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 phone we sell with the largest screen is the Xiaomi Mi 11, which has a bezel-free 6.81-inch AMOLED DotDisplay with quad-curved edges, WQHD+ ultra-high resolution and HDR10+ for crisper details and clarity. The 120Hz refresh rate lets you enjoy a seamless and smooth screen experience, especially when gaming, and AdaptiveSync display automatically optimises power consumption.

Xiaomi Mi 11 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 don't sell any 7-inch phones, but we do sell several phones which have ultra-large screens, such as:

  • Xiaomi Mi 11: 6.81-inch
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G: 6.8-inch
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6.7-inch
  • OPPO Find X3 Pro: 6.7-inch
  • OPPO Find X2 Pro: 6.7-inch
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G: 6.6-inch

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

Large screen mobile phones

Looking for a smartphone with a big screen? Here are the phones with large displays we’d recommend.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone 12 Pro Max. Superfast 5G.¹ A14 Bionic, the fastest chip in a smartphone. Pro camera system for unbelievable low-light photography. And a larger Super Retina XDR display. It’s a huge leap forward.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

Take professional-looking pictures on the quad rear camera with Samsung’s new 108-megapixel sensor, which is designed to capture extraordinary details. Zoom up to 100x, shoot video in 8K and browse, game and stay entertained on the 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x display.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
Save £72
Xiaomi Mi 11

Mi 11

Shoot like a pro on the Mi 11’s triple rear camera with a 108-megapixel Wide-angle main camera, 13-megapixel 123° Ultra-wide angle camera and 5-megapixel Telemacro camera. Browse in comfort on the 6.81-inch AMOLED DotDisplay and experience 5G speed* for almost-instant downloads and smooth streaming.

Xiaomi Mi 11