Once ridiculed for their sizes, phablets are quickly becoming a popular option for users who want to combine the capabilities of a smartphone with the functions that can only be accomplished on a tablet.
Business users, in particular, are jumping on the big-screen trend as they realize that all the tasks they need to do, such reading emails, editing documents, and viewing multiple apps simultaneously, are better done on a phone with a 5.5-inch screen or bigger.
Consumers are also realizing the value of owning a phablet instead of getting a phone and a tablet separately. They can browse the web, play games and watch videos with much greater detail and clarity than they can with a regular smartphone.
Still, phablets aren't for everyone. People with big hands may like the ease of navigating their screens one-handed, but many people will need to use both hands to use their phablets. Also, phablets are not small tablets. They are big smartphones with top-of-the-line features that, of course, come with premium prices.
Those who can handle phablets and are ready to shell out good money for them can take their pick from the following:
1. Galaxy Note 4
Buyers get what they pay for with the $599 Samsung Galaxy Note 4. For years, the Korean smartphone maker has been on top of the phablet game even before many of its rivals started churning out their own devices, so it's no wonder why Samsung's flagship phablet takes the No. 1 spot on this list.
With a 5.7-inch screen, the Galaxy Note 4 has a huge display. It's more than huge, though. It's spectacular, equipped with a 2560 x 1440 Super AMOLED display that makes watching videos and playing games a marvel.
The built-in S Pen stylus is one of its commendable features, but it also comes with an array of hardware features that justify why it takes the top spot, such as its fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor, and a powerful combination of the latest Snapdragon 805 chip and 3GB of RAM to make it run as smooth as butter. With a massive 3,220mAh battery, users can do as they please on their Galaxy Note 4 without worrying about needing a recharge.
2. iPhone 6 Plus
After sticking to its tried-and-tested formula of making smartphones that fit easily inside the hands, Apple finally began making the iPhone 6 Plus, a phablet that's not the first in the market but is definitely one of the best out there.
For the niche buyer who wants everything Apple, the iPhone 6 Plus is the only option available. It runs on Apple's latest A8 processor and features a rich 1920 x 1080 display with full support for features such as HD Netflix, Apple Pay, and TouchID, Apple's fingerprint scanner that adds an extra layer of security.
It's also Apple's thinnest and lightest smartphone ever, with an aluminum build that some arguably may find problematic when fitting inside their pockets.
At $749, the iPhone 6 Plus sure isn't cheap, but Apple buyers have never been known to buy cheap. With that standard alone, the iPhone 6 Plus is surely a device to keep an eye out for.
3. LG G3
The LG G3 can give the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 a run for its money in terms of display, as well as Apple's iPhone 6 Plus in terms of dimensions.
With a Quad HD 5.5-inch screen and a pixel density of 538 ppi (pixels per inch), the LG G3 is perfect for power users who need to do screen-intensive tasks, such as viewing and editing documents while away from a desktop. It's particularly commended for QSlide, which lets users switch between tasks easily by allowing second apps to open in a second window.
It's also one of the thinnest and lightest phablets around, with a 9.3 mm build and a weight of 153 g. Make no mistake about the weight, though, as the $599 LG G3 runs on a powerful Snapdragon 801 processor from Qualcomm and 3GB of RAM.
4. Nexus 6
Google's Nexus line has always been known to give users the best bang for their buck. While the Nexus 6 is the first device to veer off Google's usual strategy of producing top-tier smartphones for low-end prices, the $649 Nexus 6 is still worth the money for anyone looking to buy an Android phablet.
First off, the Nexus 6 is certainly Google's latest and greatest smartphone. With all the high-quality hardware specs one would expect from a flagship smartphone. It also comes from Google, which means Nexus 6 owners get first dibs on the latest Android updates that Google turns out. It comes out of the box with Android Lollipop, which offers a slew of productivity, security and notification features not available in older Android iterations.
It's not without flaws, though. At six inches, the Nexus 6 is definitely one big smartphone, but it doesn't come with a stylus that makes full use of all its screen real estate.
