When does a smartphone become a “phablet”? [POLL]

We know many of you don’t like the term (phablet), but it is the most commonly used word to address those devices that blur the line between a smartphone and a tablet. We don’t necessarily like it either, but if you can help us come up with a better name, we just might use it!

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to the point. There seem to be different standards when it comes to categorizing such devices. Screens that we used to see as large are becoming small and gigantic phones are becoming normal. So when does a smartphone exactly become these mystical devices we all stare at when we go to the phone store? Does it depend on the features? Maybe it has more to do with the size?

To me, a phone becomes a “phablet” when you are no longer able to use it comfortably with one hand. Of course, this will vary from person to person, as our hands are not the same size. This is just the way I personally tend to see it. In my eyes, anything above a 5-inch screen is a “phablet” or a mini tablet.

If you believe it is more about features, then you may believe the Galaxy Note devices are about the only real smartphone/tablet hybrids out there. Said devices take advantage of the S-Pen (stylus) to bring more functionality to the larger display. This takes the device’s screen real estate to the next level and makes up for the lack of extra space in your pockets.

I happen to love large displays, even if many times I can’t just one-hand them. I usually don’t, anyways. But what do you guys think? Are you liking these enormous smartphones? Let us know what you think and participate in the poll to let us know when you think a smartphone becomes a “phablet”!

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TAGS: phablets

  • http://twitter.com/slayerpsp S.Rambo

    My Note 2 doesnt seem big to me in till im in public people see it and always say thats a huge phone i just say i have bad eyes need the large screen

    • DarrenR

      I keep forgetting its so big until I show someone. It seems so normal to me now

  • coushti

    Yeah I’ll agree with 5in but only if it’s pretty much bezel. I have the htc one x and I can see them using the same case size to throw in a bigger screen. Even more so if there are no buttons.

  • OMFCody

    It depends on how wide it is, so really the one hand option makes sense.

  • Tommy Thompson

    Size and features.

  • http://twitter.com/lalalandis lala

    When it stops fitting in your pocket.

    • No_Nickname90

      My Nexus 7 fits into my pocket.

      • Brian S.

        This can be true.

      • ToxMarz

        Then its a phone

        • http://twitter.com/SpamStream lolwut

          it’s clearly not

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

        Ok, when you don’t look like a douche with it in your pocket. I look like a douche, but usually only when I have my Nexus 7 in my pocket… :D

  • Jayshmay

    Any screen above 5 inches.

  • Daniel Lopez

    Why not call it a hybrid?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

      What do you think a “Phablet” is? Phone + Tablet

  • hkklife

    For me personally, 5″ is the absolute max of what I consider a “big” smartphone. Anything above that, certainly in the realm of the Vue, Note or Note 2 is definitely a phablet.

    I am sure someone in the next year will release a device with an ultra-thin bezel and a 5.2″ or so screen that will shake my standards..but for now, it’s 5″ easily.

  • Simon Belmont

    I said anything above 5 inches. I think that’s the absolute MAX before you’re in phablet territory.

    I also think anything above 6 inches is in TABLET territory. Heh.

  • patty

    Above 5 inches

  • Nathan Aker

    I agree with most people, 5 inches is the max, and 6-6.9 inches should be considered a mini tablet or something.

    • No_Nickname90

      Mini tablet? But I thought the 7 inch were the “mini” tablet? Like iPad Mini.

      How about we call them New Age PDAs? Remember how big a PDA device was?

  • andrew__des_moines

    It would be nice to see Phandroid start a trend to at least put square centimeters in parentheses after diagonal value — it is far more informative and comparable.

    • Go Hawkeyes

      You take your more meaningful and easier to use measurement system that most of the world uses and get the hell out! Merica! F Yea.

      • andrew__des_moines

        Square inches would suffice — the point is an area measurement, not length. And by the way, go Cyclones…

  • Spoken Word™

    No matter how many times you say it Edgar, the term phablet isn’t going to catch on.

    • AndroidiMac

      You’re too late. It already has. Sorry.

    • Zomby2D

      Considering the fact that it’s a widely used term by a majority of people, I’d say it already has.

    • jroc74

      The term phablet was popular before everybody else started using it. Us in forms used it to describe the big phones before the media, writers started using it, I know I called the Dell Streak a phablet before it launched or when it launched.

    • OptimusL

      It most certainly has, deal with it mate.

    • http://twitter.com/SpamStream lolwut

      Go look at all his other posts. Either staggeringly stupid, or really excellent troll.


    I think the next Galaxy Note 3 will be a “Phablet” IMHO

  • ty

    waiting for a “that’s what she said joke”.

