Buying Guide: Best phablets 2016: the top supersized smartphones


Our hands might not be getting any bigger these days, but our phones certainly are. Ever since the Samsung Galaxy Note was released – and proved a success – in 2010, phablets have been growing with lots of companies around the world jumping up their flagship phone sizes.

Flagship phones such as the OnePlus 3, iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge are now sat at the 5.5-inch and up mark. Other phones are breaking the 6-inch mark as some phablets are starting to resemble small tablets, arguably filling the roles of both a smartphone and a slate.

If you think that one device is better than two, or just have really big hands, then there’s a growing selection of phones to suit… and these are the best.

Moto G4

9. Moto G4

The fourth generation Moto G is here

Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 153 x 76.6 x 9.8mm | OS: Android 6 Marshmallow | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 617 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16/32GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Low price

Bright Full HD display


No fingerprint scanner

The Moto G4 is one of the best cheap phones you can buy right now and it just so turns out the latest Moto G handset is also a phablet.

It features a 5.5-inch Full HD display – a jump up from a 720p screen on the last Moto G – and it’s impressively powerful too with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 chipset and 2GB of RAM under the hood.

It doesn’t feature NFC or a fingerprint scanner, but for this price you wouldn’t usually expect those features on a phablet. If you want a phablet on a budget, go for the Moto G4.

Read the full review: Moto G4

Moto X Style

8. Moto X Style

Customisable and affordable

Weight: 179g | Dimensions: 153 x 76.2 x 11.1mm | OS: Android 5.1.1 | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 | CPU: Snapdragon 808 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 16/32/64GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 21MP | Front camera: 5MP

Bright, vibrant screen

Pure Android

Big and heavy

Disappointing battery

The Moto X Style is one of three pretty high-end handsets Motorola has released back in 2015, slotting in between the Moto X Force and the Moto X Play in terms of specs and price, but with a 5.7-inch screen it’s the largest of the three.

It runs nearly pure Android too, so for fans of unadulterated versions of Google’s OS it’s a strong alternative to the Nexus 6P.

As the name suggests the Style is pretty stylish and hugely customisable, with a metal frame and a wood, leather or plastic back. It’s not quite as much of a looker as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ or iPhone 6S Plus, but it’s not far off.

The battery life could be better and it’s a bit of a handful, but with solid performance, a decent camera and a reasonable price tag it’s well worth considering.

Read the full review: Moto X Style

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

7. Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

The world’s first 4K screen in a phone

Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 154 x 75.8 x 7.8mm | OS: Android 5.1.1 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 2160 x 3840 | CPU: Snapdragon 810 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3430mAh | Rear camera: 23MP | Front camera: 5.1MP

Huge 4K display

Impressive finger scanner

Poor battery life

Lacklustre design

This is Sony’s latest phablet, and it’s a pretty darn nifty one at that. Its main feature is the 4K screen it’s packing on the front – and it’s not as mental as you’d think.

It’s a brilliant display – there’s nothing more pin-sharp on the market at 806ppi density. We’re not convinced you’ll be able to SEE those extra pixels, and they’re not turned on all the time, but it’s there.

The Xperia Z5 is already a good phone, and that’s been supersized here – with the same brilliant camera, waterproof chassis and good Hi-Res audio.

Battery life could be better, but it’s no worse than a lot on this list – if you want to try something different, the Xperia Z5 Premium could well be it.

Read the full review: Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

Nexus 6P

6. Nexus 6P

Google’s second-generation phablet is here

Weight: 178g | Dimensions: 159 x 77.8 x 7.3mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 | CPU: Snapdragon 810 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32/64/128GB | Battery: 3450mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Nice-to-hold phablet

Great specs for the price

Ugly rear camera bulge

No optical image stabilization

With an all-metal build, a fingerprint scanner, front-facing stereo speakers and high end specs the Nexus 6P is far and away the most premium device yet in the Nexus range.

The screen is big at 5.7 inches, though actually slightly smaller than the 5.96-inch monster on the Nexus 6. It’s a great display though, with a QHD resolution and vibrant if not quite true-to-life colours.

The Nexus 6P also runs Android Marshmallow. It’s one of the first devices to do so and it’s the stock version, which is superior to most manufacturer skins. Being a Nexus device it’s also promised quick updates to new versions of the OS, so it should stay fresh for longer.

