Just how big is big enough?
When Size Doesn’t Matter Anymore: Will You Buy a Phablet?
Despite sounding like a very sleazy innuendo, this is probably the question smartphone users are currently asking themselves. The recent trend of manufacturers to churn out phones that push the concept of portability has led many to believe that, indeed, the future belongs to these huge 5-inch-screen smartphones.
But does it? While proponents of this new trend reason that as technology progresses, the bigger the display is, the better; opponents, on the other hand, point out that there is a certain threshold for smartphone size. Anything beyond that is not practical anymore.
So here, let’s examine the pros and cons of a smartphone that pushes the boundaries separating tablets and phones: The phablet.
Pros: Technological Convergence
Well, do you remember the time when you had to carry three to four gadgets at a time? A camera, your phone and a tablet? Well, that scenario is what a phablet is for. Its size passes as a mini-tablet while its camera actually takes great shots and it’s definitely a phone first and foremost.
Furthermore, the big screen is something that you will quickly get used to and you will probably never think of going back to phones that have less screen real estate. The Samsung Galaxy Note 1 and Note 2 are also reported as having an above average camera, an 8 megapixel unit, which is enough for most of the needs of an average user.
The battery life is equally outstanding. With 2500 mAh for the Note 1 and a gigantic 3100 mAh for the Note 2, battery life is better than most smartphones and tablets that seem to guzzle battery life like cold lemonade on a hot summer day.
And while it seems that phablets are the way to go….
Cons: When Less Is Actually More
Flak and not praise greeted the first phablet Samsung released: The first Galaxy Note. Simply put, despite some reviews available online that praised the phone due to its top-of-the-line specs, more reviews of it are particularly less positive. BGR, a tech news and reviews site, even went as far as to say that it is the “most useless phone” he’s ever seen and another reviewer called the phone “dorky.” Furthermore, it has been labelled as a fad that will surely fade into obscurity after a certain period of time.
But it never did. By the third quarter of 2012, Samsung announced that the original Galaxy Note had sold more than 10 million units and the next iteration, the Galaxy Note 2, sold five million units just two months after launch. Other manufacturers were quick to follow, with LG competing directly with its LG Vu, Optimus G and Optimus G Pro while Sony’s flagship, the Xperia Z settled for a 5-inch screen.
It was different this time, though. Consternation and incredulity greeted the next line-up of Samsung’s phablets: The Galaxy Mega smartphones. With 6.3-inch and 5.8-inch screens, as little as ¾ of an inch would put the larger Galaxy Mega closer to the Nexus 7 than the Galaxy Note 2.
Trading portability for a larger screen might be preferred by some but then, imagine holding up to your ear a tablet sized smartphone or even using it in your daily life. It would also be ridiculous to even consider putting these phablets in your pocket; their sheer size not only makes it difficult but dangerous. Imagine hearing that sickening cracking sound when you sit or walk.
Will You Go With the Flow?
Are phablets the future? No one is completely sure. Right now, there is a growing concern online that the manufacturers are making phones that are unwieldy, uncomfortable and questionable in taste and design (they all look the same).
Also, GSMArena, online gadget news and reviews site and an IT authority, called for manufacturers via a petition to build compact phones the size of the iPhone 5 with the hardware of today’s flagships (Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z and HTC One). While still needing a few hundred signatures, this petition is testament to the desire of a large part of the gadget freak community to have phones that are portable but powerful at the same time.
Come to think of it: Isn’t portability the reason why cell phones were invented in the first place?
Are phablets, then, just a temporary fad that will phase out in the coming years? It’s still too soon to say. The combination of awesome hardware and a drop-dead gorgeous (and oh-so-big) screen is a tested formula for commercial success. There is also this big-screen paradox: Once you’ve adapted to a phablet, switching back is going be very hard. If a big screen is what you want, why not just get a tablet?
Ultimately, the choice is yours. Besides, if you really want a larger screen, why not just sell your smartphone/phablet and just buy a full-pledged tablet?
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