We review and round-up the best phablet phones you can buy in the UK in 2016, with spacious HD screens for enjoying movies, games, apps and more, including the Apple iPhone 6s Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Google’s Nexus 6P.
Earlier this year we checked out the dinkiest mini phones, so now we’re taking it to the other extreme and rounding up the best phablets of the year. With their massive, super-sharp HD screens, these mega-phones are ideal for kicking back with films, messing around on apps and getting some serious gaming in, on the go.
Here’s our favourite phablets (5.5-inches and above is our definition) from 2014 and 2015.
Apple iPhone 6s Plus
It’s not cheap, but the iPhone 6s Plus is still a great media machine thanks to its Full HD 1080p 5.5-inch screen, which is simply bloody lovely.
As far as phablets go, the iPhone 6s Plus is one of the most desirable and packs some strong features such as the touch-sensitive 3D Touch screen and Apple’s all-new 12-megapixel camera, which is an absolute beast.
Creative types will also love the App Store’s varied and well-stocked range of apps, covering everything from music production to photography to arty drawing tools. There’s no built-in stylus, but you can pick up a third party pen from dozens of companies if you need more precise control.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 from the creators of the original phablet is one of our favourite phones of 2014, packing some seriously premium specs, a brilliant camera and a gorgeous screen. And if you’re wondering why we haven’t included the more recent Galaxy Note 5 in this list instead, it’s because Samsung still refuses to release it here in the UK. Numpties.
Movie fans will love the Note 4’s 5.7-inch ‘Quad HD‘ screen, which is one of the sharpest here (alongside the LG G3’s) and also the most vibrant. Other cool features include an ability to charge to 50% power in just 30 minutes and a powerful 16-megapixel camera with Optical Image Stabilisation.
Creative users will get the most from the Galaxy Note 4 out of all of the phones here, thanks to the highly responsive and accurate S Pen stylus. However, if you’re simply after a sharp and pretty screen for your apps, movies and games, we’d probably point you elsewhere given that relatively high cost.
Read next: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Note 4
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+
Speaking of cost, one of the most expensive handsets in the lineup is the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, but its high price tag isn’t without reason – after all, this phablet rocks a very distinctive and innovative curved display.
That 5.7-inch HD+ Super AMOLED panel boasts Quad HD visuals and of course the rounded edge, which is a definitely pub talking point. That 160 pixel-wide screen edge is treated like a second display, providing notifications without disrupting whatever you’re doing as well as shortcuts to your favourite apps.
We absolutely loved last year’s LG G3 (in fact it won Recombu’s 2014 phone of the year award) and the follow-up in 2015, the LG G4, boasted an even better camera as well as another stunning 5.5-inch Quad HD screen.
Whether it’s actually classed as a phablet is a grey area these days, as 5.5-inches isn’t actually that massive any more. However, LG has just launched the bigger 5.7-inch LG V10, which packs some seriously innovative features including a second screen and manual video control.
Google Nexus 6P by Huawei
Every year we wait excitedly for the next piece of Nexus hardware, which as ever, brings with it the latest and greatest stock Android experience, straight from Google. Android Marshmallow has now officially arrived and the flagship Nexus phone is the Nexus 6P, which boasts a premium metal unibody design, a capable 12-megapixel camera, Quad HD visuals and a decent fingerprint sensor.
At 5.7-inches it’s not as much of a handful as last year’s Nexus 6, thankfully. In fact, the curved, slender frame makes it quite easy to handle.
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
The best affordable phablet of 2015 so far is the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL, a mighty 5.7-inch Windows Phone handset that costs just £219, making it one of the cheapest mega-phones in this round-up. For that respectable price tag you get a very good 13-megapixel snapper with the impressive Rich Capture mode, plus some excellent two-day battery life.
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
Ladies and gentleblokes, say hi to the world’s first smartphone to pack a 4K screen. Yes, the Xperia Z5 Premium is absolutely batshit mental, but that’s why we love it. Sexy design, gorgeous visuals and a seriously strong 23-megapixel camera make this a must-have for anyone who wants bragging rights down the pub.
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
Microsoft’s latest phablet is a 5.7-inch beast packing Windows 10, which for now is still rather buggy but hopefully should be as user-friendly as Windows Phone 8 come early 2016. There’s no denying that the Lumia 950 XL‘s hardware is the most enticing part of the package right now, with a solid 20-megapixel camera and gorgeous Quad HD screen proving highlights. Plus, add Microsoft’s Continuum dock and you can effectively turn the 950 XL into a mini desktop machine.
If you have any favourite phablets that we haven’t mentioned, feel free to let us know in the comments below.