Stats show phablets continuing their rise to dominance


  • disqusmy

    Happy new year!

    • Elton Bello


  • Curious as to what you define as a phablet? I’m going to assume that your measuring stick is anything the size or larger than the iPhone 6.

    Regardless, the phablet trend has been here for over 4 years – it has now just gone mainstream. From your other posts, I realize that you are an Apple only tech person but they misread the market on what people wanted and were late to the game. Now that they are in it, the category is growing more quickly as the Apple crowd only has a few options on what they can buy (nothing wrong with that if it makes Apple money).

    • Faisal

      The phablet in the source article is defined as 5.1″ and above. Mind you I didn’t find it in the source article but from another site that was reporting the same news.

    • danakin

      It’s interesting that 5.1″ is considered phablet territory. In my opinion, phablets begin at 5.3″; the screen size of the original Samsung Galaxy Note. Even if it wasn’t the first mobile to have such a big screen, it was the first to really make an impression on the market and launch the phablet phrase/craze. From my, admittedly unscientific, sampling, most 2015 flagship phones are between 5.0 – 5.3″. It would be interesting to see these charts redrawn with phablet defined by either an annual standard or >=5.3″.

      I remember when not long ago, my friend with a 3.5″ iPhone marveled at the 4.3″ screen of my Galaxy S2. Those devices would be classed as micro by today’s standards.

    • thereasoner

      Agreed. Except that with the ever shrinking bezel (unless you are an unfortunate iPhone user) the new phablet size starts around 5.5″ imo with LG kind of muddied the waters a bit with their in between G4.

      My GS6 with its smaller bezels can manage a 5.1″ screen and keep much smaller over all dimensions than phablets while comparing quite well in over all size. Next year the rumor is 5.2″ for the GS7 with the device dimensions unchanged, just smaller bezels still.

      It’s at the point now where screen size is no longer a good barometer for determining what a phablet is, athe least its nother the only consideration anymore . You have the iPhone 6 plus at one end who’s huge bezels and size clearly make it a phablet yet because of those ridiculous bezels it can only muster a 5.5″ screen and yet LG produces their non phablet flagship with the same screen size but much smaller bezels/dimensions .

      Admittedly the LG G4 kind of blurs the line in its attempt to be both a regular phone and phablet simultaneously. LG is now finally making a true full sized phablet now in the V 10, perhaps the G series will stop trying to be both in future iterations.

    • MassDeduction

      If you’re going to break it down into two categories (regular and phablet) as some analytics firms do, then I’d agree that 5.5″ and up is a phablet.

      If you’re going to break it down into three categories as this firm did (small, medium, and phablet), then I’d argue anything less than 5.7″ is not a phablet.

      Full disclosure: I’m on a 5’7″ handset, but planning to go back to my old 6″ phablet because the 5.7″ is just a titch smaller than I prefer.

    • thereasoner

      If phablets continue to grow well beyond 6″ then you will have me in agreement. Until then, based on the number of available devices alone I would categorize small phones as just under 5″, regular sized(most common) as those just above 5″ and phablets pushing 6″ or more.

      That’s by going on screen size alone as the measure, if device dimensions are considered then the waters get a little muddy and things are not so clear.

    • MassDeduction

      Thank you for finding that, I was shocked that it wasn’t in the source link! And suggesting something with a 5.1″ screen is a phablet is absolutely ridiculous, IMO.

    • dosbox

      It’s also worth noting that the “small” category is defined as 3.5″ or less. I doubt that many (any?) such devices were released this year.

      What would be interesting is a finer breakdown of sizes – i.e. 4.5 – 5″, 5.1 – 5.5″ and >5.5″

    • Ben

      Seriously? These graphs are ridiculous then. Are there even smartphones manufactured that have a 3.5″ or less screen in 2015? I agree with the above breakdown : < 5" is small, 5 to 5.5" is medium, 5.6" and above is large.

  • Enrico Sacchetti

    If manufacturers had high-end specs in 4.7 inch devices; this story would have a different headline. People who want great hardware are pretty much stuck with phablet-sized handsets right now.

