Smartphone, Phablet or Tablet? Which Is The Right Device For You To Buy?

smartphones, phablets and tablets

The world is moving on to the digital age and making life simpler for everyone. It started off with computers the size of rooms and now we have the same amount of processing power in the palm of our hands…all thanks to technology. So, if you planning to buy a portable touchscreen device, you must be wondering which one to buy- Smartphone, Phablet, or Tablet, which of these is best for you?


An amateur might suggest that the only difference lies in the size of it. However, there is so much more than size which will change. If you want to buy one of these, there are so many factors that you could need to consider like portability, cost, ease of use and of course the features.


First, let me try and define what these smart devices are. A smartphone, as the name suggests, is a phone which is less than 5.6 inches and can be used (or held) by one hand.


Phablets are smartphones on steroids – bigger, faster and generally more expensive as well and need both your hands to be free. The name ‘phablet’ is derived from a crude amalgamation of the words, phone and tablet. Phones between 5.6 inches and 6.9 inches fall into this category.


Finally, the tablet is a touchscreen device with a size above 7 inches. It has almost all the functionality that a computer does but it is lighter and more portable. The iPad is probably the most notable example in this category.


Let’s consider each of these in detail.


How to choose between smartphones, phablets or tablets?

1. Portability

This is where the size factor comes in. The screen size of a device is inversely proportional to its portability. A simple rule of thumb is that anything lower than 5.5 inches is considered a smartphone. 5.5 inches to  7 inches are where the phablets come in and anything larger than 7 inches is a tablet.


However, these definitions keep changing with time depending on the manufacturer and which market they want to sell their product in. The screens of phones have increased to a large extent over the years and hence we might see more bigger smartphones in the future.


While most smartphones will fit directly in your pocket, the same can’t be said about phablets and tablets. Some phablets might fit in your back pocket, but that is only when the dimensions are a bit weird.


Tablets on the other hand require a case or a small bag to free up your hands.


So, when it comes to portability, smartphones take the cake. You might also read What is the perfect screen size for a smartphone?


2. Grip

As mentioned above, most smartphones will fit in your pocket and thus directly in your hand. Most of them can be used with a single hand to access all the functions.


On the contrary, tablets and phablets require the use of both hands unless you have a table or some other surface to rest the device on. Thus, it really depends on the user if they want to use their smart device on the go or while lounging on a couch.


3. Media

Media can refer to anything from audio files and photos to full HD videos and movies. As the size of a phone is small, you can easily put it away in your pocket and blast your favorite audios through your headset while using both your hands freely. However, they aren’t any fun when it comes to watching videos on them.


Phablets won’t fit in pockets easily. A bigger screen means a better video experience. However, the ones that do fit in your pocket come in weird dimensions ruining the aspect ratio of the video. But this is still better than smartphones when videos or photos are being viewed.


Needless to say, a tablet stands head and shoulders above the other two for the same purpose of viewing videos.


4. Calling and texting

As the name suggests, the primary purpose of a phone is meant for calling and messaging. The rest of the features are auxiliary.


On the other hand, it’s the reverse for a phablet. They are meant to be used for media, multitasking and gaming while calling and texting are supplementary features. Moreover, it is kind of a burden to hold that big thing up to your ear and talk to someone. God help you if you have small hands!


Tablets very rarely have provisions for calling. Instead, they use the telecom service providers to give their users mobile data connections. Thus, they don’t have to rely on Wi-Fi. But, you must agree that it will seem ridiculous if you must hold a tablet-size device up to your ear to talk to your friend.


5. Features

When it comes to features, it totally depends on the cost of the device. Expensive handsets  have faster processors and higher memory storage and vice versa.


Smartphones come with a range of features starting from the most basic cameras to even augmented reality.


Some of the flagship smartphones are generally phablets because of their large size and amazing specifications. Thus, one can say that some phablets have amazing features, however there are lower range, economical phablets available as well.


While in case of tablets, the features vary with price as is the case with all other devices.


6. Cost

The cost of any of these smart devices is directly proportional to the brand value and the features in the phone. Thus, the highest end tablets, smartphones and phablets can cost as much as an organ in the black market! The lower end smart devices on the other hand can be priced quite economically.


Tablets on the other hand are almost always cheaper than smartphones, and phablets. This is mostly because they are not selling as fast as phones and phablets. Of course the features are not as high as you should expect if the device is cheaper. So, if you want something light on your pocket that doesn’t make you feel guilty about splurging, you should go ahead and buy an economic smartphone.


7. Creativity

A smartphone can help you set reminders and organize your life in general. However, it lacks the creative options that phablets and tablets come with.


Phablets generally come with a stylus which can be used to create and edit different forms of media easily. Even if they don’t, the larger screen (compared to a smartphone) makes it easier to play around with. It can also be used for numerous text or data entry applications which are usually challenging on the smaller phone screen.


Tablets come with more sophisticated applications and styluses to help you make the most of your creative side. The apple pen and surface pen are good examples for their respective tablets. If you are looking for something to help you with art and designs, a tablet is what you should purchase.




If you use calling and texting along with apps only, then go for a smartphone as it is the most convenient to carry. If you frequently watch videos and play games and size doesn’t b other you,  then go for a phablet. While the tablet should be for people who need an extra device other than a phone or a phablet for odd jobs or multimedia. A tablet is also an option for people who are looking for a lighter option for their laptops. However, the tablet will not be able to substitute a laptop for heavy users.


At the end of the day, the base features of all these smart devices are relatively the same. The device you should buy depends primarily on your needs.


So, it is up to you to decide which of the above factors is more important to you and what you are looking for in your smart device. Accordingly select the device that ticks the most number of boxes. But before buying a smartphone or a phablet, please read our smartphone buying guide.


We hope that this article helped you clear your doubts about which smart device you need to buy. If you still have any doubts left, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and we will get back to you soon!