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Best phablet... what's that? Technically, the name comes from combining the words 'phone' and 'tablet'. But really, we're talking about smartphones with very large screens. And that offers a lot of benefits over smaller handsets.
Gamers find them particularly appealing, while watching videos and browsing the web on one of these bigger devices is certainly a more immersive experience. For photographers, being able to view your carefully crafted compositions and daily vlogs on a larger screen is also a bonus. A larger screen means a larger phone, which means that you generally get a bigger battery too; great for all-day usage.
There’s no agreed definition for phablet, but we’d say anything with a 6-inch screen or above qualifies. Most of these don't come cheap, but it could be argued that by buying one device and foregoing an additional tablet device, you do in fact save money. That said, there are some slightly more budget-friendly options on our list too, in the form of older models that still have a lot to offer.
Best phablet in 2022
In our view, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best phablet on the market today. Its 6.8-inch AMOLED screen is simply incredible, offering bright and vivid colors, smooth (120Hz) motion, impressive brightness and super-detailed 1440 x 3088 pixel resolution.
And that's just the display. In general, this is a premium, high spec phone, from the gorgeous design to the fantastic S-Pen stylus. Its camera is first-rate too, featuring wide (108MP), ultra-wide (12MP) and two telephoto (10MP) sensor, one with a 10 times zoom (f/4.9). The selfie camera's pretty jaw-dropping too, with its 40MP resolution, f/2.2 aperture and 8K video capture at 24fps.
Finally, the 5,000mAh battery will mean you can use it throughout the working day without having to worry about topping it up. For more details, read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review (opens in new tab).(opens in new tab)
While the iPhone 13 Pro Max may be number two on our list, it's a very close second. Because this is one very lovely phablet indeed.
The latest, greatest and biggest of Apple’s latest iPhones, it boasts a quite astonishing Super Retina XDR OLED, offering a smooth 120Hz refresh rate HDR10, Dolby Vision, and a peak brightness of 1200 nits. So whether you're viewing photos, watching video or making Zoom calls, you're very well served indeed.
The Pro Max also boasts a 4352 mAh battery, promising up to 28hrs video playback. And the image quality of the four camera array - 12MP wide, 12MP ultra wide, 12MP telephoto and LIDAR scanner - is quite extraordinary. For more details, see our Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max review.
See also Best iPhone 13 Pro Max cases (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
If you want a slightly more affordable Apple phablet, the last generation 12 Pro Max is well worth a look. The 6.7-inch screen is gorgeous, and truly displays your photos and videos at their best. That’s especially true if you shoot videos with Dolby Vision HDR enabled.
It’s both a positive and a negative that the native iPhone camera app is so simple. You really can just point and shoot and feel assured of excellent results in a wide range of situations. This phone also supports 5G while other useful features include strong waterproofing and wireless charging. For more details, read our Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max review (opens in new tab).(opens in new tab)
The predecessor to the Samsung 22 Ultra, our number one pick, the S21 Ultra is more affordable yet still boasts some fantastic specs and capabilities. The 6.8-inch screen housed in a pretty large phone (bigger than the iPhone 12 Pro Max for example) makes it a little unwieldy, but it’s a dazzling display for your content.
Camera wise, you have four different lenses to choose from. The main 108 megapixel lens is surrounded by an ultra-wide lens, plus two telephoto options. The furthest reach is 10x, thanks to a periscope design. This can also be boosted to 100x digitally, though it’s fair to say the results are mixed if you do. You also get 8K video recording (with a crop applied), plus standard 4K video modes.
Other standout features include a great battery life, a well-featured native camera app and 5G connectivity. For more details, read our Samsung S21 Ultra 5G review.
If you want a job doing, do it yourself. That's the thinking behind the Pixel phones which, after years of providing their Android operating system for other manufacturers, entered the fray themselves in 2016.
The Google Pixel 6 Pro is the latest entry in the series, and it's also the greatest. The 6.71-inch Gorilla Glass screen, with always-on display, is very beautiful, with punchy colors, strong viewing angles, impressive brightness levels and Wide QHD+ resolution (1440 x 3120). The cameras are high-end, with a 50MP wide camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera and a 48MP telephoto shooter. And coming from Google itself, you're assured of the purest and smoothest Android experience. For more details, read our Google Pixel 6 Pro review (opens in new tab).(opens in new tab)
With its enormous 6.9-inch screen, there’s absolutely no doubt that the Note 20 Ultra belongs in the “phablet” category. It's an absolute gem for viewing your video and photos on, with stunning clarity, although it can be a little unwieldy to use for typing and the like, especially if your hands are on the smaller side.
The USP of the “Note” series is that it comes with an integrated “S Pen” stylus. With this, you can write on the screen, but it also has photographic applications, such as working as a remote trigger for the shutter, which can be handy at times.
In terms of the camera set-up, you get three lenses to shoot with, plus a Laser AF sensor which is used for measuring depth. The telephoto zoom offers a 5x optical zoom, but you can also engage up to 50x “super resolution zoom”; though the best results are seen when you stick to 10x digital or below. The main camera has a huge 108MP, with a high-resolution mode that you can engage if you want to show off a lot of detail - otherwise, images are output at 12 megapixels.
Other specifications of note include 5G connectivity, wireless charging and 8K video recording (24fps). For more details, see our Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review (opens in new tab).(opens in new tab)
The OnePlus is a 5G handset powered with a Snapdragon 865 making it more than comfortable driving its glorious 3168 x 1440 pixel 6.78-inch Quad HD+ display, even at 120Hz. While the device design is perhaps less beautiful than some of the others here – a bit busy on the back – it’s cheaper too, and can be chosen in some stand-out body colors. The design includes a punch-out front-facing camera in the top left corner of a rounded screen.
The camera array’s main camera uses the Sony’s 48-megapixel IMX 689 sensor, so it more than holds its own against the big boys. The system has subtle but effective HDR processing, as well as face tracing which can also handle pet.
It's capable of capturing 4K video at 60fps and down to super slow motion at 720p@480fps. Stills are bolstered by Nightscape, but the really unusual feature is the 5 megapixel Color Filter Camera which shoots through a coated lens to create hardware-assisted Instagram-like effects. Interesting, though of limited use.
In general operation, the phone is well equipped, with Dolby Atmos support and a screen suited to watching or gaming (indeed OnePlus are especially keen to note their boosted haptics and special gamer’s do-not-notify mode). That said, you’ll see fewer customizations to Android than on a Samsung Galaxy (not necessarily a complaint!)
• Read more: OnePlus 8 Pro review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
If you don’t have an enormous budget to spend, but you still want a large phone with interesting camera specs, it’s worth deviating from the “big” brands.
The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro has a 6.67-inch screen. It boasts an impressive refresh rate for a smooth display, but in terms of deep colours and brightness, there are better options on the market.
For the cameras, you get a high-resolution 108MP main sensor, paired with a 26mm f/1.9 lens. There’s also an ultra-wide optic, plus, intriguingly a macro lens, which helps you to get highly-detailed close-up shots. All three put in a reasonably decent performance, with that macro option being particularly appealing if you’re the type to photograph subjects such as flowers.
Other useful features here include 5G connectivity, a massive 5000mAH battery, and a good range of different camera modes accessed via the native app.
Although there are undoubtedly better performing cameras on our list, at the price, you get a lot for your money.
• Read more: Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro review (opens in new tab)
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