Phablets: what are they and why do I want one?

February 27, 2013    |    By +
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With the tech and gadget world evolving at a dizzying pace, it’s sometimes hard to keep up with all the products and technology. But a new and quickly growing class of products is actually pretty easy to understand…although it’s not that easy to say.

The “phablet” is a hybrid device that combines the utility of both a smartphone and a tablet.  The consensus is a phablet’s screen size is between five and seven inches. So it’s larger than a smartphone yet smaller than a tablet. As for functionality, phablets are full-service mobile web and smartphone devices as well.

So if a phablet is basically an over-sized smartphone, why are they such a big deal? Well, they’re a huge deal for two big reasons. First, sales of the phablet device category were impressive in 2012 and seem set to blow up in 2013. Some estimates have phablets sales doubling this year to around 150 million units.

To date, Samsung, with their Galaxy Note series (current version being their Galaxy Note II) has been the dominant phablet player. But others seem to be ready to get in the game.  At this year’s CES, there was a lot of buzz around Sony’s entry into the fray with their upcoming (water-resistant!) Xperia Z device.

It’s important to note, for the most part, the Android operating system has been powering the phablet craze so far, and it begs the question, will Apple get into the game? While rumors abound, one can probably assume if Apple does come out with larger-screened iphone, it won’t like be called an iPhad.

The second reason phablets are a big deal is that they’re big! Consumers see tons of advantages with the larger phone. There seems to be a form and function sweet spot developing in the smartphone world. The 5-7 inch screen size, to many, delivers the best of all mobile device worlds.

It should be very interesting to watch the phablet category grow and evolve.

Hopefully, some confusion about this new term is cleared up a little, and the next time you hear the word “phablet”, you won’t instinctively reply “Gesundheit”.


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Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

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Gwen is the Editorial Curator at In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.