a phablet. miss a lot of things about ios and a smaller phone, but for a lot of people a phablet is a better choice and apple is missing out on this huge market

    1. The common sense assessment that so many refuse to accept. Apple have missed out on this oppotunity and should have offered the option over thinking about extra cost of supporting two options true in the short term but short sighted in the longer a it allows the opposition to get into the market, compete, make money and then expand into your own territory just as Apple has done with the short sighted Microsoft.

      1. The “common sense assessment” is very much anecdotal. The sales numbers say a bit different story; the large phones still represent a market share that is in low single digits. While this can still translate into millions of devices sold, it is the percentage of the market that has simply never been large enough for Apple. Things might change in the future, but if they don’t the reason is not because people at Apple are stubborn or stupid; it is because they carefully did the math and figure out that they can afford to cede this small corner of the market to others.

        1. true but android was crap before 4.3. i got the upgrade on my work phone which is an S3 and it’s like night and day. its not a laggy turd anymore and the email client is alot better

          as android matures and more people see these in the wild expect more people to buy phablets since calling on phones is on the decline

    2. Buy an iPad Mini and use Skype. You get to get a HUGE phone and tablet and anywhere you are near wifi (lots of places these days (many restaurants, fast food, book stores, friends homes)

      And hey, if you use bluetooth or earbuds, no one will ever see your iPad mini being used as a phone.

  2. Let meee ah see. Ummm. What is it I like about my mobile phone? Oh yeh!!!! It’s MOBILITY!!!!

    As she said, phablets simply don’t fit in most pockets – and if you can jam it in, it’s an obtrusive, awkward slab. An iPhone could be a little bigger, but a phablet? There’s a reason why laptops bigger than 17″ never amounted to much, and even 17″ are a rare bird these days. Yes, Samsung sells quite a few phablets – but it sells way more small phones.

  3. My galaxy note 3 fits in my pocket just fine.
    The screen is great for web surfing and video watching.

    The stylus is pretty useless to me, it is awkward for phone calls.

    I still carry my iPhone 5s for daily use, mostly because I prefer iOS over android.

  4. As long as Apple keeps making the ergonomically comfortable iPhone size, people who experiments with the Clown Boom Box Oversized 80’s with Pen stupid Phablets, will come back to the iPhone. Like the writer said, it looks absolutely goofy, can’t fit your suit pockets or jeans. Unless you wear 1980’s clown parachute pants or you love wearing cargo pants all day, using two hands just to navigate that stupid thing, then go for it.

    1. try reading a book on a crowded NYC subway train. impossible with an iphone. the train is too crowded to hold an ipad as well. i was doing it with a Galaxy S3 for a while until AT&T let me upgrade my iphone 5 if i went with NEXT.

      Galaxy Note 3 is about the size of a paperback. i would prefer IOS but apple doesn’t seem to make a product like that

  5. I think the writer should not comment on things she doesn’t know much about, such as the size of men’s pockets. I wear standard size jeans and dockers and do not have a problem with sliding my Note 2 in and out of my pocket. Granted the HTC Max is a phone that even dwarfs my Note, but I still do not envision an issue with comfortably putting it into my pocket.

    As it is now, I can have both my Note2 and my iPhone 5, with a mophie case, in the same pocket and still be able to retrieve either quite easily. Matter of fact, at times, I’ve actually have had a hard time locating my iPhone in my pocket, when I have several other things in the same pocket with it. It would be easier to find if it were larger. Either way, I don’t think I have to hold my breath waiting on the whims of fashion to supply me with an adequate pocket size.

    I also don’t know what she is talking about, not knowing if this “phablet” thing is going to catch on. Hello? Where has she been, it already has caught on. The Galaxy Note line has already surpassed the naysayers expectations of ever catching on. Every major device mfg has either created or has in the pipeline a 5.0″+ device, except of course Apple.

    Are Phablets going to be the majority of device sales? I don’t think so. They still cater to a much smaller market than the overall handset market. However, for those people who like a larger device, and are more secure with themselves then obviously the writer is with herself, and don’t give a whit what people think of them using a Phablet, it really is a wonderful device.

    There is so much more than just gaming that a Phablet makes more enjoyable. Surfing the web, watching videos, texting, which I can still do one handed with my Note2 thanks to Swype, are so much better on a larger screen. After using Maps on a 5.3″ screen, I cannot go back to using it on the 4.0″ screen of the iPhone 5. For me 4.0″ is practically unusable.

    But that’s me, different strokes for different folks. I like a larger screen. I hope the rumors are true and Apple does increase the size of its screens. I hope Apple has screen sizes for everyone’s needs. They have proven in the past, with both the iPod and iPad, that they can make devices of differing sizes to cater to specific markets. The writer obviously likes a smaller phone.

