Standard Smartphone vs. Phablet vs. Basic Mobile Phones


Want to get a new phone? It doesn’t have to just be a question of whether or not to get the latest iPhone or Galaxy handset – there are many types of telecommunication device out there, so here’s a simple list of what makes a phone smart, and at what point it really becomes a tablet.

Standard smartphone screens range from 3.5 inches up to around 5.5 inches, and are mostly button-less. You’ll see the odd keyboard-toting exception to the touchscreen rule, but largely the physical key is dying, except for power and volume. We’re hoping a new world of flexibility (as in screens that can bend) will unlock new form factors, but this is definitely the age of the rectangle when it comes to phones. Beyond the basic shape there’s a sliding scale of hardware that dictates the price. Cheaper generally means a poorer performance, but it is not necessarily too bad that you shouldn’t be thinking of purchase. Smartphones are all-rounders and they’re designed for everyone.

If you want something bigger, but not as big as a tablet, then you can find some giant phones pushing beyond 5-inch to go all the way up to 7-inch screens, where tablets officially start. To be a true phablet a device should combine features of a phone and a tablet. The most successful example is the Galaxy Note series with its handy stylus (although Samsung prefers ‘S Pen’) and range of software features to take advantage of that extra space. If you’re more interested in the other features of a smartphone, beyond calls and communication, then super-sized phones and phablets could be right up your street.

Some people just want a phone to make calls. You can pick up basic mobile phones for £30 and they’ll suit luddites who need a phone. There are also still a number of feature phones available that attempt to emulate smartphones and fail badly. The truth is that budget phones running Android and even Windows Phone nowadays are so cheap you shouldn’t ever consider taking a step back to the land of feature phones unless you truly only want to make calls or texts – or need a phone to last the week at a festival.

Learn More – Phone Jargon Explained

Operating System, OS, or Platform: refers to the software running on your phone, so either Android, iOS, or Windows 8.

3G or 4G: 3G is the third-generation of mobile phone technology; 4G is the fourth-generation. Each generation is faster than the last.

Coverage: this is the area where you can get a mobile signal.

Resolution and PPI: resolution dictates how sharp the screen is as a measure of the pixels. Full high definition (HD) is 1920 x 1080 pixels, but size factors in too, so you’ll often see PPI, which stands for pixels per inch. The higher it is, the sharper the screen will appear.

Processor, GPU or CPU: dictates the hardware that runs the system. The more powerful it is, the faster your phone will be able to run.

Apps: software programs that run on your phone, they can be anything from Facebook to Flappy Bird.

RAM: Random Access Memory enables you to switch in and out of apps more quickly. The higher it is the better your phone will handle multitasking.

Internal storage: how much room you have for files, apps and movies. It’s always measured in GB and the higher the number is, the more room you’ll have.