  • yankeesusa

    For me it depends on being able to use the phone with one hand. I can use my note 2 with one hand 90% of the time. The size is not bad at all. I wouldn’t mind going 2 inches smaller but if note 3 is bigger I will not be getting it.

    • No_Nickname90

      Interesting since I can just use my Epic 4G Touch with one hand. I know I can’t type with one hand. =.S

      • yankeesusa

        With Swype I have been able to right one handed on all my smartphones since swype. It took a little to get used to on my note 2 but most times I only use one hand.

  • kev2684

    people say note 2 is huge. personally a week after I purchased mine I just see other phones as small and my note 2 as normal. not even a “phablet” for me.

    I’d say 6-8″ is a phablet. Nexus 7 would be one if it had cell radios.

  • ntegrit

    I’m with you, Edgar, in that I consider over 5″ to be a phablet. Interestingly, though, this was NOT an option in your poll!

    As an aside, I’ll confess that I’m still shocked at the popularity of the Galaxy Note series, which I judge to be ridiculously large (possibly due to my small hands…)

    • Edgar Cervantes

      The option is there… It is the most picked one, actually. lol

  • Zomby2D

    Under 4″ – kid’s toy
    4″ – 4.5″ – regular phone
    4.5″ – 5″ – large phone
    5″ – 6.5″ – phablet
    Over 6.5″ – tablet

    • aYo Binitie


    • a) youth.in.asia

      Under 4.3″ kid’s toy
      4.3″ – 4.7″ regular phone
      4.8″ – 5″ large phone
      5.3″ – 6.5″ phablet

      • ben7337


      • Jeff432

        But Apple says that the 4 inch iPhone 5 is magical.

    • niuguy

      Yeah i don’t know why he stopped at 5…

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  • MarylandUSA

    Let’s think metric: 130mm (5.1 inches) or larger.


    when Apple says so…?

    • RobertArias

      Lol @ BENSTEEL

    • OptimusL

      haha nice

  • frostypawz

    Wasn’t the original definition of a phablet established with the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus at 4.65 inches? Just to round it off,it was said to be anything over 4.6. I think that original definition should stand. If not,as soon as people get used to 5 inch screens,the definition will continue upward again merely to reflect what most people are comfortable with at the time.

    • jroc74

      No…the Dell Streak was called a phablet first. That was about a year before the G Nex. The Streak is 5 inches.

      IMO the G Nex isnt a phablet… I remember not too long ago some called the Droid X1 a phablet…lol.

      No one called the HTC HD2 a phablet…and it was 4.3 inches. Thats odd now that I think about it…the HD2 was before the Streak….maybe the HD2 was also before the iPad.

  • guitarist5122

    Lol, I hope that all those votes for sizes smaller than 5in is a joke. and I love my Note 2. Wouldn’t give it up for anything, except maybe a Note 3. However, it does annoy me time to time that I have to use two hands more often than I care to.

  • matoz

    4.3 inches and above  0.73%  (3 votes)
    Who said that? Uh?

    Come on!

  • Chris B

    A phone is a phablet when it reaches over 5 ins

  • simpleas

    6″ and above? After using the Note 2 for a while, it is not that big at all…

    • Phillip Bee



    Phablets are sooooooo yesterday. When are we gonna see the next category :
    A 6.5″+ phone w/a slide-out keyboard :The PHONEBOOK! Is it a phone, or, a netbook?

    You be the judge…………

    • No_Nickname90

      LoL!! There was this working demo Motorola Photon Q at sprint. It was like a 6 inch phone and had the keyboard. I was like really? =.P

    • http://twitter.com/SpamStream lolwut

      As a systems/network engineer, I would seriously buy that if they made it. Also probably would never get a date ever again :-/

  • frostypawz

    Again,unless I’m mistaken,the Galaxy Nexus at 4.65 was the first one to be referred to as a phablet.This defined the bottom end and it was totally based on screen size (no stylus).Despite what we wish the definition might be,it has already been defined by who came up with the term.And yes,even Wikipedia has it wrong and needs correcting.

  • bob

    After 4.99 inches

  • Phillip Bee

    around 6″-7″

  • bmg314

    6 inches and above is phablet range, but that’s just my opinion, and it also depends on bezel. Additionally, with things like swype and swiftkey flow, the need for the phone to fit the user’s single hand is diminishing.

  • Rdfry

    No just keep bringing them larger screens makeem 24″

  • Hinds

    When it’s a tablet with phone capabilities!

  • http://www.facebook.com/elusivepjo Peter Orlando

    I have the note2… For me its a dream come true and I will probably keep with a phablet in the foreseeable future. I have small hands and it was an adjustment that I still go through. Still I have ditched my Pc and tablet and use this hooked up to my monitor.

