In 2013, the mobile market experienced a tremor that it never felt before. Manufacturers were producing tablet-phone behemoths left and right. Overwhelmed by a stampede of giants, consumers found themselves lost when choosing which phablet to buy. This article showcases a few of those giants that outstandingly stood out from the crowd. The phablets are ranked in order, from the highest quality to the lowest. That way, you won’t be carrying a bogus phablet that is nothing more than deadweight, but a device that is rich with useful features and truly satisfies your experience.

1. Galaxy Note 3 – A Giant with a Faithful Companion

Gear

The Samsung Galaxy Note lineup is no doubt the apex giant and pioneer of the phablet world. After its debue in October, 2011, people marveled at its sheer size – some with awe and some with total apathy.  Despite the mixed view points, the phone saw tremendous success. Such success was not merely due to user curiosity, but it has to do with the Note’s innovative, intuitive and useful features – which are what the first phablet (Dell Streak) lacked. In 2013, Samsung pushed the envelope yet again by manufacturing the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear. Equipped with the Snapdragon 800 quad core processor, 3 gigabytes of RAM, enhanced stylus experience and a brilliant 13-megapixel camera, the Note 3 is definitely not a force to reckon with.

Pros:

  • Lots of features
  • Good Battery Life
  • Great Camera

Cons:

  • Galaxy Gear comes separately (you have to buy it)
  • TouchWiz is still somewhat cluttered

Note 3

If the Galaxy Note 3 ifself wasn’t enough to handle, it wielded a new weapon – the Galaxy Gear. The Gear allows the giant Note 3 to access places that were once inaccessible, so to speak. For example, it allows you to view messages, listen to voicemail, make phone calls, take photos and translate text while on-the-go. Of course, the question that readily comes to mind is this: “What is the point of the Gear If I can do all of this on my Note 3?”

While that is true, you can’t check notifications or text messages anywhere and anytime. For example, if you were at a formal meeting, it may seem disrespectful and distracting to take your giant phablet and start reading messages. If you were using the Gear, others would not know if you were checking the time or text messages. Yet, that is just a fringe of the many advantages of the galaxy Gear. Accompanied by a faithful companion and packed with features, the Galaxy Note 3 is without a doubt the best phablet of the year.

2. Oppo N1 – The Underdog of the Phablet World               

N1

In world awash with counterfeit, cheap and hoax products, the Oppo N1 is truly different from its contemporaries.  This Chinese giant is the essence of an ideal phablet – a device that not only has a bigger screen, but also replete with innovative features.

Pros:

  • Tons of unique features
  • Good camera
  • Available in two operating systems: ColorOS and Cyanogenmod

Cons:

  • Only available to GSM carriers and WCDMA
  • Specs could have been better (Snapdragon 800 instead of 600)

Oppo N1 Features:

  • O-Touch: From the HTC One to the LG G2, a plethora of flagships are equipped with non-removable batteries. While they do allow phones to have sleeker designs, users do not have as much flexibility.
  • This is where the N1’s O-Touch feature steps in. O-Touch literally makes non-removable batteries practical and even preferable. This feature allows you to control the phone by just touching or rubbing the back. For example, swiping sideways enables you to navigate left and right and swiping up and down allows you to scroll through a page. You can also control the camera by using this feature.
  • Useful Gestures: Sometimes, a simple gesture is better and quicker to make your point instead of blurting out words. The same seems to be the case with the N1. Color OS, the N1’s operating system, takes gestures to a new level with its drawing pad. You may utilize this feature to launch any application on your phone.
  • For example, if you draw a circle with your finger, it will launch the camera. You can also create your own gestures (i.e. triangle for Google Plus app, square for Angry Birds and pentagon for Drop Box). The best part of this feature is the fact that you can use these gestures even when the screen is off. This enables you to launch apps quickly and conveniently. Such features definitely give other flagships a run for their money.
  • Swivel Camera: Having already annihilated the point-and-shoot, smartphones are on a quest to usurp the mighty professional DSLR camera from its throne. The Oppo N1 is no exception; it is one of the foremost pioneers of this audacious ambition. Oppo went out of its way to make a truly stupendous camera. The N1 is equipped with a sophisticated 13-megapixel swivel camera. It is the first camera that is made out of six physical lenses – allowing you to take crisp and detailed shots. What is more, the camera is fast – blazingly fast! It is able to boot in just 0.6 seconds, making it one of the fastest camera-phones out there.
  • By far one of the most unique features of the N1 is the swivel rotating camera. Since the camera is able to rotate or shift back and forth from the rear to the front, the N1 doesn’t need to have a dedicated front facing camera. You can rotate the camera to the front for headshots and rotate to the back for other shots. Because of the N1’s 13-megapixel camera, you are able to take remarkable headshots or “selfies” that are completely unmatched by other phones. One of the primary concerns with the swivel camera is its durability.  Oppo claims that the N1’s rotating swivel is tested to withstand over 100,000 rotations. This means that N1’s camera will last you over five years if you rotate it 50 times a day – not bad at all!

