Smartphone, Phablet or Tablet - Which one is best for you?

Technology is ever-evolving. In this digital age, you can buy a computer the size of your palm, or a ‘mobile’ that feels more like a desktop! The way we categorise these devices is becoming increasingly blurred, but it’s still worth asking yourself, which one is right for me?

Last updated: 16th Nov 2020 at 11:21am

In this article, we compare the similarities and differences between smartphones, phablets and tablets. 

What is a phablet?

You probably know what a smartphone and tablet is, but you might not have heard of a phablet. 

As the name suggests, it’s a bridge between ‘phone’ and ‘tablet’, the middle-man in between the smallest and largest portable devices you can get. If it’s too big to be a smartphone, but not big enough to be a tablet, chances are it’s a phablet. 

Smartphone versus Phablet versus Tablet

Size

Devices

Screen sizes (typically)

Smartphones

Between 4 - 6 inches

Phablet

Between 5.1 - 7 inches

Tablets

7+ inches

Smartphones vary in size, but these days they tend to be on the larger side and in excess of 5”. There are still some little 4” phones around, such as the iPhone SE

Phablets breach the middle ground, often looking slightly too large to be a phone, but not large enough to classify as a tablet. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for something you can still hold in your hand and transport around with you - though it would fit better in a bag than your pocket. 

Tablets are the largest ‘mobile device’ before we start getting into laptop territory. They’re not quite that bulky, as they don’t require a keyboard, but they’re definitely not pocket friendly! The extra screen size makes all the difference when using it though.

Usage

Size isn’t everything - it’s also important to think about what you’ll be using the device for. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What do I want it to do for me?
  • What do I specifically want to use them for? e.g. social media, watching videos, working, writing emails
  • Where will I be most of the time? e.g. at home, commuting, in public

For day-to-day use and communication purposes, the smartphone is your best bet. It’s easy to transport around with you, contains all of the messaging apps you may need, and you can make calls and texts from it too. 

For home working, a tablet is usually more convenient due to its larger screen size. It is also typically more powerful than a smartphone, so its battery can last longer, and it can function with more tasks simultaneously. You can even use a tablet as a makeshift laptop using a stand on its case to prop it up. Some professions, like digital artists, solely use tablets for working. 

For watching videos and shows, a phablet provides a good middle-ground between both. The screen is large enough to see, but small enough to carry around with you if you’re commuting. Likewise, the size makes for a pretty good gaming device too, though many might prefer to simply use their smartphone for portability. 

For home use, smartphones and tablets pair up nicely, as you can easily swap between the devices depending on what you want to do. Tablets are good for home leisure, as you have the freedom to prop them up anywhere and the larger screen makes for better viewing.

Storage

How much storage you need is dependent on what you want to use your device for. The more photos, videos, music, and apps, the more storage space you’ll need. 

Storage differs by make and model, but these are the typical sizes you can expect to find for each device. 

Device

Storage

Smartphone

8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

Phablet

32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

Tablet

16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

If you’re worried about running out of space, look specifically for models which have expandable storage - phones, phablets and tablets can all have one. Also don’t forget about cloud-based storage like Dropbox.

It’s handy to remember that your operating system (iOS or Android) can take up to 5GB of storage space, so keep this in mind while shopping around. 

Battery

Your device’s battery life is vital to your experience. If you have one that needs to be constantly charged, it can get really annoying to use. There are ways to make your battery last longer, but buying a device with a long battery life to start with is your best choice. 

Device

Battery capacity examples

Smartphone

Average between 2,900mAh and 4,500mAh, though the Moto G8 Power has a capacity of 5,000mAh!

Phablet

The Huawei Mate XS and the Samsung Galaxy A70 have a battery capacity of 4,500mAh

Tablet

The Apple iPad 3 Wi-Fi has a battery capacity of 11,560mAh

In case you’re curious, these are the smartphones with the longest battery life in 2020.

Based on the table you may be thinking that tablets would last the longest. However, the larger the screen size, the more battery required to keep it lit.

For smartphones, it’s all dependent on usage. Ofcom states that the average time on a smartphone is around three hours. If you spend a lot of time on your phone, it’s smart to invest in a big battery, otherwise you’ll be constantly reaching for your charger.

Cost

Costs vary greatly, but not just by type of device. You’ve got to factor in everything else, including hardware, software, and of course, brand. If you’re set on buying an Apple or Samsung device, be prepared to dish out more money than if you went with a lesser known company. 

You’ve also got to factor in device age. New devices tend to be pretty expensive, often exceeding £1,000 for the big, flagship products. 

Device

Cost (typically)

Smartphone

Between £200 - £1,500. A second-hand or refurbished phone could keep you paying £200 or less

Phablet

Similar to phones, but typically start a little more expensive at around £300-400 due to their larger screens/higher specs

Tablet

Starting prices can be £50-£100, and tablets don’t tend to cost more than £1000

Verdict

Each device serves its own purpose, so it depends what you’re looking for your new purchase to do. 

If you can’t decide between a smartphone and tablet, maybe the phablet is the best mid-point for you. Likewise, if you don’t know whether to get a smartphone or a phablet, consider how large you want or need your screen size to be. 

Smartphones are typically best for communication, but phablets and tablets can offer more in terms of visibility and speed. 

What devices do Asda sell?

We have a range of locked and unlocked phones available online as well as in store. We also offer a number of tablets

So which one is best for you - smartphone, phablet or tablet? Let us know on Twitter.

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