Best phablets of 2014/2015: the 14 best big-screen phones you can buy - best phablet reviews - best Android phablets, iPhone 6 Plus, Windows phablets
The 14 best phablets reviewed: the best big-screen phones you can buy in the UK
By Marie Brewis | PC Advisor | 16 December 14
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is a mid-range smartphone with a gigantic 6.3in touchscreen. It offers excellent battery life and 4G connectivity, but performance is a mixed bag and it's impossible to use single-handedly.
LG’s Optimus G Pro is king of the small—but growing—phone/tablet hybrid market (I refuse to use the term “phablet”). It’s a performance powerhouse that, despite its large size, is relatively comfortable to use even with average-size hands. The G Pro loses a few points for its limited multitasking features, but if you’re looking to buy a large Android phone and aren’t dismayed by the underperforming camera, then the G Pro is definitely worth considering.
The ZenFone 6 is not going to appeal to everyone. It really is huge, so it's not the most portable of smartphones, but if you're ok with that you're going to benefit from a brilliant device for watching TV and movies on the commute. If it's playing games you're most keen on, you might need to look elsewhere as the ZenFone 6 isn't he most powerful of options, but for £250 you'll get a good-looking phablet with satisfactory specs, an impressive camera and a really nice user interface.
Like HTC’s Desire 610, the Desire 816 sits awkwardly between other smartphones in terms of price, with rivals including the OnePlus One, Nokia Lumia 1320 and Nexus 5 among others. If you’re won over by the big screen, you won’t be disappointed if you can pick one up for around £200.
With 'okay' performance and a good but not great screen, the Lumia 1320 still offers good value for money. It's certainly not the best handset on the market, but if you want a Windows Phone with a big screen, and you can't or don't want to stretch up to the faster 1520, you won't regret buying the Lumia 1320. The camera is basic and the storage limited, but the battery life is brilliant.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 has got so many things right including build quality, a great camera and a good looking screen. It's the best Windows Phone yet but software is still lacking and we just wish the darn thing was smaller because it's severely off putting.
It won't be for everyone, but if you want a big phone (and we mean BIG), you could do a lot worse than the HTC One Max. This is a serious performer that is built to look good and last.
The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is a nicely made device but doesn't represent good value for money. The phablet is extremely unwieldy and doesn't have a great camera. Sony would have been better off making this a 7in tablet rather than a 6.4in phone.
We're not sure you need all the extra features that Samsung packs in, and we could live without the S Pen. And not everyone needs or wants a smartphone with a 6in display. Neither is the camera all that great. But be in no doubt about it, the Galaxy Note 3 is a high-quality portable device, offering the best performance we've ever seen, a stunning screen and nice build quality.
As with the iPhone 6, it's hard to come to a conclusion about the iPhone 6 Plus. For a start, it’s unusual for Apple not to make the first move, so while the iPhone 6 Plus is the biggest and fastest iPhone ever, there are even bigger smartphones with higher resolution screens in the Android stable.
There’s also the unknown for a lot of people. Is a 5.5in screen too big? Conversely, is it big enough to replace a tablet such as the iPad mini? These are questions that have no definitive answers: screen size is and will always be a personal preference. There will be iPhone owners that will prefer to stick with a smaller screen and opt to hold onto their iPhone 5s / 5c / 5 or buy a 4.7in iPhone 6.
Others will love the extra size for browsing websites, watching videos, using detailed apps (such as Garageband) and browsing their iCloud Photo Library. Yet more might feel that 5.5in isn’t enough to comfortably browse some websites or use fiddly controls in apps. As Jason Snell observed above, if you’re not sure, it’s well worth heading to an Apple store to try out an iPhone 6 Plus before you buy.
One thing is for sure: the iPhone 6 Plus is expensive. If you're a dedicated iPhone user and would never consider switching to Android, you'll save money by going for the smaller iPhone 6. But saving money has never been a goal for most iPhone buyers and on that basis, the iPhone 6 Plus is a very fine smartphone indeed.
There are some good things about the Nexus 6 including build quality and some top-end hardware such as the screen, processor and camera. However, it's simply too big, unwieldy and expensive to warrant awarding it anything higher than four stars and really get behind it (unless we wanted to hid from something). In the phablet market, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is simply better even if it is pricier and the excellent LG G3 at less than £300 is another thorn in the Nexus 6's side.
There are only two, possibly three, bad things to say about the OnePlus One, if you are happy to buy online direct from OnePlus. We wish there was expandable storage, and it's bigger than other smartphones with similarly sized displays. And if we are being really harsh, we would hope for a better camera. But at the price the OnePlus One is an amazing deal. It's a flagship smartphone for a mid-range price. Bargain. Get them while they are hot.
LG has impressed us with the G3 which comes in at under £500 but packs amazing features including that Quad HD and a camera with a laser auto focus. The device is surprisingly small considering the 5.5in display and we like the more premium design. It's another winner from LG.
The Galaxy Note 4 is a bit of a handful and is rather expensive but lovers of the Galaxy Note range will likely be enamoured with this edition. It is, on the whole, a great device with plenty of power and features. As long as you're aware that you're buying a huge phone and will get the most out of what it offers. Otherwise a smaller and cheaper handset is probably a better choice – the Galaxy S5 or one of its rivals.