Everyone thought Samsung was totally nuts when it launched the first Galaxy Note, but now phablets have become so popular that Apple’s gone and made one. Love ’em or hate ’em, phablets are here to stay.
While the definition of the phablet is somewhat ethereal and hard to pin down, for our purposes, we’re going to say that smartphones with displays sized 5.5 inches and up are considered phablets and everything else is just normal. In truth, the standard flagship phone is now about 4.7-to-5.3-inches in size these days. Based on that criteria, we’ve rounded up our favorite king-sized phones into this convenient guide.
If this were any other year, the latest Galaxy Note would probably be at the top of our list. Unfortunately, Samsung was forced to issue a full recall after several Galaxy Note 7 phones started exploding. Now that the king of phablets is out of the picture, these are the best phablets you can buy.
Why should you buy this: It’s the biggest, most powerful iPhone ever, and it has a killer dual-lens camera.
Who’s it for: Apple fans who want the best phablet ever
How much will it cost: $770+
Why we picked the iPhone 7 Plus:
Apple’s phablet keeps getting better every year. The iPhone 7 Plus may look nearly identical to last year’s iPhone 6S Plus, but it packs some huge internal improvements inside its slim metal body. The 5.5-inch screen is still a 1080p LCD panel this year, but it looks as sharp and rich as before. in fact, this year’s iPhone has an even brighter screen.
Underneath the panel is Apple’s homegrown A10 Fusion processor, which is perfectly tuned to power the iPhone 7 Plus. In benchmark tests, the A10 Fusion blows away the competition, and real-world performance is equally impressive. Apple’s iOS 10 brings big improvements to the iPhone, including rich notifications, increased 3D Touch functionality, better widgets, and much more. It is also the most secure mobile operating system, thanks to instantaneous updates and security patches. Apple also focuses on user privacy and security more than most with its dedication to encryption and refusal to store and read user data.
However, the real star of the show is the impressive 12-megapixel dual cameras. One of the cameras is a telephoto lens that offers 2x optical hardware zoom and up to 10x software zoom. The quality of 2x zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus is just extraordinary. It beats out every other smartphone on the market. You don’t lose detail, and your zoomed picture turns out excellent. You can go up to 5x in good lighting conditions without too much noticeable loss in quality, which is still better than you can say of any other smartphone’s zoom.
The dual-camera lenses also enable the best bokeh effect (when the background blurs around the subject of the shot) we’ve ever seen on a smartphone. Other phones, including the Pixel, tend to mess up the blurring effect on the small details. Apple is also well known for reproducing colors accurately, while Android phones consistently oversaturate images. It comes down to personal preference, but we prefer the iPhone’s natural hues. It also produces strong images in low light, rivaled only by the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
The iPhone 7 Plus is the phablet to buy (so long as you don’t mind losing the headphone jack).