    • The iPhone results are a pretty good example of this. When you look at iphone sales (where the choice between large and small doesn’t force you to also choose lower end specs), the smaller 4.7 devices several times more popular.

      On android your choice is either 5+ inch device or crap specs. Even mid-range phones are in phablet territory.

    • Vito R.

      Yes, seems people are forced into getting a phablet.

    • Stuntman06

      One of my reasons for getting a phablet is the battery life. The phones with smaller screens all have smaller batteries. If they made a phone with a smaller screen, but with the same specs and battery life as a phablet, I’d get the phone with the smaller screen. Apparently, no one is willing to make thicker 4.9″ phone.

    • thereasoner

      Yeah, it’s a shame that the Motto Maxx never made it here with its 5.2″ screen and 3900 mAh battery. Other than the extra thickness it’s very small bezels kept it fairly compact and well outside phablet territory.

    • MassDeduction

      I don’t think it shows that. For example, with the iPhone 6 Plus it was drastically better than the iPhone 6 if you were planning to use it for photography (8MP vs. 13MP plus OIS plus a bigger sensor). The 6 Plus was tonnes better than the 6, IMO.

    • thereasoner

      Unless you buy a Z5 compact with a 4.6″ screen or a GS6 that has a 5.1″screen but much smaller dimentions than a phablet .There’s a ton of great devices at 5.2″ size or less with great hardware, some of which is made quite compact with small bezels. All of them won’t have the latest and greatest specs but they all do offer a great user experience. Heck, even some midrange devices these days offer really good performance if you know what you’re buying.

      Personally I think the rise of the phablet was coming regardless, people just don’t want to have to buy both a tablet and phone so they buy something in between. It’s been happening for Android users for years now because phablets have been available for some time now and with the recent introduction of an Apple phablet sized device we are seeing iPad sales drop dramatically as well.

    • MassDeduction

      I know people who bought the 4.7″ iPhone who would have preferred to purchase a 4″ one if they could get one with modern specs. If they want something better than the 5S they have to go larger, whether they want to or not (some of them don’t want to, but are anyway to get more powerful devices).

    • I think you might be mixing the specs between generations. Both the 6 and 6+ had the exact same 8mp sensor with the plus having the addition of OIS. The 13mp sensor is new to the 6S/6S+ and is again shared between both models with the only difference being OIS.

  • “Distribution of new devices by form factor and OS” is the more interesting one IMO. It shows that on iOS, where customers can choose between form factors alone they are overwhelmingly going for the smaller device. The android results aren’t as telling because people who prefer a smaller device on Android are forced to either accept a size they don’t want or poor specs. I fit into this category.

    • thereasoner

      Higher resolution screen with full HD, better battery life and a better camera with OIS are examples of what you get when choosing the larger of the two iPhones overy the smallet one.

      It’s true that the standard size of most Android flagships have moved beyond the 4.7″ size and range, for the most part, around 5″-5.2″. That said, my GS6 with its 5.1″ screen compares well in over all dimensions to the 4.7″ iPhone, it just has smaller bezels with a better screen to device ratio. That and there are still smaller Android phones available like the Z5 compact and it’s 4.6″ screen that offer very good specs.

      If iPhone users are buying less phablets than Android users imo it has more to do with the number of iPads out there and the result of less need or desire for a in between device like a phablet. Android users on the other hand can essentially buy 2 devices in one with a phablet and many more of them are doing just that and not buying tablets with far fewer large Android tablets in use.

    • The overall dimensions dont really matter. I have a 6s’s and gs6’s on my desk right now. The overall dimensions might be the same but using the 6s is a lot easier. I can reach the top of the 4.7 easily while I can barely do it on the 5.1. It’s completely irrelevant how much glass is or isn’t above the top of that screen in terms of usage. While there is the spec difference, the specs of the 6s are still high enough that you feel like you’re getting a flagship. The battery may be worse than the plus, but it still beats out most android phones including phablets like the Note 4/5 (according to anandtech). The camera is a step down, but still amongst the best cameras.

      It’s not the same as android where you’re past the mid-range space and well into the low end before you are able to get your hands on a sub 5 inch device.

