Phablets are starting to take the mobile industry by storm and they have effectively blurred the lines between smartphones and tablets. These devices are arguably better solutions than voice call-capable 7” tablets, which works rather awkwardly. Recent electronics shows have showcased these oversized smartphones with impressive displays.
Swelling the smartphone display beyond the 4.99” limit may cause a few ergonomic problems. However, the newly introduced awkwardness is compensated by the benefits of getting more screen real estate. On phablets, texts are more legible and users read the content with less zooming. These devices also make videos more attractive and immersive to view. Users can enjoy added interactions with split screen viewing and better gesture options. There’s surely an upper limit to phablet dimension, they may never pass beyond 7” display size and anything above 6” requires specialized approach, such as edge-to-edge design. The bulking up in the screen size department also affects the battery consumption and a good phablet should have at least 2,000mAh battery. The full HD display also deepens our addiction on data consumption; as streaming 1080p video content requires at least, a dependable HSPA+ connection.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II is still the most popular phablets in many regions, but its fame is progressively eroded by new models boasting full HD display. As an example, the HTC Droid DNA/Butterfly is the world’s first 1080p handset, with its 5” display, delivering 441ppi of pixel density.
New phablets that will make huge presence in 2013 include ZTE Grand Memo is a huge phablet with 5.7” 720p display and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS. It will also be among the first to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor. To make its new phablet easier to use, ZTE adds the MiFavour UI on top of the stock operating system interface. The LG Optimus G Pro has been officially unveiled in South Korea. It comes with a 5.5” full HD IPS display, 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 13Mp rear-facing camera, 32GB of onboard storage and 1,3Mp front-facing camera. Asus Padfone Infinity is an interesting phablet design that can converge with a docking station forming a 10.1” tablet. The PadFone itself is a typical Android phablet with 5” full HD display, 2GB of RAM, 13Mp rear-facing camera, 64GB of internal storage and 2Mp of front-facing camera. The Lenovo K900 is another flagship phablet in the market with 5.5” IPS display and Intel Atom Clover Trail+ processor, all in a super thin 6.9mm chassis.
Major emerging markets such as India and China are filled by many affordable phablets. In India alone, there are a number of phablet models that are well-accepted by consumers. The Lava Iris 501 is a 5” phablet with 1GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of onboard storage and Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). It is available for only Rs 9,999. The Micromax A110 Canvas 2 is a similarly priced phablet with generally identical internal specs. Slightly more expensive at Rs. 11,900, the Karbonn A30 offers a gargantuan 5.9” display and its 2,500mAh battery is powerful enough for delivering 10 hours of talk time.