  • Cptmidnite

    Note 2 seemed big at first but very normal now, all other phones seem small to me now. Everything is bigger, better, and easier to see, videos are beautiful. I would go for the Note 3 if the screen was 6.3, but that would be it, after that-flexible displays that roll up, huge ones at that!

  • C-Law

    I wish it was called “phoneblet”

  • buddah123

    Phones should be under 5″ on screen size. If a device is to have a bigger screen or anything more than 5″ should have very good loud speaker for ease of use. Imagine slapping a brick the size of a TV guide against your face, it might give you a concusion…

  • jroc74

    I voted 5 and above. There were tablets by Archos a few years ago…..at 5 inches. Still…I think the GS3 is the absolute max size. Its just a tad too wide and long to me. But I could get used to that. Past that…and its really phablet territory.

  • Mitchel White


    the 5″ DNA still feels like a phone.

    but the 5.3″ Note feels like a phablet

  • zoran

    Over 5 inches it becomes a Tabone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1017022109 Ryan Allen

    for the 601 of you who said “5 inches or above”, you’re forgetting phones like the Xperia ZL, which shrink bezels to get 5 inch screens in bodies smaller than phones like the galaxy s3, which you all know has a 4.8 inch screen. so is it just about screen size or device size? I say device size.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001157635211 Danny Callahan

    Where did the phones of yesteryear go, sporting screens at or near 3.7″?

    I miss the older, slightly smaller phone days. I still feel the screen in the HTC Hero to be adequate, and the incredible to be my butter zone.

    All that being said, I do own an S3. I like having the bigger screen for when I want to watch a movie in bed or something, but the other 90%+ of the time I’m using it, I wish it were smaller. Hell, a 1280×720 (or 1366×768) screen resolution packed down into a 3.7″ area would look better than 1920×1080 over a larger area. Taking that into mind, less power being used to render/draw over a higher resolution is going to translate directly into higher performance for games and the like while using the same or less power.

  • erry

    Never mindthat. .Im still struggling with ‘Tablet’. I’d like to see someone try to swallow one? !

  • Step666

    There are phones and there are tablets, ‘phablet’ is just a stupid made-up term.

    There are distinct differences between phones and tablets in the way they’re designed, their intended functionality etc and all the devices referred to as ‘phablets’ clearly fall under the category of phones.
    So ‘phablet’ doesn’t really mean half phone/half tablet, it’s just a name some people give to large phones.

  • note4me

    Well, for a tablet 6 inches is way to small, for a phone 7 inches is way to big, so a phablet is anything that falls into that category, 5 inches is not even that big by today’s standards. What else does it make it a phablet? Functionality, high end hardware.

  • a) youth.in.asia

    Seeing the Samsung Galaxy Note was the first “phablet”, im going to say anything 5.3″ and over

    • bmg314

      Dell Streak was the first.

      • a) youth.in.asia

        It was a 5″ device and it was sent to misfit island where it belonged. No one knee about that phone. No one was saying anything phablet related when that came out

        • bmg314

          Yes they were. I remember it, and if you don’t you can Google plenty of links from 2010 where it is referred to as a phablet. So, yeah… Streak was indeed the first.

  • Robert Manser

    Everyone has to remember that what I think might be big might be small to someone else.

  • Crimsonshadow774

    I have tiny hands for a guy and I can one hand my S3. Not perfectly, but close enough to where I don’t give a damn. I’d take a bigger screen. Hell the only time I can’t really two hand is when I’m driving, but my Bluetooth radio gives me the control for music and calls so that’s all I really need anyway.

  • John Mozelewski

    Well i use my note 2 easily with one hand and its not like i am the size of LeBron James. I’m just a little over 6ft 2in. So if you believe anything you can use with one hand is only a phone then the note 2 is just a phone

  • http://www.swornbrotherhood.com/ nemesys06

    its not just the size, but the abilities and features of the device. I still look at the note series as the only true phablets, though I can’t remember the name of the lg device on Verizon. The note 2 is far beyond any other smartphone when it comes to features and I feel that some of those features are what distinguish it from other smartphones. it’s not just the size as many devices are pushing for bigger screens, but offer little else new… It has to offer something that other typical phones so not.

  • jroc74

    Its interesting reading some of the comments. I see how popularity can sway ppl’s opinions.

    Some, many ppl forgot about the Dell Streak….a 5″ phone/tablet that came out in early 2010. Phablet was probably born because some sites called it a phone, some called it a tablet. I dont remember hearing that term before the Streak. I heard it alot since then tho. HTC had the HD2 at 4.3″ in 2009…..no one really blinked at the size. It was running Win Mo 6 or 6.5.