It doesn’t quite feel as full-featured as some rival, as there’s no wireless charging for example, but it’s also a little cheaper and for the most part it feels every bit a flagship.

Read the full review: Nexus 6P

OnePlus 3

5. OnePlus 3

OnePlus finally has a genuine flagship killer

Weight: 158g | Dimensions: 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.4mm | OS: Android 6 Marshmallow | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 820 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 32/64/128GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 8MP

Premium design

Plenty of power

Only 64GB, no microSD slot

Full HD resolution

The latest phone from OnePlus is the real flagship killer the company has been looking for since 2014. With a metal uni-body design and a powerful processor set up this is one of the best phones money can buy.

What’s especially great is the price. Compared to other flagship phones, the OnePlus 3 is much cheaper and won’t cost you anywhere near as much as the number one on this list.

If you’re after a cheap yet high-end smartphone, the OnePlus 3 may well be the best choice for you in 2016.

Read the full review: OnePlus 3

Moto Z

4. Moto Z

Modular and the world’s thinnest

Weight: 136g | Dimensions: 153.3 x 75.3 x 5.2 mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 | CPU: Snapdragon 820 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 2600mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Creative modular accessories

Fingerprint sensor with a twist

No 3.5mm headphone jack

Big camera bump

Much like the LG G5, the Moto Z is a modular phone but it’s much easier to use on this Motorola phone. You can just snap on the modular elements and take them off again when you want to switch the features.

It’s also one of the world’s thinnest ever phones so if you’re looking for a large screen without the bulk in your pocket, this may be a good choice.

You should note there’s no headphone jack on the Moto Z though, which you may find impractical if you own wired headphones.

Read the full review: Moto Z

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

3. Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Like an S7 Edge with an S Pen thrown in

Weight: 169g | Dimensions: 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 pixels | CPU: Exynos 8890 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB| microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 3500mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP

Elegantly curved design

Samsung’s leading camera

Extremely expensive

Touchy capacitive buttons

Samsung’s second entry in the top three, the Galaxy Note 7 is much like a stretched out Galaxy S7 Edge with a few extra features added for good measure.

If you’ve used a Note phone before and like the S Pen stylus functionality, you’ll love it on the Galaxy Note 7 as it adds even more features than before.

On top of that you’ll also get a top of the range processor, the best mobile camera technology on the market and a great looking curved display to make everyone you know jealous.

Be warned, the Galaxy Note 7 is an expensive phone though so you may want to check your bank balance before dropping all your dough on this phone.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 7

iPhone 7 Plus

2. iPhone 7 Plus

The best iPhone money can buy

Weight: 188g | Dimensions: 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: A10 Fusion | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32/128/256GB | Battery: 2900mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Excellent camera

Solid battery life

Screen still only full HD

No headphone jack

If you don’t mind spending a lot of money, the iPhone 7 Plus is the best phablet made by Apple you can buy right now. In fact, it’s even the best iPhone you can buy today, but it’ll cost you.

It’s finally water resistant, has two cameras and is the fastest iPhone we’ve seen yet with a A10 Fusion processor chugging away inside.

The issue is there’s no headphone jack on the iPhone 7 Plus so you’ll likely need to buy new headphones – unless you have Bluetooth ones – plus the look hasn’t changed much compared to the iPhone 6S Plus.

If you’re a fan of iOS and want the best phablet running that software, be sure to go for the iPhone 7 Plus.

Read the full review: iPhone 7 Plus

Galaxy S7 Edge

1. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

The Edge screen finally reaches the top spot

Weight: 157g | Dimensions: 150 x 72.6 x 7.7mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 | CPU: Snapdragon 820 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 3600mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP

Beautiful screen

Great feel

Slight plastic feel


Samsung now has two entries in the best phablet list, with the Galaxy S7 Edge reaching the top spot. The new curved handset is a beautiful 5.5-inch phone that includes even more functionality on those side screens than we’ve seen on past iterations.

It’s one of the more expensive handsets on this list, but it’s worth the extra money for such a gorgeous looking phone.

Plus the design is even more impressive when you realise this is the first waterproof Galaxy Edge product. If you want a top of the range phone that looks a little different to every other square slab out there on the market, the Galaxy S7 Edge is probably the choice for you.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

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