    The Phablet is not a race to the bottom like the netbooks were and Apple can make money with them and are definitely leaving money on the table by not creating this type of device. As long as Apple keeps insisting that 4.0 is the “perfect” size, every future release of the iPhone will be looked at with disappointment, by those who are looking for larger screens, and of course the “Apple haters.”

    1. ….”I also don’t know what she is talking about, not knowing if this “phablet” thing is going to catch on. Hello? Where has she been, it already has caught on. The Galaxy Note line has already surpassed the naysayers expectations of ever catching on. Every major device mfg has either created or has in the pipeline a 5.0″+ device, except of course Apple.

      I’m not sure in what universe you live, but large-screen phones still have to crack 10% of the global smartphone market. While yes, every manufacturer has one, they also have about twenty other, normal-sized devices in their stable. Phablets are usually first to get discounted (either by carriers, or even by manufacturers), and currently, they are still in low single-digit percentage of the market.

      Apple has cut down their Mac lines to just two: consumer (MBA / Mac Mini) and pro (MBP / Mac Pro), with the iMac straddling the two. And within those offerings with a screen, they are down to just two choices (11 and 13 for MBA, 13 and 15 on MBP, and 21 and 27 on iMac). Apple likes to mercilessly eliminate products or features that sell poorly (G4 Cube, Xserve, SCSI interface, floppy disc, optical drive, analogue modem, etc, etc, etc).

      Without Steve Jobs at the helm, it is entirely possible that Apple might decide to have an entry in the phablet market. I would expect it priced above the current 5S, making it probably the most expensive and highest-margin iPhone. That just might make it worthwhile to pursue this small corner of the mobile market.

      1. The masses are always bringing up the rear, just the way it has always been with everything. You have business professionals and average joes all looking to go mobile with their computing, and while laptops are in use, I don’t think very many want to attempt computing duties on a 4 inch screen. I know scrolling around a webpage on a 4 inch drove me batsh*t.

        I have a Samsung Mega 6.3 and there’s no way in hell I’m going back to a tiny screen with an even smaller onscreen keyboard. My phablet screen is plentiful and it works great as a computing device, supporting OTG cables, etc.

        Stuffing a mobile device with an octocore processor and 3GB of RAM and then stick it with a 3.5-4 inch screen would be beyond ridiculous.

  6. People who want to buy only one device like the idea of a phablet. I prefer my iPhone and iPad (wifi only) to be separate devices to be used for different purposes … if only AT&T would allow tethering …

    Apple could just offer the iPad Mini with a phone option and we could all be done talking about phablets. Yes it would look awkward (unless an earphone or headphone is used), but it would solve all of the issues except fitting it into a pocket.

  7. The gadget press doesn’t like phablets so hence they think no one else should either. The gadget press lives in an echo chamber that loves hearing itself talk and loves smelling their own farts. But lets be clear hear, just as the tech gadget press has been so terribly wrong on so many things, larger phones and tablets are the future of mobile computing.

  8. The PHabulous PHablet is PHascinating PHashion!

    Let’s Call the Samsung Galaxy Mega “Phablet” What It Should Be: A Tablet

    The new Samsung Galaxy Mega smartphone isn’t just a phone. It also doubles as a Frisbee, a George Foreman grill, a car battery and a flying saucer. . . .

    In all seriousness, it’s just too large for a phone. It is nearly the size of my face. It felt awkward in the hand. I couldn’t carry it with me while walking, jogging, or bike riding, without bringing a purse or backpack. . . .

    Samsung is throwing a variety of shapes and sizes out there right now to attempt to satisfy every consumer. The Mega feels like an experiment. As a smartphone, it’s hard to see where it fits — literally and otherwise.

      1. And if calls/texts were the only things phones did these days, you’d have a point. But being that they don’t, most of us phablet owners aren’t interested in accessing the net on an oversized watch screen…

        1. Infact, given the utility most cellphone features are used for these days, most could just give their cellphones up and go back to a two-way pager since all most do is text message anymore.

  9. The Chinese girl who used to stay with us had a Samsung phablet. It looked a lot bigger with someone of such small stature holding it. I think one reason these haven’t caught on with men is that men don’t carry purses (usually). That’s what our pockets are for, and we’re actually able to find stuff in ours. If it doesn’t fit in our pockets, we usually don’t carry it around with us unless it’s in our backpacks or, heaven forbid, a fanny pack. If all else fails, that’s what our car/truck is for.

  10. If Apple wants to stay in and expand in its Asian markets, then it will have to make larger phones. The written languages in these markets use “characters” (technically known as logographic writing) in their written languages which are more “graphically dense” than the written Engish words we are familiar with. The words of these languages are written using closely spaced strokes and curves which look very closely spaced to each other and can be more difficult to read on smaller screens. I’m not surprised that Samsung, an Asian manufacturer came up with the phablet concept since Koreans use a character based language.
    Also, older users would appreciate larger screens.

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