      I would agree with your last point. Having tablets makes phablets less appealing to me. My phone is something I use while I’m out and about. When I’m at home I have desktops, tv’s with attached chromecasts and tablets to use so a phablet isn’t as necessary. With that said, I don’t see why android users would be less likely to have tablets. If the answer is because Android tablets suck then my follow up would be who says you need an android tablet?

    • thereasoner

      You miss the point, you don’t have to go ” sub 5 inch” to get a similar sized device to the iPhone 6. Your hand reaching certain parts of the screen is not what determines a phablet because your hands aren’t the same as everyones. My hands reach just fine on my GS6 so by your logic you must be wrong then.

      It’s the over all size of the device that is a much better indicator as that affects everyone the same when it comes to handling/carrying the device. With your line of thinking Apple could put a 4″ screen on an iPad and it still wouldn’t be a phablet to you so long as the screen was place where you can reach it one handed , which is ridiculous to say the least.

      As for the Android tablet comments. They don’t suck so much as they just weren’t necessary for a much longer period of time for Android users because they have had access to phablets for several years before iOS users hence the lack of them in use. IPads are tanking too as well now that a iOS phablet is finally available and that is no coincidence.

    • Your hypothetical argument, while ridiculous as you say, actually proves my point. Namely, that the ability to use a device is in large part dictated by screen size and not overall size. I can grip both my s6 and an iPhone 6 (the s6 just barely and it’s at the point where it doesn’t feel stable in my hand). But I can’t easily reach the top and bottom on the s6 without re-adjusting. In that sense, assuming you are able to grip the phone with one hand, it will become increasingly easier to use as you decrease screen size even if you don’t decrease the body size at all.

    • thereasoner

      You need to get over yourself, your hand does not dictate what a phablet is. To listen to you talk all devices are designed around your magical hand, lol.

      Phablets these days have screens somewhere between 5.5″ and 6+ inches, well beyond one handed use, that’s just the way the products have developed over the years wit smallet bezels. It’s no different than regular size phones having screens much smaller before than they are today.The size of regular phones have grown way past the 3.5″- 4″ iPhones to 4.7″ iPhones, same goes with phablets. You really need to be closer to 6″ screens these days to be a proper phablet, 5-5.2″ won’t do anymore because of the small bezels and the relative small size of the device.

      Also, should you ever consider a real phablet by todays standards then you should look into the one handed use software trick on Samsungs phones, it shrinks the screen for one handed use rendering your reach difficulties mute. That should satisfy your obsession with the apparently small size of your hands 🙂 and remember, back when the iPhone was at its second “perfect” size of 4″ it was said back then that 4.5 – 4.7″ were to difficult to reach, people adjust.

      Finally, if you are going to continue to insist that screens at or slightly above 5″ are phablets then you would have to then describe the iPhone 6 /6s as phablets too. After all regular phones were around 3.5″- 4″ back when Samsung released its first phablet Note at 5.3″ making the current iPhone 6 /6s at 4.7 ” closer in size to the original phablet than than the “perfect” sized iPhones !

      Just saying.

    • I’m not sure what part of my post you’re misinterpreting but I’m not trying to define nor do a care what a phablet is defined as.

      My point was pretty simple from the begging. Namely; that having identical external dimensions doesn’t make two phones with different sized screens identical in use (that’s not even getting to the fact that the s6 is noticeably larger than the iPhone 6). Screen size is more important metric than body size once you’ve gotten to the point we’re both phones can be gripped.

    • thereasoner

      I was referring to your comment about Android users having to accept a size they “don’t want” or get “crap specs”, my comments are just pointing out that a bigger screen doesn’t necessarily mean a bigger size. It’s like you are saying that decent Android phones only come in phablets with screens you can’t reach one handed. Am I to assume that you think all Android users have your hand size or smaller? If not then why such a sweeping comment on the ease of use of 5-5.2″ inch phones? I was simply pointing out that your experience doesn’t equal mine or most people for that matter. Not to mention that the Z5 for example has great specs and only a 4.6″ screen.

