Phablets and large screen phones

Not quite a smartphone, not quite a tablet - what exactly is a phablet, and do they still exist?

The term ‘phablet’ started gaining popularity from 2012 to 2014, although it’s a word you may not hear as much now, as smartphone screen sizes increase and phone technology leaps forward. Here’s our guide to phablets, including their defining characteristics, whether they still exist, and the current range of smartphones which are seen as modern-day phablets.

What is a phablet?

Phablets are a cross between a smartphone and a tablet - the term ‘phablet’ was used in the past for smartphones with very large screens.

The term was coined around the time when phones had 4.5-inch up to 5.8-inch screens, and phablets had 6-inch+ displays. The term ‘phablet’ isn’t relevant anymore as the majority of new smartphones have 6-inch+ displays.

The definition for ‘phablet’ is fluid as smartphone displays have become larger and the term has steadily fallen out of use. However, phablets tend to have the following characteristics:

  • Large screens with smartphone processor functionality, yet smaller than a tablet
  • Can be held and used in one hand
  • Many are compatible with styluses
Man holding a phablet

Do phablets still exist?

Technically, yes - there are several new smartphones available with large displays and powerful processors which have phablet characteristics.

However, as technology has moved on, what would have been considered a phablet in the past would now be considered a small smartphone.

When Samsung released the Galaxy Note in 2011, its ground-breaking 5.3-inch screen defined it as a phablet – it’s commonly cited as one of the first phablets available. These days, the Galaxy Note’s display would be considered small.

Why did people buy phablets in the past?

When large smartphone screens weren’t as commonplace as they are now, phablets were popular with people who needed to work on trains and planes, and people who wanted to watch videos and play games on larger screens. Some of their benefits included:

  • More space on screen - people who had to work on the go found that a larger screen increased their productivity
  • Immersive entertainment - larger screens meant more detail and a cinematic-style viewing experience
  • Increased comfort - using and switching between apps was more comfortable on bigger screens
  • Reducing eye strain - it was easier for people to read text, get notifications and read documents on a bigger display
Woman watching a film on a phablet

Which iPhone has the largest screen?

The iPhone with the largest display is iPhone 12 Pro Max, which has a 6.7-inch screen.

Which smartphone has the largest screen?

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G has a 7.6-inch tablet-like display when it’s unfolded, and a 6.2-inch display when it’s folded. Despite its huge screen, it’s classified as a foldable smartphone - not a tablet.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G has a 6.9-inch screen, and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G has a 6.8-inch screen. The other Samsung foldable smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G, has a 6.7-inch screen when it’s unfolded.

Galaxy Z Fold2 5G's screen

Is 6.7 inches big for a phone?

Yes - any phone with a 6.7-inch screen (and above) would be considered a large phone. Phones with a 6.7-inch screen include:

Is there a 7-inch phone?

There are several 7-inch phones available to buy - we sell the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G, which is 7.6 inches when unfolded.

A 7-inch phone will give you a slightly larger display than a 6.7-inch phone - that means more immersive entertainment and gaming, and easier multi-app viewing from one screen. 

Using a 7-inch phone