3. Xperia Z Ultra – How Big is too Big?

XPeria Z

Determined to charm consumers and draw attention, manufacturers kept pushing the boundaries of smartphones. The difference in size between a tablet and a smartphone was becoming less and less – to the point that it was negligible. No other device shattered the boundaries between smartphones and tablets more than the Sony XPeria Z Ultra. Sporting a whopping 6.4 inch display, the XPeria Z Ultra is without a doubt the biggest phablet of 2013. The gigantic and picturesque display of the XPeria Z truly vivifies media experience. Armed with a Snapdragon 800 processor, 2 gigabytes of RAM and a 1080P HD display, XPeria Z is no slouch in performance – making it ideal for running power-hungry tasks such as gaming and video editing.

Pros:

  • Great media experience
  • Compatible with all writing devices from an actual pencil to your finger
  • Water resistant

Cons:

  • Too big for most people
  • Though the display is rich, it’s confined for indoor use
  • No LED Flash

XPeria Z stylus

Interestingly, the XPeria Z Ultra’s advantage is also its disadvantage.  Depending on your taste or day-to-day activities, you will either adore or abhor this device. You will endear this device if you are someone that always find yourself incessantly using your tablet, watching movies and indulging on other media experience. However, you will find yourself wanting to hurl and smash it on the wall if you are regularly on-the-go and if use your phone mostly for calling and texting only. Yes, the XPeria Z Ultra is not for the average Joe, since he is just looking for the basics.

4. HTC One Max – An Oversized HTC One?

HTC One Mx

Enticed by the growing phablet market, HTC decided to create a phablet of its own – the HTC One Max. HTC seems to be imitating Samsung’s model by creating a bigger version of the HTC One, just as the Note 3 is a bigger and more powerful version of the Galaxy S4.  If you endeared the HTC One, you may be allured by the One Max – just maybe. With the exception of a few refinements sense 5.5, the One Max isbasically a bigger version of the One.

The HTC’ One’s vibrant BoomSound speakers set the hallmark of what flagship smartphone speakers should feel like. Bent on breaking the sound barrier, HTC upped the ante again in the One Max. The pulsating beats that are emitted by BoomSound are  louder, richer and more alluring than ever before. With the combination a brilliant of a 1080p 5.9 inch Super LCD 3 display and BoomSound, the One Max provides a truly a remarkable handheld media experience – an experience akin to holding a luxurious movie theater in your hand.

Pros:

  • Great media experience
  • BoomSound sounds spectacular

Cons:

  • Too big for most people
  • Little to no improvements in the camera
  • The fingerprint scanner is gimmicky

BoomSound

Of course, the One Max does it have its pitfalls. Most of the pitfalls of has to do with its size and its lack of new features, with the exception of BoomSound. Like a giant without fitting clothes, the One Max has little multitasking accommodations to take advantage of the larger screen. There isn’t even a stylus to facilitate note taking and it doesn’t provide other goodies available on phablets. The fingersprint scanner is more of a burden than an asset. Swiping your hands over it to unlock the phone is hit or miss. In many cases, your hand smudges the camera. Overall, if you are the type of person that like the HTC One, but wished for a better media experience, the One Max will not disappoint. But, if you are looking for a phablet with an array of features, you might be disappointed.

5. LG Optimus G Pro – The Note 2′s Counterpart

Most Anticipated Smartphones For May 2013 Optimus G Pro

Vying with Samsung to seize the throne as the best phablet maker, LG entered the phablet market with boldness. Sadly, its first candidate, the LG Vue, was a total failure, because it was squarish, cumbersome, hideous and unresponsive.  In 2013, LG performed an astonishing act of resilience by releasing another phablet – the LG Optimus G Pro. It did this by using the if-you-can’t-beat-them-joim-them strategy. The Optimus G pro is essentially a slightly upgraded Galaxy Note 2.

Pros:

  • Beautiful Super IPS display
  • Fast and responsive

Cons:

  • Merely an improved version of the Note 2
  • Specs could have been better (Snapdragon 800 instead of 600)

With the exception of the user interface and a stylus, LG made ameliorations in the camera, display and processor. Supplied with 2 Gigabytes of RAM, Snapdragon 600 quad core CPU, and a luminant 1080p Super IPS display, the Optimus G pro does indeed provide a good experience. Though it’s far from the best out there, you will likely be satisfied if you choose it as your entry to the phablet world.



Juderson Jean-Baptiste

 
Juderson Jean-Baptiste is a zealous writer. He intends to sow the Web with quality articles. He has been writing professionally since 2009. Since then, he has published quality articles for premium brands such as the Houston Chronicle. He is also the founder and coordinating editor of LibreHealth.com.