      Take your position that it’s” much easier” to reach the opposite edge of the phones screen on an iPhone 6 vs a GS6. I’m saying the smaller bezels on the GS6 make that .4″ larger screen actually easier to reach than even that miniscule .4 would suggest. Its really just a matter of how you hold the phone really. Not as easy as the iPhone perhaps to you but the difference would be minute for most. Not only that, it would seem to me that one would just barely be able to reach across the iphone if the small size difference in the GS6 presents a problem. In fact I would go as far as to say that one would need to have your exact hand size in order to notice one device is “much easier ” if it could even be notice that dramatically at all.

      In my case, my hand size copes just fine, someone with smaller hands would have to make an adjustment for either device. All of which calls into question your claim that Android users have to accept a device/ screen size that they don’t want or get “crap specs” and not just because the size difference is miniscule but also because decent specs do exist in smaller forms. It’s about as relevant as to say iPhone users who want a camera with OIS, a better battery or screen need to accept a device size that they don’t want which is to say, not a big deal either but one that can’t be overcome as easily as .4″ obviously .

      Basically I find both your ease of use and crap specs comments inaccurate and over the top exaggerations and I set out to explain why.

    • “Am I to assume that you think all Android users have your hand size or smaller?”

      No, you only need to accept that *some subset* of Android users have my hand size or smaller (which shouldn’t be hard considering my hand size is average). From there you only need to look at the fact that iPhone users heavily skew towards the smaller device (by a margin of almost 6:1) to see that people will choose that size when they have the option.

      Android users don’t have that option because the only real sub 5 inch choice (the z5c you keep referencing) isn’t even available in North America. For the few who even know about it, there are more hurdles to jump over like the fact that you are forgoing a warranty on a phone that is known to have some long standing quality issues (like spontaneously cracking rear glass and dust getting in the lens). I know about these first hand because I did take that risk with a Z3C and was burnt with both of these issues. Reading about the Z5C on XDA points to both of these issues still being prevalent.

      My point is pretty simple and easily backed up by the facts above, when you give people a decent choice they seem to be picking the smaller phones. When the larger phones are there only option then obviously they will pick that. If you want another example look to Japan (where all variants of the Z line where easily acceisible without needing to jump through hoops and give up on having a warranty). In Japan, the Z3c was the highest selling variant of the Z3 lineup. It outsold the 5 inch Z3 and the phablet variant of the Z.

      As for the downsides oh the regular iphone 6, I’m pretty sure it’s easier to adjust to “poor” battery life which still beats the S6 and even the Note 4 and 5.

    • thereasoner

      – as I said before, iPhone users choose more towards the small end because they have iPads, Android users choose a lot of phablets because 1. There are a lot to chose from and 2. They don’t have or have to own a tablet.

      You do understand the correlation here don’t you and that iPad sales are tanking as well now that an Apple phablet is available? I mean it’s not the only reason of course, size preferences is another and so is price obviously but it helps explains the over all difference between Android and Apple adoption rates for phablets. Also , you seem to imply that hand size is the only determining factor when in reality there are more factors at play that arequire just as important if not more so.

      -actually the Z5 is available in North America now, get your facts straight, but it’s not the only choice for a “easily ” managed Android phone with great specs. Your arguments that you can speak for those with your hand size or smaller are self centered and arrogant to say the least. People like you were saying the same BS nonsense when Apple was making 3.5″ and 4″ phone, that 4.7″ was too big. Hilarious!

      – your laughable “facts above” are wrong genius, no wonder you have drawn the conclusions you have and exaggerate like you do about ease of use, you obviously don’t know what you are talking about! BTW, even if the Z5 compact is the only high quality sub 5″ choice available to Android users so what? Where are the other choices for iOS users who don’t like the iPhone?

      – and to top it all off you resort to ridiculous claims about battery life;

      “Samsung is, naturally, quick to point out that the S6 actually beats the iPhone 6 in almost all categories, the iPhone 6 lasts a bit longer for music play back, but all eles favoured the S6.”
      The iPhone 6 clearly can’t even beat the S6 despite running a cheap low pixel screen let alone the Note series phones. Even if they are comparable at all in battery life they certainly aren’t in screen quality as the iPhone 6 screen isn’t even full HD! It takes the energy equivalent of a mouses farther to run that junk screen found on the iPhone 6 and ifans are fool enough to be conned into believing that’s a god thing, Lmao!

