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Six of the best Android-powered 'phablets' (October 2013 edition)

Phablets – they're too big to be smartphones, and too small to the tablets. With a display usually between 5-inches and 7-inches, this is the latest battleground for Android handsets makers.
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1 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Introduction

Phablets. They're too big to be smartphones, and too small to be tablets. With a display usually between 5-inches and 7-inches, this is the latest battleground for Android handsets makers.

And with good reason too.

Researchers at IDC say that device makers shipped more phablets in the Asia-Pacific regions than tablets and notebooks combined. Other analysts claim that the over the next three years the market will quadruple in value, and device shipments increase by a whopping nine-fold.

Here are six of the best phablets on the market.

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2 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a thinner, lighter update to the Galaxy Note 2. Not only does it come with a stylus, it also lands with an optional Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

  • Android 4.3 'Jelly Bean'
  • 5.7 inch (144.3mm) Full HD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080) display
  • 2.3 GHz quad-core processor for LTE version (3G version features 1.9 GHz octa-core processor)
  • 13-megapixel rear camera
  • 2-megapixel front camera
  • S-Pen stylus
  • 32/64GB storage plus microSD card slot
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3 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

LG G2

In an attempt to differentiate its phablet from the competition, LG made the decision to place the hardware buttons on the back of the device. The company claims this reduces accidental button presses and also makes it easier for southpaws' to use.

A solid, well-rounded phablet.

  • Android 4.2.2 'Jelly Bean'
  • 2.26 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor
  • 5.2-inch full HD 1080p IPS display featuring 423-pixel-per-inch
  • 13-megapixelrear camera
  • 2.1-megapixel front camera
  • 16/32GB storage
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4 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Samsung Galaxy Mega

It's clear that Samsung is carpet-bombing the marker with handsets in a variety of sizes, and this 6.3-inch phablet is at the high end for what's possible – and plausible – for a smartphone in terms of screen size.

The mega is certainly not for everyone, but if you want a smartphone that you can use as a tablet, then this might be worth a look.

  • Android 4.2.2 'Jelly Bean'
  • 1.7GHz dual-core processor
  • 6.3-inch 1.280 x 720 display
  • 8-megapixel rear camera
  • 1.9-megapixel front camera
  • 16GB storage plus microSD card slot
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5 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Sony's Xperia Z Ultra packs a lot of cool features under the hood, sporting the sharpest LCD panel on the market, and a 13-megapixel camera capable of capturing high-definition video.

This handset is also thin, coming in at a svelte 6.5-milimeters. But don't the thinness fool you, the Xperia Z Ultra is tough, featuring tempered glass, and a dustproof and waterproof build, rated to with IP58.

This is the smartphone you need if you want to be able to submerge it in 1 meter of water and still have a working handset.

  • Android 4.2 'Jelly Bean'
  • 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor
  • 6.4-inch TFT 1920 x 1080 display, powered by an updated Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 with 342 pixels-per-inch
  • 8-megapixel rear-facing camera
  • 2-megapixel front-facing 1080p HD video capture
  • 16GB storage plus microSD slot
  • Compatible with the Sony SmartWatch 2
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6 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Asus FonePad 7

The Asus Fonepad 7 is one of the largest phablets available. Featuring a 7-inch display, this is the closest you'll get to a tablet without buying a tablet.

  • Android 4.2 'Jelly Bean'
  • 7-inch 1280 x 800 IPS
  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2560 dual-core processor
  • 5-megapixel rear camera
  • 1.2-megapixel front camera
  • 8/16/32GB storage plus microSD slot
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7 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

LG Optimus G Pro

The LG Optimus G Pro is at the smaller end of the phablet spectrum, but it still packs a lot of features into the petite package.

  • Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean'
  • 5.5-inch 1080p HD IPS display featuring 400 pixels-per-inch
  • 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor
  • 13-megapixel rear camera
  • 2.1-megapixel front camera
  • 32GB storage plus microSD card

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