5. OnePlus One
The worst thing about the OnePlus One is it's not the easiest phablet to buy. At $299, this smartphone is definitely the best phablet when it comes to price, but OnePlus requires that buyers receive an invitation to buy.
Nonetheless, anyone who gets an invitation definitely should not miss out on the chance to get their hands on a OnePlus One, which boasts a 13 MP rear camera, 1920 x 1080 display, Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM. It's not a traditional Android phone, though. It runs on CyanogenMod, a modified open-source version of Android with features not offered by other Android smartphone makers.
6. Nokia Lumia 1520
Very few Windows Phones reach phablet status, which is why Microsoft did well in putting out the six-inch Nokia Lumia 1520. While the phone has a plastic build, it feels solidly built, giving it that premium feeling that comes with a high-end phablet.
Some users will be put off by the whole six inches of the Lumia 1520, but for users for whom size is no problem, this smartphone is well worth the $585 they are paying to get. The massive screen boasts a full HD 1080p IPS display. Combined with the Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM, the beast of a screen makes viewing movies and playing games in full HD a joy.
7. Oppo N1
The Oppo N1 is not the most popular of smartphones, but it comes with all the bells and whistles that one can expect from a high-end tablet. Sure, it doesn't have the latest features one can find in a Galaxy Note 4 or an iPhone 6 Plus, and the Oppo N3 is making its way to the market later this year.
At $729, it is more expensive than some of the more premium offers, but for buyers who want something that others don't have while giving them the same power and functionality offered by other devices, the 5.9-inch Oppo N1 is a solid device running on its Android-based ColorOS or CyanogenMod and featuring a rotating 13 MP camera that's great for the selfie-loving generation.
8. ASUS ZenFone 6
For only $299, the ASUS ZenFone 6 is a steal. Buyers don't get all the fancy features of more expensive phones, but this is a great choice for those who want the benefits of having a large screen combined with low prices.
The ASUS ZenFone 6 is definitely a looker, with a not-too-chunky 9.9mm build and a soft matte plastic back that feels solid to the touch. The six-inch smartphone dons a 1280 x 720 display. It's not the best, but ASUS more than makes up for it with a feature called Splendid, which lets users tweak their display to suit their viewing preference. With the vivid mode, for instance, one would get brighter, bolder displays that make it look like the phone has more than a 720p resolution.
The ASUS ZenFone 6 sports a 2.0GHz Intel Atom dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM that puts it at par with other mid-range phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia M2 and LG G2 mini.
9. Galaxy Note 3
The Galaxy Note 3 from Samsung was the phone that started it all. Even with the newer Galaxy Note 4 kicking this one off flagship status, the Galaxy Note 3 continues to be an impressive device that one can purchase for a price that is slightly more affordable than the Galaxy Note 4.
For $470, one can purchase the Galaxy Note 3 on Amazon. Some people will be put off by the faux leather back panel, but one can always take it out and switch it for another case in return for the power delivered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 3GB of RAM.
Of course, Samsung didn't scrimp on the display of its first phablet. At 5.7 inches, the Galaxy Note 3 is a great fit for many of us with smaller hands, and the Super AMOLED full-HD display delivers great graphics.
10. Sony Xperia Z Ultra
For $350, Sony offers the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, a whopping 6.4-inch monster that delivers power and aesthetics in a single device. Of course, its size can pull people in or turn people off, depending on their preferences. Sony could just as easily have churned out a 7-inch tablet, but it wouldn't come with the phone functionalities the Xperia Z Ultra offers.
Even with a price so cheap, the Xperia Z Ultra definitely looks and feels like a premium phone, with a glass back and ultra-slim 6.5mm profile. It runs on a Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM and is powered by a monstrous 3,050mAh battery for all the movie viewing on the full-HD 1080p display.
The only downside is a less-than-stellar 8 MP camera that can't even match up to the performance of other 8 MP cameras out there. Still, for those who subscribe to the "bigger is better" philosophy, there is no match for a Sony Xperia Z Ultra.