WHAT THE PHLIP ARE PHABLETS?
In a world where technology is striving to get smaller and more discrete (for example, wearable tech), we’re seeing a rise in popularity for massive smart phones that look utterly ridiculous pressed against your head.
Coined the rather usual name ‘Phablet’, the half-phone, half-tablet (for those of you still half asleep), was brought to light with the first Galaxy Note released in 2011. Whilst being quite popular, many considered the 5.3-inches of the phone/tablet as too big to be used as a phone. They felt the market simply wasn’t ready for the Phablet.
So what changed? Why are phones being developed now with, on average, bigger screens? I believe it’s a lot to do with the functionality behind them. The app market, particularly on the Android OS, is so vast and so easily accessible that more users than ever are utilising that. It’s so easy to catch up with your favourite TV shows on Netflix or watch your favourite music video on YouTube, straight from your phone. With this media accessibility in mind, users of all ages don’t want to be squinting to see what’s going on; they want bigger and better.
Now that the market has shifted to (and accepted) bigger phones, Apple has finally jumped on the bandwagon and released a BIG version of their latest iPhone range. The acutely titled ‘iPhone 6 Plus’, has taken the curved and sleek design of the iPhone 6 and stretched it to a big ol’ 5.5 inch screen. A change this big was a risky move.
Apple loyalists love the fact that every generation of iPhone is virtually the same to some degree, and I dig that. We’re human and often don’t like change. So I’m glad that they made the decision to release both so those not quite as adventurous can just upgrade to the standard 4.7-inch of the iPhone 6. Both phones have the same spec, 64-Bit processors, 1GB of RAM and 8MP rear facing cameras. However, the Plus does have a full HD display so you can watch all those TV shows and YouTube videos of cats in crisp quality and it has a bigger battery to compensate.
The strange thing is, I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the size of the Plus. Again, maybe I’ve just come across a lot of people who don’t like change, but it’s almost exactly the same size as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and smaller than the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 and the Nokia Lumia 1520, both of which are 6-inches.
Unfortunately, the operating system doesn’t fully accommodate for the bigger screen in portrait mode because I can’t reach the top of the phone with my thumb. Apple have tried to solve this with the new ‘Reachability’ feature that, after a quick double tap on the home key, causes half the screen to drop down in thumb pressing reach. Unfortunately, it looks a bit tacked on but it does work on every app. It just means that half of that glorious 5.5’’ HD screen is wasted because, unless you’ve got longer thumbs than me, you can’t reach it. So they’ve leave it a big empty black space. At least it’s empty black space in HD.
Now for the Granddaddy company of Phablets: Samsung. Originally, Samsung pushed back the release of their Note 4 so we still haven’t seen or heard a massive amount about the Note 4; this is probably due to it being so close to the iPhone launch. What do we know is that it will be released sometime in October so if you’re a Samsung fan – rejoice!
The Note 4 has the same size screen as the Note 3 (5.7’’) but will take sport a SUPER HD screen – 2,560 by 1,600 pixels for us nerds – which is, again, perfect for all that video watching. Another thing to note (heh) is that the Note 4 will again sport the ‘S Pen’ stylus, which is obviously staple to the ‘Note’ branding, a perfect addition to any tablet or big smart phone. Taking notes in lectures is great using my 7’’ tablet and stylus, and Evernote, the note taking app I use works perfectly on a big screen.
The Note 4 also features a 16MP rear camera with 4K recording and a 3.7MP front facing camera for Skyping and selfies!
But it’s not just Apple that have jumped the big phone bandwagon. This year, Google announced the 5.9inch Nexus 6. It doesn’t have the extra niceties that come with the Samsung Note 4, but it’s going to be the first smartphone with the new Android 5.0 Lollipop operating systems. It has a 13MP rear camera and a 2MP selfie camera so it doesn’t have quite have the spec of the Note 4 but the Nexus has a sleeker overall design than the rather square, plastic-y look of the Note 4.
That’s a short look at some of the newest Phablets in the market – you’re welcome. The iPhone 6 Plus is already available but is short stocked in quite a lot of places, so check with your local retailers for availability. The Nexus 6 will be available to pre order in the UK from the 29th of October and in stores from November. With the Note 4 has been pushed back to the end of this month, who knows what Samsung are up too!
So, what are your thoughts on Phablets? Would you get one or do you own already own one? If so, what is your favourite thing about having a big phone, and what apps do you love the most on your big screen?
Let us know in the comments below or drop a tweet to me @benhowgill or on the @teabreakdmu twitter!