      You are not worth my time, there are better con artists on the Internet than you.

    • The fact that you are talking about the Z5 being available when you know I mentioned the Z5c (and you also mentioned the Z5c) shows that your goal is to be dishonest and deceptive rather than conduct a proper argument.

      Everything else you said is totally subjective. The idea that small Apple phones thrive because of Apple tablets presupposes everyone shares your belief whereby a an Android user is apparently incapable of also purchasing an Apple tablet. If that is your argument then how do you explain away the second bit of info I provided to support that point; namely that the compact outsells the other Z variants in markets where all variants are readily accessible. The Z3:Z3c scenario very closely mimics the 6+:6 scenario and essentially tosses out your belief that it somehow is the fault of Apple tablets.

      Anandtech puts the wifi battery life of the 6s above the GS6, Note 4 and Note 5. That’s just factual. You seem very tied to your products and I really don’t understand why. I have a GS6 as well but have no trouble accepting that it has poor battery life even compared to my personal 5s which has a several year old battery at this point.

      You keep arguing opinions but no matter how much you want it they aren’t going to trump facts.

  • Brad Fortin

    It’s not like consumers have much choice: >90% of flagships now fall into phablet territory, with just about the only exceptions being Sony’s Z# Compact series and the iPhone 6S, and no carriers are even carrying the latest Z5 Compact. Like others have already pointed out, when specs are roughly the same between a larger and smaller model (like the iPhone) people overwhelmingly choose the smaller model.

    Hard to call something a “trend” when there’s little-to-no other options.

    • thereasoner

      Hardly. My GS6 and it’s 5.1″ screen compares to the iPhone 6 in overall dimensions very well. It just has smaller bezels that can fit a slightly larger screen. Besides that, a true phablet starts in the 5.5″-5.7″ screen size range with the largest ones at 6″ or more.

    • Brad Fortin

      “Besides that, a true phablet starts in the[…]”

      Here we go with the No True Scotsman argument again.

    • MassDeduction

      90%+ of flagships are phablets? That’s both true, and not true, depending on how you define phablet. To me, a phablet is 5.7″+ so I would say fewer than 90% of flagships are phablets. I would accept arguments down to 5.5″ being a phablet, somewhat grudgingly. Anything smaller than that is a smartphone as it’s nowhere near feature/usability equivalent to a tablet (which is typically 7″+).

    • Brad Fortin

      “That’s both true, and not true, depending on how you define phablet.”

      If we’re still discussing the article we’ll use the article’s definition of >5.1″.

      But even outside the scope of the article my preferences tend to agree with its definition. As someone with smaller hands I consider anything larger than 5″ to be entering phablet territory. My cutoff point for a phablet is the point where I would consider the phone large enough to no longer consider owning/purchasing a tablet, even if there’s a gap in features/functionality (which can usually be substituted by a phone or laptop anyway).

      Interesting data either way.

  • Elton Bello

    Best thing ever! I have a 6.7″.

    • Bok Choy

      What phone is this?

    • Elton Bello

      Huawei P8 Max

    • Bok Choy

      How is it? I was interested in one until I found out it would not work with the LTE frequencies here. I thought the fastest it would go is 3G.

    • Elton Bello

      It has CAT 6, advanced lte

    • Bok Choy

      You actually get LTE? What network are you on?

    • Elton Bello

      I am on a crappy network, but it doesnt matter. You dont have to believe me, just go online and check the specs. Pretty sure works on rogers CAT 6. You need to find a CAT 6 carrier, not the normal lte. And dont get confused with the regular Huawei, this is Huawei P8 Max

    • jellmoo

      The problem isn’t the LTE category, it’s the band. The P8 Max uses 1, 3 and 7 if I’m not mistaken. Most of Canada runs on band 4.

    • Elton Bello

      Not necessarily. CAT 6 runs on 2100+2600 MHZ. Rogers has that; pretty sure Bell has it too

    • jellmoo

      You’re very limited though, as that’s pretty much the GTA.