    See…there were big screen phones before the Droid X1, EVO, Note 1.

    I dont think a stylus makes it more of a tablet or phablet. There were plenty of phones before Android came out that used styluses. Palm, Win Mo…If thats the case we can call those 3″ phones phablets. To me it all about the size and phone features. Take phone features off a Note and Note 2 and its just a tablet. Add phone features to an iPad and its a phablet. Not talking about Skype…I mean an actual dial pad and cellular connectivity. Speaker phone.

    Archos made a 5″ tablet in 2009 or 10. Samsung has a personal media player at 5″ I think. They werent called phablets because phone features were absent. I dont think any of them even had cellular connectivity. I see they might have had cellular data….but not voice. Just saw Samsung also had a 4 inch PMP. Its called a PMP and not a phone/media player hybrid.. The iPod Touch isnt called a phone/media player hybrid. The phone features make a big difference between a phablet and a tablet.

  • TheHowiie

    5+ inches

  • stndspec

    I don’t care what Samsung wants to push it to be called. I do not believe in phablets, neither does google or firefox based on spell checks. My modest collection at the moment includes a Nexus S smartphone, a Note 2 smartphone, a Transformer Prime tablet, a laptop, and a workstation. No phablets in that mix, never will be. Awful, awful name. But – I don’t like ‘smartphones’ or ‘superphones’ either at this point, we do need something new that will include both smaller and larger personal data devices.. hm, PDD. Meh.

    • OptimusL

      Terrible, terrible post.

  • Ivan

    I think phone is something which can be used to make calls, a tablet is something you can’t make calls with but is for surfing the net, playing games, checking e-mails, watching movies, getting some work done and has a screen that needs two hands to handle. If something is both I call it a PDA.

  • Pkmmte

    I think anything over 5 inches should be considered a phablet. I can easily use my Galaxy Note 2 in one hand to do most tasks and it fits in my front pockets (skinny jeans) yet I still consider it a phablet.


    For everyones’ sake here,I hope each & every one of you are taking this vote very seriously:

  • Feztheforeigner

    5.3″ and above since the poll didn’t go high enough…

  • FlyingPigL

    When you start looking ridiculous holding it up to your ear? (Colbert’s comedic routine of holding the iPad to his ear, for example).

  • Kyle Cordiano

    That is a tricky one. Most people will say above a 5 inch screen, but the Droid DNA is that size and is not a phablet. I say it depends on the width of the phone.

  • dara_parsavand

    I agree that a 5″ 16×9 phone with narrow bezels all around is still in the phone category for me, and I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ll be desiring in two years when my Note II contract is up. The Note II is nice, but I’m thinking it is a bit too big for me – big for pockets and big for one handed use (which granted isn’t that often – I’d say the pocket size is more significant. I have to use the pen more before I pass verdict, but so far it hasn’t proven that useful.

    So as others have said, really what polls should be is: for a device you consider a phone and carry in all the usual pockets you want to put a phone, how long can it be (one poll) and how wide can it be (another): for me it’s roughly 130 and 75 mm to these two questions.

  • http://N/A Matt Weber

    Anything over 4.8 becomes a phablet, IMO.

  • erni74

    A really good question, i can’t understand why the displays get bigger and bigger! I think, that 5 inch are really enough, if it’s bigger, then for me it’s a phablet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1911005 Thomas Edwards

    Determining a phone, “phablet,” or tablet based on its screen size is ignorant, phones aren’t necessarily increasing in their overall size relative to their screen size, their bezels are decreasing and their length is increasing. I think people have to stop asking “at what screen size does a phone become a phablet” and start asking “at what dimensions does a phone become a phablet” because manufacturers are going to continue to increase screen size by decreasing bezel and holding the dimensions of the phone constant at some point. I think once you go over 143x71x9 significantly you’re really pushing into phablet territory

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1911005 Thomas Edwards

      But at a guess, we’ll see phablets and phones max out at around 5.8 and 5.3 inch diagnols once bezel is exhausted, Huawei Ascend Mate is definitely tablet territory IMO.

  • Jeff432

    If I can comfortably fit it in my pocket while I have a case on it, it’s a smartphone.


    You didn’t add screen/bezel ratio, I think that is a bigger part of Phablet than actual screen size.

  • jasbur

    S3 is 4.8 and they could do 5 in the same size phone. So my answer is no longer 5

  • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

    Never since “phablet” is a stupid made up term invented by and only used by tech journalists.

  • Charles Williams

    Is those colors for Samsung galaxy note 2 are coming usa