    • Elton Bello

      I dont think lte works in the boonies

    • jellmoo

      In the boonies no, but the rest of metro Canada, sure.

    • Elton Bello

      Simple: you dont like it, you dont buy it lol

    • jellmoo

      Oh absolutely. If it’s the device you like, more power to you! I do think that people need to take care to make sure that they’ll get the functionality they want when they import a device though.

    • Elton Bello

      And according to you, what info I gave was missleading?

    • jellmoo

      Absolutely nothing. It’s not a note directed to you, just a note in general for people to make sure they do research before importing a device.

    • Elton Bello

      In my opinion, this device is worth it only for the huge screen and double sim. The rest is not very important. But yet again, my opinion.

    • jellmoo

      For sure. For me, that size is very much tablet category and wayyyy too big for my liking. But options are always good, and it would be great to see more of these options more easily accessible in Canada.

    • Elton Bello

      It ends up being cheaper for people who dont have corporate plans. Instead of paying 120$, you combine tablet plan on one sim with voice plan on other and save about 40$+

    • Bok Choy

      I know which Huawei we’re talking about. I was looking at getting it earlier in the year but at the time I understood that it would be able to get any speeds faster than 3G. Thanks for the new info!

  • jellmoo

    Every once in a while I convince myself that phablet size (for me, it’s kind of a rough territory to define, but I generally go with 5.5 inch to 6 inch) is ideal, but what usually happens is after a few weeks, I really start to miss 1 handed use. Consuming content on a phablet is amazing, but dealing with the size on a daily basis (comfort in pants, pulling out of pocket, reaching the entire screen, keeping a good grip, etc…) is an awful pain in the behind.

  • Elton Bello

    You are missinformed! It has CAT 6, so will work on the big three who have cat6, advanced lte

  • Raj Singh

    Just like Apple got it right with the iPhone, Samsung had it right with the Note, creating a burgeoning segment within the market.

  • GPman

    I just don’t know how to transport phablets. I don’t need a bag or suitcase for work, so normally I am hands free and dont wear coats. My 4.7 fits in my pocket perfectly. So how do most people store their phablet when out and about? Do they hold it, do they use bags or suitcases?

    I’d love one but just think the size would be inconvenient for me.

    • thereasoner

      Going from my 4.7″ HTC ONE M7 to my GS6 with its 5.1″screen was no big deal, the over all device size difference was minimal because of the ever shrinking bezels on devices these days. That said, I couldn’t see myself with a phablet device with a screen at 5.7 to 6″ +, no matter how small the bezels it would be considerably bigger than my old HTC.

  • kuox

    So judging by the absurd 5.1″ screen criteria for a phablet, both the Galaxy S6 and the Note 5 are considered phablets? Both the Nexus 5x and 6p are considered phablets? What? How is this a proper comparison?

    The iOS Christmas 2015 percentage distribution is the only proper comparison between phablet and non-phablet imo, since Apple’s phones are clearly separated into phablet and non-phablet territory. And it’s clear that non-phablets are still far outselling phablets, over 5 TIMES as much

    Show sales comparison between Galaxy S line and the Note line for a true non-phablet and phablet comparison in the Android world.

    • thereasoner

      Agreed, it is absurd. Regular size phones were once around 4″ in screen size and they have grown with the times and ever shrinking bezel. So too is the case with phablets, they are larger these days as well.

      A true phablet by todays standards is anywhere between 5.7″ to 6+ inches although we do have LG among others trying to make an in between device at 5.5″ with super small bezels. That said, it’s basically nonsense to claim that the size of the screen on the regular phone can grow over the years by over an inch in the case of the iphone but it can’t grow by half an inch for phablets! Ridiculous!

  • Might as well say “Stats show phones without keyboards continuing their rise to dominance”

    You can’t buy something that isn’t offered anymore. Well smaller phones are still here, but for how long?

    • Stuntman06

      When they were offered, they stuck keyboards on crappy phones. If they stuck them on better phones, they’d be more popular.

  • matus201

    This is just a complete guess, but I bet if the android flagships are smaller (below 5.1″, which defines “phablet” in this report) we would not see the rise of phablets.